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NACOGDOCHES, April 4, 2013— The Nacogdoches County Agribusiness Committee named the Bubba Stokes family of Garrison, as Farm Family of the Year. The family will be honored at the 13th Annual Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet on April 8, at the Hotel Fredonia Convention Center.
For Bubba Stokes, growing up in Garrison meant living by his parents’ strong work ethics and Christian values. He learned it all on the farm.
Will and Rosie Stokes established their family name in dairy and poultry farming, and at a young age, Bubba began working with cattle of his own.
“Agriculture is the family’s way of life. It’s not a regular job that they go to and then leave,” said Buddy Atkinson, location president, Austin Bank in Timpson. “The Stokes family has farmed in Garrison at least one generation back from Bubba, and all are involved in agriculture in some way, down to the grandchildren.”
Bubba and Gayle have been married for 52 years. They have three sons, Wayne, Pete and Jerry, and three daughters-in-law, Jackie, Traci and Christie. All are continuing in the family’s agriculture traditions.
“Bubba always had his sons involved in Future Farmers of America (F.F.A.),” Atkinson said.
The Stokes know livestock. As children, Bubba and his sons showed animals in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Nacogdoches shows and participated in the calf scrambles. Most of the grandchildren were or are active in F.F.A., serving as officers and showing animals. In the Nacogdoches County shows, Bubba and Gayle’s granddaughters have achieved notable awards. Bevyn’s steer was Grand Champion, and Laci had Grand Champion broilers and a Reserved Champion steer.
In the early 80s Bubba purchased an order buying contract and began buying and shipping hogs for Tyler Packing Co. in Tyler, Swift Packing Co. in San Antonio, Fort Worth Stockyard and Kansas City, KS. With help from Wayne and Jerry, the Stokes Livestock business bought packer cows and bulls for Supreme Beef in Ladonia, Lone Star Beef Processing Co. in San Angelo and H&B Packing in Waco. The order continues buying stocker calves for customers in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. In addition, the family fed cattle in Hereford, Muleshoe, San Angelo and Pecos feed yards.
Along with running 100 cows and 150 to 200 calves on rye grass and clover during winter, Bubba works three livestock sales a week in Texarkana, Panola and Center.
Bubba and son Jerry worked together until around 2007 when Bubba decided to slow down, and Jerry wanted to grow the operation. Jerry’s sons Taylor and Tucker joined Jerry Stokes Cattle Co. after their high school graduations. They now buy cattle in Louisiana and Texas.
The recent drought in Texas and surrounding states caused Jerry to expand the business’ selling territory by shipping cattle to Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi.
“Long hours, hard work and lots of miles for us, and life is good,” Gayle said. “We are so blessed to be able to make a living doing what we love.”
Wayne and wife Jackie live in Garrison and operate a farm in Appleby. Wayne does custom hay baling and constructs custom steel buildings. According to some of the family members - Wayne stays busy repairing everything Bubba, Pete and Jerry tear up. Jackie works in medical records at Willowbrook Nursing Center.
Pete and his wife Traci live in Garrison and run beef cattle. Traci taught elementary-age students in Garrison and Cushing. Gayle said, “all Pete ever wanted was to be an auctioneer.” He went to an auctioneer school in Fort Smith, Ark. when he was 16 years old. “He has sold in some of the largest sales in Texas and been in the business 12 years,” she said. Pete competed in three World Champion Auctioneer Contests in Oklahoma City Stockyards, Lexington Kentucky and Springfield, Missouri, competing against 20 top auctioneers chosen from the U.S. and Canada. You can see him in action selling at the Hubbard, Panola, Nacogdoches and Navasota livestock auctions. Their daughter Tiffany is a second-grade teacher in Garrison, and she and husband Jerry Shaw have a poultry farm and run beef cattle. Lindsay is a hair dresser and her husband Larry Kopycinski works for Jerry Stokes Cattle Co. Laci is attending Angelina Junior College and is engaged to be married to Trent Hairgrove on April 20. Trent Stokes plans to stay in the cattle business as a career after his high school graduation this year. Kloe and Karli are twins in second grade.
Jerry and Christie live in Garrison and run stocker calves. Jerry joined Stokes Livestock buying cattle with Bubba and Wayne after graduating high school. Jerry’s wife Christie was active in F.F.A. and showed animals. She now keeps the books for the company. Under Jerry’s direction, the family business buys stocker cows for customers in north Texas and Oklahoma. Jerry and Christie’s son Taylor and his wife Olivia live in Shelby County and run stocker calves. Son Tucker is busy getting his place ready for stocker calves. Ty is in fourth grade and has raised and showed hogs for two years in Ft. Worth and Nacogdoches.
“Bubba and I became friends while serving on Garrison I.S.D. school board in the 70s,” Atkinson said. “East Texas values run deep through that family, and they have had a quite an impact on the community with their service.”
Bubba served on Appleby Rural Water Board, Garrison Lions Club as president for two years, Garrison I.S.D. school board from 1973 to 1978, Nacogdoches County Farm Bureau board of directors from 1978 to present serving as president from 1981 to 1985.
He received the Young Farmer award from Garrison Lions Club. The Nacogdoches Farm Bureau awarded him the Young Farmer award, and in 2012, the Pioneer award. Bubba has served on cattle/dairy and the resolution committee at Nacogdoches Farm Bureau.
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