By Glen Miracle
The Waller County Farmers and Ranchers Cooperative (WCFRC) is a group of farmers and landowners in Waller and surrounding counties that promotes sustainable farming and ranching. The goal is to open markets for our products and provide access to education, training, and equipment, in support of sustainable farming practices. Our diverse membership includes experienced farmers, beginning farmers, landowners looking for someone to farm their land, value-added producers, and members that just want to help farmers and Waller County.
We emphasize the three pillars of sustainability: (1) stewardship of natural resources, (2) long term profit for members, (3) quality of life for the farm families and their community. Our long term goals include establishing a food hub in the county where growers can sell and store their products, providing freezer space for meat producers, building a commercial kitchen for members to process product, and establishing a demonstration farm for trials and education. We hope to have a local farmers’ market and provide deliveries to restaurants and retail establishments in the greater Houston area. The co-op, occasionally in conjunction with Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), will provide farmer-managed trials and peer-to-peer education. WCFRC hopes to work out an equipment sharing or leasing agreement with PVAMU. The economic impact of a local farm community can help non-farming residents as well, providing employment and economic opportunity in the county.
Waller County is a mostly rural county with mostly fertile, sandy loam soil. We are close to Houston, the fourth largest consumer market in America. The county is the home of a land grant university, Prairie View A&M. The encroachment of suburban Houston into the county threatens a loss of more quality farmland. Hopefully, farming can become a profitable use of the land and keep the community rural and economically viable. WCFRC will promote organic farming methods and will help people who want to transition to organics, but there is no organic requirement nor inspection of farms at this time.
This co-op is young and the founding members are ready to to see membership grow. Like any organization we are eager to find committed, driven individuals to help with administration, grant writing, and brainstorming. Most of what we have done so far has been establishing our organizational structure. With help from Greg Koehler of the Texas Rural Cooperative Center, the co-op has established its’ by-laws and registered with the state of Texas. There are no paid employees at this point—all work is volunteered.
We are open to members from anywhere, not just Waller County. Membership requires a one time $50.00 fee. We have monthly meetings, currently at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Waller County Road and Bridge building. If planning to attend, please contact us to confirm the meeting and get agenda information or request an item be added to the agenda.
Contact information: P.O. Box 933, Prairie View, TX 77446
James Larry, President of the WCFRC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Glen Miracle: email@example.com