Jada: Meet the Campbell’s

The Cambells

Kelly, Julie and Mike standing by some of Julie’s beautiful plants. (Ryan, not pictured, was unable to make it home this harvest 🙁 )

We harvest for the Campbell’s and have been doing so since the early 1980’s. Mike and Julie are Texas Tech graduates. She was a plant and soil science major, and he was a ranch management major. They met in an agriculture economic class, fell in love, and married straight out of college.

As Mike was growing up, his father’s job had his family moving around a lot. Mike had grown up helping his grandpa on his farm in any way he could and always dreamed of ending up on the farm. Mike was ready to plant roots and thought the farm would be the best place to do that. Julie, a city girl hailing from Fort Worth, always liked visiting the farm and agreed it would be a nice place to live. “When you live in a city, I think you really appreciate the farm,” explained Julie. Upon graduation, they did exactly that. Mike’s grandpa, who had farmed well into his 70’s, had already rented the farm out for 3 or 4 years to a custom farmer and was ready to hand the farm over.

Barbed wire collection

Mike standing by his grandfather’s barb wire collection. It is hung up in Mike and Julies’s office. The wire cutter to the right of his head dates back to the 1800’s.

It didn’t take long to figure out this is where Mike and Julie belonged. In 1975, Mike sold wheat for the first time and the elevator bid over 5 dollars on his crop. Mike fondly remembers rushing to the nursing home his grandpa resided in to tell him the good news. His grandpa simply said, “Sell it!”

Hitcher trailer
Pictured above is Mike’s black trailer hooked on to one of our trucks. The trailer is famous- it was featured in a movie called the “Hitcher”.

Today, the family farm has stocker cattle and grows wheat. Mike is an experimental farmer. He is always trying something new to better his crop. Lately, he has been experimenting with no-till farming, which is new to the Olney area. He said, “I am trying it out because I think it’s a better way to farm. It holds in the moisture better.”

Mike and Julie raised their son Ryan, 27, and daughter Kelly, 23, on the family farm. The family is my image of the ideal Texan farming/ranching family. Mike and Ryan have that thick Texan drawl and are southern gentlemen. Julie and Kelly are southern ladies with a sense of humor.

Kelly and Shane
Kelly, with Shane Susie of John Deere Harvester Works, helps us move our equipment to the next field.

While growing up, both Ryan and Kelly were expected to help out on the farm. Kelly helped out with the cattle and horses because of her love for rodeo. Coached by her father, Kelly competed from kindergarten up to her last year of high school. She participated in break away roping, barrel racing and poll bending, but both Mike and Kelly agree that break away roping was their favorite. Kelly excelled in the sport. In 2001, Kelly was the 3rd best poll bender in Texas.

Kelly driving truck
Kelly usually rides around with our fathers, or in the combine and truck, but the past two years has been learning to drive our trucks. Here she takes time for a quick photo op.

Kelly followed in her parent’s footsteps and attended Texas Tech. The three- Mike, Julie and Kelly- have quite the school spirit so I recommend not showing up to their house wearing a Longhorns hat unless you want to cause a debate! Today, Kelly utilizes her finance degree as a bank examiner for the Farm Credit Administration.

Ryan grew up with an interest in farming and technology. He was good with a plow and worked closely with his dad in the farming side of his father’s business. His interest in technology, prompted Ryan to attend Texas Christian University where he majored in e-business. Today, he works as an IT specialist. Ryan continues to help out with the farming when he can and shares his dad’s experimental ways when it comes to farming.

The family enjoys spending time on their family farm. They love animals and have horses, cattle, cattle dogs, and a Westie dog named Ralph. Julie loves to work in the yard and has several plants she cares for. She also takes care of the business side of the farm and is a wonderful cook. She is known for her peach cobbler. In fact, there is not a year that goes by where my dad doesn’t beg her to make her specialty-peach cobbler with Blue Bell ice cream smothered on top.

Each year, Ryan and Kelly come home to participate in harvest. We have cookouts in the family’s backyard. Mike cooks the meat, Julie makes cobbler among many other things and my family brings the rest. We enjoy getting together and try to do it as often as we can.

Julie’s Quick Peach Cobbler

1. Sift together: 3/4 C. Flour, 1/8 tsp. Salt and 1 tsp. Baking Powder

2. Mix in 1 1/2 C. Sugar then slowly stir in 3/4 C. Milk.

3. Melt 1/2 C. Butter in 8X8 in pan then pour batter over butter- do NOT stir.

4. Lay 3 C. peaches over batter and sprinkle cinnamon on top and 1/4 C. sugar (or less depending on sweetness of peaches).

5. Bake 1 hour at 350 and serve with Blue Bell Ice Cream

Jada Bulgin can be reached at jada@allaboardharvest.com. All Aboard 2009 Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection

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