Rickey Bearden; Plains, Texas — Past President — farms cotton, peanuts, wheat, sorghum in Yoakum County, Texas near Plains. Rickey and his wife Karen have a son Tracy and daughter Kyley. Rickey started farming with his Dad in 1975. He is currently a Deacon at First Baptist Church in Plains. Rickey has served on Cotton Incorporated since 1988 where he served as Chairman of the Board 2010 -2011. He also serves on Plains Cotton Growers Board where he was President 2004-2006. Rickey is member of Western High Plains Bollweevil Steering Committee, Yoakum County Farm Bureau Board, ACP Board of National Cotton Council and Cotton Council International and is dedicated to serving the agriculture industry.
Matt Huie; Beeville, Texas – President – farms and ranches near Beeville, Texas. As an active member of the South Texas Cotton and Grain Association Matt currently serves on the Board of the Southwest Council and advocates for the agriculture industry.
L. G. Raun; El Campo, Texas – Vice-President– is a rice producer from El Campo, Texas. He is currently a chairman of the Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group and a board member of US Rice Producers Association. He also serves as the rice representative of the Texas Ag Council and the Texas Rice Industry Coalition for the Environment. LG is passionate about water quality and serves on several water planning groups both locally and statewide. LG is a third generation farmer, and remains active in his community with his wife Linda.
David Cleavinger; Wilderado, Texas – Vice-President– is a fifth generation Texas farmer and rancher who operates his 4,500 acre irrigated family farm and ranch in Wildorado, Texas. He has farmed wheat, corn, grain sorghum, seed milo, sorghum silage, cotton and sugar beets along with raising stocker cattle. David is a former president of the Board for National Association of Wheat Growers. He also has served on the Board of Directors for US Wheat Associates, and has worked extensively on the promotion of US wheat products abroad.
Steve Verett; Lubbock, Texas — Secretary/Treasurer — serves as the Executive Vice President for Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., a certified cotton producer organization representing cotton producers in the 41 counties around Lubbock. Before joining PCG in July of 1997, he served as the Executive Director for the Texas Food & Fibers Commission. Steve is an active member of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and served as Chairman of the Chamber in 2006. He remains actively involved with his son Kristofer, in a 4000 acre farming operation in Crosby County.
Jimmy Clark; Lubbock, Texas — Executive Director — is a familiar and respected force for Agriculture in the Southwest Region. Having served as district representative for Congressman Combest and as Deputy Chief of Staff for his successor Congressman Randy Neugebauer for 23 years, Jimmy understands the issues that are important to business and agriculture, and has dedicated a career to improving economic opportunity for the region. In addition to his life of public service, Jimmy has continued to build and improve a third generation family farming operation near Acuff, Texas.
Board of Directors 2018-2019
Representing Organization Term Expires Cotton Craig Heinrich Plains Cotton Growers 2021 Rickey Bearden-Past President Plains Cotton Growers 2019 Steve Verett-Secretary/Treasurer Plains Cotton Growers 2020 Keith Corzine Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association 2020 Matt Huie-President South Texas Cotton and Grain Association 2021 Corn Jim Sugarek Corn Producers Association of Texas 2021 Robert Gordon Corn Producers Association of Texas 2019 Dave Cure Colorado Corn Growers Association 2020 Jeff Self Colorado Corn Growers Association 2021 Grain Sorghum Dale Artho Texas Grain Sorghum Producers 2019 Peanuts Tony Dill Western Peanut Growers Association 2020 Michael Newhouse Panhandle Peanut Growers Association 2021 Wheat David Cleavinger-Vice President Texas Wheat Producers Association 2020 Cattle Josh Winegarner Texas Cattle Feeders Association 2021 Rice L.G. Raun-Vice President Texas Rice Producers 2019 Agribusiness Kevin Brinkley Plains Cotton Cooperative Association 2019 Brian Snodgrass South Plains Implement Co. 2020 James Bostwick Ag50 New Mexico 2019 Bill Jongsma Select Milk Producers 2021 Financial Institutions Rick Boyd First United Bank 2020 Tim McDonald AgTexas Farm Credit Services 2019
The SWCA is represented in Washington by Combest, Sell & Associates, an experienced and effective team, led by:
Larry Combest, served as the Congressman for the 19th District of Texas from 1985 until he retired in 2003. He was the first Republican ever to be elected to the seat, and won by increasing margins which reached more than 90 percent of the vote in his last two elections.
As Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee from 1999 to 2003, he was recognized as the chief architect and force behind the 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act which helped lift rural America out of economic recession and has contributed to 10 straight years of record investment and economic activity in the U.S. agricultural sector. As Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee from 1995 to 1997, he led the Committee in a two year study and report of a sweeping intelligence reform proposal that many in the post 9/11 world have described as ahead of its time. For his leadership on these issues, Larry Combest won the respect of colleagues from both sides of the aisle in both the Senate and the House who are still serving today.
Tom Sell, is cofounder and managing partner of Combest, Sell & Associates, LLC. Before starting the firm, Mr. Sell was deputy chief of staff for the House Committee on Agriculture, where he was instrumental in crafting the 2002 Farm Bill. He later spent time as director of intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Tom began his career in Washington shortly after graduation from Texas Tech University by serving in Congressman Combest’s personal office, where he worked on a variety of issues, including environmental and international trade issues.
Jeff Harrison, has served as counsel to Combest Sell & Associates since 2005. Prior to this, Harrison served 13 years on Capitol Hill, including most recently as the Legislative Director to U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) and as Counsel to House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX) where Harrison was lead counsel on the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 (ARPA) and the Commodity, Credit, Rural Development, Research, and Energy Titles to the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (the 2002 Farm Bill). Harrison first served in Washington as an Agriculture and Environment Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator David Durenberger (R-MN). Harrison clerked for the Honorable Paul A. Magnuson, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota and he graduated with distinction from the University of North Dakota school of law where he also earned his undergraduate degree. Harrison is a native of Bluffton, Minnesota in Otter Tail County.
Brandon Willis, serves as an Assistant Professor at Utah State University and works with Combest Sell & Associates. Prior to this, Brandon served as the Administrator of the Risk Management Agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Senior Advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs at the Farm Service Agency, and Agriculture Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). Brandon earned an LLM in agriculture law at the University of Arkansas, a law degree at the University of Wyoming, and an undergraduate degree in agriculture at Utah State University. Brandon grew up on a sheep ranch in Bear Lake, Utah where he and his wife, Victoria, raise their son, Charlie.
Jill Whitley, grew up on her family’s farm in Acuff, Texas located in Lubbock County where she has lived her entire life. Jill graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1986 and attended Texas Tech University. She began her crop insurance experience in 1987 where she worked for USAG Insurance Services for 9 years. Jill was the Central United States Training Coordinator for Fireman’s Fund Insurance from 2000 – 2004 where she trained both crop insurance agents and adjusters.
Jill and her husband Chad have two children, Caden and Kacie, who are both nurses in the Lubbock area. Jill joined Combest, Sell & Associates in January 2015.
Brad Weddelman, is from near Napoleon, Ohio where he grew up on his family’s corn, wheat, and soybean farm. Brad attended The University of Toledo, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in law and social thought, and economics, with honors. During his undergraduate studies, Brad completed an internship in Washington with the GIC Group, an agribusiness consulting and investment firm. Brad is currently a Masters Candidate at Texas A&M studying Agricultural Economics, under the tutelage of Drs. Joe Outlaw and James Richardson. While at Texas A&M, Brad was a teaching and research assistant helping with agricultural policy.
Linsey Ogden, was raised on her family’s diversified farm and ranch operation in Loving, New Mexico. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Master of Business Administration at Texas Tech University. During her studies, Linsey completed a Congressional internship and served as the Southwest Council of Agribusiness Fellow. Prior to joining Combest, Sell & Associates in December 2017, Linsey worked with the U.S. Peace Corps in rural Cameroon where she trained and advised smallholder farmers.