Name: Giesenschlag, John R.
Title: Owner, John R. Giesenschlag Farms
Texas A&M Class: 1977
John Giesenschlag was born and raised near Snook, TX. In 1971, before finishing high school, John was already farming and working in the Brazos River bottom. He cut firewood and hauled hay before and after class. These years, combined with the leadership of his father and mother, instilled in John hard work and initiative. In 1973, John graduated from Snook High School as the valedictorian of his class. He then attended Texas A&M University, working his way through college, graduating with a B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics in 1977.
Following graduation, John assumed management of his family’s farm. He is a fifth-generation farmer in the Brazos Valley and operates a portion of a certified original Texas Heritage Farm. To this day, they continue to grow wheat, soybeans, milo, corn, cotton, and raise cattle.
John Giesenschlag is a community-minded person and his passion for supporting and giving to others is evident. He heavily supports local organizations, including the Burleson County Fair, the Brazos County Youth Livestock Show, Snook Volunteer Fire Department, and the Brazos County 4H Cake Show and Sale. He is invited, on many occasions, to speak to Ag classes at high schools in the area. In addition, John hosts the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Program (TALL) for lunch each year. He also served as a board member of the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District when it was first organized, and has continued to serve more than 17 years as a director of Citizens State Bank. John Giesenschlag continues to lead the Taste of the Brazos Valley Chamber of Commerce AG Breakfast each year. At this event, farmers of the Brazos Valley use their own produce to cook breakfast for hundreds of business men and women in the community. The purpose behind the event is to give thanks to the Lord for the year, celebrate the bounty of crops before Thanksgiving, and recognize the farmers and producers that grew the crops. This event perfectly represents the selfless service and generous attitude of John Giesenschlag.
John takes great interest and pleasure in supporting the economic development of Burleson County and the Brazos Valley and has been actively involved in recruiting businesses to the area. He worked closely with Fed Ex to bring a distribution center to the Brazos Bottom on Highway 50. John has always been an entrepreneur by nature. He and his wife Connie owned and operated ABC Equipment for more than twenty years. John also had a dream to build a store at the intersection of Highway 50 & 60. In 1998, he realized this dream when “Twister’s” came to fruition. This store has since been sold, but remains a staple to this day. Many in the community have given testimony that John Giesenschlag has changed the face of the Brazos Bottom forever. John has most recently been working with ADVANTA representatives and is facilitating 100 acres of his land for research purposes. Bringing this business to the area will create more than $250k in economic development each year.
John has been actively involved with Texas A&M and has offered assistance countless times. Texas A&M AgriLife has asked for John’s help in many ways over the years for his farming knowledge and experience in the Brazos River Bottom to which he has gladly offered a hand. For example, in 2014, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was given a very short timeline for vacating the Horticulture Farm and Greenhouses. Facilities that John used for his farming operation were identified as the next best viable location for the department and he worked closely with the University to ensure that the relocation process was efficient and effective. John has been recognized for honors many times in the Brazos Valley area, including the Ag Producer Award in 2006 and the Man of the Year award in 2015.
John and his wife Connie currently live in Snook, Texas. They are proud of all of their children, including their son R.J., who served in the U.S. Navy and now helps run the family farm and cattle operation; daughters, Erin, who served in the U.S. Navy and is employed at Texas A&M University in the State Chemist office; Leslie, who teaches in the Austin area and was recently named Teacher of the Year in her school district; and Randa, who is a physician’s assistant employed at St. Joseph’s Regional Health center in Caldwell. Mr. and Mrs. Giesenschlag are also proud to have four grandsons.