U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington and Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan discussed the system’s impact on West Texas during a chat Wednesday morning on Facebook Live.
Texas Tech and Angelo State, both part of the Tech System, have a huge impact on West Texas, Duncan said. The universities prepare young people for careers in the area, but they also develop research that helps in the region, particularly in agriculture. Tech grads are also active in the state Capital and in the national government in Washington, D.C., he said.
Tech also has two Health Sciences Centers, including one in Lubbock and one in El Paso. If you go to a doctor, Duncan said, it’s likely a Tech doctor. If you’re in agriculture, you will likely work with Tech graduates.
Tech graduates are active in all aspects of life in West Texas, Duncan said.
Arrington said the economic impact of Tech puts billions of dollars into West Texas, but the research done through the system also provides solutions to problems.
“The more you dig in, the thing about Tech that was impressed upon me is how practical our research is,” Arrington said.
Food safety, plant and soil sciences, agriculture and engineering researchers are making a difference at Tech, Duncan said.
“All of our schools, our faculty, are developing a great culture for quality research,” Duncan said, adding it takes time to increase research. “It’s an incremental thing. You can’t do it all in one day.”
Duncan is in Washington, D.C. to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture on Thursday morning.
Arrington said it’s a big deal to testify at an ag hearing.
“A lot of folks think about the farm bill as the safety net, they thing about crop insurance” and other things, Arrington said. But he said the farm bill is also important to universities for research of food production.
Agriculture is just as important to the nation as energy because people need a safe, affordable supply of food and fiber, the congressman said.
“Agriculture, that industry is probably one of the most complex in the nation,” Duncan said. Scientific advances, environmental issues, genetic modifications, a growing population and a lack of price control are issues that are important and complex from a policy standpoint, he said.
Texas Tech has been a core agricultural school, he said, with importance to not just the West Texas region, but to the world.