At the invitation of Texas A&M University, thirty farmers and agricultural leaders from Poland toured Texas during March 2014. 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, Texas, 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. In Panna Maria they prayed in the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and visited the oldest Polish school in America, which is now a museum. They took many photos 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, who is also a descendant of Polish settlers, introduced them to a planned project, the Panna Maria Heritage Center. This special project will hold exhibits and artifacts reminding visitors of the rich multi-lingual heritage which their ancestors brought from Europe in the 19th century. The Polish guests also tasted genuine Texas style steak and enjoy the local beer. From Panna Maria the guests traveled to meet with other farmers and Polish groups in College Station, Austin, San Antonio and Houston.