The finalists in Arkansas Farm Bureau’s annual Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Achievement Award and Excellence in Agriculture Award have been announced. The awards honor young farmers and ranchers between the ages of 18-35 for the general excellence of their operations, their hard work and innovation.
The winners of the state awards will be announced at the organization’s annual Officers & Leaders Conference at the Hot Springs Convention Center, July 19-20.
The YF&R Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers in Arkansas who have excelled in their farming/ranching operations and exhibited outstanding leadership abilities. The award is designed for an individual or couple involved in full-time production agriculture with a majority of their income subject to normal production risks.
The 2021 YF&R Achievement Award finalists are:
- James and Ashton Dixon of Hindsville (Madison County). The Dixons have six broiler houses on 44 acres where they expect to grow 5.7 million pounds of chicken in 2021. They also will remove and sell roughly 1,400 tons of litter per year between flocks.
- Brad and Tara Peacock of Bald Knob (White County). The Peacocks rent 1,000 acres, on which they grow soybeans, rice and corn. Brad also helps manage a 2,000-acre family row-crop farm with his father. The Peacocks have one son, Silas.
- Mark Welty of Lake Village (Chicot County). Welty grows soybeans and corn on 2,000 acres in southeast Arkansas. He also manages 60,000 acres in Arkansas for Oak River Farms, a farm management company. He and his wife Annie have one son, Thomas.
The winner will receive a $35,000 cash prize and a trip to the 2022 American Farm Bureau Convention in Atlanta to compete for the national award. The two runners-up receive $5,000.
The YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes the accomplishments of individuals or couples who do not earn the majority of their income through farming, but who are involved in farming and Arkansas Farm Bureau. They are evaluated on their understanding of agricultural issues, as well as leadership, achievements and involvement in Arkansas Farm Bureau and other organizations.
The 2021 Excellence in Agriculture Award finalists are:
- John Michael and Rachel Bearden of Friendship (Hot Spring County). The Beardens raise cattle, sheep, performance horses and hay along the Ouachita River. John Michael is the Malvern High School agriculture teacher, and Rachel is the Hot Spring County Extension agent. They have two children, Linden and Lexi Grace.
- John and Sara Crangle of Bismarck (Hot Spring County). The Crangles are first-generation cattle ranchers, running a small but rapidly growing 65-head cow-calf operation. John is an ag teacher and FFA advisor for the Bismarck School District, and Sara works as a registered nurse for Baptist Health. They have two daughters, Paisley and Jodie Kate.
- Jeffrey and Julie Tubbs of Jonesboro (Craighead County). The Tubbs have a small cow-calf operation and have plans to expand to a farm-to-table operation, growing local produce such as sweet corn, onions, squash, green beans, purple hull peas and tomatoes. Jeffrey works for Rabo Agrifinance as a crop insurance manager. Julie is a school counselor at Jonesboro’s Westside High School. They have two sons, Jett Ryan and Jax.
The winner of the Excellence in Agriculture Award will receive $11,000 cash prize and a trip to the 2022 American Farm Bureau Convention to compete for the national award. The two runners-up will receive $1,500.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization with almost 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.
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