Chris Furlow

Chris Furlow
TBA President & CEO

Longhorn, shorthorn, cotton, wheat!

In April, the Texas Bankers Association proudly celebrates the 100th anniversary of its Agriculture Conference. It is a historic milestone for the nation’s oldest and largest state banking association. But this is more than just an anniversary. It is recognition of a proud heritage and partnership.

Since the founding of TBA in 1885, our member banks and Texas agriculture have been inextricably linked. James Francis Miller, the first president of the Texas Bankers Association, who later served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, was a successful stockman. He raised both beef and dairy cattle in addition to his work in banking.

Historian T. Harry Gatton noted that Miller also served as president of the Texas Livestock Association, “a forerunner of the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers.” The “Gentleman from Gonzalez” served on the House Banking Committee and he fought for Texas agricultural interests during his tenure in Congress.

Twenty years after TBA’s establishment, the interdependency of Texas banking and agriculture remained a source of pride. TBA members in 1905 developed a fraternal yell:

Longhorn, shorthorn, cotton, wheat
Texas products can’t be beat!
Texas, Texas every day
Texas, Texas, TBA!

Today, the vital connection between Texas community banks and agriculture remains just as important. Whether supporting cattle ranchers, cotton producers, poultry operations or pecan growers, you will find Texas banks providing capital for land, equipment, fencing,seed and feed. In 1918, Texas banks provided more than $10 billion in small farm loans alone. And today you will often find our bankers standing beside our farmers and ranchers advocating for key policies as they follow in the footsteps of James Francis Miller.

This historic connection continues as we look to the next generation. The Texas Bankers Foundation supports 4-H and FFA programs to mirror the strong support that our rural and ag community bankers provide to their neighbors and to our future farmers and ranchers.

The 100th TBA Ag Conference will take place at the historic Driskill Hotel from April 1-3. Learn more in this issue and join us as we celebrate a century of banking, agriculture and Texas history!