The Office of External Relations, under the direction of the vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences, communicates the needs, priorities and relevance of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory to outside interests. The External Relations team is the primary point of contact for elected officials, government agencies and external stakeholders at the state level. In addition, the Office of External Relations collaborates with The Texas A&M University System Office of Government Relations. Through strategic communication and interaction, the office maintains consistency and coordination of contact with supporters while promoting numerous programs and initiatives.
External Relations Leadership
Associate Vice Chancellor
Joe Cox, a native Texan from Belton, serves as associate vice chancellor for External Relations for Texas A&M AgriLife, reporting to the vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences, The Texas A&M University System. He represents Texas A&M AgriLife agencies before the Texas Legislature and other external interests.
Previously, Mr. Cox served as a legislative director, chief of staff, committee clerk and senior policy analyst in several legislative offices in the Texas House of Representatives, including Speaker of the House, focusing on policy areas of agriculture, natural resources, environment and energy. Prior to his work in the Texas House, Mr. Cox was employed by a private government relations firm representing a broad spectrum of business clients. In various capacities, he has worked fourteen legislative sessions.
Mr. Cox graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in government. He earned his master’s degree in political science at Texas State University. Remaining close to his roots, Joe resides in Bell County where he manages his family’s multi-generational livestock operation with his wife and three daughters.
Program Coordinator for External Relations
Julia Lancaster has been serving as the program coordinator for External Relations since 2018. She joined AgriLife after working for a small fundraising firm managing several state and federal candidates. Before turning to public service, Julia spent several years in corporate sales for a top outdoor brand. Julia graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness and has completed a certificate in Public Service Administration from the Bush School of Government and Public Service.
1303 San Antonio Street, Suite 850
Austin, Texas 78701
88th Legislative Session Resources: Exceptional Item Requests
The following priority request seeks support for the disaster response efforts of five state agencies.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research
These priority requests to the Texas Legislature seek support for AgriLife Research exceptional items — initiatives that seek to address urgent challenges facing Texas agriculture.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research aims to invest in infrastructure upgrades as well as the training of young scientists to better meet the needs of Texas’ agricultural research priorities. AgriLife Research lab space and equipment are critical components of the agency’s ability to serve the citizens of Texas. Top-notch research infrastructure ensures the state’s economic competitiveness and excellence in agriculture, natural resources and life sciences.
On May 4, 2022, an F3 tornado, a third of a mile wide, directly hit the texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Vernon and Texas A&M AgriLife Foundation Seed, spreading debris over a 5- to 10-mile area. Most buildings, along with research and extension equipment, were damaged or destroyed. The direct hit severely impacted the operations of Foundation Seed along with ongoing research and extension programming for the Rolling Plains region.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
These priority requests to the Texas Legislature seek support for AgriLife Extension exceptional items — initiatives that seek to respond to the state’s changing needs.
AgriLife Extension is a statewide “people agency” with more than 93% of its budget invested in professional educators across 250 counties. Funding is needed to respond to huge growth in both the Texas population and demand for services.
An existing student access program at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service harnesses the network of agents to help meet the state goal of getting more students successfully into Texas’ higher education system. Funding is requested to expand the program.
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory hopes to increase its capacity to perform accurate, rapid diagnostic testing for zoonotic and animal disease threats.
Texas A&M Forest Service
As a direct result of population increases, fluctuating weather patterns and changes in land use, the expanding threat of wildfires has greatly increased the Texas A&M Forest Service’s requests for state assistance.
Requested legislative support to allow Texas A&M Forest Service to provide additional firefighting equipment to departments each year.
Population increase, fluctuating weather and changes in land use expand threat of wildfires, increasing requests for state assistance.