Everything Is Big In Texas—And Getting Bigger

The Lone Star State has been the top state for exports for 19 consecutive years, surpassing the combined total for its three closest competitors.

By the BF Staff
From the September/October 2021 Issue

Texas again leads the nation in export trade, with $171.9 billion as of June 2021. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows that Texas has been the nation’s No. 1 state for exports for the past 19 years.

But did you know that Texas export trade, as of June 2021, exceeds the $165.2 billion sum of the next three largest states combined? California came in second with export trade of $86.1 billion; New York had $42.7 billion; and Louisiana had $36.3 billion, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis in a report released Aug. 5.

Texas increased its export trade by more than 60 percent from June 2020 and significantly exceeded the 2020 year to date trend by more than 25 percent. The United States as a whole saw an increase in the month export trade of more than 40 percent and exceeded the 2020 year to date trend by more than 22 percent from June 2020.

Despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BEA report shows that the United States is strong in exports—and the state of Texas continues to lead the country for more than 19 years at mid-year 2021.

A variety of factors contribute to Texas’ historical success in export trade: 16 seaports, including 11 deep water ports with channels at least 30 feet deep; 33 Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ); its location at the U.S. border with Mexico; its proximity to the Panama Canal; and more miles of public roads and freight rail than any other state. Add to that the explosive population growth in TX over the past decade, and you have a recipe for tremendous trade success.


With wine grapes, cotton, peanuts and dairy among the region’s popular agricultural commodities, it is only fitting that food manufacturing, production and research-based companies find their home in Lubbock, Texas. Learn more about what makes Lubbock the ideal place to grow for companies like Hampton Farms, Corteva Agriscience and Red River Commodities.

If you’ve experienced the salty crunch of ballpark peanuts while watching your favorite baseball team at bat, you have a connection to Hampton Farms. Their nuts are grown in Texas, then roasted, salted, packed and shipped across the country to many major-league ballparks.

Red River Commodities processes bird food and poultry treats at its Lubbock plant. (Photo: LEDA)

Dallas Barnes, CEO of Hampton Farms leads the company and their value-based culture.

“Our owners have roots in farming, and in 2022 Hampton Farms will celebrate our 75th year of staying true to our roots,” said Barnes. “We recognize that food manufacturers in the West Plains lead the economy in innovation. The more area producers we can buy from, the more we can contribute to this growth. That’s a win for Texas and the agricultural industry as a whole.”

Every decision he makes is based on their mission to be the best nut company today. Barnes believes that one of their best decisions was settling in Lubbock. A key priority was access to the right people to fill the positions that accomplish their mission.

“Hiring is key,” said Barnes. “We need machine operators who understand food quality, and our equipment is not simple to operate. Lubbock’s population is a natural fit. They are skilled, smart and looking to join a company for the long term.”

Another draw was the agricultural research station shared by Texas Tech University as well as Texas A&M University.

“Here, the two schools combine forces, creating opportunities for collaboration, learning and partnerships,” said Barnes. “Texas Tech also provides an extraordinary opportunity for recruiting. For example, a Food Science major might intern as a quality technician and receive on-the-job training for a permanent position.”

With a plant and warehouse expansion planned for 2021, establishing roots in a place with access to talent continues to pay off.

Corteva Agriscience is a research-based facility working with seeds and crop production to support farmers and producers. The company began operations in Lubbock in January 2020 and opened a second facility just one year later in January 2021.

Warren Mayberry, senior lead for government and industry affairs, attributes the growth and success of Corteva in large part to the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance’s (LEDA) assistance navigating the process of opening their second facility, and commitment to making Lubbock an agricultural research and production corridor.

Originally from Texas, Mayberry is a big fan of the “Hub City.”

“I appreciate the traditional way of life and what Lubbock has done to merge history and heritage with access to dining, entertainment and social establishments that appeal to young professionals and families,” said Mayberry. “Lubbock proves that you can have broadband and a cappuccino, along with wide open fields and a thriving university vibe.”

Their crops under study are primarily cotton, corn and sorghum, and the aim is to find what Mayberry calls “the right product for the right acre.”

“We’re excited to bring cutting-edge research from seed to yield,” said Mayberry. “Having two facilities here affords us the opportunity to perform research in the same geographical area where the products may be used. This is a key to our vision of keeping customers first.”

Red River Commodities is a multi-faceted company with two operations in the “Hub City.” The wildlife division processes and packages bird food and poultry treats. The SunGold Foods facility roasts sunflower seeds, which make their way into Frito-Lay snacks, trail mixes and their SunButter brand, an allergen-free nut butter alternative.

Mike Williams grew up in Plainview, Texas, where he learned to love the agrarian lifestyle. Now the Managing Director of Procurement at Red River Commodities, his two decades with the company have spanned sales, purchasing, training and working with LEDA.

“Lubbock is a business-friendly community,” said Williams. “From city management to LEDA and other organizations, people are easy to work with and are true partners in achieving success.”

Lubbock is a natural fit for food manufacturing and production companies. When considering all the factors of the location decision, it ticked all the boxes: people, climate, productive farmland, proximity to Texas Tech, access to entertainment options and top-notch medical centers and specialists.

Williams believes that companies in food production and manufacturing can reach further with access to Texas Tech, a Tier One research institution.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to work with professors, students and interns in the Food Science department on research and manufacturing processes projects,” said Williams.

One of the primary considerations in location for businesses is access to the right workforce and a suitable business climate.

“People here are dedicated, tenacious, easy to train, highly skilled, hardworking and they take pride in what they do,” said Williams. “The weather is another reason we love West Texas. Since 1995, our wildlife division has experienced fewer than five days unable to operate due to snow, ice and inclement weather.”

From the seed to the soil and the people to the craft, Lubbock is the ideal climate for food research, manufacturing and production. [This section was written by C. Jill Hofer.]


Just 30 miles north of Houston, Tomball, Texas blends commerce, community, culture and connectivity to drive economic growth. Tomball’s business-friendly principles, small town charm and committed leadership are a few of the city’s strengths. Guided by a clear vision, Tomball continues to provide necessary resources for businesses to thrive.

The Tomball Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) spearheads Tomball’s economic vision by executing strategic initiatives that help recruit new and retain existing businesses. Tomball’s carefully designed business parks and commercial centers help the TEDC accomplish key goals of recruitment and retention.

Packers Plus delivers innovative high-value completion technology solutions. (Photo: TEDC)

Headlining the economic hubs is the Tomball Business & Technology Park, a 99.5-acre master-planned and deed-restricted light industrial Park, which utilizes flexible lot sizes and competitive pricing to stand out. Operated by TEDC, Tomball Business & Technology Park is fully served with all utilities, provides off-site detention and is mere minutes from Tomball’s major highways.

Diversity of projects in the Park signal its wide appeal. Paradigm Brewing is set to open its 10,500-square-foot brewery in the coming months. United Kingdom-based JDR Cable Systems, a subsea power cable company, chose the Park for its United States headquarters. Rapidly expanding e-commerce jewelry company, Kinsley Armelle, moved its headquarters to the Business & Technology Park at the beginning of 2021.

Nearby Old Town Tomball continues to showcase its ability to connect commerce and culture with unique TEDC investments helping to meet another strategic initiative of the TEDC. Several businesses have recently opened on Main Street while others have enhanced their locations to take advantage of the walkability and allure that brings thousands of visitors to Old Town Tomball every week.

Houston Poly Bag is a fully integrated, custom manufacturer of extruded polyethylene films, biodegradable and sustainable films, bags, shrink films and flexible packaging. (Photo: TEDC)

Adjacent South Live Oak Industrial Park is set to be the next area for commercial expansion. The 6.2 acre development directly off Main Street brings businesses close to Tomball’s amenities. Currently home to two industrial warehouses totaling more than 41,000 square feet, the TEDC’s vision is to make the Park and adjacent property a master-planned, mixed-use development.

Infrastructure investment has helped Tomball become an ideal business destination. Connectivity to the region, nation and world has never been easier for businesses in Tomball. Ideally situated between the Tomball Parkway and Grand Parkway, Tomball is accessible from all directions. Extensions and expansions of north-south and east-west roads inside Tomball, such as South Persimmon Street and Medical Complex Drive, continue to help businesses and residents navigate their way to major thoroughfares, limiting commute times and improving logistics.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), the Transportation Security Administration’s 2020 Airport of the Year, is 30 minutes from Tomball. With more than 25 airlines and nearly 70 international destinations, IAH helps bring the world to Tomball. Mere minutes from Old Town Tomball, David Wayne Hooks Airport provides convenient chartered flights and fixed-based operator (FBO) services.

International and domestic markets are accessible via Port Houston, less than an hour from Tomball. Tomball businesses access the Port by truck or Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway.

Companies taking advantage of Tomball’s strategic location and well-designed infrastructure also find financial advantages via low taxes and economic incentives.

With one of the lowest property tax rates in Harris County, Tomball maintains superior core services through prudent fiscal management. The City of Tomball also utilizes a popular tax abatement program to stimulate economic growth.

The TEDC helps fund infrastructure costs for eligible projects and provides financial assistance through cash grants for projects that create or retain jobs, while Texas incentivizes new business investment through the Texas Enterprise Zone Program and Texas Enterprise Fund.

Investments throughout Tomball have accelerated population growth in the area. More than 2,200 homesites planned or under construction will play a role in expanding Tomball’s population from around 12,000 to more than 20,000 by 2030. Including the area immediately surrounding Tomball, population is expected to surpass 100,000 within five years.

This population growth will add to Tomball’s qualified workforce. The TEDC, which has a goal to further develop workforce initiatives, works with area educational partners to prepare students for careers. Through events like Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) camps and career fairs, education and business work together to advance workforce development in Tomball.

McCoy’s Door & Millworks doubled their facility size by expanding locally into a nearby Generation III building (pictured). The move permitted another existing company, Detex, to expand their business into the 50,000-square-foot space previously occupied by McCoy. (Photo: TEDC)

Tomball’s premier educational options are key in filling the pipeline. Tomball Independent School District is among the highest-rated districts in Texas, as evidenced by its “A” grade in the Texas Education Agency’s most recent accountability ratings. Lone Star College-Tomball, a member of the nationally ranked community
college system, educates thousands of students with direct placement into the workforce.

In addition to working with its outstanding educational partners to fill existing jobs, the TEDC helps entrepreneurs launch businesses. The TEDC is working toward its strategic goal of supporting emerging entrepreneurs through innovative solutions by creating an atmosphere that promotes new ideas and ventures.

The culinary scene is a place where entrepreneurs have had great success in Tomball. Coined a “foodie destination,” Tomball has blossomed with several must-try restaurants from German to Tex-Mex to barbecue. The weekly Tomball Farmer’s Market in Old Town Tomball regularly attracts hundreds of residents and visitors to discover and taste exciting foods sourced by local vendors and food entrepreneurs.

A city of festivals, food and entertainment options, Tomball attracts businesses and appeals to employees with a clear vision and strategic plan to blend commerce, community, culture and connectivity to drive economic growth.


“The thought came to me involuntarily upon viewing the city and beautiful fruitful valley from a distance, what an earthly paradise could be created here through the hands of an industrious and cultured population.” – Dr. Ferdinand von Roemer, 1845.

Dr. von Roemer really did not know what the impact of the beauty of New Braunfels would have 175 years later!

Nestled deep in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, on the banks of two beautiful rivers is where you will find New Braunfels. Founded in 1845 by German settlers, the foundation of New Braunfels’ entrepreneurial spirit was kindled and remains very alive today. Since 1845, the characteristics of “work hard and make good progress” define New Braunfels—much like our founding ancestors over 175 years ago. Though much has changed from 1845 to today, the core principles set forth by the founders—hard work, progress, civic pride and family devotion—have remained a steadfast way of New Braunfels life.

Whether you are greeted with “Willkommen” or a Texas “Howdy”, you will feel the welcome grown from decades of pride and hospitality. Tourism has been a staple in this community since its first Hotel review in 1847 appeared in the Galveston, Texas paper. The stagecoach lines followed in 1848 and visitors to New Braunfels had created a strong economic engine.

Fortunately, the pioneer German settlers brought with them the best teachers, craftsmen, architects, brewers, millers, weavers, festivals and music, which supply New Braunfels with an advantage in the Texas frontier. From the beginning, New Braunfels was known for its festivals, singing societies and celebrations; fast forward to 2021 and the festive hospitality in New Braunfels remains a staple of the economy.

Today, most visitors come to New Braunfels packing a swimsuit, a rod and reel or a snorkel and fins. But New Braunfels is not just a water paradise. Once on shore, you’ll find a whole range of family-friendly activities and attractions in town. Throughout the year, visitors can tee off at the area’s premier golf courses, dance at Texas’ oldest continually operating dance hall, toe tap to over 20 live music venues, sip a craft beer and dine under the stars while enjoying the sound of the flowing river.

Enjoying all that New Braunfels has to offer didn’t happen by accident. The founders chose the area due to its abundant natural resources, ample game and building materials.

“The land is so wonderfully situated: nothing better could be wished for; and much more beautiful than can be described.” – Nicholas and Anton Riedel, letter, April 30, 1845

Unique beauty and one-of-a-kind attractions are still at the core of any visit to New Braunfels.

Delve into nearby Natural Bridge Caverns, the largest caverns in Texas, or a enjoy 400+ acres drive through safari park at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch; both attractions are properties that are owned by one of New Braunfels founding families, and that pride, care and responsibility shines through every experience. Mozie on over to Gruene Historic District and get the true feel of a Nationally Registered Historic District that has been gently resisting change since 1872. Home to four live music venues, tubing or rafting the Guadalupe river, dining and shopping, as well as festivals, and spend plenty of time to soak it up.

“It is a central point, where the agricultural population can exchange their products for merchandise and the artisans have their permanent place of residence.” – Dr. Ferdinand Roemer, 1847

Step into the “wunder” of downtown New Braunfels. A combination of over 50 buildings that are more than 100 years old and a vibrant shopping, dining and cultural experience. This area has always been the heart of our community and the main plaza was the meeting place in 1845 where it served as the marketplace to bring crops and goods to sell and barter. Today, the farmers market still takes place every Saturday, and area restaurants pride themselves on serving up goodness from local farmers and the oldest bakery in Texas—Naegelin’s Bakery.

Stepping back and admiring the historic outdoor murals in downtown, the story of New Braunfels industrious founding comes to life. You may not know that a common household spice was invented in New Braunfels by a humble bartender, at the Phoenix Saloon that is still operating in the same location today. Willie Gebhardt decided to come up with an easy dish to serve the hearty Germans while they enjoyed some of the State’s original craft beers. He ground some ancho chilis and added them to a stew—and Gebhardt’s chili powder was born and is now sold nationwide today.

How exactly do you get to New Braunfels, Texas? The roadways and bridges you travel today were platted by the founding families in the first 30 days after they forded the river and found their home. Their advanced skills brought a surveyor, builder, engineer and all the know-how of a civilization with thousands of years of expertise.

The trails that cross Texas originated as Native American trails, marked by the ruts created by teepee poles being dragged as nomadic tribes traversed the area. Spanish and French explorers used these same trails as they entered the region. Their expeditions around New Braunfels were based on the ability to cross rivers in the area. Many explorers walked the ground of what would become New Braunfels years before any German settlers arrived, yet no permanent structures were in the area.

Today, you can traverse these trails and navigate bridges that were some of the first crossings in Texas from West to East. Trails like the San Antonio Stage line, El Camino Real de los Tejas, Meridian Highway, International Seven, the Great Northern Railroad, Michler Military Trail and the Shawnee, Wester and Chisolm Trails.

So “Making an Impression” has been a New Braunfels tradition since 1845.

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