Farming in NWA
Agriculture is a major industry in the United States that supplies our population with fruits & vegetables, grains, dairy, meats, and more. It’s an industry that is both necessary and constantly evolving. Did you know that there are over two million farms across the United States? About 86% of U.S. agricultural products are produced on family farms and ranches. The top 3 farm products are cattle, corn, and soybeans. Information from American Farm Bureau Federation
On a local level, Northwest Arkansas has approximately 1.2 million acres of farms across Benton, Carroll, Madison, & Washington counties. There are 6,613 total farms in our area with 231 farms growing fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
To recognize the farm families in Arkansas, the Arkansas Farm Bureau established the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program. This program does a number of things including-
Give recognition and encouragement to farm families who are doing an outstanding job on their farm and in their community
Recognize the importance of agriculture in the community and state
Disseminate information on improved farm practices and management
These families are selected based on the efficiency of production, conservation of energy and resources, leadership in agricultural and community affairs, and home and farm management. A team of judges visits each family’s farm to determine the 8 District Farm Families of the Year and then the State Farm Family of the year is announced at the end of the year. Here are Northwest Arkansas’ 2022 County Farm Families:
Benton County- Jim and Michele Pigeon
Washington County- Tim and Tyler Whorton
Madison County- Brent Hargis Family, Ozark Mountain Produce
At the end of each year, a State Farm Family of the Year is selected to then go on and represent Arkansas at the Swisher Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year.
It’s important to support, encourage, and stimulate farming and agriculture practices not only in our region, but across America. There is always work to be done to improve upon processes in place, but it seems that Northwest Arkansas is taking a step in the right direction. There will be positive impacts on this industry by making information, technology, and assistance more accessible to farmers, their families, and consumers. One way that leaders in Northwest Arkansas are trying to increase that accessibility is through a new project backed by the Walton Family Foundation- the Market Center of the Ozarks. Information and tools for farming will be more accessible to farmers, food entrepreneurs, and Northwest Arkansas’ residents through this new development. The 45,000 square foot facility will be centrally located in Springdale and offer crop aggregation capabilities, commercial kitchens, community spaces for learning, and more. To learn more about the Walton Family Foundation’s vision for this new center click here.
Images of the Market Center of the Ozarks provided by the Walton Family Foundation