August 15, 2015 |Success Stories
If you purchase a watermelon at Walmart in Texas, chances are it’s from the farm of Texas Farm Credit customer Jack Wallace Jr.
Wallace, who farms near Edinburg in the Rio Grande Valley, is featured in a Walmart television commercial this summer, voicing his pride in being a Texas farmer. The TV spot is part of a series of growers’ stories sponsored by Walmart.
“I’m just honored to be part of the Texas farming community,” Wallace says. “It’s a blessing to be a farmer.”
Television appearances are nothing new for this third-generation farmer. Five years ago, he and his father, Jack Wallace Sr., were among five potato growers featured in television commercials about Lay’s Potato Chips.
Consumer education is important to the family, who invite local school children to their farm every year to learn where some of their favorite foods come from. And for them, the TV commercials are just another way to educate consumers about agriculture. In addition, Wallace serves on the National Watermelon Promotion Board.
Jack Wallace Farms has been a contract potato grower for Lay’s Potato Chips since 1964, and they have been growing watermelons for the past 6 years. In 2012, Wallace began a venture with fellow farmer and Texas Farm Credit Board Chairman John Prukop, who has grown watermelons on his family’s diversified farming operation near Premont since 1977. Jointly, they grow 400 acres of melons annually.
“We have good growing conditions for watermelons,” Prukop says. “This part of Texas has the right heat and the right soil, and we’ve got a lot of people who enjoy our product. Texas is a big consumer of watermelons.”
Nationally, Texas ranks third in watermelon production and the crop is commercially produced in more than 40 percent of the counties and rural areas of Texas.
“Although watermelons are not their primary crop, you can be sure that Jack and John have figured out the best way to grow melons,” says Texas Farm Credit CEO Mark Miller.