Eight district Farm Families have been named in the 74th annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program, 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. 9 at the Farm Family of the Year Luncheon.
The District Farm Families of the Year are:
- East Central District: Cottonwood Farms/the Trail Family of Widener (St. Francis County) – The Trail family, a multi-generation farm family, operates Cottonwood Farms. They grow corn, cotton, soybeans and milo on 17,500 acres. The family has been farming for 36 years.
- North Central District: Dennis & Tracy Broadwater and Family of Batesville (Independence County) – The Broadwater Family has been farming for 60 years. Currently, they raise hay and cattle on 470 acres. They have two adult children, Laura and Sally, and four grandchildren.
- Northeast District: Cobb/Lyerly/Owens Farms of Lake City (Craighead County) – The Cobb/Lyerly/Owens Partnership grows corn, cotton, peanuts, soybeans and greenhouse tomatoes on 4,250 acres in addation to raising swine. The family has been farming for 50 years.
- Northwest District: Kaleb & Chrisie Smith of Gentry (Benton County) – The Smiths raise registered Brangus and commercial cattle, in addition to being co-owners of Cattlemen’s Feed, LLC. They have been farming for 11 years and have two children, Paden and Paxton.
- Southeast District: Layne & Ryane Miles of McGehee (Desha County) – Layne Miles and his wife Ryane farm on 10,700 acres where they grow irrigated corn, soybeans, cotton and rice. The Miles family has been farming for six years and have two children, Luke and Owen.
- Southwest District: Cody & Ashlee Askew of Hope (Hempstead County) – The Askews have 1,440 acres where they raise cattle and swine as well as grow hay, pecans, corn silage and timber. They have been farming for 21 years and have two sons, Levi and Eli.
- West Central District: Kent & Anita Malcom of Okolona (Clark County) – The Malcoms have been farming for 40 years. They raise Charolais cattle and hay on 959 acres, in addition to a 30-acre plant nursery. They have two adult children and a grandson.
- Western District: Foshee Family Farms/Paul & Carolin Foshee and Family of Atkins (Conway County) – The Foshees have been farming for 37 years and have more than 2,300 pecan trees in addition to pine trees on 122 acres. They have three children and six grandchildren who are involved in the farm, as well as five great grandchildren.
“What a great reflection on Arkansas agriculture,” said Rich Hillman, president of Arkansas Farm Bureau. “The impact of our farm families is immeasurable. 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 will then go on to represent Arkansas in the Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition. Arkansas has had two farmers receive the title of Southeastern Farmer of the Year, 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.
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.