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Polish farmers visit South Texas
A delegation of approximately 30 Polish farmers and agricultural leaders gather with Silesian Texans at the statue of Pope John Paul II while visiting Panna Maria, Texas, during a visit in March to learn about farming and the impact of petrochemical exploration in South Texas.
At the invitation of Texas A&M University, 30 farmers and agricultural leaders from Poland visited and toured South Texas in March. The main purpose of the visit was to get acquainted with the problems of Texas farmers, and to exchange agricultural experiences of farming and livestock production.
In Panna Maria, considered to be the oldest Polish settlement in America, the farmers met with descendants of the first Polish settlers in America. The Kowaliks, Polloks, Janyseks, Kruciaks, and Moczygembas of Texas shared their concerns and thoughts regarding the exploration of oil and gas in South Texas, and its effects on farming.
According to the Texans, except for the destruction of roads, there is no need for real concern related to the oil production. The visitors from Poland familiarized themselves with the process by visiting production sites and talking to the experts.
The visitors also prayed in the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Panna Maria, and visited the oldest Polish school in America, which is now a museum. Photos were taken at the historic oak tree under which, in 1854, Father Leopold Moczygemba celebrated the first Mass for the new settlers from Silesia, Poland.
During their visit, Bishop Emeritus John W. Yanta, D.D. of the Amarillo Diocese, also a descendant of Polish settlers, introduced them to a planned project, the Panna Maria Heritage Center. This center will host exhibits and display artifacts related to the rich multilingual and multicultural heritage of the area. The Polish guests also tasted genuine Texas-style steak and enjoyed the local beer.
From Panna Maria, the visitors traveled to meet with other farmers and Polish groups in College Station, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.
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