PARAGOULD — Allen Davis is well-known as the recently retired Greene County Extension Agency staff chair. He has more recently become known as the incoming District 7 justice of the peace on the Greene County Quorum Court.
And now he has another title — head of the Greene County Farm Family of the Year for 2020.
The Arkansas Farm Bureau announced the 75 county winners on May 4.
“I was really surprised, of course,” Davis said. “And honored.”
Davis noted with irony that for the preceding 38 years (in the county Extension Agency) he had been involved in the selection of the county’s Farm Family. “But I never dreamed I’d be it,” he said.
Davis said the operation includes Karen, his wife of 41 years, and all four of their children plus their spouses. “We don’t have a large operation,” he said, “but the family and the kids are all involved.”
The farm consists of a total of 315 acres of pasture land owned by the family, plus another 170 rented acres. Davis said his operation includes 50 to 60 head of cows and their calves.
Daughter Katie Leatherman and husband Jordan also raise show hogs for nationwide sale online, having relocated their operation to Greene County in 2018. Davis said the Leathermans have about 50 sows. “They have a show barn by the house,” he said.
Katie and Jordan also have about 120 baby pigs. Davis said they would eventually be sold for showing at county and state fairs, the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, Mo., and the North American Livestock Show in Louisville, Ky.
Son Brandon Davis is a crop consultant and in addition to the 70 acres he contributes to the cattle operation, farms 220 acres of soybeans and grain sorghum (milo) in Greene County.
Son Jason Davis works for the state Cooperative Extension Service as a chemical application specialist. He also owns about 100 acres of timberland near Melbourne (which of course does not count as part of the Davis’ family’s operation); Davis said Jason keeps bees and raises blueberries on the land.
Son Blake Davis is an Agricultural Judging coach at Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kan.
“All our children are married and they all have college degrees,” Davis. He added he and Karen also have five grandchildren.
When the two of them were married on Dec. 1, 1978, Davis said, they owned no land themselves. “We both grew up on farms,” he said. “So we bought some land, and have been fortunate to accumulate more over the last 41 years.”
The first piece of land the Davises bought, he said, was a 13-acre tract on Greene 729 Road adjacent to the farm’s main operation.
Davis said his herd includes crossbred Angus and crossbred Hereford cattle, plus a registered Angus bull and a polled Hereford bull.
In addition to cattle, Davis said he and Karen had raised sheep from 1990 until 2004. “We sold to the entire country,” he said, “kind of like Katie except it wasn’t online.” He also noted the close involvement with all four children in 4-H as they were growing up.