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For Immediate Release

Hargrove dedicated life to furthering cause of agriculture

Arkansas County farmer served state's largest industry for 60 years

7/2/2011 at 12:00 a.m.

LITTLE ROCK — Nicky Hargrove of Stuttgart (Arkansas County), one of just 10 men to serve as president of Arkansas Farm Bureau over the organization’s 77-year history, lived his life in service to Arkansas agriculture.

A member of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, Hargrove passed away Friday at the age of 79. He is survived by his wife Rosella and three daughters, Rita Clinton, Lori Dabbs and Dana Harkey.  

Hargrove owned and operated a 1,700-acre farm in the community of Lodge Corner, where he grew rice, soybeans and wheat and raised Angus cattle. A staunch conservationist, Progressive Farmer magazine selected Hargrove its “Man of the Year in Service to Arkansas Agriculture” in 1983. The Hargroves were recognized as the magazine’s “Master Farm Family” in 1969 and in 1964 as the Arkansas County Farm Family of the Year.

Hargrove joined his local county Farm Bureau in 1951 at the age of 19. He was elected to the state board of directors in 1965 and as vice president in 1972. Hargrove was elected as Arkansas Farm Bureau’s sixth president in 1976 and led the organization for 10 years.

“On behalf of the Farm Bureau family, we extend our deepest sympathies to Nicky’s family,” says Randy Veach of Manila (Mississippi County), current president of Arkansas Farm Bureau. “It speaks volumes that he voluntarily served the farmers and ranchers of this state for 60 years, more than 20 of those on the state board. Now, his son-in-law Terry Dabbs, also of Stuttgart, is following in his steps having served on the state board of directors since 2005.

“Arkansas and the agricultural community has lost one of its finest leaders. Nicky Hargrove will be missed.”

Jack Jones of Pottsville (Pope County) was elected ArFB vice president the same year Hargrove was elected president. They served together until Hargrove’s health at the time led him to step down in 1986.

“Nicky was a great leader, a tireless worker and a great friend,” Jones says. “He led the organization through the oil crisis of the late 70s and the establishment of check-off programs in Arkansas. It was on Nicky’s watch that Arkansas Farm Bureau was among the first state organizations to establish commodity divisions to assist farmers and ranchers in producing and marketing their crops and livestock. There were some difficult times, but in his calm and effective way Nicky led us through them.”

Tommy Hillman of Carlisle (Lonoke County) also served on the state board with Hargrove. Hillman praised Hargrove’s emphasis on conservation.

“Nicky was very concerned about protecting the soil and environment and implemented exemplary water conservation practices,” Hillman says. “He knew we had to protect our groundwater resources and the White River Irrigation project may not have become a reality without his foresight and support.”

During his tenure, Hargrove was elected to the American Farm Bureau Federation board of directors in 1979 and represented the 13 states in the Southern Region on AFBF’s Executive Committee.

In addition to Arkansas Farm Bureau, he served on numerous other boards and committees. These include vice president of the Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, and as a director of the Southern Farm Bureau Life Company. Hargrove served as chairman of Arkansas Farm Bureau’s Rice Division and as a member of AFBF’s Rice Advisory Committee. Additionally, he served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rice Advisory Committee, offering recommendations to Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz.

In Arkansas, Hargrove actively served the rice and soybean industries as a member of the Seed Growers Association, Rice Council, Rice Promotion Association, and Soybean Association.

Hargrove attended Central College following graduation from Stuttgart High School. He was appointed by then-Gov. David Pryor to the state Board of Higher Education and served from 1975-1988. Hargrove was named chairman in 1985. In 1979 he was selected for honorary membership and inducted into the Gamma Sigma Delta agricultural science fraternity at the University of Arkansas.

Hargrove gave his time serving his community as a Rotarian, lay speaker for Lodge Corner United Methodist Church, church school teacher and former superintendent.


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Click Photo for High Resolution Version

Nicky Hargrove


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Nicky Hargrove (first on left) poses with other past Farm Bureau presidents during the organization’s 75th annual convention in December 2009. Other past presidents include (l-r) Andrew Whisenhunt of Bradley, Stanley Reed of Marianna, David Hillman of Almyra and current Arkansas Farm Bureau president Randy Veach of Manila.


Click Photo for High Resolution Version

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Hargrove spent 10 years as president of Arkansas Farm Bureau, and traveled around the nation, and overseas, to promote Arkansas agriculture.


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


For more information contact:

Steve Eddington
(501) 228-1383
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203


Ken Moore
(501) 228-1512
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

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