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
“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
“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.