Caudle, Dan 2012-07-02

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This interview features Dan Caudle as he discusses his career with the Soil and Conservation Service. Caudle describes how he got to get to the SCS and his journey through his career path.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Dan Caudle

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: July 02, 2012

Location: Weatherford, Texas

Interviewer: Robert Weaver

Length: 02:06:00


Short Version: Background; moving between Spur and Abilene; How Abilene has changed since he was a child; Going to college; majoring in agronomy; Working through college, changing jobs; Working in Sweetwater; his experiences with the people; Reasons behind moving conservationists so often; State Range Conservationist; Position abolished; Louisiana; Marshland and hunting in Louisiana; managing a 13-state area; Old equipment used on the job; What he thinks the Conservation service is doing about plants now; His family- known as one of the first families in Texas; People that he’s worked with; his love for the job

Long Version: Life, Born in Spur, Texas, Dad named Egbert, Known as Edge, Mothers name was Bobby Lawrence, Dad was assistant manager at Safeway grocery store in Spur, Mother born in Lorenzo, Moved to Spur when young girl, Dad from town north of Abilene, Moved to Spur after coming back from WWII, Mother was a house wife, Left Spur 1951, Dad was assistant manager in Abilene, In 1952 moved back to spur to be manager, In 1953 moved back to Abilene to be manager, Grew up in Abilene, Went to Abilene Cooper High school, First class to go all three years there, Graduated in 1965, Don’t remember a lot about growing up in Spur, Considers Abilene his home, Grandfather was a Cotton farmer, Went to Abilene from 1st grade through High school, Had class of 1965 65th birthday, Had 22 first cousins, Father had 9 other brothers and sisters, Brother was 10 years older than him, His brother played football and was very good, He was an all state guard and went to SMU on scholarship, Played baseball, Got his Driver’s License in Abilene at 14, First car was a 1953 ford falcon, Got a 1957 Chevy after that, People were worried all the time about getting attach, There base was one of the biggest B-52 bases, A lot of friends went to Vietnam right out of high school, About 3-4 died right away, Kids on Air Base went to Cooper, They didn’t mix to well with the local kids, Wanted to Rodeo and ride bare backs back then, Sol Ross had world champion rodeo team, Went to Abilene Christian College because of his girlfriend, They broke up the first semester, Transferred to Tech after freshman year, Met his wife at Tech, Started at Tech in the fall of ’66, Carlton Britton was one of his Lab Instructors, Graduated from Tech in 1970, Was going to major in Agronomy, Didn’t have much money, Brother went to college on full ride and sister didn’t go, Had to work to pay his way, Worked in a Warehouse packing boxes, Then worked at a meat packing plant on the night crew from 6-12, On the cleanup crew, Had to clean the fabricating room, Worked at Bobs Tahoka road drive in after quitting the factory until he graduated, Eventually became night manager, Wifes name was Donna and graduated from tech, Degree in Business education, Daughters name is Haley, Took 5 years to graduate from Tech, Started working for Soil conservation service his sophomore year at Tech, Worked for them during the summer for 3 summers, Was working 40 hrs a week and making good money, Guaranteed you a job when you graduated, First summer was 1966, Second summer worked in Claude, 3rd summer was in Stephenville, Started in June of 1966 and worked until December 31st 2006, Sweet water was his first location after he graduated, The day he left Lubbock was the day the Tornado left, Left Lubbock on May 11th 1970, John Hunter was one of his guardian angels, Got to put a lot of his range education to work while being there, Daughter born with a hernia, Was paid off by a friend, He lived on land rent free to keep trespassers out and watch horses, Mostly in training when he was in Sweet Water, Really learned the ins and outs of working with people while there, In Brownwood for 3 years, Became responsible for student training, He has moved 13 times, Had to move almost every 2 years, Felt like he really grew up there, Son born in Brownwood, District conservationist in Pondera, Big thing there were animals, Area range conservation job in Vernon, Worked on Wagner ranch, Had everything north of 1-20, In temple from 1982-1989, Son passed away from terminal illness, Had job opening for head of water shed planning staff, Tried to switch over from such an engineering emphasis to land treatment, Supervisor for first time in his life, Had 11 people in his group, Worked there for 2 years, Let him have old title but with limited territory, Only worked panhandle and rolling plains, Lost his job, Worked as grazing lands negotiator over 4 states and got a raise instead, Going to Louisiana to Port Allen, Moved there and Headquartered Louisiana cattleman’s association office, Was now working for National resources conservation services, Once you know one Cajun you know them all, Started to enjoy it, Worked Arkansas Louisiana Oklahoma and Texas as grazing land specialist, Worked pasture lands in Arkansas and northern Louisiana, Worked with different cattle, Cattle are in water most of the time, Stay out of deep marsh unless its winter, Make money off of a lot of different things, Most ranches are small, Big ranch was considered 500 acres, Geese like short grass, Spent 2 years working down there, Moved the job to Fort Worth, Did if from 1998 until 2002 did that job, Then expanded his job, They added Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota, Never done the same thing 2 days in a row, In technical field you need to go to college, Everything had to be done by hand before all the technology was invented, Touched his first computer ever in 1986, Sent to Tyler Junior College to learn how to use it, Philosophy in 1966 was clear brush from fence to fence, Did more bad then good, Cut down on the amount of quail, Not a good idea to plant the same grass everywhere, The new grass us highly adaptable and very aggressive, Not all of America can be a national park, Retired because tired of traveling and agency had changed, Got stewardship award, Received outstanding achievement award in 2009, Worked there 39 years 7 months, Land conservationist of the year in 2006, Both of his dads are gone, Texas history buff, Helped to learn to manage land to keep from damaging further, Doesn’t like flowers, He like native plants, Coauthored a book called “Range land stewardship for Hawaiian land owners”, Was published in August, J.R bell is his idol

Access Information

Original Recording Format: born digital

Recording Format Notes: patrons may listen to a CD copy in our reading room

Transcript: Transcript available on dspace

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