By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN James (Jim) Taylor of Delano has the same name as a famous rock and roll singer, but he lives his life to a slightly different tune.
“No, I can’t sing, but I sure could use his money,” Taylor jokingly tells people who ask about his connection to the Grammy-winning James Taylor.
A self-proclaimed “hick farmer,” Taylor has managed to stay out of the national limelight, preferring to help friends and neighbors on a local level.
He spent 22 years as the clerk/treasurer for the Rockford Township Board, 13 years on the Wright County Planning Commission, and 12 years on the Wright County Board of Adjustment.
“I live in the community, and I’m interested in making sure we do all we can,” Taylor said.
Taylor has been shipping his milk to Associated Milk Producers, Inc. (AMPI) since 1974, and he’s been serving on the board of directors for more than 25 years. Currently, he’s the board secretary, but he’s held a number of positions throughout the years.
Taylor enjoys working hard, and at 76 years old, he still hasn’t completely retired.
“I’ve worked like a slave all my life, and I enjoyed it,” he laughed.
Taylor has a small herd of cattle and farms about 300 acres of corn and alfalfa.
“I love farming,” he said.
He and his wife, Ardys, have four sons, all of whom live nearby.
Their oldest, Steve, went to school for agriculture, and helps run the farm.
“He’s a good dairyman,” Taylor said.
Steve’s wife, Caroline, is a cook who works in Rockford.
Their son Brad is also a cook, and their son Curt has been a registered nurse at Methodist Hospital for the past 30 years. Both sons live on the home place.
The youngest, Greg, lives about a block away with his wife, Rhonda, and four boys. Greg and Rhonda both work at Presbyterian Homes in Spring Park. Their sons, Jim, Josh, Jake, and Joe, range from 10th grade to first grade in the Delano School District.
Taylor’s family all live in Delano now, but Taylor and Ardys both grew up on farms in southwestern Minnesota.
Taylor was one of 10 children, and he graduated from high school in 1951. He was later drafted into the Korean War. Upon his return home in 1955, Taylor and Ardys got married.
Although Taylor had grown up on a farm, he decided to get an education in accounting and business law. He studied in Chicago and at the Minnesota School of Business.
He spent several years in the accounting profession, working as a traveling auditor and taking on other accounting and management positions. He often worked 16 to 18 hour days, which got to be quite stressful, he said.
That’s when he made the switch to farming.
“It was a change of pace,” he said.
He started out milking about 45 cows, but has since cut back to about 14. In March 2006, Taylor was injured during a medical procedure, and now suffers from constant headaches and dizziness. He’s hopeful that the problem will be corrected someday, but until then, he has to be more careful working on the farm.
Thankfully, he is still able to drive the tractor for fieldwork.
“I love working, I just wish I could do more,” he said.
Despite difficulties, however, Taylor keeps a joyful, joking attitude. When asked about his wife’s hobbies, Taylor said, “she looks after me.”
The couple is also involved in their church, Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rockford.
In his spare time, Taylor likes spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren.