Crownover, Jim 2012-06-11

From SWC Oral History Collection
Revision as of 21:23, 8 June 2022 by Elissa (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This interview features Jim Crownover as he discusses his career with the Soil Conservation Services. Crownover describes going to college, working for and practices of the Soil Conservation Services, and his interest in regional history.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Jim Crownover

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: June 11, 2012

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Robert Weaver

Length: 01:18:24


Short Version: Growing up in Claude, going to college; Graduating College, the draft board, and getting a job; Stories that stood out from his job; How they handled brush control when he was working; Transferring to Big Spring and Hereford; How long he stayed in Hereford; Retirement and interest in history; His partners; What he has to say about his career

Long Version: Tape 1, Side 1:Life, Born in December 13, 1945, Born in Amarillo, TX, Baby Boomer, Parents were both farmers in Armstrong County, Father retired in 1977, Up until 1986 they still had land there in the family, Most either died or sold out, Went to school at Claude, Graduated in 1964, Went to first year of college at LCU, Transferred to West Texas State in canyon, Graduated in 1968, Had a cousin going to LCU so wanted to go there, It was a junior college at the time, Lived in dorm at LCC, Lived on farm at West Texas State, Living on farm was a lot cheaper, Farmed with his dad, Also worked part time at the school, Worked part time at the Soil Conservation service also, Studied plant science at WT, Was pointed that way by a county agent named Foster Waylee, Was on the grass judging team in high school, City of Lubbock, Closest neighbor was half a mile away when he was in Claude, Lubbock was nowhere near as big, Quite an adjustment to make, Hippies were known as nerds at LCC, Class behind him got into the hippie movement, All his class really new was working and farm work, Where he grew up there were no Hispanics or Blacks, Was a little hard to get used to them and how they talked, Life, Didn’t have to go to service because he was going to school, Didn’t inform his draft board, Dean of the school got him a student deferment, Didn’t pass physical because of his allergies, Soil Conservation Service, Wasn’t out of college before he was hired by the Soil Conservation service, Started working for them in 1967, Lots of training, Interviewed by a man named Marcus Loter, Had to learn how to work with farmers and ranchers, Helped to conserve land and make long term plans to treat erosion problems on land, In the 1960’s it was voluntary, Might just try to develop relationship first before giving advice, Most people were most willing to change irrigation efficiency and crop rotation, Did parallel terraces to helped with ones that dried out faster, People would be resistant but a lot were ok with the help, Worked in Brownfield for 4 years from 1968-1972, Worked in Snyder next from 1972-1976, Accepted District conservationist position in September 1976 in Paducah, TX, Worked there for 16 years, Worked on mainly brush control, When he was in Snyder he was into grubbing or “pushing mesquites”, Sometimes did root plowing, Bill and Bob Masterson worked Dr Wright at Tech for the burning program, They had a big availability of aerial photography, Able to make mosaic portraits or ranches, Farmer was right most of the time about things in the pictures, Harder to do because all the pictures were in black and white, On the forefront of it all when technology started being used more, 1992 was the last year he was at Paducah, TX, Applied for Area Resource Conservationist job came open and got Big Spring, Big Spring had 16 counties, Had to down size and merge, Transferred to Hereford, TX as district conservationist again, Lots of irrigation out there, Had a team there, Had a technician and soil conservationist Tape 1, Side 2: Soil Conservationist, Until he retired they still had the aerial photographs in a back room, Some may have been destroyed, When in Paducah they had a lot of defense department’s photographs of country, Some were classified, Some were WWII things, Found a lot of practice bombs in some fields, Also sites for practice shooting, Gave problems when they started putting pipelines down, Worked in Hereford from 1992-1998, Transferred to Lubbock in 1998-2002, Covered a 50 county area, Is called Zone 1, Had 5 or 6 different areas that are now part of Zone 1, Finished out here in Lubbock, Retired in June or 2002, In 2002-2003 there was a push to outsource conservation work, Became a technical service provider and worked alongside them to help, Did that from 2002-2008, After 2008 elections it came to an end, It got the point where he had to go through training every 3 years, Went work part time for High plains underground water district, Works about 3 days a week, Pretty much does what he wants, He locates irrigation wells using GPS satellite coverage, Puts them into digital software for aerial photography, Went from pulling metal tapes to old fashion electronic tables, Now with GPS and aerial photography, The computers helped the managers manage you, A lot less personal interactions, Limited on the amount of time they can spend in the field, Easy to lose touch, There may only be 2 full time employees in each county, Have 5-6 including manager in each county in 1950’s- 60’s, Using history of the country to determine what native vegetation was to help, Went back as far as the 1840’s, Was finding a lot of the old trails they were taken, Uses them to help identify how the land was before, Found one route taken from El Paso to San Diego, He has two partners to help him, Moni Dollar and the other is J.R Bell, Moni lives in Lubbock and works part time for Tech, J.R Bell is a Tech graduate, J.R Bell is the foremost ranger conservationist in the region, All started about the same time, First detailed inventory was done in 1887, Goodnight was probably first to ranch in this country, Knew a lot of the old cowboys that worked on the Matador Ranch, First rancher he worked with in Brownfield Bill Tilson worked on Matador ranch, Worked for the service using older math devices, Loved his career and still works with it now, Now works with rain water harvesting, Does a little advising on that

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

Thank you for your interest in this oral history interview. Our oral history collection is available to patrons in the Southwest Collection's Reading Room, located on the campus of Texas Tech University. For reading room hours, visit our website. Please contact Reference Staff at least one week prior to your visit to ensure the oral history you are interested in will be available. Due to copyright issues, duplications of our oral histories can only be made for family members. If an oral history transcript has been made available online, the link will be provided on this page. More information on accessing our oral histories is located here. Preferred citation style can be found here.