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)
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
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,
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
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,
Acquisition of yellow endosperm from Africa and its
Water depletion conservation examined,
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
Tape 1, Side 1:
Early involvement with extension service,
Development of "combine" grain,
Introduction of early varieties,
Characteristics looked for,
Wagon box header,
Row crop header,
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
Core areas of modern development,
Response of experiment station,
Gradual conversion from subsistence to commercial
Relationship with Texas Tech,
Contributions of City of Lubbock.
Tape 2, Side 1: Retirement from research station,
Grain sorghum and feed lot business,
Effect of wide variety upon industry,
Sorghum improvement program,
Experimental grape production.
Tape 2, Side 2: Spread of cotton industry,
South Plains farmers,
Comanche County Texas,
Plains Agriculture 1920s,
Richard Mason's background,
Sorghum improvement program (again),
Contributions of A&M University system to agriculture.
Range Dates: 1910-1984
Bulk Dates: 1920-1984
Original Recording Format:
Recording Format Notes:
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.