The eight district winners in the 73rd annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program have been selected, representing the diversity of Arkansas agriculture, the state’s largest industry.
The district winners will now be judged to determine a state winner who will be announced Dec. 10 at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock.
The District Farm Families of the Year are:
- Brad and Tara Peacock (White County) in the East Central District. The Peacocks grow soybeans and rice on 1,000 acres. In their nine years of farming, Brad and Tara have worked closely with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service to continually improve their crop. They have a one-year-old son, Silas.
- Shane & Ashley Mason (Cleburne County) in the North Central District. Shane Mason and his wife Ashley own 300 acres where they, along with their children – Paige, Stormy, Ava, Talyn and Holden – raise cattle, hogs, chickens and dairy goats. The Mason family has been farming for 17 years.
- The Senter Family (Mississippi County) in the Northeast District. Travis Senter II and his wife Bridget, as well as Travis Senter Sr. and his wife Edra, operate Senter Farms. They grow cotton, soybean, long grain rice and corn on 8,800 acres. Combined, they have been farming for 65 years.
- The Stone Family (Carroll County) in the Northwest District. Mark Stone and his wife Leah raise cattle and poultry on 960 acres. The Stone family has been farming for 28 years and have three children, Garrett, Landon and Marlea.
- Chad and Dawn Render (Jefferson County) in the Southeast District The Render family grows irrigated corn, rice, soybean on 6,200 acres. Chad Render and his wife Dawn have farmed for 21 years, 19 of which have been in Jefferson County. They have two daughters, Mary-Keaton and Stella.
- Chris & Denise Sweat (Hempstead County) in the Southwest District. Chris Sweat and his wife Denise have 500 acres where they raise cattle, sheep and rabbits. They have been farming for 23 years and have two daughters, Sara and Anna.
- James & Tiffany Miller (Yell County) in the Western District. James Miller and his wife Tiffany have been farming for 14 years. They, along with their children, Maeleigh and Chap, raise cattle and hogs on 630 acres. James and Tiffany take part in their family processing business, Miller Quality Processing.
- Hunter & Jennifer Phelps (Grant County) in the West Central District. The Phelps operate a 170-acre cattle farm. Along with their daughters, Lea and Anna, they raise cattle for both livestock and 4-H events as well as meat production.
“The impact of our farm families is immeasurable,” said Rich Hillman, president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau. “The contributions made to our communities, state and economy by our state's farm families is astounding."
The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with selection of top the farm families in each county and culminates with the selection of the state Farm Family of the Year, who go on to represent Arkansas in the Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition. Arkansas has had two Southeastern Farmer of the Year winners, Brian Kirksey of Clark County in 2008 and Wildy Family Farms of Mississippi County in 2016.
All winners are judged on their farm production, efficiency, management, family life and rural/community leadership.
“Agriculture is Arkansas’ number one industry.” Hillman said. “Our farmers and ranchers, and their families, work tirelessly to provide for not only for themselves, but for the people of Arkansas. These families represent the best of the best in Arkansas agriculture.”
Sponsors of the Farm Family of the Year program are Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and the three Farm Credit agencies that serve Arkansas: AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas and Midsouth Farm Credit. Additionally, support for the program is provided by the Arkansas Agriculture Department, Arkansas Department of Career Education, Arkansas Press Association, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of roughly 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.
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