(Dec. 9, 12:42 p.m.) Texans don’t have much longer to wait before they have access to what California and Arizona have had for more than half a century.

In conjunction with the Mission-based Texas Produce Association, Western Growers, Irvine, Calif., and its Western Growers Assurance Trust plans to start offering health insurance plans for Texas companies beginning Jan. 1.

Western Growers and the Texas Produce Association have had a long history of collaboration, said Bill Thomas, senior vice president of insurance services for Western Growers.

“This is one more service, one more feather in the cap of things they can offer to their members,” he said. “We’re fired up, we’re excited to come to Texas.”

Thomas said Tom Phillips and Matt Bigham, with Western Growers 28 years and six years, respectively, plan to work out of the Texas Produce Association office in Mission.

“Because it’s a new place and a new launch, we wanted our most tenured folks who are familiar with what we are trying to do,” he said.

Western Growers Assurance Trust is tailored to the agriculture industry, Thomas said. It is particularly suited to Texas companies who may have temporary employees and those who work both in the U.S. and in Mexico.