Josh and Jack Brand with Double J Cattle Ranch in Imboden have been named the 2020 Lawrence County Farm Family of the Year.
Josh and Heather Brand and Jack and Helen Brand have been ranching for 16 years, though they have been involved with cattle as a hobby much longer than that.
“It started when I was a little kid,” Josh said. “Dad was able to buy 10 or 20 head. We never had more than 50 head until about 18 years ago.”
The Brands also operate Brand Custom Hauling, LLC, in Bono, a business Jack has operated for 47 years, now joined by his son.
Both operations involve many members of the Brand family.
“My nephew helps out tremendously, as well as Momma and my wife,” Josh said. “My cousin and aunt also work in the office. It is family oriented up here and down there.”
Josh said the success of Brand Custom Hauling has helped provide the opportunity to have the Double J Cattle Ranch.
“Now we have 500 momma cows year round,” he said. “We also keep 150 to 200 yearlings. It’s a dream. I’ve always wanted to do it.”
Starting with 200 acres of owned land, the operation now includes 1,120 acres of owned land and an additional 1,000 acres of rented land.
“This past year we just bought another 600 acres at Smithville,” Josh said. “We have cattle there too and another barn.”
The Brands raise hay on 1,000 acres and have added 10 acres of corn to be ground and used for livestock feed. They plan to expand their corn crop, which is harvested using an antique McCormick one-row corn picker.
They market their livestock through the local sale barn, and their plans for the future include increasing the size of their herd.
Josh said some goals for the operation are to raise and breed the best cattle the industry has to offer, to continuously cull the herd to keep it full of fertile and problem-free cattle and to limit the breeding and calving season to 90 days or less.
“Double J is a second generation family farm that started as a hobby and has grown exponentially,” Josh said.
The farm still has its share of hobbies, though. The Brands also raise hogs, currently having eight sows, and chickens, with approximately 75 Cinnamon Queens and Rhode Island Reds.
Josh also raises beagles, border collies and blood hounds, a project he enjoys doing with daughters, Natalie, nine, and Nicole, six.
“He and the girls love to hunt rabbits and train their border collies to work their cattle,” Heather said.
The Brands are members of Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church at Annieville. They are also active in the Arkansas Cattleman’s Association, the American Angus Association, The American Hereford Association and the American Brachman Breeders Association.