Gaines, Frank

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In the first interview, plant scientist Frank Gaines discusses his work with the Lubbock substation of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in the development of sorghum varieties and other types of agricultural work. In the second interview, Frank Gaines discusses Texas A & M University’s past agricultural experimentation programs, with emphasis upon grain sorghum production.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Frank Gaines

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: March 27, 1974; April 3, 1984

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Jeff Townsend (first interview); Richard Mason (second interview)

Length: 2 hours (first interview); 1 hour, 50 minutes (second interview)


Interview 1:

Tape 1, Side 1: Biographical data, Attended Texas A&M 1917-19, Moved to Lubbock in 1921, Early work with agricultural station described, Nature of station's work explained, Genetics plant varieties discussed, Contrasting research goals and conditions of past and present, Instances of cooperation between experiment stations noted, Work of R. E. Karper explored, Distinctive achievements of Lubbock station, Early sled-stripping discussed, Weather cycles claimed.

Tape 1, Side 2: Weather discussed further. Speculation on milo for human food. Development of dwarf dry head varieties. Sudan grass discussed. Karper's international regional interests and personality explored, Experiment station as a farmer's educational service, Attitude toward farmers' ability given, Irrigation abuse discussed, Water conservation practices explained, Reasons for decline in practice of terracing, contours, Weed problem discussed.

Tape 2, Side 1: R. E. Karper, D. L. Jones characterized, Visions on mechanization remembered, Experiments in cotton stripping recalled, Tractor-mounted burr extractor cited, Effect of Depression discussed, Farmstead tree planting program described, Reasons for hand-snap harvesting related to gin machinery, efficiency, Macha storm-proof cotton story related, Story of "Martin maize", Felix Macha's contribution, Inevitable march of mechanization claimed, Advantages and problems in cotton broadcast planting, Goals in sorghum breeding , Historical survey of sorghum breeding, Historical survey of sorghum development, Progressive character of Terry County farmers noted, Past and present nature of experimentation examined.

Tape 2, Side 2: Mr. Ford Warren Johnson's innovation in grain mechanization, recalled, Comments on change and continuity, Nature of plant work described, Relations with J. Roy Quinby noted, Origins of Kaffir-60 related and work described, Relationship with Spur experiment station foreign visitors, recalled, Acquisition of yellow endosperm from Africa and its development, Water depletion conservation examined, Weather discussed, Attitude toward research presented, Events in history of experiment station related, Former location and reasons for moving, Less individualism in farming claimed.

Range Dates: 1917-1974

Bulk Dates: 1917-1974

Interview 2:

Tape 1, Side 1: Early involvement with extension service, Development of "combine" grain, Introduction of early varieties, Characteristics looked for, Mechanized harvesting, Wagon box header, Row crop header, Subsequent varieties, Response of farmers, Mechanization as a factor in development, Benefits of specific crops in West Texas , Effect of mechanization on sorghum.

Tape 1, Side 2: Irrigation Drought, Core areas of modern development, Response of experiment station, Water conservation, Gradual conversion from subsistence to commercial agriculture, Factors, Experiment station, Projects, Relationship with Texas Tech, Contributions of City of Lubbock.

Tape 2, Side 1: Retirement from research station, Grain sorghum and feed lot business, Cotton, Breeding, Effect of wide variety upon industry, Storm-proof, Origin, Breeding procedure, Sorghum, Cotton, Plant breeders, Characteristics, Sorghum improvement program, Experimental grape production.

Tape 2, Side 2: Spread of cotton industry, South Plains farmers, Gaines' background, Comanche County Texas, Education, Plains Agriculture 1920s, Richard Mason's background, Post Texas, Sorghum improvement program (again), Varieties produced, Contributions of A&M University system to agriculture.

Range Dates: 1910-1984

Bulk Dates: 1920-1984

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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