Jacksons chosen as Benton County Farm Family
Jeremy and Michelle Jackson, with their children Wyatt (13) and Emily (10), were presented with the Benton County Farm Family of the Year Award May 1 at their farm on Aubrey Long Road in Highfill. The award was presented as a part of the 71st annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program.
The purposes of the program are to “give recognition and encouragement to farm families who are doing an outstanding job on their farm and in their community,” to recognize “the importance of agriculture in this country and the state of Arkansas,” and “to disseminate information on improved farm practices and farm management,” according to Jim Singleton, chairman of the Benton County Farm Family selection committee.
Singleton said “the goal of the committee is to select a family” which utilizes “improved farming practices, plays an active role in the community … and best represents Benton County agriculture.” He said the Jackson family certainly “personifies those attributes.”
Jeremy and Michelle Jackson own and operate Jacksons Double J. Their two children, Wyatt and Emily, also help on the farm. Jeremy had pursued a career as a firefighter and was fire chief in Highfill but later retired to work on the farm and have more time with his family.
Jacksons Double J is a Brangus seedstock operation. The primary goal is to produce bulls for other cattle operations. Jacksons Double J also owns and operates two Tyson hen houses that produce about 3 million eggs a year. Jeremy and Michelle own half interest and operate Eagle Corner Farms with Jeremy’s parents, Steve and Debra Jackson. Eagle Corner is a Tyson broiler operation that produces close to 9 million pounds of chicken annually.
Jeremy’s parents also operate a 100-cow commercial Brangus farm. Jeremy and his dad work all the farms together daily. Michelle’s parents, Fenton and Judy McDonald, live next to the cattle farm and help with the children.
Jeremy and his family are members of Centerton First Baptist Church. Wyatt and Emily attend Life Way Christian School and are heavily involved in 4-H. Michelle is also a financial analyst on a consulting basis with JB Hunt.
“We’ve been farming in Benton County for at least five generations,” Jackson said Tuesday.
Jackson said his father bought a 100-cow dairy operation in 1979 and began to transition to a beef cattle operation when he was in high school. He went to college and spent time with the Fayetteville Fire Department and as fire chief for Highfill.
“I came home about six years ago,” he said. “I wanted to be at home with my family, have more time to raise my kids and be with my wife.”
Jackson said the family’s operation now includes about 240 acres, where it is likely to remain. He said the growth in Benton County is raising the cost of land, which is squeezing farms and farmers.
“There’s no way for a young person to get into farming,” he said. “The average age of our farmers is in the 60s.”
The Farm Family of the Year is a statewide program. Each county has a selection committee. Important factors in choosing the winner are technology, farm efficiency and civic involvement.
Benton County judge Barry Moehring read a proclamation honoring the Jacksons, saying the Jackson farming operation is an example to others in the state in producing efficiently, conserving energy and resources.
A letter from U.S. Congressman Steve Womack congratulating the Jackson family was read by Jeff Thacker.
State representative Dan Douglas read a citation from the Arkansas House of Representatives at the presentation. Douglas said it was nice to see a young family recognized in this way because it is often the older generations which own and operate family farms.
Jeremy Jackson said he and his family were truly honored to be chosen as ,Benton County Farm Family of the Year.
Each of the state’s 75 counties has a selection committee that chooses a farm family to represent the county at the district level. Eight district winners will be considered for the statewide award.
Benton County leads the state in beef cattle and poultry production, according to Johnny Gunsaulis, Benton County Cooperative Extension Service agent. Gunsaulis said the agriculture sector provides about $500 million annually to the county’s economy.
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Jeremy Jackson, along with his wife Michelle, son Wyatt and daughter Emily, received the Benton County Farm Family of the Year Award from Jim Singleton, chairman of the selection committee at ceremonies at the Jackson Farm on Tuesday, May 1.