Out-gunned and outnumbered is how Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples describes the situation for farmers near the Texas-Mexico border.
Staples was in Robstown Thursday calling for increased security in the border region.
"Farmers and ranchers are saying they are being shot at," Staples said. "We're being intimidated. Our property is being stolen. Our employees are being chased off the job. We need action."
Staples spoke to a crowd at the Richard Borchard Fairgrounds Thursday morning, where the Texas AgXchange Farm and Ranch Show is taking place.
The commissioner said agriculture contributes billions of dollars a year to the state's economy, yet Texas only has half as many border patrol agents per mile as other border states, like Arizona and New Mexico. He said more needs to be done to protect our farmers and ranchers from the drug cartels.
"I've got friends that won't go out of their home without a weapon at their side," said Craig Shook, farm and ranch manager for the Driscoll Foundation. "They're concerned about being kidnapped or being shot, because they want their vehicle or want to move through their property. It's serious."
Staples is asking the federal government to triple the number of boots on the ground, and send surplus military equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan to the border region.
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