Texas Grower Turns Passion for History Into a Treasure Trove for His Community

For Dan Taylor, collecting agriculture artifacts and mementos has always been a passion. The Ropesville, TX, farmer has always felt a sentimental connection to history – something that goes beyond standard nostalgia.

“I’ve always had an appreciation for preserving some of the past,” Taylor says. “Even when I was a little kid, I can remember hating to see an old church tore down, or things like that. It was always sentimental to me.”

Now, after a career spent in agriculture, Taylor has taken a step back from teaching, ginning and farming to focus on that passion for history.

He began collecting artifacts in the mid-80s – driving to neighbors’ farms to pick up the odd piece of out-of-date machinery. From those simple beginnings Taylor has amassed a mountain of historical agriculture artifacts – from diesel-powered gins to decades-old classing records. On his property near Ropesville, Taylor houses two large showrooms of museum-ready displays. And these are only what are left from the substantial donations he has made to the newly-named Bayer Museum of Agriculture in nearby Lubbock, where he serves as Chairman of the Board.

To tour Taylor’s showrooms on his property is to realize he missed his calling as a tour guide. His enthusiasm for the pieces on display is readily apparent. To spend years collecting such a massive amount of history is one thing – to have the enthusiasm of sharing with outsiders is quite another. Taylor says that comes from a life spent enjoying what agriculture has to offer.

“In my short years left, I hope I’m able to give something back,” says Taylor. “Agriculture has been very good to me.”

Finding His Calling

Growing up in the north-central Texas town of Blum, Taylor says he was dead set on avoiding agriculture as a career.

“People used to ask me what I was going to do for a living,” Taylor says. “My standard issue was that I don’t know, but I know what I won’t do. I won’t have anything to do with farming or anything to do with cotton.”

At the time, his idea of working on a cotton farm involved hand-weeding and hand-harvesting – backbreaking labor “in the hot sun of central Texas” that simply didn’t interest the young Taylor. But after one semester at an agricultural college, Taylor said he realized he had a future in agriculture. He transferred to Texas Tech University immediately.

After graduating in 1964, he set out to become a teacher, landing at a small high school just outside of the Lubbock city limits. He taught agriculture, and before long found himself farming a 10-acre plot as a hands-on tool for teaching his pupils.

“You would have thought that 10-acre plot was the biggest thing in the world,” Taylor says, laughing. “I was so proud of it.”

It was around this time that he married his wife, Linda, and the two both taught high school and raised three children from a small four-room house.  Taylor says he is proud of the agricultural education program he was a part of as a teacher in those years. In fact, he’s carried the educational mission throughout the latter stages of his career.

“Texas still appreciates the agriculture program,” Taylor says. “I’ve been on the Texas FFA Foundation for 24 years, and we’ve gone from 85,000 members to 103,000 in a five year period. The urban growth of agriculture programs has been phenomenal in Texas. They’re recognizing the value.”

After 11 years as an educator, opportunity came knocking for the young Taylor family. Through his side-project of farming, Taylor had begun to develop contacts in the farming community around Lubbock. It didn’t take long for one of those contacts to see the potential in Taylor.

“I was very blessed. I loved teaching, and I had no plans to get out of it,” Taylor said. “But I loved farming, too, and we had a chance to buy into this gin that was just about to close – they had ginned 1,100 bales the last year. So I decided to try it.

Leave a Reply

News Stories
News

Whitmire Named 2016 Marketer of the Year

February 22, 2017

Ronnie Whitmire of Taft, TX, relied on experience and well-honed instincts to earn the 2016 Marketer of the Year award.

Product News

Six Greenleaf Nozzles Approved for Use with XtendiMax

February 24, 2017

Six TurboDrop D Series nozzles from Greenleaf Technologies have been approved for use with Monsanto’s XtendiMax herbicide with VaporGrip Technology.

News

Tate Re-elected American Cotton Producers Chair

February 21, 2017

Michael Tate of Huntsville, AL, was re-elected as chairman of the American Cotton Producers for 2017.

News

NCC Names State Unit Officers for 2017

February 21, 2017

National Cotton Council state unit officers for 2017 were elected at the organization’s recent annual meeting.

News

NCC Applauds Pruitt EPA Confirmation

February 17, 2017

The National Cotton Council praised the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the new EPA Administrator.

News

National Cotton Council Names Directors for 2017

February 17, 2017

The National Cotton Council announced its directors for 2017 during the organization’s annual meeting in Dallas, TX, in February.

Product News

EPA Approves DuPont’s FeXapan Dicamba Herbicide

February 17, 2017

DuPont has received EPA registration for FeXapan herbicide plus VaporGrip Technology, a low-volatility dicamba formulation for use on cotton and soybean varieties carrying traits that provide tolerance to dicamba and glyphosate herbicides.

Around The Gin
Product News

Six Greenleaf Nozzles Approved for Use with XtendiMax

February 24, 2017

Six TurboDrop D Series nozzles from Greenleaf Technologies have been approved for use with Monsanto’s XtendiMax herbicide with VaporGrip Technology.

Product News

EPA Approves DuPont’s FeXapan Dicamba Herbicide

February 17, 2017

DuPont has received EPA registration for FeXapan herbicide plus VaporGrip Technology, a low-volatility dicamba formulation for use on cotton and soybean varieties carrying traits that provide tolerance to dicamba and glyphosate herbicides.

Product News

Fourteen Southern States Register Enlist Duo for Use on Enlist Crops

February 14, 2017

Thirteen Southern states have granted state registration of Enlist Duo herbicide for use on Enlist cotton and other crops, following federal registration received in January.

Product News

BASF Application Academy Adds Online Training Module

February 2, 2017

BASF has added an online training module to its On Target Application Academy stewardship program to help increase education of new and advanced herbicide technologies.

Product News

Bayer Offers Shared Risk Program for FiberMax, Stoneville Growers

January 26, 2017

Bayer is helping support the economic sustainability of cotton growers through the company’s 2017 Shared Risk Program for those who plant FiberMax and Stoneville cotton seed.

Product News

Enlist Duo Herbicide Registered for Use on Enlist Cotton

January 13, 2017

The U.S. EPA has registered Enlist Duo herbicide for use on Enlist cotton varieties, beginning in 2017.

Product News

Data Show Yield Gains from Indigo Cotton in 2016

January 9, 2017

Data collected from 2016 trials show that Indigo Cotton – a seed treatment based on naturally occurring, in-plant microbes to help increase water use efficiency – led to yield improvements on testing acres, including an 11% average yield increase in West Texas.

Product News

FiberMax and Stoneville Release New Varieties for 2017

January 9, 2017

Cotton growers searching to match the right variety the right field now have two new FiberMax varieties and two new Stoneville varieties to consider for 2017.

Latest News
News

Whitmire Named 2016 Marketer of the Year

February 22, 2017

Ronnie Whitmire of Taft, TX, relied on experience and well-honed instincts to earn the 2016 Marketer of the Year award.

News

Tate Re-elected American Cotton Producers Chair

February 21, 2017

Michael Tate of Huntsville, AL, was re-elected as chairman of the American Cotton Producers for 2017.

News

NCC Names State Unit Officers for 2017

February 21, 2017

National Cotton Council state unit officers for 2017 were elected at the organization’s recent annual meeting.

News

NCC Applauds Pruitt EPA Confirmation

February 17, 2017

The National Cotton Council praised the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the new EPA Administrator.

News

National Cotton Council Names Directors for 2017

February 17, 2017

The National Cotton Council announced its directors for 2017 during the organization’s annual meeting in Dallas, TX, in February.

News

Mark Lange Honored with NCC Cotton Service Award

February 16, 2017

Dr. Mark Lange, past president and chief executive officer of the National Cotton Council, was honored by the organization as recipient of the 2016 Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award.

News

Cotton Achievement Award Honors Charlie Owen

February 15, 2017

The late Charles C. Owen is the recipient of the 2016 Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Cotton Council.

News

Lee Elected NCC Chairman for 2017

February 13, 2017

Ronnie Lee, a cotton producer from Bronwood, GA, was elected 2017 National Cotton Council chairman.

News

Cotton Highlights from February WASDE Report

February 9, 2017

The February WASDE report for cotton shows increases in U.S. export numbers, slightly higher consumption forecasts, and lower ending stocks for both the U.S. and global markets.

News

Getting Ready for New Opportunities

February 8, 2017

Educational sessions at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show March 3-4 are geared to help growers adapt to meet market opportunities.

News

Online Auxin Herbicide Training in MS Begins February 13

February 6, 2017

Free, online training about proper in-crop use in Mississippi of new auxin-containing herbicides on 2,4-D- or dicamba-tolerant crops will begin February 13.

News

Clarifying Arkansas Dicamba Regulations

January 31, 2017

Arkansas Extension Weed Scientist Bob Scott clarifies the current confusion over the state regulations on dicamba that were put in place for 2017.

News

CA Pink Bollworm Program Honored for Reducing Pesticide Use

January 27, 2017

California's cooperative Pink Bollworm Program was honored by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for its efforts to manage pink bollworm while reducing the use of pesticides.

News

Missouri, Arkansas Putting New Dicamba Restrictions in Place

January 23, 2017

According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri and Arkansas lawmakers are taking steps to help prevent future

News

Perdue Tabbed as New Secretary of Agriculture

January 19, 2017

The choice of former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue to serve as Secretary of Agriculture in the Trump Administration has drawn praise from the National Cotton Council and others in the agricultural industry.