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Hempstead County Farm Family of the Year

By Staff, 06/14/17 8:57 PM

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HOPE- The 70th Annual Farm Family of the Year for Hempstead County is, Clovy Keaster of Keaster Farms located in Ozan. Mrs. Keaster is a member of First Baptist Church in Nashville is also the librarian of the church, a member of the Nashville Junior Auxiliary, and is the secretary of Howard County Burial Association. The family farm is in Hempstead County located in Ozan off of Highway 278 going towards Nashville. The Keaster family hosted a panel of judges along with family and friends to visit their farm. The Arkansas Farm Bureau provided lunch of, barbecue sandwiches, chips and cheese dip, cookies, cupcakes, and watermelon.

Hayride tours of the property were given, where you were taken out to see their land, ponds and feed the fish.  The judges were given a personal tour of the farm by Mrs. Keaster herself. The judges will visit each county to determine 8 district winners, these winners will be announced on June 19. The district winners will then be visited again by a second panel of judges to determine who will win the overall Arkansas Farm Family of the Year. The overall winner will then compete for Southeastern Farmer of the Year at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia in October.

Mrs. Keaster began working on the farm at the age of ten. She would carry water jugs to her fathers farm hands and they would pay her $.5 for small jugs then $.10 for bigger jugs. After saving money, she purchased a heifer from her father. After her herd grew she had enough money to pay for college. She then married her husband Clyde Keaster. While away at school, her father maintained her cattle. When she came back home she paid for feed expenses that occurred in her absence. After her parents passing twenty-seven years ago she took control of her fathers farm. In 1995 she realized that the truck that her father had left for her would not be enough to run the farm so she went to the John Deer Dealership in Hope, she then purchased a 62 HP John Deer tractor, 15 foot bush hog, a bucket, a hay fork, and a no-till drill. She still uses these items on the farm today.  When she first took over the farm she had 60 acres of land, she now currently has 335 acres. Her cattle are Angus and Brangus herds with registered bulls. She has a total of 430 heads of cattle in her operation allowing for four fall and four spring herds.

Over the past couple of years she has purchased 105 acres that is across the road from her original farm. The land that she acquired belonged to her grandfather decades before. Since buying this land she has put two barns on it, one in which guest had lunch under but is originally created to hold hay. She has reconstructed this land to fit her farming needs she had a variety of trees removed she contacted the Forestry Commission and they marked all trees, and kept the ones that would provide food for wildlife along with dogwoods and red bud trees to add beauty to the property. She had a pond created on this land to create a water supply for her herds. The pond would also serve as a great fishing spot for her great grandson to call his “own” the pond is stocked with bass, catfish, and blue gill fish. They also made a dock for the family to sit out on and enjoy the beauty of the property.

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