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He began collecting artifacts in the mid-80s – driving to neighbors’ farms to pick up the odd piece of out-of-date machinery.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

Pages: 1 2

Leave a Reply

News Stories
News

Important Farm Bill Deadlines Approaching

January 15, 2015

With sign-up deadlines approaching, farmers have several important decisions to make under the 2014 farm bill.

Product News

Deltapine to Release Five Bollgard II XtendFlex Cotton Varieties

January 27, 2015

Following USDA deregulation of the Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton technology, Deltapine has announced plans to offer five new B2XF varieties for the 2015 season.

News

How to Incorporate Biocontrols Into a Pest Management Program

January 26, 2015

Crafting a “softer” pest management program for your cotton fields is likely in your future – if it’s not here already.

Product News

Bollgard II XtendFlex Cotton Poised for Limited Introduction

January 21, 2015

A limited introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton varieties is planned for the 2015 planting season through Deltapine and select licensees.

News

Snider Named Outstanding Young Cotton Physiologist

January 17, 2015

John Snider, assistant professor with the University of Georgia, was honored as Outstanding Young Cotton Physiologist during the recent Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio.

Product News

USDA Deregulates Dicamba-Tolerant Technologies for Cotton and Soybeans

January 16, 2015

The USDA has announced its decision to deregulate Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans – Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant trait technologies for those crops.

News

Crop Management Seminar Presentations Now Available Online

January 16, 2015

Eight presentations from Cotton Incorporated’s Crop Management Seminar (CMS) in Tifton, GA last November are now available for online viewing.

Around The Gin
Product News

Deltapine to Release Five Bollgard II XtendFlex Cotton Varieties

January 27, 2015

Following USDA deregulation of the Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton technology, Deltapine has announced plans to offer five new B2XF varieties for the 2015 season.

Product News

Bollgard II XtendFlex Cotton Poised for Limited Introduction

January 21, 2015

A limited introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton varieties is planned for the 2015 planting season through Deltapine and select licensees.

Product News

USDA Deregulates Dicamba-Tolerant Technologies for Cotton and Soybeans

January 16, 2015

The USDA has announced its decision to deregulate Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans – Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant trait technologies for those crops.

Product News

Bayer CropScience Anticipates Registration for New Cotton and Peanut Insecticide

January 15, 2015

Bayer CropScience anticipates the registration of Velum Total, the company’s newest insecticide/nematicide, for the 2015 cotton and peanut season in the Southeast.

Product News

New FiberMax and Stoneville Varieties for 2015 Feature GLT Technology

January 14, 2015

Bayer CropScience has announced four new FiberMax and Stoneville cotton varieties for the 2015 season.

Product News

PhytoGen Introduces 2015 Cotton Varieties

January 13, 2015

PhytoGen’s cottonseed portfolio for 2015 includes proven high yielding varieties, as well as new varieties featuring advanced insect, nematode and disease technologies.

Product News

Monsanto and FMC Renew and Broaden Crop Protection Agreement

January 8, 2015

Monsanto and FMC have agreed to extend and broaden their current relationship to help benefit cotton, corn and soybean growers through Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions.

Product News

Deltapine Announces Class of 15 Cotton Varieties

December 16, 2014

Deltapine has announced two new high-yielding cotton varieties for its Class of 15, with several potential varieties awaiting regulatory approvals of the Bollgard II XtendFlex technologies.

Latest News
News

How to Incorporate Biocontrols Into a Pest Management Program

January 26, 2015

Crafting a “softer” pest management program for your cotton fields is likely in your future – if it’s not here already.

News

Snider Named Outstanding Young Cotton Physiologist

January 17, 2015

John Snider, assistant professor with the University of Georgia, was honored as Outstanding Young Cotton Physiologist during the recent Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio.

News

Crop Management Seminar Presentations Now Available Online

January 16, 2015

Eight presentations from Cotton Incorporated’s Crop Management Seminar (CMS) in Tifton, GA last November are now available for online viewing.

News

Important Farm Bill Deadlines Approaching

January 15, 2015

With sign-up deadlines approaching, farmers have several important decisions to make under the 2014 farm bill.

News

NCC Asks for Planting Survey Responses

January 9, 2015

The National Cotton Council is seeking producer responses to the annual survey of 2015 planting intentions by January 16.

News

New Cotton Board Appointments Announced

January 9, 2015

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed 12 members and 12 alternate members to serve three-year terms on the Cotton Board.

News

Pellow to Succeed Anderson as PhytoGen R&D Lead

January 9, 2015

John Pellow is succeeding David Anderson as PhytoGen global breeding leader for cotton at Dow AgroSciences.

News

USDA Helps Kick Off the International Year of Soils

January 8, 2015

USDA has joined other global organizations in celebrating the International Year of Soils.

Achievement

Collins Named Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year

January 7, 2015

Guy Collins of North Carolina State University has been honored as the 2015 Extension Cotton Specialist of the Year.

Achievement

Scheffler Receives 2014 Cotton Genetics Research Award

January 7, 2015

Dr. Jodi Scheffler, a respected cotton geneticist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, is the recipient of the 2014 Cotton Genetics Research Award.

Achievement

Jimmy Dodson Receives 2014 Cotton Achievement Award

January 6, 2015

Jimmy Dodson, a third-generation cotton farmer from Robstown, TX and a prominent leader in the cotton industry, has received the 2014 Cotton Achievement Award from Cotton Grower magazine.

Cotton Production

Cotton Grower Acreage Survey: Growers Dialing Back Acres in 2015

January 5, 2015

The 2015 Cotton Grower Acreage Survey suggests cotton farmers could reduce cotton plantings by more than 10 percent this year.

News

USDA Extends Public Comment Period for Conservation Stewardship Program Rule

December 31, 2014

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has extended the public comment period on the Conservation Stewardship Program interim rule through January 20, 2015.

News

RMA Announces APH Yield Exclusion Details

December 26, 2014

The Risk Management Agency has announced program details related to the Actual Production History Yield Exclusion provision to the 2014 Farm Bill, including information on eligible crops, crop years and counties where producers may exclude certain yields.

News

Consequences of Texas Drought Continue to Linger

December 23, 2014

Although parts of Texas have received rain, drought will continue to be an issue, with 35 percent of the state still in extreme or exceptional drought status.