..Leaders of commodity groups that include pork, corn, rice and cattle traveled to San Antonio last week for a meeting with Alexis Taylor, U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services.

The approximately 90-minute round table at the Wyndham Riverwalk hotel on Thursday was closed to the media. Alexis Taylor, U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, said Texas growers and livestock producers widely favored the Trans Pacific Partnership’s potential to open new markets and lower tariffs that for beef are as high as 50 percent.

“By 2030, 66 percent of the world’s middle-class population is going to be in Asia,” Taylor said. “That’s huge market potential. And what’s the first thing people do when they make more money? They want to buy better food. They want to buy meat and protein, meat and dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, things Texas really excels

Taylor has been traveling the country for similar meetings. This was her eighth such round table and first in Texas. Nationally, the USDA has held 30 so far.

Judith Canales, a Uvalde native who is state executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency, said San Antonio was chosen for the Texas meeting because it was the site of the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement and is seen as a city whose economy has benefited from post-NAFTA trade with Mexico.

Arty turns 11 this summer.