What objectives could a Texas Commissioner of Agriculture have? Promoting organic farming? Farmland Conservation? Feeding the children? Improving the distribution network for Texas-grown Products? These objectives are among those proposed by candidate Kim Olson, a retired Colonel and a 4th generation farmer.
Learn more about Kim Olson and her ideas at her Happy Hour Town Hall, September 10, 6-8 pm at Wax Space at Tyler Station, 1300 S. Polk St. Dallas, TX. This event is hosted by Indivisible Oak Cliff. Free Tickets at https://events.mobilizeamerica.io/votekimolson/event/10327/
BACKGROUND: Among the first generation of female pilots, this 28 year veteran commanded troops in combat zones and was a volunteer with the Texas State Guard. She served as director of human resources for Dallas ISD; is a former Weatherford ISD trustee; served as CEO of Grace After Fire; and was inducted in 2014 into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame for her public service.
A 4th generation farmer and educator, she lectures on small-scale regenerative agriculture and practices sustainable eco-ag on her family farm.
Organic farming: As of 2014, only 3.5% of Texas farmland was considered organic. The demand for organic products outstrips the local supply. Kim sees big opportunity in converting more farming to organic, has identified the challenges, and has plans and ideas.
Broadband: Can you imagine trying to run a small business, including a farm, without reliable internet?
Eat Local: Kim supports a better distribution network for Texas-grown products, via direct-to-consumer sales (such as farmers markets) as well as local and regional retailers, restaurants, and institution. Her plans include infrastructure improvements, such as regional processing and distribution facilities.
Go Texan: She also wants to make better use of the Go Texan campaign as a way of promoting Texas-grown and -made food and fiber products, updating the program, developing a stronger marketing strategy, helping members analyze the market, and dedicating staff and resources to promoting the Go Texan brand.
Grow Hemp: Kim supports developing the hemp industry in Texas. Growing hemp is currently prohibited under drug laws but as Kim says, “It’s a fiber, not a drug.” The National Hemp Association reports $620 million in retail sales of hemp products in the U.S.
Farmland Conservation: Daily, Texas loses more than 360 acres of farmland to development. Kim wants to study the impact of this farmland loss and advocates for funding the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program providing incentives to land owners to preserve farmland and wildlife habitat.
Feed the Children: Texas serves lunch to more than 3 million children every day; 60 percent of those are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. The National School Lunch Program is administered in Texas by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Among her ideas for insuring that children are served healthy food that they will actually eat is working with local food professionals. She wants to help reduce hunger in Texas by simplifying the application process and promoting “community eligibility” for families in low wage-earning areas.