Farm bureau in Coryell County surprises shoppers by paying for groceries

Interactions also meant to educate grocery shoppers about the plight of farmers and ranchers
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 6:59 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A local county Farm Bureau spread some holiday cheer and awareness about the plight of farmers and ranchers by surprising shoppers at the grocery store checkout line and paying for their bill.

The Coryell County Farm Bureau sent out representatives to the HEB in Gatesville the week of Thanksgiving and paid for groceries for unsuspecting shoppers.  The idea was to not only lighten someone’s load, but also educate them about the important work being done in agriculture.

Shelia Roedler, of Oglesby, was one of the shoppers surprised. “My first reaction was to look around for cameras and then to protest and they just simply said ‘compliments from Coryell County Farm Buruea,’” Shelia said.

Coryell County Farm Bureau President Cody Archie said paying for the groceries gave his representatives a moment to talk to citizens about the mission of the organization and clear up misconceptions.

“A lot of people think of us as just an insurance company when really we are an advocacy group there to protect the rights of farmers and ranchers,” Archie said.  “So, this allowed us to start that conversation with these folks.”

Archie said with rising prices at the grocery store, many believe farmers and ranchers are “getting rich,” which is far from the truth, he says.

“We walk up and say, ‘hey, we’re going to take care of this for you,’” Archie said. “And did you know of that 100 dollars of the food you’re buying only about 10 dollars actually went to the farmer or rancher?”

“Everybody has this big misconception that farmers and ranchers are getting rich all the time, but the fact of the matter is, the input costs have risen so much you’re not making any more money.”

Shelia said the gesture did not go unnoticed by the Farm Bureau and she, in turn, passed it on,  paying for the groceries of a shopper a few registers away.

“It allowed me to also help others that same day and it meant so much more than just the monetary gift but also had a valuable lesson that we could all learn from.  Giving comes without expectations,” she said.

The Coryell County Farm Bureau says this is the first time they’ve bought groceries for shoppers but for the last several years they’ve passed out free sausage wraps and tacos at the county fair with the same hope of starting important conversations.