“It needs to be explained better,” Carnes said. “In agriculture, we need to tell our story better.”
Carnes commented on some of the challenges the new agriculture commissioner will face.
Water — or lack of it — will be a big issue, he said, and the commissioner must “advocate for smart policy” that enables farmers to prosper.
On trade with Mexico: “Mexico is our competitor, but moreover, (Mexican growers allow) Texas to be able to provide consumers with goods and services throughout the year.”
On immigration reform: “What is important to agriculture is making sure that their producers and their industry have a sustainable work force in the future and allow producers to keep growing and succeeding.”
On federal funding: Carnes said programs like the specialty crop block grants have been good for Texas but, “You need to take a hard look at what’s appropriate these days and why you’re asking for it,” he said. “I’m definitely one who believes you don’t ask just to ask.”
What does Carnes think of his chances of winning?
“I wouldn’t call myself a frontrunner, but I wouldn’t call it a long shot by any means,” he said. “I’ve got just as good a chance as the other guys.”