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He began collecting artifacts in the mid-80s – driving to neighbors’ farms to pick up the odd piece of out-of-date machinery.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

Registration Begins for Cotton Ginning Cost-Share Program

June 20, 2016

Just a reminder – registration for the USDA Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program is now underway at local Farm Service Agency offices.

News

First Bale of Cotton for 2016 Harvested in Texas

June 20, 2016

A Rio Grande Valley grower has delivered the first bale of cotton harvested in the U.S. this season to a gin in Harlingen, TX.

News

Sunbelt Growers to Visit Idaho Ag Operations

June 15, 2016

Twelve Sunbelt growers are visiting diverse agricultural production and processing operations in southern Idaho June 20-23 as part of the National Cotton Council's Multi-Commodity Education Program.

News

USDA Seeks Cotton Board Nominees

June 15, 2016

USDA is seeking nominees to fill 17 member and alternate positions on The Cotton Board.

News

Cotton Highlights from June WASDE Report

June 10, 2016

USDA’s June World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report shows minimal reductions in domestic mill use, global production and ending stocks.

News

Cost Share Program Provides Much-Needed Assistance

June 7, 2016

The National Cotton Council and other industry organizations thanked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for providing a one-time $300 million program that offsets a portion of a cotton producer's 2015 crop season ginning costs.

News

USDA Extends Deadline for Recording Farm Structure

May 31, 2016

USDA has extended the deadline to July 1 for farmers and ranchers to restructure or finalize changes to their farm organization structures related to the Actively Engaged in Farming guidelines.

Around The Gin
Product News

Record Yields Set by 2015 FiberMax One Ton Club

May 4, 2016

The 127 members who qualified for the FiberMax One Ton Club pushed cotton yields and quality to higher levels in 2015.

Product News

Meister Media Worldwide Website Relaunches With New Resources

April 22, 2016

Meister Media Worldwide — publisher of Cotton Grower magazine – has relaunched its corporate website, highlighting information and services available from one of agriculture’s leading media companies.

Product News

ReinCloud Promises Remote Control

April 18, 2016

New software set to combine irrigation management and data collection – all in the palm of your hand.

Product News

Search Begins for Deltapine Class of 17

April 14, 2016

Deltapine’s NPE program is nine years old, and the search for the company’s Class of 17 cotton varieties is underway.

Product News

Texas Farmer First to Plant Enlist Cotton Variety

April 11, 2016

Dean Hansen of El Campo, TX, was the first cotton grower in North America to plant the first commercially-available cottonseed with the Enlist cotton trait.

Product News

New Options for Roundup Ready PLUS Program

March 25, 2016

The Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions program for 2016 includes a new tool for weed management and new incentives for farmers looking to fight insect pests in corn.

Product News

Greenleaf Launches easyFlow Closed Transfer System

March 24, 2016

Greenleaf Technologies has launched the company’s new easyFlow closed transfer system for the North American market.

Product News

AgLogic Launches Aldicarb Product in Georgia

March 15, 2016

Growers in Georgia will be able to use a new aldicarb pesticide in 2016 for nematode and early season pest control.

Latest News
News

Registration Begins for Cotton Ginning Cost-Share Program

June 20, 2016

Just a reminder – registration for the USDA Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program is now underway at local Farm Service Agency offices.

News

First Bale of Cotton for 2016 Harvested in Texas

June 20, 2016

A Rio Grande Valley grower has delivered the first bale of cotton harvested in the U.S. this season to a gin in Harlingen, TX.

News

Sunbelt Growers to Visit Idaho Ag Operations

June 15, 2016

Twelve Sunbelt growers are visiting diverse agricultural production and processing operations in southern Idaho June 20-23 as part of the National Cotton Council's Multi-Commodity Education Program.

News

USDA Seeks Cotton Board Nominees

June 15, 2016

USDA is seeking nominees to fill 17 member and alternate positions on The Cotton Board.

News

Cotton Highlights from June WASDE Report

June 10, 2016

USDA’s June World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report shows minimal reductions in domestic mill use, global production and ending stocks.

News

Cost Share Program Provides Much-Needed Assistance

June 7, 2016

The National Cotton Council and other industry organizations thanked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for providing a one-time $300 million program that offsets a portion of a cotton producer's 2015 crop season ginning costs.

News

USDA Rolls Out Cotton Ginning Cost-Share Program

June 7, 2016

The USDA Farm Service Agency will provide an estimated $300 million in cost-share assistance payments to cotton producers through a new, one-time Cotton Ginning Cost-Share program.

News

USDA Extends Deadline for Recording Farm Structure

May 31, 2016

USDA has extended the deadline to July 1 for farmers and ranchers to restructure or finalize changes to their farm organization structures related to the Actively Engaged in Farming guidelines.

News

NCC Sets P.I.E. Program Tour Dates for 2016

May 24, 2016

The National Cotton Council (NCC) has scheduled tour dates and locations for the 2016 Producer Information Exchange (P.I.E.) Program, sponsored

News

Proposed Transform Label Drops Cotton

May 23, 2016

EPA is proposing a new registration for Transform that does not include cotton or other blooming crops. Public comment period is open until June 17.

News

Bayer Eyeing Monsanto for Possible Merger?

May 17, 2016

Bayer may be exploring a potential bid for Monsanto in a deal that would create the world’s largest supplier of seeds and farm chemicals.

News

Cotton Highlights from May WASDE Report

May 10, 2016

USDA’s May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report projects a 15% increase in U.S. cotton production for 2016/17, as global consumption of cotton stocks continues to grow.

News

Training Cotton’s Future Leaders

May 4, 2016

This summer, class is in once again at the ACSA International Cotton Institute and the Texas International Cotton School.

News

EPA: Glyphosate Not Likely to Cause Cancer

May 3, 2016

As part of an ongoing registration review, the EPA has again classified glyphosate as “Not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

News

EPA Extends Comment Period on Dicamba Use with New Traits

April 29, 2016

The EPA has added another 30 days to the public comment period on the proposed registration of dicamba products for weed control in cotton and soybeans.