Advocate Editorial Board opinion: New industry brings in another kind of oil

By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 8, 2013 at 12:08 a.m.

Victoria's economy is strong. Our town is growing steadily, and we are glad to see more industry is on its way.

One of the industries taking root in our area is a potential olive ranch near Telferner, just off U.S. Highway 59. Jim Henry with Texas Olive Ranch plans to begin planting trees on 300 acres in June and July. He hopes to have 300,000 total trees on the land, as well as a visitors center, a $5 million processing and bottling facility and a gift shop.

This plan has been in the works for about a year, and we are excited to see it moving forward from concept into the planting stages. Henry has already shown olive growing can be successful at his 40,000-tree ranch in the Carrizo Springs area, where he grows three different kinds of olives: the arbequina and arbosana varieties from Spain and the koroneiki variety from Greece, according to the Texas Olive Ranch website.

Each of those varieties grows well in a climate similar to Victoria's, which means our hometown and county could become the home to the biggest olive growing operation in Texas.

This is an exciting possibility that can improve Victoria's economy in more ways than one. While the olive ranch, if it proves successful, will potentially bring tourists and another strong agricultural investment to the area, Henry said his ranch is also being watched by olive growers in California. If the ranch prospers, out-of-state companies may begin investing and planting their own operations, which could make Victoria a major player in olive oil production in both Texas and the nation.

All of this information points to the possibility of a major step forward for Victoria's economy. Right now, our success is in part dependent on the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas production, but the Texas Olive Ranch could help diversify our economy and give us profits and investment in a different kind of oil.

We are glad to see Henry's work moving forward, and we encourage the city and Victoria County to support his efforts. This is a unique side of agriculture our area has not taken advantage of and could open a whole new dimension of possibilities for our area. We look forward to seeing the rows and rows of olive trees at the new ranch and hope it is a complete success.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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