Education Sessions Schedule

The "Dirt" on What We Eat - a Discussion with Local Farmers and Ranchers

As an informed restaurant owner and operator, it’s important to know where your food and products come from. Learning more about modern agriculture will make you a more informed buyer and help you make decisions on behalf of your restaurant and your guests.  Join this panel of agriculture experts as they discuss farming and ranching, the environment and any anticipated additional delays in the food supply chain.


Sunday, July 11, 2021


11:30am - 12:30pm


Big Bend Big Ideas Stage, sponsored by Texas Mutual


Moderator: Gary Joiner, Texas Farm Bureau
Jason Cleere, Texas A&M University
Russell Boening, Texas Farm Bureau
David Volleman, Volleman's Family Farm


Moderator: Gary Joiner

Gary Joiner is the director of Communications for the Texas Farm Bureau. He assumed the position in January 2020 after joining the organization in February 2014 as senior associate director.  

Joiner is responsible for Farm Bureau’s overall communications efforts. The Texas Farm Bureau Communications division and team are recognized nationally for their outstanding work, earning numerous awards from the American Farm Bureau Federation. 

Joiner oversees Texas Farm Bureau publications, digital communications, video services, the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network, the print shop, the newsletter service and graphics services, as well as media relations.

Joiner previously worked on behalf of Texas Farm Bureau members from 1988-2002, serving in positions in public relations and in legislative affairs. He served as director of organization and as director of member relations for the Washington Farm Bureau from 2002-2008.

Joiner served as chief executive officer of the Texas Wildlife Association from 2008-2014.

He began his career as a reporter for KLBK-TV in Lubbock. He is a past president of the PRSA Central Texas chapter.

Joiner is a native of Farmers Branch, Texas, and is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He and his wife, Karen, live in China Spring and have one daughter, Kate.

Jason Cleere

Dr. Jason Cleere is associate professor and Texas AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, stationed at Texas A&M University in College Station, where he develops and implements Extension educational programs to increase production efficiency and profitability of Texas beef cattle producers. He also serves as coordinator of the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course, which attracts more than 1,400 participants to campus each August. He is also a faculty member of the beef cattle section in the Department of Animal Science.

He received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural science from Texas A&M University in 1997, his master’s in animal science with an emphasis in beef cattle production from Texas A&M University in 1998, and his doctorate in animal science with an emphasis in beef cattle genetics and management from Texas Tech University in August 2002. From September 2002 to May 2005, he served as extension beef cattle specialist for East Texas based at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton, Texas.

Cleere received the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence on two separate occasions for his performance as a member of an Extension Team, which developed and implemented the Texas A&M Pasture and Livestock Management Workshop, and as a member of Systemic Academic Partnership, which conducted Stress Physiology Research. The Texas County Agricultural Agents Association has also recognized Cleere as the Specialist of the Year.

Cleere is a member of the American Society of Animal Science, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Independent Cattlemen’s Association, and owns a purebred cattle operation in Madisonville, Texas.

Russell Boening

Russell Boening of Poth was elected to the Texas Farm Bureau board of directors in December 2008 and became secretary-treasurer in December 2011. He grows feed grains, cotton, watermelons and wheat, as well as operating a 450-cow dairy with his brother and father and a beef cattle operation near Floresville.

He is a 1981 graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Agricultural Economics. Boening served as president of the Poth ISD school board and is a member of Dairy Farmers of America.

He was chosen as the TFB Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher in 1986. Boening has held every office on the Wilson County Farm Bureau board, serving for more than 30 years, including president for five years. He also took part in TFB’s first FarmLead class.

The fourth generation farmer was elected president of Texas Farm Bureau and Affiliated Companies Dec. 8, 2014. He was elected to the American Farm Bureau board of directors Jan. 13, 2015. He was appointed to the AFBF Trade Advisory Committee in January 2016.  He has been a spokesman on a wide range of agricultural issues, including crop technology and water.

Boening and his wife, Margie, have three children and three grandchildren.

David Volleman

David Volleman is part of Volleman's Family Farm in Gustine, Texas.