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County Farm Families of Year Named

By Dale Gathright, Jr., 05/4/20 2:04 PM


LITTLE ROCK – County winners for the 73rd annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program have been selected. The county winners will be visited by a set of judges to determine eight district winners, who will be announced June 16. The state winner will be announced Dec. 6 at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon in North Little Rock.

Since 1947, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program has served as a vehicle to recognized outstanding farm families throughout the state. The objectives of the Farm Family of the Year program are:

  • To give recognition and encouragement to farm families who are doing an outstanding job on their farm and in their community;
  • To recognize the importance of agriculture in the community and state; and
  • To disseminate information on improved farm practices and management.

The county winners include:

  • Hempstead – Chris and Denise Sweat, McCaskill
  • Nevada – Richard and Cathy Jones, Prescott
  • Lafayette – Shane and Mandy McClelland, Lewisville
  • Howard – Leo Hughes Family, Nashville

“The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program recognizes the outstanding farmers and ranchers across the state,” said Rich Hillman, president of Arkansas Farm Bureau. “These families are involved in essential work, not only providing food for our state, but the country and the world.

“Congratulations to these farm families. We are proud to highlight their work and dedication to Arkansas agriculture.”

The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with the selection of top farm families in each county and culminates in December with the selection of the state Farm Family of the Year, who then go on to represent Arkansas at the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. Arkansas has had two overall winners, Brian and Nan Kirksey of Clark County in 2008 and Wildy Family Farms of Mississippi County in 2016. All winners are judged on their farm production, efficiency, management, family life and rural/community leadership.

Sponsors of the Farm Family of the Year program are Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, and the three Farm Credit agencies that serve Arkansas: AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas and Midsouth Farm Credit. Additionally, support for the program is provided by the Arkansas Agriculture Department, Arkansas Department of Career Education, Arkansas Press Association, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development.