Horses have been an integral part in the generous life of Max Brown at Dwight.
Initially farming with horses, Brown has keen memories of those years, yet he can also recall getting their first new Allis Chalmers tractor in 1938.
“I always liked horses, but our work load became easier when we went to tractor power,” he commented.
Horses were part of the operation both for farming in the early years and for cattle work after that.
“I bought Thunder, a palomino stallion, at a farm sale, and he was one good cattle horse,” Brown credited.
“The neighbors would always call me on Thunder to help with roundups, and especially if they had something they couldn’t get corralled,” Brown explained.
“I raised a few colts out of him, and there were others around here who had some of his offspring that made top riding horses.
“Thunder was always a gentleman when I was on his back, but he’d sometimes become a ‘real stud horse’ when I’d get off around other horses,” Brown admitted.
“While growing up, I was a member of the Welcome 4-H Club in Geary County. I really enjoyed it, but I never got many awards. I was too busy helping my dad on the farm,” Brown remembered.
His fondness for the youth program and assisting all young people with their livestock in any way he could became an apparent obsession for Brown, whether or not it was a set objective, or one he really even realized.
However, those in the community, and throughout Morris County, know and appreciate the strong support Brown has extended whenever there is a need.
Always in the seats at the Morris County Fair Livestock Auction in Council Grove, Brown is an active bidder, especially in initial bidding. Typically, he pays premiums on several head of livestock, often to youth who have not been top placers in competitions.
Many times, Brown is the one who has sold the youngsters their livestock in the first place. “I have provided lots of lambs for the kids,” he said. “I never get any bonus for them.”
Honestly, sometimes the projects have even been given free, if the youth didn’t have the finances to make the purchase.
“I know how much there is to learn from handling livestock, and I want kids to have that enjoyable experience if there’s any way I can help,” Brown evaluated.
While the sheep population in the region has sometimes been low, Brown has maintained a flock most of the time since he was a youth.
Consequently, if there was a need for quality lambs for demonstrations, judging contests or even ewes for youth “mutton busting,” or riding contests, at rodeos, Brown has been the first one called.
“I have always liked to help out in any way I can,” Brown insisted.
Never has he charged for these services, although it is sometimes obviously a costly and prolonged effort taking away from timely farm work.
He’s bluntly refused payment when offered, seemingly being somewhat offended, clarifying: “I want to do it.”
Furthermore, Brown is an annual contributor to the Morris County 4-H Foundation since its inception to provide financial assistance for activities of all 4-H members in the county.
Enthusiastic about anything to do with farm life, Brown has been slowed down some with breathing difficulty.
Every species of livestock has been part of the operation.
Of course, Brown had to milk cows while growing up, but has only had a stock cow herd for many years.
Hogs were credited for being a highly profitable part of the farm at one time.
Owning no livestock at the present time, Brown is anticipating that to change. “I plan to fill my grass with my own cattle,” he verified.
Looking back, Brown has seen lots of changes in agriculture. “I think farming has become too big. Everything is so high priced now. I’m afraid some of these producers are really going to take a beating,” he calculated.
Admitting as well that the 4-H program has seen transitions, Brown qualified, “Youth have so many things to do these days that 4-H has often taken a backseat. Still, those who are involved in 4-H are so much better qualified for this changing world.”
Recognized in a small way for his vast contributions to 4-H, Brown is a lifetime member of the Morris County 4-H Foundation, has received its Bronze Award, and he’s proud of the plaque on the wall distinguishing him as a Morris County “Friend of 4-H.”
The Morris County Youth Rodeo Association has honored Brown for providing sheep for their events more than 25 years.
“They’ve been nice in honoring me, but I just like to help the young people with their livestock. I plan to continue as long as I can,” Brown promised.