Mr. Snelling jokes about looking for easy ways to get things done but he never shied away from hard work.

He attended several schools from first grade through high school—in Oklahoma and Texas. His father worked for Gulf Oil and moved often. He graduated mid-year from high school and enrolled mid-year in Cameron College at Lawton, Okla., then moved on to what was Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (Oklahoma State University since about 1955).

He worked his way through, getting up every day at 4:30 to work in a dairy plant in downtown Stillwater. “I could do that and still make my 8 o’clock class,” he says. “I also worked on Saturdays.”

He earned his degree in animal husbandry. “I’m about as far away as you can get from that degree,” he says. “I don’t have cow one on the place. I did have a herd of about 90 at one time but decided I would do better with just crops instead of crops and cattle.”

After graduation he worked for the Agricultural Adjustment Administration as a performance supervisor. He also worked with the Veterans Agriculture Program in Hollis, Okla.

He spent some time in the oil industry, too, doing everything from running pipes to cleaning out drill stems on the derricks.

He started farming in Hollis and says he got his start from a farmer he worked with through the AAA. “He let me have some acreage to make wheat. That good wheat crop got me started.” he says.

He farmed in Hollis, on his wife’s grandfather’s place, for a while and then noticed when visiting his sisters in Petersburg, Texas, “how fat the grain sorghum heads were. We pooled our resources and bought a place in Hale County. Dad came out too and bought a section near Plainview.”