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Growing Crops and Knowledge

Growing Crops and Knowledge

Story by Jaime Tankersley

Through his roadside vegetable stand and “open gate” policy, Randy Gully was introducing west Texans to his farm and his food, long before the USDA launched their Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative in 2009.
If there is one thing that makes his operation standout amongst the rest, it is his desire to show the world of agriculture to as many people as possible.

Gully’s passion for farming was turned into an occupation in 1992. He and his wife, Tammy, operate 1200 acres in Tom Green County, in the Lipan Flats east of San Angelo.

The Gullys are unique in that they are both a large-crop grain farmer and specialty crop farmers. Their farm has 300 acres of irrigated cropland that is home to a yearly cotton, milo and wheat rotation. Along with this acreage, the Gully’s have five acres of irrigated vegetables which they sell to local stores and roadside markets annually. Tammy is a full time teacher, but finds time to enjoy planting, working and harvesting the produce crop with their two sons, Layton and Ryan.

Customers enjoy the short drive on FM 380 knowing they can buy fresh produce right at the farmsite. Some of the favorites include sweet corn, seedless watermelons and jalapeños. Adults and children alike enjoy interacting with the Gullys, asking questions about their farming lifestyle and their products.

The Gullys know they have to be conscientious managers of the natural resources they depend on for their living. Improvements are implemented and maintained to optimize production and sustainability on the Gully farm. A cooperative partnership was formed between Randy and the Tom Green Soil and Water Conservation District in 1999. Through this effort, a water quality plan was established which resulted in an irrigation regulating pit to store water from a local concrete-lined canal.

The water is then pumped from the pit into an underground irrigation pipeline to row water and pivot system on Gully’s operation. By switching from using the historical dirt ditch to water their crops, this method results in significantly increased water efficiency.

Broadening the agriculture knowledge base of the expanding urban population is important to the Gullys. This year, in observance of the 39th annual National Ag Day, they worked with the Tom Green County Farm Bureau to host an “Ag in the Classroom” even at their farm. The event connected more than 600 elementary school students with agriculture for the first time with hands-on experiences, giving them an opportunity to learn how agriculture touches their everyday lives.

NRCS applauds producers like Randy Gully for wanting to connect with consumers and engage in conversations about the food, fiber and fuel on which we depend.

NRCS is committed to helping producers take advantage of these new opportunities and succeed in today’s diverse marketplace. The exponential growth of local food demand over the past few years has spurred jobs in related industries, and supporting these opportunities.

For more about the USDA Know your Food, Know your Farmer initiative or the NRCS programs and assistance visit them on the web at www.usda.gov or www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.


Tammy Gully (right) helps a customer at the Gully roadside fruit and vegetable stand located outside of San Angelo, Texas.

Randy Gully and his family have five acres dedicated to growing fruits and vegetables which are gathered and sold at the families road side stand.