Abrameit said the turnout for the 50thAnnual Stiles Farm Field Day was encouraging. The day started off with pouring rain that kept folks out of the sticky Blackland fields, but the skies cleared, the temperatures moderated and farmers and others interested in production agriculture viewed the latest in equipment, production practices, weed control, varieties and livestock management.

It’s a continuation of what the research farm has done for the last 50 years. Research projects include studies on cotton, corn, wheat, grain sorghum, sesame, sunflowers and occasionally vegetables.

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.

“They envisioned a model demonstration farm where farmers could see such practices in action,” according to a history included in the 50thAnniversary Field Day program.

They established the Stiles Farm Foundation in 1961 with a bequest of about 3,000 acres to what was then the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas—now the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System.

Currently the farm includes about 2,800 acres with 1,800 in cropland and the rest in pasture and stock tanks.

Abrameit honored one employee, Frank Griffin, with a plaque recognizing his service at all 50 Stiles Farm Field Days.

“I didn’t know I would be here this long,” Griffin said. “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.”

Griffin, 75, says he’s seen a lot of changes since he started working at the Stiles Farm. “We had a lot of animals back then and a lot of people working, too.”

“Frank is a remarkable person,” Abrameit said. “He’s a legend.”

He also symbolizes what the Stiles Farm Foundation has done since 1961 and what it has meant to the community and to Blacklands farmers. It’s been a half-century of change that honors the past but plans for the future.

Change has been the constant and change must be the impetus as researchers seek to find more efficient ways to feed the world.

“Research will help us be more successful,” said Dr. Douglas Steele, director, Texas AgriLife Extension Service. “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.”

 

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