Founding Fathers were Founding Farmers

Texas Farm Bureau logo
Texas Farm Bureau logo

By Gene Hall

On President’s Day, I like to remind myself that our presidents were not only founding fathers, but “founding farmers.”

In the 18th Century, there was no government construct for research. No government employees to share information. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were two of our presidents who stepped into those roles.


Washington planted nitrogen-fixing alfalfa in soils depleted by tobacco and experimented with dozens of crop techniques. Jefferson conducted experiments, too, meticulously recording the results. Both men studied soil conservation.

Abraham Lincoln established the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has played a critical role in the education of farmers for more than 150 years.

Our former presidents also understood the importance of private property rights. This was vital in the development of the most powerful economy on earth.

Today’s reckless use of eminent domain in Texas would alarm them.

After all, some of them helped write the Fifth Amendment—the part about just compensation in a taking.

The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.

You may read this week’s editorial above or listen to the audio version.

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