Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, firstname.lastname@example.org
THRALL – Though the rain showers dampened the crops at the Stiles Farm Foundation, it didn’t deter 50th anniversary field day activities as several hundred agricultural producers gathered for tours to view the latest in farming practices and new technology.
Farmers heard presentations on weed control management in crops, how to increase fertilization on Blacklands soil, and viewed equipment demonstrations from specialists with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
“This farm matches field work, laboratory and applied work activities and best management practices for farmers working in Central Texas,” said Dr. Pete Gibbs, AgriLife Extension associate director.
The Stiles Farm Foundation began with a bequest from the Stiles family. J.V. and H.A. Stiles wanted to honor their father, James E. Stiles, and also wanted to help neighboring farmers in Williamson County by demonstrating modern farming practices. The Stiles family envisioned a model demonstration farm where producers could see such practices in action, according to the 50th anniversary field day program.
The Stiles family established the Stiles Farm Foundation in 1961 and became part of the Texas A&M University System. The farm produces commodities such as corn, cotton, sorghum and beef cattle.
Two $4,500 Stiles Farm Foundation scholarships were awarded to area youth. Mallory Marcon of Taylor and Jacob Epps of Georgetown were recipients and both plan to attend Texas A&M University.
In a special tribute, Archie Abrameit, farm manager and AgriLife Extension specialist, honored longtime employee Frank Griffin with a plaque in recognition of 50 Stiles Farm field days.
“I didn’t know I would be here this long,” said the 75-year-old Griffin. “I was here when we didn’t have anything but mules and horses. And I drove them, me and other folks. And my father and my brothers did. And I appreciate it. I thank God for the opportunity. And I thank Archie.”
Darrell Patschke, a 35-year Williamson County farmer, was named Agriculturalist of the Year by the Taylor Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Doug Steele, AgriLife Extension director, provided the keynote address before the noon meal. He talked about the importance of agriculture and the contributions individuals make to further food and fiber production worldwide. He also spoke about the Stiles Farm and as a hub for AgriLife Extension and research activities to assist farmers in Central Texas and abroad.
“Research will help us be more successful,” he said. “If U.S. farmers don’t feed the world, who will? China will not and Russia will not. U.S. agriculture has a culture of helping others. The Stiles Farm Foundation will continue to be a part of that.”