Otho E. Turner is a fifth-generation Chambers County farmer. He still grazes cattle on the land that’s been in his family since the 1800s. Born and raised in Chambers County, Otho is a 1974 graduate of Anahuac High School and attended Tarleton State University in Stephenville. Raising cattle and farming conventional organic and seed rice and every crop is a different challenge, and while Otho still farms “Old School”, his son, Blake has introduced new technologies and techniques to help them meet the challenges of modern farming. Otho is the son of Ira A. “Bub” and Alma Lois Harmon Turner and is married to Joy Stratton of Winnie. They have two children, Kaylea Brooke and Kyle Blake. Brooke and her husband, Jesse Kraehnke have two children, Teal, age 8 (now 12) and Kolt, age 7 (now 11). Blake and his wife, Brandy, have a daughter Hadley, age 3 (turns 7 in June 2021). The grandchildren make it seven generations in Chambers County. Another generation, watching and learning and waiting to carry on the family traditions.
Otho is the Chairman of the Trinity Bay Soil and Conservation District, Director of the American Rice Growers and the Texas Farm Bureau, and a member of Capital Farm Credit’s nominating Committee, California Certified Organic Farmers, South Louisiana Rail Facility, the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raiser’s Association, the Independent Cattlemen Association, and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. “I would like to sincerely thank the Farmer of the Year Committee,” said Otho, “for being chosen as The Texas Rice Festival 2017 Farmer of the Year. I am honored and equally proud that my son, Blake Turner, has been selected as the Young Farmer of the Year. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my daughter, Brooke, who is always there to lend a helping hand, as well as the Palacios brothers – who started farming with me in the 70s – for their friendship and loyalty. And also, all of the local infrastructure for their continued support to the rice industry.”
Donald Wayne Wilcox is a third generation farmer and rancher; born in Anahuac, Texas in 1954 to Donald Ruell Wilcox and Catherine Ransom Wilcox. He grew up farming and ranching with his father.
He graduated, married, and began farming on his own in 1973. He has three sons: Taylor, Cody, and Dane.
During his thirty-eight year career he has raised rice, milo, and soybeans. He was blessed to have had his father to teach him what he knew over the years; although Donald Wayne thought he was the one teaching his father. Like his father Donald Wayne has had the privilege to teach his sons, Taylor and Cody, about farming and they too feel they are the ones teaching their father.
Farming can be difficult at times, like his father along with himself and his sons feel farming is a blessed way of life and look forward to continuing this wonderful way of making a living “Farming”, with his sons and grandsons.
Taylor Wilcox is a 4th generation rice farmer and the son of Donald Wayne and Tylene Wilcox. Taylor is on the USA Rice Producer’s Group Board of Directors, attended East Chambers ISD and is a graduate of Anahuac ISD. Taylor is married to his wife, Leora Boudreaux, of 10 years. His children are, Stevie Simon, Sammy Simon, Morgan Wilcox, Calli Wilcox, and Quincy Wilcox.
His greatest childhood memories involved working on the farm. He can name every rice field he has ever been in, by the song that was on the radio at that moment in time. His earliest recollection of making money was when he was 7 years old. A family friend and employee of his grandpa’s, Andres Chavez, paid Taylor five dollars to drive a rice cart by himself all day. Taylor believes Mr. Chavez was proud to pay him, as he was just as proud to accept the money.
Taylor’s second job was for his Uncle Elton “Goog” Kirkham. From 10 to 13 years old, Taylor worked summers harvesting rice. He began working for Jenkins Farm at 14 years old. By age 16, Taylor was working part time from the spring to fall, for Jenkins Farm. His mom and dad encouraged him to work for other farmers part time, to experience different work ethics and business management.
Taylor purchased his first tractor his senior year of high school, 1992, and began custom ground preparation for local farmers. He raised his first rice crop from 1993 to 1995. In 1996, a Farm Bill changed landowners outlook on leasing land farmed and had custom hay baling operations. For the next 3 years, Taylor drove semi-trucks and worked construction. Taylor began farming again in 1999. He looked at farming with a different perspective, regarding the business of farming and family values. Today, he and his family operate a very successful farming operation, giving everyone from the wives to the children a role to play. I thank God every day for giving me the wisdom and strength to raise my crops and family to the best.
Cody Wilcox is the son of Donald Wayne and Tylene Wilcox from Anahuac, Texas. Growing up Cody always wanted to be a rice farmer like his dad. His first farming adventure was at age 12 with his brother, Taylor. Taylor was hired to work at Jenkins Farm as an extra tractor driver for the summer. The boys were ready to work once Taylor rigged up a phone book, on the seat of the 875 Versatile Tractor, for Cody to sit on.
Cody worked for Jenkins Farm every summer while he was in school. He learned important factors his junior year of high school, when he watered rice with his dad and discovered the real importance of rice farming.
The following year, he farmed his first 175 acres of rice by himself. Since then, Cody has been doing what comes natural, rice farming. Cody, along with his dad, and brother, farm rice, soybeans, milo, and own a small trucking company. In 2006, Cody married his wife, Robyn, and later welcomed their first son, Ty. In 2008, son Jesse was born and in 2010, their first daughter, Julianne, was born.
Cody hopes to farm to an old age and anticipates his children will carry on the farming tradition, enjoying it as much as he has. Cody wants to thank his dad for “showing me the ropes” in the farming industry.