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He began collecting artifacts in the mid-80s – driving to neighbors’ farms to pick up the odd piece of out-of-date machinery.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

Proposed Mergers Could Increase Cotton Seed Prices

September 23, 2016

According to a Texas A&M study, proposed mergers by leading biotechnology firms would result in steep price increases for cotton seed and smaller increases for other grain crops.

News

Nation’s First Cotton Bale is Sold to Fund Scholarships

September 27, 2016

The sale of the nation’s first cotton bale for 2016 provided $16,500 in scholarship funds for agriculture students in the Harlingen, TX area.

Product News

Cotton Board Releases 2015 Annual Report

September 27, 2016

The Cotton Board’s 2015 Annual Report is now available online.

News

NCC Urges Broad Look at Global Fiber Markets

September 14, 2016

The National Cotton Council is seeking greater transparency of fiber production policies in other countries – including synthetic fibers – to help determine how they impact the global cotton market.

Product News

How Fiber Quality Became So Valuable

September 14, 2016

Textile expert Dean Etheridge explains the meteoric rise of fiber quality on the global market.

News

Cotton Highlights from September WASDE Report

September 12, 2016

Production and ending stocks are up slightly in USDA’s September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, while export and consumption numbers remain steady.

News

Wet Conditions Causing Problems for Texas Cotton

September 9, 2016

Extended untimely rains have producers in Texas’ Upper Gulf Coast and Blacklands worried about yields and lint and seed quality.

Around The Gin
Product News

Cotton Board Releases 2015 Annual Report

September 27, 2016

The Cotton Board’s 2015 Annual Report is now available online.

Product News

It’s a Deal: Bayer to Acquire Monsanto

September 14, 2016

Bayer and Monsanto have announced an agreement under which Bayer will acquire Monsanto for approximately $66 billion in an all-cash transaction.

Product News

How Fiber Quality Became So Valuable

September 14, 2016

Textile expert Dean Etheridge explains the meteoric rise of fiber quality on the global market.

Product News

Cotton Cultivated Website Adds Custom Weather Feature

September 1, 2016

Cotton Cultivated – Cotton Incorporated's producer information website – now features a new weather tool tailored for cotton growers.

Product News

ChemChina/Syngenta Deal Gets U.S. Foreign Investment Approval

August 22, 2016

ChemChina and Syngenta have received a key clearance for the proposed consolidation of the companies.

Product News

Enlist Cotton Trait Earns Full Export Approval

August 10, 2016

Cotton varieties containing Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist trait now have full export approval in key countries.

Product News

Spray Equipment Offer Helps Maximize On-Target Applications

August 3, 2016

A new spray technology equipment offer can help growers participating in Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions upgrade their sprayers to maximize on-target applications.

Product News

EPA Allows Sale and Use of Existing Belt Inventory

August 2, 2016

The U.S. EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board has upheld an earlier decision to cancel registration for Bayer's insecticide Belt, but is allowing sales of existing stocks to growers for use.

Latest News
News

Nation’s First Cotton Bale is Sold to Fund Scholarships

September 27, 2016

The sale of the nation’s first cotton bale for 2016 provided $16,500 in scholarship funds for agriculture students in the Harlingen, TX area.

News

Proposed Mergers Could Increase Cotton Seed Prices

September 23, 2016

According to a Texas A&M study, proposed mergers by leading biotechnology firms would result in steep price increases for cotton seed and smaller increases for other grain crops.

News

Ag Companies Defend Merger Deals on Capitol Hill

September 21, 2016

Officials for Monsanto, Bayer and other ag companies defended their proposed merger plans before the Senate Judiciary Committee, insisting that the deals would mean greater investments in technology to help American farmers.

News

NCC Urges Broad Look at Global Fiber Markets

September 14, 2016

The National Cotton Council is seeking greater transparency of fiber production policies in other countries – including synthetic fibers – to help determine how they impact the global cotton market.

News

Cotton Highlights from September WASDE Report

September 12, 2016

Production and ending stocks are up slightly in USDA’s September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, while export and consumption numbers remain steady.

News

Wet Conditions Causing Problems for Texas Cotton

September 9, 2016

Extended untimely rains have producers in Texas’ Upper Gulf Coast and Blacklands worried about yields and lint and seed quality.

News

Boosting the Value of Cottonseed

August 30, 2016

As cottonseed supply and value grows, the cotton industry continues to fight for the oilseed designation or other legislative options.

News

New Webcast Focuses on Importance of Cotton Physiology

August 26, 2016

A new webcast focusing on the importance of plant properties in cotton research and management has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

News

New Webinar Explains Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management

August 23, 2016

A new webcast on cotton fertility management has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

News

Cotton Research and Promotion Hall of Fame Adds Four

August 22, 2016

Four honorees make up the 2016 class of Cotton Incorporated’s Cotton Research and Promotion Hall of Fame.

News

New Webcast Focuses on Auxin Herbicide Drift on Non-Tolerant Cotton

August 19, 2016

A new webcast explaining the potential impact of 2,4-D on non-tolerant cotton varieties has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

News

Cotton Highlights from August WASDE Report

August 12, 2016

More positive news for cotton in USDA’s August World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, including increases in U.S. production and market prices, plus more reductions in global stocks and world production.

News

$1 Billion in Dividend Payouts for FCC

August 9, 2016

With its 2016 dividend payout, Farmers Cooperative Compress of Lubbock will reach the unprecedented milestone of having distributed $1 billion to its producer-owners.

News

Final P.I.E. Tour Brings Western Growers to Texas

August 8, 2016

Eight Western cotton producers will visit cotton and other ag operations in Texas as part of the National Cotton Council’s 2016 Producer Information Exchange Program.

News

Texas A&M Research Provides Science Behind New Cotton Technology

August 2, 2016

The science behind a new commercially-available seed treatment from Indigo Ag stems directly from research started by Dr. Greg Sword, a Texas A&M entomologist.