Curbow named Ag Pioneer of the Year
by Brittnie Barton, Texas Farm Credit
Photo - Stephani and Hank Curbow, pictured left.
The Nacogdoches County Agribusiness Committee names Dwight D. "Hank" Curbow as the Pete Smith Agricultural Pioneer of the Year sponsored by Heritage Land Bank. Hank will be honored at the annual Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet presented by TFP Nutrition on April 10 at the Nacogdoches County Exposition Center. His wife and children will accept the award on Hank’s behalf.
Anyone who knew Hank knew his love for the outdoors, from hunting to farming. As his longtime friend, Jack Griffin, put it, "his knowledge and advice seemed to always be accepted." He was highly involved in all facets of the Nacogdoches Agriculture Industry: cattle, poultry, hogs, hay and timber – "anything he could do to be outdoors and enjoy life."
Hank was born on December 21, 1950 in Nacogdoches County; he passed away in June 2016 at the age of 65. He was one of six children to Willis and Ouida Curbow. His family purchased land and a hog farm in Garrison, TX just four years before Hank was born. They also raised cattle and farmed corn. Growing up, his family did not have a lot. They were good, hard working people and made a living for themselves doing what they knew best.
During Hank’s youth, he developed a passion for the land. He only left the farm for a short period of time after marrying his school sweetheart and wife of 45 years, Stephani. Stephani said that she remembers Hank losing weight because of the stress of his job off the farm; "the land was where he wanted to be, it was all he knew." Fortune would have it that he would return to the hog farm, then he took over once his father retired.
Hank’s agriculture endeavors included hog farming, beef cattle, dairy cattle and poultry. Hank’s son, Kent, said "beef cattle and chickens have been the most consistent, but if Daddy could have made money doing it, he would have continued hog farming." At the peak of the enterprise, they had 300 sows on the farm. They raised hogs for slaughter and show. Hank enjoyed providing show hogs to the local FFA and 4-H competitors. His three children, Coady, Kent and Cassi, all showed hogs, as well. Eventually however, due to the lack of demand, he had to sell his hog farm and try a new endeavor.
Hank started in the poultry business in 1980. A couple farms later in 2014, he built a 6 house farm. This farm was much more computerized than what he was used to. Kent said that Hank was not computer savvy, "he was just used to doing it the old way, all by hand." He learned what he had too and did well in the business, even getting Grower of the Week awards multiple times.
Hank also raised cross-bred beef cattle for the majority of his 50 years farming. At one time, they had up to 200 head. Stephani said "Hank always wanted to have boys so that they could work. He worked them hard, too." The farm was a great way to bond and teach the kids the value of hard work. He predicted his third baby would be a girl. He was right; she was the apple of his eye and went everywhere with him.
Kent laughed that his dad’s hobby was working. "He would always find something else to do." Hank’s favorite quote to live by was: Your operation is 80% quality stock and 20% facilities. Kent said that to this day, they find "patches in the fence that Daddy put together with hay wire and brush. Daddy always carried tie wire in the truck. He said it could fix anything," said Kent.
Outside of farming, Hank enjoyed hunting, socializing and helping in the community. You could regularly find him drinking coffee at the bank with his good friends. He enjoyed any kind of hunting, was a member of the Bellview Hunting Club, and raised and trained hog dogs. He took pride in his help with the FFA and 4-H groups, as well as his own children’s success in the show ring. His proudest moment was when his daughter, Cassi, won Grand Champion Steer in Nacogdoches. He served as a deacon of Holly Springs Church, a trustee of Holly Springs Cemetery, a Mason, was on the Garrison School Board and a Shriner. He won many awards like the Jaycees Young Farmer of Year, Garrison FFA Honorary Member and the Golden Trowel Award for exceptional service.
Hank will forever be remembered for his humble heart, hard work and country wit. Like any good country boy, his life was full of farming, friends, family and faith.
Tickets to the banquet on April 10 are available at Lone Star Farm and Home Supply or at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce.
Photo - Hank Curbow and his hog dogs, pictured above. (photos contributed by the Curbow family)