Dynamics in Food Production and Distribution

This unique panel discussion will cover sourcing, procurement, and marketing of a restaurant’s supply chain in 2019. The logistics of sourcing unique ingredients and materials is more sophisticated than ever, and consumers are more aware of and interested in where their food comes from. As an independent or small chain restaurant, do you know what to consider when purchasing or evaluating a producer? What questions should be asked about food safety, volume, and best practices? And after all that is decided, how to you tell your guests in a transparent and honest way where your materials originate? There’s a lot to cover in this session, and you won’t want to miss it!


Sunday, July 14, 2019


2:30pm - 3:30pm


Big Bend Big Ideas Stage


Gene Hall, Texas Farm Bureau
James O'Brien, J.J. O'Brien Ranch
J. Allen Carnes, Winter Garden Produce
Pebble Anderson, Sysco Corporation

Gene Hall

Texas Farm Bureau appointed Gene Hall the Director of Communications on Dec. 1, 1990. He is directly responsible for Farm Bureau’s communications effort and for working on a daily basis with the news media. Hall’s responsibilities also include Texas Farm Bureau publications, the TFB Print Shop, Internet and social media communications, video services, the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network, the newsletter service and graphics services, as well as media relations.

Prior to his appointment as director, Hall was director of Radio/Television from 1980 to 1990. Under his leadership, the Communications division has received several national awards. He joined the TFB staff in 1978 as assistant director of Radio/Television.

Before coming to the Texas Farm Bureau, Hall was farm director at radio station KTXO in Sherman and a news reporter and anchor for KFDM-TV in Beaumont.

Raised on a farm in Newton County, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Journalism from Texas A&M University in 1976.

Hall is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). He received the PRSA's prestigious "Accredited in Public Relations" (APR) designation in January 1995 and was named a PRSA Fellow in October 2003.

Hall lives in Waco with his wife Ernette. They are parents to three sons–Roger, Steven and Chad. They have a granddaughter, Madison, and a grandson, Hunter.

James O'Brien

The O’Brien Ranch, originally founded in 1834, continues to raise beef cattle in South Texas to this day. James O’Brien began purchasing weanling steers from the family ranch in 2016 and finishing them on grass. He became a USDA Certified Grassfed Producer in 2017 and began selling grass fed beef quarters and beef halves. Customers can still order custom quarters and halves of grassfed beef, but the small family business has evolved into primarily offering beef boxes shipped right to your doorstep - the ultimate convenience.

J Allen Carnes headshot

J. Allen Carnes

The Carnes family has been in the agriculture and produce industry in Texas since 1950. At the present time they harvest and ship over 1.5 million packages per year and have annual sales over 15 million. J. Allen Carnes, the 36 year-old president and third generation of Winter Garden Produce, returned to the family farm in 1997 after graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in finance. 

J. Allen realized that he had a passion concerning the issues affecting agriculture and soon became involved with the Mission-based Texas Vegetable Association. He was president of that association from 2005-2009 and currently serves on the board, as well as being active in the National Council of Ag Employers, the United Fresh Produce Association and the Texas Sweet Onion Committee. Winter Garden Produce continues to be an industry leader in addressing food safety issues on the crops it grows and ships.

Pebble Anderson Headshot

Pebble Anderson

Pebble Anderson is the director of customer marketing at Sysco Corporation.