In Memory of John Travis (Jacko) Garrett, Jr.
January 26, 1943 – May 30, 2023
“As a man soweth, so shall he reap.” Gal 6:7
Jacko Garrett lived by this philosophy for 80 years, both personally and professionally. He believed whatever you put into something; you would reap the return. It was a simple way of thinking, yet being a farmer, and a faithful Christian, he knew “return” was subjective. The “reward” for Jacko was always the thrill of the crop, the excitement in the risk and the opportunity to learn something new about farming. His reward was providing a steady income to his employees, who he considered his family. His reward was growing a crop, that would ultimately feed people. The reward was being a good steward of the land and watching it prosper. Hence, sowing/reaping.
Jacko was raised in Danbury, TX and followed in his father’s footsteps of farming rice and
raising Brahman cattle. His father, John T (Jack) Garrett, farmed through the Depression, and through his own years of farming, he learned to understand there were not just seasons in the year, but seasons in the market, the economy, and the weather. Those pressures didn’t bother him, because he trusted the Lord and would say, “God always provides.” By that, it wasn’t about the money, or the success. It was always about the land and people. It was always about the opportunity to put in a hard day’s work and to feel proud of working in an industry with such good people.
In the early 1980’s, Jacko and his wife Nancy ventured into the seed rice business. They were looking to expand the family farm and Jacko had such an interest in seed quality, new varieties, seeding rates, and technologies, he knew he could spread his talents further, thus formed Garrett Seed Rice. On their logo, it quoted, “As a man soweth, so shall he reap.” Gal 6:7 Jacko loved to learn from other farmers, and every few years he would do what we would call the “Delta Tour”. He would either drive or fly his plane and just jump from farm to farm, asking questions, visiting with friends, or even pulling up to a farm that piqued his interest. He would spend the rest of the year thinking how he could apply those learnings into his own farm – laser leveling, stale seed bed planting, crop rotations, machinery, etc. People in the ag industry are amazing like that, they share a kinship that is based on work ethic, integrity, friendship, love of the land and the crops. They lend a helping hand when their neighbor needs it, without hesitation. Jacko would call this fellowship and being a Christian leader, by doing what we are all called to do – loving our neighbor.
Like his father, Jacko would look for ways to help use his farm, to help those in need. In 1999, Share The Harvest Foundation (STHF) was formed. Since then, along with manny generous people and partners in the industry, Share the Harvest has been helping to feed families in eighteen counties in Southeast Texas by providing rice to the Houston Food Bank. Although Southeast Texas is the primary focus, when supply has allowed, Share the Harvest has extended its reach to south Texas and the San Antonio Food Bank as well. Through the Share the Harvest Foundation, the Houston Food Bank has been able to distribute enough rice to provide more than 11 million servings each year.
To this day, the farming operation is still named Jacko & Nancy Garrett Farms. The continued success of this family farm is largely due to a group of men, that have given their entire lives to our family and our farm. It is because of them, that we are. It is because of their love, and service, that these men served as the pall bearers for both Jacko & Nancy in their death.
Jacko fought hard to live the last few years. Yet, regardless of the treatment or pain, until the very end when asked how he was doing, he always replied with, “too blessed not to smile.” Jacko was a trailblazer in the rice industry, yet he was a Christian leader for our family. His faith was strong, and no challenge was too big for God. Days before he passed, he told many, “just give it up to God, and He will provide.” “He did it with all his heart. So he prospered.” 2 Chronicles 31:21
Former Board Member & Associations: Former Owner/President of Eagle Lake Rice Dryer, Texas Rice Improvement Association, Texas Rice Council, US Rice Producers Group, Brazoria County Farm Bureau, Texas Seed Trade Association and American Seed Trade Association. Awards include: Top Rice Farming Operation in Texas 1992, National Rice Farmer of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, USA Rice Farmer of the Year. Member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Share The Harvest Foundation, P O Box 603, Danbury, TX 77534.
Jacko is survived by his wife Barbara, his daughters Traci LaChance (Paul) and Christy Jennings (Webb), grandchildren Garrett (Kara), Meagan (Kevin), Mary B, Lila, Alex (Deane) & Leslie, and his great-grandchildren Hayes, Robbie, Parker, Garrett “Hank”, Cohen, Brennan & Jaden.
Editor's Note: We are only too happy to share these fond and eloquent memories of professionals that have left a mark on our industry. We encourage you to send us news of important people, like Jacko, as Traci provided here. It is important we remember our view is clearer because we stand on the shoulders of giants that came before us. Please remember the Garrett family in your thoughts and prayers. Funeral and visitation information was sent previously via Special Edition.
To the Best Laid Plans!
It is difficult to envision, when planning an event in Amarillo four months out, that a contingency might include a rain-out. Nevertheless that is exactly what (largely) happened late last week. The golf outing lasted about 12 holes before the rain became persistent and thunder pealed across the course.
No need to tell our members on the High Plains that the area simply hasn't had a chance to dry out for the last month. Though is was not raining at game time the Sod Poodles game was called as it had been raining all afternoon and the field was obviously saturated. We have been issued a "credit" and will figure out how want to use that for a possible "do-over" in the near future.
Thanks to all who attended - we had an excellent turnout and it was great to see everyone!