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Hempstead County Couple Named Southwest District Farm Family of the Year

By Dale Gathright, Jr., 06/16/20 10:38 AM


LITTLE ROCK – The eight district winners in the 73rd annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program have been selected, representing the diversity of Arkansas agriculture, the state’s largest industry.

The district winners will now be judged to determine a state winner who will be announced December 10 at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock.

The Southwest District Farm Family of the Year is:

  • Chris & Denise Sweat (Hempstead County) in the Southwest District. Chris Sweat and his wife Denise have 500 acres where they raise cattle, sheep and rabbits. They have been farming for 23 years and have two daughters, Sara and Anna.

“The impact of our farm families is immeasurable,” said Rich Hillman, president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau. “The contributions made to our communities, state and economy by our state’s farm families is astounding.”

The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with selection of top the farm families in each county and culminates with the selection of the state Farm Family of the Year, who go on to represent Arkansas in the Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition. Arkansas has had two Southeastern Farmer of the Year winners, Brian 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.

“Agriculture is Arkansas’ number one industry.” Hillman said. “Our farmers and ranchers, and their families, work tirelessly to provide for not only for themselves, but for the people of Arkansas. These families represent the best of the best in Arkansas agriculture.”

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.

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of roughly 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.