Jeremy and Magen Allen of Bismarck (Hot Spring County), owners of JA Farms, were named the 2023 Arkansas Farm Family of the Year.
JA Farms is a diversified enterprise, including a feed business, trucking company and retail farm store in addition to the cattle and hay operations. The Allens have been farming 28 years and have four children: Lane, Brody, Evelyn and Eli.
Since 1947, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program has helped to recognize outstanding farm families throughout the state.
Selection criteria for the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year includes efficiency of production, conservation of energy and resources, leadership in agricultural and community affairs, home and farm improvement and home and farm management. The objective of the Farm Family of the Year program is to recognize farmers who excel at production, education and giving back to their communities.
“For nearly three decades, our family has worked to build an agricultural operation that serves our family’s needs and the needs of our community,” said Magen Allen. “The privilege of representing our district and now, our state as the Farm Family of the Year will be written into the pages of our family’s heritage and history as one of our proudest moments. This is truly the honor of a lifetime.”
JA Farms Cattle is the base operation, focused on the 300 head cow/calf herd and the hay operation. JA Farms Feed blends more than 20 custom mixes for customers and JA Farms Trucking primarily serves the feed business needs. JA Farms Feed & Mercantile is the newest element of the enterprise and was opened in 2022 after Bismarck lost its only hardware store. The retail outlet carries JA Farms Feed and supplies for a variety of applications including hardware, plumbing, tack, gardening and many others.
As Arkansas Farm Family of the Year, the Allens will compete with nine other state winners in the Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year program in Moultrie, Ga.
Now in its 76th year, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year is one of the longest-running farm family recognition programs of its type in the United States. It begins with selection of the top farm family in each county. Then, eight district Farm Families of the Year are selected.
The Allens were the West Central District Farm Family of the Year. The other district winners included:
- Brandon and Samantha Cain of Griffithville (White County), East Central District
- Adam and Darla McJunkins of Dennard (Van Buren County), North Central District
- Allen and Debbie Donner of Manila (Mississippi County), Northeast District
- Tracy and Julie Leonard of Huntington (Sebastian County), Northwest District
- Mike and Darlene Myers of Eudora (Chicot County), Southeast District
- Mark and Judy Anderson of Hope (Hempstead County), Southwest District
- John R. and Dian Evans and John H. and Lisa Evans of Conway (Faulkner County), Western District
Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas are sponsors of the program. Additional program support is provided by the Arkansas Agriculture Department, Arkansas Department of Career Education, the Arkansas Press Association, the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development. View photos from the event here.