Jack­sons cho­sen as Ben­ton County Farm Fam­ily

The Weekly Vista - - News - RANDY MOLL rmoll@nwadg.com Tom Sis­som con­tributed to this ar­ti­cle.

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.

• • •

Randy Moll/West­side Ea­gle Ob­server

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.

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