LITTLE ROCK – Jeremy, 31, and Magen Allen,
30, of Bismarck (Hot Spring County) are winners of Arkansas Farm
Bureau’s 2011 Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award. Farm
Bureau honored the couple Dec. 1 at its 77th Annual Convention at the
Peabody Hotel and Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.
The Allens run a custom feed/trucking business providing
feed mixes to other cattle ranchers, as well as feeding their own herd
of longhorn cows that Jeremy is presently breeding to Charolaise bulls.
The Allens won a 2012 Ford F-150 Crew Cab, 4X4 pickup truck courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Company.
Jeremy Allen started his feed-mixing business five years
ago when he was looking for a more affordable feed to give his cows,
and he found “gin trash” from cotton gins. The trash contained some
seeds, hulls and cotton. A nutrition test showed its nutritional value
was on a par with or better than hay.
Since then, he’s mixed combinations for his customers that
have included ingredients like rice hulls, rice dust, rice bran,
soybeans, distillers’ grain, milo, corn, corn gluten, bakers waste and
even breakfast cereal. With this year’s drought and resulting hay
shortage, the Allens can’t keep up with customer demand for their
cattle feed mixes.
“What began as a way to feed our cattle in a more
cost-effective way has proved to be the best business venture we have
ever dealt with,” Jeremy says.
The runners-up in the competition were C.J. and Cara Parker
of Carlisle (Lonoke County), who farm rice, wheat and soybeans; and
Scott and Cassie Davis of Prairie Grove (Washington County). Each
couple won $1,000.
The Allens have two sons, Lane, 6, and, Brody, 3.
Kevin Smith, 30 of Decatur (Benton County), won the Young
Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet. Smith is a poultry farmer and
also works installing poultry houses on other farms. The meet provides a
forum for young farm leaders to demonstrate their verbal and
problem-solving presentation skills while they discuss their views on
issues affecting agriculture. There were 17 competitors.
Smith won a Kawasaki Mule and the use of a new front-wheel assist Kubota tractor with a front-end loader for one year.
Honors also went to Brad and Lori Henley of Star City
(Lincoln County). The Henley’s won the Excellence in Agriculture award.
The award recognizes young farmers involved in agriculture but who get
the majority of income off the farm.
Brad, 33, and Lori, 32, own and operate Cedar Hill Farms.
The couple purchased their first head of cattle in 2005, and over the
next few years, increased their herd to more than 225 head. The couple
also operates a small poultry litter-spreading business. What
originally started as a hobby has grown into a way of life for the
Henley family who work hard to balance their farm and day jobs.
Brad is a journeyman lineman for C&L Electric, and Lori works for Child Development, Inc. at Star City Head Start.
“Sometimes we wonder how we manage to take care of it all,
but then we realize it’s because we work together. The farm is a way of
life for us,” Brad said.
The Henleys have three children: 14-year-old Hannah, 9-year-old Katie and 8-year-old Grant.
Their prize is a John Deere Gator, courtesy of Western
Arkansas Farm Credit, Ag Heritage Farm Credit, Farm Credit Mid-South
and Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company. They also got a John Deere
lawn tractor courtesy of John Deere Inc.
All winners also earned expense-paid trips to the American
Farm Bureau Federation national conference in Hawaii next month, where
they’ll compete for national awards.