In March of 1920, John F. Ross called a meeting of about 15 Amarillo grain men at the Amarillo Hotel to organize the Amarillo Grain Association, which was to be the forerunner of the present-day Amarillo Grain Exchange. It was Mr. Ross’ vision that Amarillo was destined to be the grain center of this section of Texas and one of the major shipping points of the Southwest. The company operated for eight years as an association, then received a State charter and incorporated as Amarillo Grain Exchange, Inc. on February 6, 1928. Ross, a licensed inspector, was the company’s first Chief Inspector until 1931, when C.M. Goodnight succeeded him.
Our first office was in the rear of the Amarillo Hotel Building. Shortly thereafter, the office was moved to the third floor of the Blackburn Building at 7th Avenue and Polk Street where it remained for four years. Other moves included offices in the Amarillo Building, and the Fisk Building. On June 1st 1938 the Amarillo Grain Exchange occupied its new home at 512 E. 4th Avenue, a one-story brick building constructed to meet the needs of the exchange. This was the home of the Amarillo Grain Exchange, Inc. until early 1966 when they made one last move to allow for the building of the Amarillo Civic Center, to their current home at 1300 S. Johnson Street.
The Burris family became involved when Don Burris was hired in August of 1958 as a Weighmaster; by 1976 he was the General Manager of the Amarillo Grain Exchange, Inc. It was in 1977 that controversies concerning grain inspection agencies throughout the nation arose. Although, Amarillo Grain Exchange experienced no such controversy, it was impacted just the same, by the national uproar. Growers were concerned by the fact that most inspection agencies were run by a Board of Directors consisting mostly of the owners and operators of grain elevators, and feared this would adversely affect pricing. The growers viewed this as unfair, and so did the Federal Government. The Federal Government stepped into this situation and ordered that all conflicts of interest be dissolved. Simultaneously, standardized grading practices were implemented on a national level to alleviate any future distrust of inspection agencies. No longer could an elevator owner be involved as an owner or investor in a grain inspection agency. The government required that inspection agencies meeting this banned criteria be sold to people with no involvement in elevator ownership.
In June of 1978 the Amarillo Grain Exchange, Inc. asked the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) to approve the transfer of operations to Don Burris, the current General Manager of the exchange. Mr. Burris had no connection to farming, held no investments in any elevators, and was not barred from ownership by government policy. On August 14, 1978, his designation as sole owner of the Amarillo Grain Exchange, Inc. was approved. In December of 1983, Mr. Burris added another full time laboratory in Guymon, Oklahoma. The Amarillo Grain Exchange, Inc. serves the North-central Texas and the Oklahoma panhandle
Don Burris held the position of owner and official agency manager for the next 22 years, until his death in November of 2000 when his son Cash Burris became President of the corporation. Cash along with his wife Sharon, now own and manage the Amarillo Grain Exchange, Inc. and are committed to continue to provide the same “service with integrity” that customers have grown to depend on over the years.