Gene Taylor Shares His Story

Gene Taylor Shares His Story

By Cary Estes

Gene Taylor


Gene Taylor cuts the ceremonial ribbon at his second Warrior Tractor and Equipment dealership in Birmingham, Alabama.

Published On: February 5, 20242.2 min read
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In the early 1960s, when he was only 18, Gene Taylor purchased 40 acres of timberland just north of Tuscaloosa in Fayette County, Alabama. At the time, Taylor says he had an ambitious goal of eventually owning 1,000 acres. “I think we’ve exceeded that a little bit,” Taylor says with a chuckle.

Warrior Tractor and Equipment

Has he ever. Taylor grew a single John Deere tractor dealership he acquired in 1967 into Warrior Tractor and Equipment, with seven locations in Alabama and annual sales of more than $60 million. With a successful company to support him, Taylor began patiently acquiring substantial amounts of timber and coal land in the 1990s, to the point that he has accumulated a total of 230,000 acres.

“The equipment company is our main business. The land business is more of a hobby for us,” Taylor says. “It’s a long-term investment. You can’t expect anything to happen really fast. It’s just something we enjoy doing.”

West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama

Taylor says his first major acquisition was 35,000 acres of coal land in West Virginia that had been placed in bankruptcy. He gradually added to that with land purchases throughout Alabama. Taylor says he currently owns approximately 50,000 acres in West Virginia, about 5,000 acres in Mississippi, with the remainder in Alabama.

“We just enjoy the people who we do business with at the sawmills, the paper mills, the veneer mills. They’ve been good folks to work with,” he says. “We have our own forestry team and logging crews. Some of them have been with us for 30 years. We’ve been fortunate to have good people who know what they’re doing and can do the job. Having good people to help you on that journey really makes a big difference.”

Family Tradition

Gene Taylor’s original love of the land dates to his childhood. His father worked for a timber-and-logging business in Alabama, and Taylor joined him during summer vacations from high school. Taylor now owns approximately 20,000 acres of that same timberland, along with the original 40 acres he purchased more than 60 years ago.

“Not bad for a poor country boy,” Taylor says. “If you have a tract of land, you can ride to it on a Saturday afternoon and get real good therapy. Nobody is calling you on the phone. You get to see the deer and the turkeys and all the trees. It’s just nice to have a little peace and quiet going through the woods. We really enjoy the time we get to spend there.”

Originally published in The Land Report Winter 2023.

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