Ex-Abilene FBI agent Macnoll growing beef cattle dream
From: Abilene Reporter-News
Gary Bomar, Big Country Ag, Published Jan. 8, 2017
He may not be a native Texan, but as the saying goes, "He got here as fast as he could."
Gary Macnoll is becoming one of the most progressive beef cattle producers in Taylor County. Because of his approach to land stewardship and conservation, Macnoll has been named the 2017 Rancher of the Year by the Middle Clear Fork Soil and Water Conservation District.
Macnoll is a native of New York City, but never fit the city life. As a youth, he describes himself as an outdoor person, spending summers working at a horse ranch. With a passion for agriculture, he attended Iowa State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Ag Business. Later, he moved to Texas and received a Master of Science in Accounting.
With an interest in law enforcement, Macnoll eventually began a career with the FBI. Since 1983, he has lived in Taylor County, and recently retired from the FBI. Because of his agricultural background, he was given a special role as the agencies’ specialist on agri-terrorism.
“It is frightening the potential harm and economic damage that could be done from a simple biological agent placed into a specific agricultural environment,” he said.
While working in Abilene, Macnoll begin to purchase land to complete his goal of a cow-calf producer. His first property was on Ohlhausen Road, and later he acquired a tract on Antilley Road. He also leases additional acreage, expanding his agricultural operation. Primarily, his cattle herd is a commercial Angus base. Hay production is also a cash crop with a recent expansion of Tifton 85 began sprigging this past year.
“It is my goal, to improve the land and leave it better for future generations," said Macnoll.
With support of special programs such as EQUP, Macnoll has been heavily engaged in planting native grass, water development, and brush control. Since some of his property is adjacent to Elm Creek, special efforts have been taken to reduce soil erosion in that area.
Macnoll is always striving to learn and increase his agricultural skills. When the construction of working corrals on property was necessary, he took night classes to learn to weld. From this he has built all the corrals and fences himself.
“I always go to people that can help and give advice,” he states.
Macnoll stresses without the support of the Taylor County Natural Resource Conservation Service, his progress would have never been possible. He is also active with the Taylor County Extension Office, serving on the Extension Leadership Council, and has taken on the duties of Treasurer for the council. He is a regular member of the Abilene Chamber Farm and Ranch Club. Other involvement includes the prescribed burn group, and help with prescribed burns conducted in the county.
Macnoll is married to Christi, and teacher with Wylie ISD, and they have two children, son Mason, and daughter Marla, both graduates of Wylie High School.
When not working on the ranch, Macnoll is a certified scuba diving instructor, and an instructor in concealed handgun classes.