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For Immediate Release

Curetons named ARFB young farmer award finalists


Success based on family tradition and farming as a way of life

11/16/2010

CASH — Josh Cureton is the sixth generation of Cureton farmers. “I’ve been farming all my life,” he says. “Growing up, I was always told I could choose any occupation I wanted. I’ve always enjoyed farming. That’s what I wanted to do.” Josh, his wife Melissa and their children, Gracye, 9, Cole, 5, and Mattyx, 2, live at Cash (Craighead County) where they raise rice and soybeans.

At age 10, Cureton started driving a tractor. From there, he took on more responsibility each year until he started his own farming operation in 1999 by renting 200 acres.

In 2009, he entered into a partnership with his father. Today, he manages his own ground and helps run an additional 3,350 acres on the family farm.

Josh holds a Bachelor of Science degree in plant science from Arkansas State University. “I use what I learned every day on the farm,” he says.

Melissa works off farm teaching 8th grade science at Westside High School in Jonesboro. On the farm, she handles bookkeeping and paying bills. She also takes lunches and snacks to workers during planting and harvest and picks up repair parts whenever equipment breaks down.

Josh has built four 20,000 bushel grain storage bins expanding the on-farm storage to 360,000 bushels. The on-farm storage helps avoid long lines at harvest, as well as high storage and drying fees. It also enables him to take advantage of higher grain prices months after the harvest.

Re-lift pumps bring water from the Cache River to irrigate the fields, and a tailwater recovery system collects the runoff to use again. Cureton constructed numerous pipes, gates and pipelines to control water within the system. He also recently constructed a 50-acre reservoir to supply water to the crops during drought and when the river is low.

In the fall, Josh floods and leases eight fields for duck hunting to hunters from several states. He typically floods additional fields to create wildlife habitat. This year Josh plans to increase his flooded acreage for wintering waterfowl. The leased fields provide supplemental income and the flooding helps control weeds and erosion.

He is currently secretary of Craighead County Farm Bureau. “I believe it’s important to be involved with Farm Bureau, so we will have a voice,” Josh says. “With so few people living on the farm, we need to tell them what we do here, why we do it and how the world benefits.”

Melissa is co-chairwoman of the county Farm Bureau women’s committee and serves with Josh on the Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) committee and the Ag in the Classroom committee. They’ve also served in leadership roles in school and church activities.

Now, the Cureton’s join two other finalist-families for the Arkansas Farm Bureau YF&R Achievement Award. The other finalist-families are Jeremy and Magen Allen of Bismarck (Hot Spring County), who have laying hens, cattle and a feed business; and Brian and Elizabeth Walker of Horatio (Sevier County), who run cow-calf, feeder calves and broiler operations.

The YF&R Achievement Award honors young farmers and ranchers across the state for their hard work, innovation, progress and the general excellence of their operations. The winner of the award will be announced at the 76th Arkansas Farm Bureau Convention, which takes place Dec. 1-3 in Hot Springs. The winning couple will take home a Chevrolet 1500 quad cab, four-wheel-drive truck and an expenses-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Convention in January in Atlanta to compete for the national award.

 

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Josh and Melissa Cureton with their three children, Mattyx, 2, Gracy, 9 and Cole, 5

 

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Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Josh and Melissa Cureton check some numbers in the farm's accounting records. Melissa keeps the books and handles bill paying for the farming operation.

 

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Josh spends a majority of his time in the cab of a combine during harvest time.

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of almost 220,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

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For more information contact:

Steve Eddington
steve.eddington@arfb.com
(501) 228-1383
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

or

Jim Kester
jim.kester@arfb.com
(501) 228-1274
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

 

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