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Hempstead County And Southwest District Farm Family Of The Year

By Staff, 06/21/20 8:42 PM

Way up in the northern part of Hempstead County, north of McCaskill, near the Avery’s Chapel United Methodist Church and the forgotten community of Eleyville lives the 2020 Hempstead County Farm Family of the Year, the Chris and Denise Sweat family.  The Sweats were also recently named the Southwest District Farm Family of they Year.  The Sweats are one of the district winners that will be judged to determine a state winner.  This winning family will be named December 10th.

Chris and Denise Sweat farm 500 acres where they raise cattle, sheep, and rabbits.  They have been farming for 23 years and have two daughters, Sarah and Anna.  They are 17 and 13 respectively. The girls attend school in Nashville.  Anna was out with her grandmother on the day of our visit.  Sarah showed us her rabbits and sheep.  Sarah has plant to attend OSU after graduation and major in Animal Genetics.  Chris is also a teacher at Blevins and Denise is the Regional Vice-President of Farm Credit in Nashville.

Chris says they farm about 500 acres.   “We raise registered Simmental cattle, Simangus cattle, Simbrah cattle, and commercial cattle,” says Chris.  He continues “We sell a lot of bulls…Caleb Plyler feeds my bulls and we market them through his sale.  We sell a lot of show heifers to Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas.”  He also explained commercial cattle are cattle that aren’t registered.  “We raise them strictly for beef.  Those cattle are raised until they’re seven to nine months old, then we background them 45 to 90 days and I market them at Hope Livestock with Darrell Ford”.

The two Sweat siblings are active showing animals according to Chris.  “My oldest daughter shows cattle, rabbits, sheep, and goats.  My youngest daughter shows cattle and goats”.

The Sweats are big proponents for agriculture.  Says Chris, “Agriculture’s changed so much in the last 20 years…my daughter, she wants to get a degree in genetics…even in our high schools we’re pushing the science based agriculture so much.  I think a lot of times production agriculture gets lost.”  He says he was interested in production agriculture early.  “From the time I was 11 or 12, I knew I wanted to be involved in production agriculture.  I wanted to be able to feed people in my community, in my state, in my country.  We made a push to come back and settle on family land, some we purchased to add to family land.  Me and my wife both knew we wanted to raise kids out in the country…we thought our kids could be raised on the farm with good values, good work ethic, and we could contribute to the food chain”.

Chris Sweat says the family was very humbled to be named both county farm family and district farm family.  “There’s nothing that can excite you more than being patted on your back by your peers.  I know a lot of the people that have won that award before us and that’s in good company.  If you can be in good company like that it makes you proud, it makes you proud of what our family’s accomplished.  It’s good to be noticed by your peers”.