Stanaland family named Ag Family of the Year
by Kelly Daniel, Executive Vice President, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce
Raised up on the land where his parents J.A. "Dolo" and Charles Mildred lived and farmed in Appleby, Gary Stanaland continues his family's farming business. In fact, four generations of the Stanaland family have been a part of Nacogdoches County and the local agriculture industry starting with cotton farming and then later with dairy, poultry and beef operations.
Recognizing their contributions and involvement in the County, the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce has named the Gary Stanaland family the 2018 Farm Family of the Year. The Stanalands will accept the award at the 17th Annual Agriculture Appreciation & Awareness Banquet presented by TFP Nutrition on Tuesday, April 24 at the Nacogdoches County Exposition & Civic Center. The award is sponsored by Tipton Ford-Lincoln.
Gary followed in his parents' footsteps, managing a dairy farm that his father and mother established in 1952, which happened to be the year Gary was born. He was the second son born after Larry, and then a few years later a sister Robin came along. The Stanalands grew up working on the farm together and did well with the dairy production.
"Daddy was the man. He formed the dairy farm. He created it. We were the brothers working on it," Gary said, "and Robin was raised all in the middle of it."
Larry attended Kilgore Junior College on a football scholarship and then Stephen F. Austin State University. He later had a son, Kristopher, and daughter, Kara.
Robin was very close to her mother growing up. She did well at Garrison I.S.D. and earned an accounting degree at Stephen F. Austin State University and now works at Bright Coop. She spends a lot of her time keeping up with her sons Randy and Riley.
Dolo passed away at a young age of 55, and Larry and Gary decided to go into a partnership in the established dairy and poultry farm. The brothers worked together for about 15 years, after which his son Kristopher took over his part of the business.
Gary met and married Gina in 1978, and had two children, Jason and Jennifer.
After graduating Garrison High School, Gary’s son Jason started his own business buying and selling chicken litter to farmers in Nacogdoches and neighboring counties and continued working with his dad on the family farm.
As the dairy industry changed, the Stanalands made the decision to close their dairy, but not much changed with the Stanalands working the property. Gary and Jason operate two poultry farms with 12 houses. Kristopher also owns and farms part of the Stanaland property.
The family has used the land to produce corn feed for them and others as well as bailing hay to stay as self-sufficient as possible.
In addition to the farming, the Stanaland family continued growing with Jason and wife Adriene raising Marilyn and now Cooper, and with Kristopher raising Owen and Julie Anne.
Jennifer graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University earning her accounting degree. She helped keep the books for the family business before moving to Austin. She stays involved by reviewing documents and advising the family.
Gary is quick to say that farming is a good way of life for him and his family, that it teaches good things that come from hard work. "You don't back down from a challenge, and you never give up," he said, "but you have to find ways to have fun."
Gina has continued her role managing all accounting and secretarial duties. She enjoys taking care of any animal that happens to find its way to the Stanaland home and connects with a variety of animals that roam the farm.
Gary enjoys picking a bass guitar, and he is proud to share a talent for music that was passed down to him from his parents and grandparents.
"Our whole life is built around the farm," he said. "We love it and everything that goes along with it."
About the banquet
The 17th Annual Agriculture Appreciation & Awareness Banquet presented by TFP Nutrition begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24 at the Nacogdoches County Exposition & Civic Center. Exhibitor booth space is available. Call the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce for more information including ticket sales and table reservations, 936-560-5533.
The event is produced by the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce and partners: Nacogdoches Economic Development Corp., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Pineywoods Resource Conservation and Development, The Texas Department of Agriculture, Stephen F. Austin State University and the Texas Forest Service.
The 2018 award recipients are:
Gary and Sue Atkins Agricultural Scholarship Awards will be presented to Nacogdoches County students at the banquet.