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For Immediate Release

Davises named ARFB young farmer award finalists


Washington County farm family makes more with less

11/17/11

PRAIRIE GROVE — Dairy farming is not an industry most young people would choose to enter. The work is hard, the hours are long and the economics are downright brutal. Scott Davis, 31, is not like most young people, though.   

He became a dairyman in 2000, when he and his father purchased 300 acres and 25 head of Holstein cows. During the past 11 years, the Davis farm – located in Prairie Grove – has grown to comprise 223 milk cows on nearly 650 acres. In 2006, Scott’s wife Cassie, 28, came on board full time to take care of the accounting. His dad retired last year.

Growth like this is a feat under any circumstances, but it’s especially noteworthy considering what has happened to the Arkansas dairy industry since Scott started farming. In 2000, there were more than 500 dairies in the state. Today, there are only 120. The volatility of milk prices during the past decade has put more than 75 percent of the state’s dairies out of business.

For the Davises, an emphasis on efficiency – making more with less – has keyed their success. Scott uses advanced milk-testing and record-keeping techniques to track data on each cow in his herd and monitor things like milk quantity and quality, animal health and feed conversion costs (how much it costs to feed a particular cow versus how much money in milk that cow returns).

“I’ve seen my volume increase by more than 4,000 pounds a month since I started testing and tracking,” Scott said. “Right now, my herd’s producing an average of around 20,000 pounds of milk a month, and that’s low for me. This is just a start. The ultimate goal is to milk fewer cows but get a larger volume of milk out of each cow.”          

Scott’s ability to succeed in the face of adversity is just one of the reasons he and Cassie are one of the three finalist-families in Arkansas Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Achievement Award competition.

This award honors young farm families across the state for their hard work, innovation, progress and the general excellence of their operations. The winner of the award will be announced Dec. 1 at the 77th Arkansas Farm Bureau Convention in Little Rock. The winning couple will take home a 2012 Ford F-150 Crew Cab 4x4 truck and an expenses-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Convention in January in Hawaii to compete for the national award. The other finalists for the award include C.J. and Cara Parker of Carlisle, who grow rice, soybeans and wheat; and Jeremy and Magen Allen, who raise cattle and run a custom feed and trucking operation on the farm in Bismarck.

Scott and Cassie have both been extremely active in Farm Bureau and its YF&R program. Scott has been on the Washington County Farm Bureau Board of Directors since 2003. He was named secretary/treasurer in 2010 and this past October he was elected vice president. The couple has been on the county Farm Bureau’s YF&R Committee since 2003. They served on the Arkansas Farm Bureau YF&R Committee from 2007-2008. Cassie was recently picked to lead the county organization’s Women’s Committee.

“It’s important for younger people to be active and promote agriculture as much as possible,” Cassie said. “The further away from the farm Americans get, the less important they think agriculture is. They don’t realize it’s what feeds them, clothes them, shelters them and keeps them alive.”

The Davises have a 5-year-old daughter named Lily and a one-month old daughter named Ella.

 

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Davis Riverview Farms is succeeding in a volatile dairy market. Photo by Keith Sutton

 

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Click Photo for High Resolution Version

From left to right - Cassie Davis, 5-year-old Lily Davis and dairyman Scott Davis. Photo by Keith Sutton

 

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Dairyman Scott Davis of Prairie Grove has 223 milk cows on nearly 650 acres. Photo by Keith Sutton

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 210,000 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

chris.wilson@arfb.com
chris.wilson@arfb.com
(501) 228-1236
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

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