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Hempstead County Women’s Farm Bureau Committee Honors Ned Ray Purtle As “Ag Man Of The Month”

By Staff, 06/1/20 8:03 PM

In the month of June the Hempstead County Women’s Farm Bureau Committee chose Mr. Ned Ray Purtle as our AG man of the month.
Mr. Purtle, a lifetime resident of southwest Arkansas, has served on the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Board of Visitors since November 2, 2001. He currently serves as Trustee Emeritus for the University of Arkansas System Board, and as Chairman of the University of Arkansas at Hope-Texarkana Foundation Board.
A 1956 graduate of Oklahoma State University in Animal Science, he owns and operates Ned Purtle and Son Ranches in Hope and was the principal owner and Chairman of the Board of Arkansas State Bank in Clarksville, Arkansas, 1988-1997, as well as owner and Chairman of the Board of Automatic Solutions, Inc., in Knoxville, Arkansas, 1996-2000. He has been a member of the Board of Governers of the Arkansas State Fair since 1957, and Chairman since 1997. He has served on the Board of Directors of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation amd Mutal Insurance Company; the Board of Directors of Heartland Community Bank in Camden, Arkansas; and the Board of Directors of Citizen’s National Bank and Summit Bank in Hope.
He has been named Progressive Farmer Man of Year in Agriculture, 1997, and received the Friend of Animal Science Award from U of A, 1998. Other recognitions include Animal Science Graduate of Distiction from Oklahoma State University, 2000; Special Recognition Award from the U of A Department of Agriculture, 2001; Honorary Arkansas Farmer Degree from Future Farmers of America, 2001; induction into the Arkansas Agricultural Hall of Fame, 2001; and U of A Chancellor’s Society, 2004.
He and his wife Carolyn have two sons, Michael and Steven, and two granddaughters, Ashton and Makayla. They are active in the First United Methodist Church of Hope.
Foundation Chairman Purtle has invested much of his time, energy and effort into the continued success of the College and the UAHT Foundation. Additionally, he and Carolyn have generously endowed scholarships that are awarded to nine students per semesters, enabling a great number of students to successfully complete healthcare programs of study and to work locally, enhancing the quality of life for the entire community.
We have also asked a few men and women close to Mr. Purtle to share some of their foundest memories with us.

I was five years old at a steer show in Conway Arkansas that Mr. Purtle was juding. I was in the ring scratching my steer, Lil’ Darling when Mr. Purtle walks by and says, “you sure are doing a good job there son.” I reply with much confidence, “yes sir I’ve been doing it my whole life!” To this day we still share this moment and laugh about it.

-Caleb Plyler

When I was first hired as the Executive Vice President of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Foundation was holding a meeting at the ACA office. After the meeting was over Mr. Purtle came up to me shook my hand, patted me on the back and said “Cody I’m proud of you and proud for you.” When someone with Mr. Ned Rays standing and reputation in agriculture says that to you it makes you stand a little taller and walk a little straighter.

-Cody Burkham
Executive Vice President ACA

Mr. Ned Ray was always there for the kids in Hempstead County. As a young girl he was always there to support not only mine but others 4-H projects through the premium sale and other activities. He was always giving advice and encouragement. As an FFA student he was my favorite house to sell fruit too, because there was always a story or just a nice conversation! He is someone that I look up to and have for a very long time.

-Mindy Lockhart

My first memory of Mr. Purtle goes back to the District and State Fair in 1971, my first year to show. Throughout the time I showed, then my children and now my grandchildren. Mr. Purtle has been a fixture at these events. Years later I got to serve with Mr. Purtle on the State Fair Board where he was the longest serving member and Chairman of the board.

I have also had the pleasure of serving on the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Foundation Board with Ned Ray and would look forward to seeing him at Cattlemen’s Association events as well as district or state Farm Bureau meetings. He served as President of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association and a state board member of Arkansas Farm Bureau.

Mr. Purtle has been recognized as Progressive Farmer’s “Man of the Year in Agriculture” and has been inducted in the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame. I have the greatest admiration and respect for him. I think he is the “Man of the Year in Agriculture” for Hempstead County and Arkansas every year! Thank you, Ned Ray, for all you have done and continue to do.

-Bruce Maloch
State Senate-District 12

Mr. Ned Ray Purtle is an Icon of agriculture in Arkansas. On his own personal farm and in our state, he has been a stalwart leader in beef production and agribusiness.
From my earliest memories, in the Farm Bureau circle, I’ve always looked up to Mr. Purtle. My father sat on the State Farm Bureau board with Ned Ray and always respected him and that respect was passed down to myself too. His leadership in Arkansas has spanned many decades, from his tenure on the state Farm Bureau board to the board of trustees for the University of Arkansas, and many other boards. He has given countless hours of service to benefit all of us in this great state.
Whenever there is a meeting of farmers and ranchers I always notice that there is always a crowd around Mr. Purtle, including myself. It’s certainly to glean some wisdom that he will hopefully share with the group, but also for his compassionate friendship.
I’m so proud to take a small part of this special recognition for Mr. Ned Ray. I do it with great admiration to him and his never ending contributions to agriculture and most importantly for his friendship.

-Rich Hillman
President, Arkansas Farm Bureau

Thank you Mr. Purtle for all you have done and continue to do for Hempstead County and the Ag World. #Arkag #AgWomenLead #HCWFB #agmanofjune

Photos provided by: Steve Eddington