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For Immediate Release

Oxners named state Farm Family of the Year

12/10/2010 at 12:00 a.m.


White County's Red River Farms earns 2010 honor
12/10/10

LITTLE ROCK — Michael and Sarah Oxner of Searcy (White County) are the 2010 Arkansas Farm Family of the Year, announced today at a luncheon honoring the county and district Farm Families of the Year.

They own Red River Farms near Bald Knob. Their operation consists of 6,080 acres of owned and rented land, with 2,700 acres dedicated to rice, 2,100 acres of soybeans, 300 acres of corn and 280 acres of cotton, as well as a 700-acre impoundment for wildlife. Michael and Sarah have three children, 5-year-old Mary Frances, 3-year-old Laura Grace and 2-year-old Paten.

Michael began farming at the age of 10 when, with the help of his grandfather, he planted two acres of soybeans. He began farming fulltime 22 years ago and now rents land in the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge, where he grows rice, millet, corn and native grasses, providing food for wildlife. They flood the fields in fall for public hunting and to provide a sanctuary for migratory waterfowl.

Michael irrigates his crops with surface water re-lifted from the Little Red River, which is pumped into a system of irrigation canals. There are no subsurface wells used on their farm for irrigation purposes. Additionally, Red River Farms has on-farm storage capacity of 440,000 bushels, which provides the family with options for marketing their crops.

“The Oxner family is a wonderful example of the effective, efficient farming operations that exist in Arkansas,” said Andy Guffey, coordinator of the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program. “They are diligent protectors of the natural resources used in producing their crops, and provide a model of today’s modern farm, with a mixture of science, technology and old-fashioned hard work.”

As Arkansas’ Farm Family of the Year, the Oxners will compete in next year’s Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year program. The competition is held each October in Moultrie, Ga.

“The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program is the longest-running farm family recognition program of its type in the United States,” said Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach, a cotton farmer from Manila (Mississippi County). “We are happy to recognize the fine men and women who work daily to raise crops and care for their livestock, while feeding a growing world population. We congratulate each of the county and district Farm Families of the Year.

“Farm families are the foundation of our state’s economy and culture. For more than 60 years, the Farm Family of the year program has showcased outstanding agriculture, and everyone should take pride in the wonderful men and women of agriculture.”

The Oxners also maintain five tractor trailer trucks to haul grain, gravel and fertilizer, as well as offer custom-hauling for others, supplementing their farm income. Michael and Sarah each earned graduate degrees, and are both active in a number of community and state organizations. The couple donated land for a house built by Habitat for Humanity of White County.

The Farm Family of the Year program, now in its 65th year, begins with selection of the top farm family in each county. Then, eight district Farm Families of the Year are selected. The process concludes with the selection of the state Farm Family of the Year. The competition is judged on production, efficiency and management of farm operations, family life and rural/community leadership and values.

The 2010 District Farm Family of the Year winners included:

  • Jeremy and Leslie Allmon of Murfreesboro (Pike County), West Central District.

  • Randy and Anjie Cockrum of Rudy (Crawford County), Northwest District.

  • Darrell and Jennifer Ford of Hope (Hempstead County), Southwest District.

  • Larry and Marilyn Huddleston of Waldron (Scott County), Western District.

  • Lammers Farm Partnership of Manila (Mississippi County), Northeast District.

  • Curt and Ellen Rankin of Lake Village (Chicot County), Southeast District.

  • Mark and Nancy Satterfield of Norfork (Baxter County), North Central District.

Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Arkansas Press Association, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, AgHeritage FCS, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, and Farm Credit MidSouth are sponsors of the annual recognition program. Additional program support is provided by the Arkansas Department of Career Education; the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service; and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development.

 

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

The Oxner family of Searcy were named the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year

 

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Michael and Sarah Oxner on their farm near Bald Knob with their children, 5-year-old Mary Frances, 3-year-old Laura Grace and 2-year-old Paten. The Oxners own Red River Farms, a 2,700 acre corn, cotton, rice and soybean operation.

 

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Michael and Sarah Oxner on their farm near Bald Knob with their children, 5-year-old Mary Frances, 3-year-old Laura Grace and 2-year-old Paten. The Oxners own Red River Farms, a 2,700 acre corn, cotton, rice and soybean operation.

 

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Michael and Sarah Oxner on their farm near Bald Knob with their children, 5-year-old Mary Frances, 3-year-old Laura Grace and 2-year-old Paten. The Oxners own Red River Farms, a 2,700 acre corn, cotton, rice and soybean operation.

 

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Michael Oxner irrigates his crops with surface water re-lifted from the Little Red River that is pumped into a system of irrigation canals to reach his fields.

 

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Michael Oxner in one of his rice fields near Bald Knob. The Oxners grew 2,700 acres of rice this year, along with corn, cotton and soybeans at their farm north of Searcy.

 

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Michael and Sarah Oxner at their home in Searcy with their children, 5-year-old Mary Frances, 3-year-old Laura Grace and 2-year-old Paten. The Oxners own Red River Farms, a 6,080 acre corn, cotton, rice and soybean operation near Bald Knob. 700 acres is set aside for wildlife habitat and is part of the Bald knob National Wildlife Refuge.

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

Gregg Patterson
gregg.patterson@arfb.com
(501) 228-1282
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

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