Wine organization encourages young farmers to invest

Wine organization encourages young farmers to invest

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Across the state and here in West Texas, more farmers are investing in grapes. The Texas wine industry is an estimated $13.8 billion economy every year and it keeps growing. 

Katy Jane Seaton is the executive director for the High Plains Winegrowers Association. She has spent nearly 18 years in this industry. While it continues to boom, she said she knows there is a need for young farmers to take on grape production.

"People talk about water usage and it can vary on each site, but they have a much better return on your investment," Seaton said.

Even if farming is not an interest, she said there are still several avenues those interested in wine could capitalize. This includes sales, production, and marketing. 

Abby Bogle, the president of the High Plains Wine and Food Foundation went to college not sure of exactly what she wanted to do.

"I was one of those people where I had a passion for event planning," Bogle said."That's kinda where that started, came to McPherson and that grew my passion for wine." 

She now leads an organization that make it their mission to help others. Each year, the foundation gives out scholarships to students at Texas Tech, The South Plains Culinary Institute, and high schools.

"The High Plains Wine and Food Foundation has partnered with the High Plains Winegrowers Association to really build awareness and to show those younger generations that they can come back to the family farm," Bogle said. "They can do other things rather than your traditional row crops, absolutely, but there's another need for growing grapes, especially in the high plains"

The duo is hosting it's first High Plains Legacy Auction Thursday.

"I think it is remarkable when people put a seed in the ground and get in business with God and mother nature for business partners," Seaton said.

It will take place at Eberley Brooke's - Salle de David on April 25 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at, www.hpwff.org

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