A “Hurstoric” Donation

Joe and Christy Hurst Joe and Christy Hurst in their home in Idalou, Texas.

Over the past year, museums in Lubbock, Texas have experienced historic levels of charitable donations, particularly for large expansions relating to children’s education.  

One museum to receive such a donation is the FiberMax Center for Discovery, which received a $2.6 million gift for the new Children’s Agricultural Literacy Wing. The donation was a combined gift made by Christy and Joe Hurst and Sherry and Terry Hurst, both families from Idalou, Texas, as well as Ann and Craig McDonald of Lubbock, Texas.

The Hurst and McDonald families have been linked since 1970, when Craig McDonald became partners with L.J. “Red” Hurst, Joe and Terry’s late father, in his John Deere dealership, Hurst Farm Supply.

“Red told me ‘Craig, I’ve got two partners, and I don’t like either one,” Craig said. “So, I said ‘Let me see what I can do. You’ve got to give me all the books that I need.’ My finance background helped a lot.”

“So, I had saved enough money to buy those guys out and so that’s what we did,” Craig said. “But Joe wasn’t a part of that right there at first.”

Joe Hurst said he had always dreamed of studying architecture in college, but when he and his high school sweetheart, Christy, married while she was still in high school and he was an undergraduate at Texas Tech University, he reevaluated his course of study to graduate in a timelier manner. He decided on a degree in agricultural education.

“I just had a passion for agriculture and teaching school,” Joe said. “It definitely required a passion for kids, even though I couldn’t make a living at it.”

“My base salary was $7,800 a year,” Joe said. “I was selling equipment on the side and making more money selling equipment than I was teaching ag.”

That’s when Joe joined the family business, where he and Christy began to get to know Ann and Craig McDonald.

You’ve got to let the general public know about where their food and fiber is coming from.

Ann McDonald

“When Joe [and Terry’s] dad passed away, Craig just took us under his wing and was a great mentor to Joe,” Christy Hurst said. “They’ve always been like family to us.”

“We had perfect love for each other really,” Craig said. “We clicked and we were fair.”

The partnership seems to have worked. In their last year of owning Hurst Farm Supply, McDonald said the company had a record year in equipment sales before selling the business to South Plains Implement.

Terry and Sherry Hurst also share a passion for education and agriculture. Sherry taught for 20 years in Lorenzo ISD. Terry exhibited his passion for education in a different way from his brother and wife, albeit just as effective.

“I was the kid on the block who could change a bicycle flat. I liked working with my hands,” Terry said. “If you’re looking for someone who can solve a problem, find a farm kid.”

Terry brought up his children working with him both on equipment on the family farm and in the service department of Hurst Farm Supply, and also gave local kids opportunities to work in the department.

It was due to both the Hurst’s and McDonald’s passion for education, as well as their concern for the widening agricultural knowledge gap between rural and urban populaces, that all three families pursued this opportunity to support the FiberMax Center for Discovery.

“The percentage of farmers is dwindling,” Ann McDonald said. “You’ve got to let the general public know about where their food and fiber is coming from.”

“We don’t need these kids to go away from agriculture,” Joe said. “That’s what keeps the United States where it is.”

“This center is going to help,” Ann said. “If young people retain what they saw and understand the critical part of agriculture…maybe it’ll make an impact. That’s what we’re hoping for.”