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He began collecting artifacts in the mid-80s – driving to neighbors’ farms to pick up the odd piece of out-of-date machinery.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

Oilseed Designation for Cottonseed Stymied; Industry Responds

February 3, 2016

According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, USDA lawyers have determined the department does not have the authority to declare cottonseed an oilseed, prompting swift responses from the NCC and the House Agriculture Committee.

News

NCC Praises Move to Reinstate Commodity Marketing Certificates

February 4, 2016

USDA earned the thanks of the U.S. cotton industry by announcing the implementation and availability of commodity marketing certificates as part of the Marketing Loan Program.

Young Cotton Plant
News

Syngenta Agrees to Buyout by ChemChina

February 3, 2016

ChemChina is acquiring Syngenta in a $43 billion cash offer.

News

Making Wrinkle-Resistant Cotton Fabrics “Greener”

January 28, 2016

The American Chemical Society reports that a team of chemists have developed a new, more environmentally-friendly and cost effective method for making wrinkle-resistant cotton fabrics.

News

USDA Signs Agreement for Enhanced Cotton Genotyping

January 19, 2016

USDA is working with Applied DNA Sciences to provide proprietary identification methods to genetically verify multiple types of individual cotton cultivars to help the cotton industry protect quality, improve traceability and protect economic investments.

News

Cotton Excerpts from January WASDE Report

January 12, 2016

USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report for January shows marginally lower production and higher ending stocks for the U.S., as well as lower production, consumption and ending stocks for the world.

News

Senators Join Call for New Cottonseed Designation

January 5, 2016

Nineteen Senators from 12 cotton-producing states have joined the call to encourage Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to designate cottonseed as an “other oilseed.”

Around The Gin
Product News

New FieldView Drive Provides Real Time Field Data Transfer

January 26, 2016

The Climate Corporation is launching FieldView Drive, a device that provides seamless transfer of real time field data and mapping from planting or harvesting equipment to a mobile device.

Product News

PhytoGen Releasing First Enlist Cotton Variety for 2016

January 13, 2016

PhytoGen is releasing PHY 490 W3FE, the first cottonseed variety with the Enlist cotton trait, for the 2016 growing season.

Product News

Enlist Cotton Ready to Launch for 2016

January 6, 2016

Dow AgroSciences announced that cotton growers will have access to the Enlist cotton technology in 2016.

Product News

Bayer Announces New 2016 FiberMax and Stoneville Cotton Varieties

January 5, 2016

Bayer has announced the release of three new FiberMax and Stoneville varieties for 2016, all featuring the company’s GlyTol, LibertyLink and TwinLink technologies.

Product News

Deltapine Announces Class of 16 Varieties

December 14, 2015

Four new Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton varieties make up the recently announced Deltapine Class of 16.

Product News

PhytoGen Varieties Raise Standards for Yield and Quality

November 30, 2015

Growers propelled two PhytoGen brand varieties toward the top of the 2015 USDA Cotton Varieties Planted report.

Product News

2016 Seed Showcase – All-Tex and Dyna-Gro

November 16, 2015

Sister cottonseed companies are working to extend their footprint in 2016.

Product News

2016 Seed Showcase – CROPLAN

November 16, 2015

Up-and-coming CROPLAN relies on careful variety evaluation and placement strategies for growth.

Latest News
News

NCC Praises Move to Reinstate Commodity Marketing Certificates

February 4, 2016

USDA earned the thanks of the U.S. cotton industry by announcing the implementation and availability of commodity marketing certificates as part of the Marketing Loan Program.

News

Oilseed Designation for Cottonseed Stymied; Industry Responds

February 3, 2016

According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, USDA lawyers have determined the department does not have the authority to declare cottonseed an oilseed, prompting swift responses from the NCC and the House Agriculture Committee.

News

Syngenta Agrees to Buyout by ChemChina

February 3, 2016

ChemChina is acquiring Syngenta in a $43 billion cash offer.

News

New, Diverse Leadership Appointed to The Cotton Board

January 28, 2016

Eight members, eight alternates and two diversity advisors have been appointed to The Cotton Board.

News

Making Wrinkle-Resistant Cotton Fabrics “Greener”

January 28, 2016

The American Chemical Society reports that a team of chemists have developed a new, more environmentally-friendly and cost effective method for making wrinkle-resistant cotton fabrics.

News

USDA Signs Agreement for Enhanced Cotton Genotyping

January 19, 2016

USDA is working with Applied DNA Sciences to provide proprietary identification methods to genetically verify multiple types of individual cotton cultivars to help the cotton industry protect quality, improve traceability and protect economic investments.

News

Monsanto to Build New Cotton Seed Processing Facility in Lubbock

January 14, 2016

Monsanto is building a $140 million state-of-the-art cotton seed processing facility in Lubbock.

News

Cotton Excerpts from January WASDE Report

January 12, 2016

USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report for January shows marginally lower production and higher ending stocks for the U.S., as well as lower production, consumption and ending stocks for the world.

News

Senators Join Call for New Cottonseed Designation

January 5, 2016

Nineteen Senators from 12 cotton-producing states have joined the call to encourage Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to designate cottonseed as an “other oilseed.”

News

2015: The Year in Precision Agriculture

December 28, 2015

In a year of low prices, growers turn to precision practices to maximize efficiency.

News

2015: The Year in Crop Protection

December 23, 2015

As resistant weeds continue to spread, potential challenges emerge for insect control.

News

NCC Commends U.S. Trade Negotiators on WTO Outcome

December 22, 2015

National Cotton Council leadership praised U.S. trade negotiators’ efforts in resisting pressure for further concessions on cotton by the World Trade Organization.

News

2015: The Year in Domestic Marketing

December 21, 2015

Cotton Incorporated’s goal is clear – take back our market!

News

2015: The Year in International Marketing

December 18, 2015

Cotton Council International directs a vibrant international marketing agenda in 2015.

News

2015: The Year in Washington

December 16, 2015

The National Cotton Council continues to protect cotton’s interests.