As a young leader, Wesley Spurlock was determined to open a restaurant in Amarillo, Texas. It was 1979, and Spurlock, who had just graduated from West Texas State, was passionate about building his own restaurant – until he got a call from his mother. She explained that while working calves, his dad’s knee was badly injured. Though his father would not ask, Spurlock’s dad needed help back on the farm while recovering from surgery.
After the call, Spurlock moved home to help take care of his dad and keep the farm running. He never left. After farming for 40 years, Spurlock said he did not plan to come back to the farm at that point, but once he came home, he was there to stay.
“When I got back on the farm there was no leaving,” Spurlock said.
The business side of the farm, pulled him in, he said. Spurlock Farms Too has grown from 900 acres in 1980 to a 17,000-acre operation today between Sunray and Stratford, Texas. They grow corn, cotton, triticale, alfalfa and milo.
“It’s just big business, and I enjoy the business,” Spurlock said, “and how it developed in growing the farm from small to a large farm and a big business.”
He also purchased a feed yard five years ago, and after two years of rebuilding, Early Settlers Farm LLC began operations in 2017. They now run 4,500 head of cattle and are certified for up to 6,000 head.
While Spurlock likes big business, he also has a big heart. Spurlock said he enjoys helping others, which is evident in his many leadership roles and activities.
“I just like taking care of people.”Wesley Spurlock
“I just like taking care of people and working with them,” Spurlock said.
He said roles in small communities such as being a t-ball coach, a church leader or a member of Farm Bureau are what push people down the path toward leadership. These opportunities spark passion which drives them to the next leadership role, creating a cycle of passion and leadership.
Spurlock’s passion for agriculture and taking care of people has led to his position as a leader in various organizations. He is an active board member of Texas Corn Producers, First State Bank and his church. In 2015, after serving on the National Corn Growers Association board for five years, Spurlock was elected to serve in an officer rotation. The rotation involves a year as first vice president, a year as president and a year as chairman.
In August 2016, Texas Corn Producers hosted their first Field to Fork event at Spurlock’s new feed yard, Early Settlers Farm LLC. Stephanie Pruitt, communications director at Texas Corn Producers, said they chose the Spurlocks’ feed yard because of the family’s agricultural history, their knowledge of different aspects in the industry, and their position as leaders in agriculture.
“Field to Fork is designed to connect food influencers and decision makers with the farmers that grow their food,” Pruitt said, “and so it highlights Texas crops, Texas products – it connects attendees with farmers who make it all possible.”
Spurlock said he wants people to know that although their operation may be under a corporate structure, they are still a family farm. He said seeing his grandson and other young generations running around the farm is what makes it all worthwhile.
After Spurlock rotated off from his officer positions with the National Corn Growers Association, he stepped into another leadership role as president of the Texas Corn Producers. He said after a few years, he will likely step down and then look for the next leadership opportunity.
Spurlock’s passion for business and taking care of people has brought him to a point where he says he will always be in a position of leadership, even without a designated role.
“I don’t think that leadership ever really goes away completely,” Spurlock said. “You are always that leader.”