FRONT PORCH Winter 2014
Watching for Smokes A history of Arkansasâ€™ fire lookout towers
Arkansas Farm and Ranch Families Provideâ€Ś 24% of Arkansas Jobs
Safe, affordable food
75% of Wildlife Habitat
Former Miss Arkansas and Spokesperson for the Arkansas Foundation for Agriculture
Wildlife Habitat While Protecting the Environment
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Winter 2014 C
Matters by Randy Veach
President, Arkansas Farm Bureau
I don’t believe I saw all 38 million people
who live in the metropolitan area of Tokyo,
was taken care of much quicker than 90 days,
but I saw a lot of them. And for someone
and that other countries had lifted similar
from Lost Cane, seeing the world’s most
bans much sooner than 90 days. We were
populated metro area was pretty amazing,
able to help them understand that Japan
even after having previously been to mega-
could have also lifted the ban sooner.
cities Seoul, Mexico City, Shanghai and
On the Cover — Smoke-like fog shrouds the Rich Mountain fire tower atop the tallest peak in Arkansas’ Ouachita Mountains. The first wooden tower on the mountain was erected in 1923 as part of a U.S. Forest Service nationwide effort to suppress forest fires on national forests. Photo by Gregg Patterson Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Watching for Smokes Keith Sutton
12 Rural Reflections Photo Contest Winners 3 Farm Bureau Matters
Randy Veach Thinking Out Loud Rodney Baker
18 20 22 24
to help them understand that the problem
While in Tokyo, we also visited several local supermarkets to see how U.S. beef,
I was in Japan, along with vice president
poultry and rice are promoted. Japanese
Rich Hillman of Carlisle, state board member
consumers spend a significant portion of
Tom Jones of Pottsville and staff members
their disposable income on food, and they
Matt King and Steve Eddington, in late
pay particular attention to the origin of their
October meeting with government officials,
food products. I am happy to report that the
import/export companies and agri-business
Japanese have an attraction for U.S. meat
interests to promote Arkansas agricultural
products. The export promotion efforts for
products, as well as learn about the local
beef, in fact, have been successful since last
January, when the country lifted seven-year-
Japan is the United States’ fourth-largest
old restrictions on meat from cows older
market for U.S. agricultural products, the
than 20 months. Sales for U.S. beef were
world’s third largest economy and is the
expected to top $1 billion in 2013.
largest importer of U.S. beef and corn as well
We also took advantage of one of Japan’s
as a significant importer of poultry, grain
high-speed “bullet” trains to travel west to
sorghum, wheat and pork. In many ways,
Kyoto. Outside of the former capital city, we
Japan sets the trend for trade in Asia, so
visited the Oumi Sonoda Farm, one of the
reaffirming relationships with the Japanese
country’s largest farms with 350 acres under
P. Allen Smith Land & People Ken Moore Do It Yourself Gregg Patterson Health & Safety Dina Bates In the Kitchen Tara Johnson
was important work. Our efforts were made
cultivation. The farm grossed more than $1
easier by an existing friendship with Kiichi
million (U.S.) on that acreage, growing rice,
Narita, deputy director of the international
wheat and soybeans. On his farm, Sonoda
affairs department for the country’s Ministry
Koichi grew, stored, milled and bagged his
of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF),
private brand of rice, which he sold directly
who has a strong understanding of our
to consumers, supermarkets, restaurants and
farmers and ranchers after we hosted him in
other retail outlets.
For address changes, contact:
Narita, we met with two of Japan’s principal
gave us an opportunity to further build
negotiators in the ongoing TPP (Trans-Pacific
relationships with a major trading partner.
Partnership) talks, of which the United States
It is through efforts like that that we are
is a participant.
better able to understand each country’s
14 Taste Arkansas
16 Garden Home Design
Arkansas a couple years ago. Along with Mr.
Rhonda Whitley at email@example.com Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation Farm Bureau Center P.O. Box 31 • Little Rock, AR 72203-0031 Fax: (501) 228-1557 Please provide membership number.
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The timing of our trip was advantageous.
The seven-day trip was productive and
strengths, and also meet Arkansas Farm
A 90-day ban on Arkansas poultry products
Bureau’s organizational mission to promote
– brought about due to a single case of avian
the consumption of U.S. and Arkansas
influenza in Scott County – had just been
lifted. We were able to discuss with MAFF the
God bless you and your families. God
actions taken to resolve the influenza issue
bless our farmers and ranchers. God bless
and the safety protocols in place. We worked
Arkansas Farm Bureau.
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Front Porch Arkansas Farm Bureau © 2014 Official membership publication of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation. Front Porch is mailed to more than 192,000 member-families. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Included in membership dues.
Arkansas Farm Bureau Officers: President Randy Veach Manila Vice President Rich Hillman Carlisle Secretary/Treasurer Joe Christian Jonesboro Executive Vice President Rodney Baker Little Rock Directors: Troy Buck, Alpine Jon Carroll, Moro Terry Dabbs, Stuttgart Sherry Felts, Joiner Mike Freeze, England Bruce Jackson, Lockesburg Tom Jones, Pottsville Johnny Loftin, El Dorado Gene Pharr, Lincoln Rusty Smith, Des Arc Allen Stewart, Mena Leo Sutterfield, Mountain View Joe Thrash, Conway
Thinking Out Loud
by RODNEY BAKER
Executive Vice President, Arkansas Farm Bureau
As we enter a new year, optimism
and what’s going on with a particular issue.
illuminates the road ahead. However, we’re
Throughout our history, these member
often reflective about the road just traveled.
leaders are the ones who’ve provided the
I’m optimistic about our future, and I’m
guidance and the emphasis for what the
convinced that our successes of the past year
whole organization does.
spring from the same source – our strength as an organization.
We also have structural strength because of our policies, the written words that
What makes Farm Bureau strong?
guide our day-to-day work and actions.
I’ve always thought that our greatest
We’re unique because of the time invested
strength – what makes us truly strong as
by our membership at the grassroots level
an organization – is our membership. Our
to develop our policies. There are many
roots go back 79 years to a group of farm
organizations that claim to be grassroots
leaders, who decided to start a membership
driven in their decision making, however,
organization, and it has grown and been
few truly are. Our more than 450 resolutions
successful. Invariably when it comes to the
that recently came through our resolutions
big issues, the ones most difficult to deal
process are proof that Farm Bureau truly is a
with, it’s the membership that makes the
grassroots, membership-driven organization.
We’re also strong, because we have a
At times we’ve had to ask our
great staff. It’s important to have a staff
membership to take a position on an
that keeps up with the issues, knows how
issue with their legislators or members
to communicate effectively about them
of Congress. And when they do and are
and has good working relations with
knowledgeable about and are invested in the
legislators like our Governmental Affairs
issue, it makes all the difference in the world.
department does. The communication of
That was the case during the legislative
issues to a diverse membership requires a
session earlier last year when we successfully
strong Public Relations department that is
got sales tax exemptions for energy use
constantly strengthening the way we get
in animal agriculture and also sales tax
our agriculture advocacy message out to
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exemptions for hay wrap and cotton bale
the public. Our Organization and Member
Programs brings what we do to the county
by our members is a huge strength for
face to face with our member leaders.
Front Porch (USPS 019-879) is published bi-monthly by the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation, 10720 Kanis Rd., Little Rock, AR 72211. Periodicals Postage paid at Little Rock, Ark. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Front Porch, P.O. Box 31, Little Rock, AR 72203. Issue #90.
our organization. This is a major reason
Our Commodity and Regulatory Affairs
why we’re successful. We’re blessed with
department is a great asset to our members
members who are leaders back in their
with the programs and the expertise it has
home communities, whether it’s on the
to help our members understand complex
boards of other agriculture organizations,
ag issues, ag markets and regulatory
elected office, school boards, churches or
Ex Officio Josh Cureton, Jonesboro Brent Lassiter, Newport Janice Marsh, McCrory Executive Editor: Steve Eddington Editor: Gregg Patterson Contributing Writers: Ken Moore, Keith Sutton, Chris Wilson Research Assistant: Brenda Gregory
Publisher assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation reserves the right to accept or reject all advertising requests.
The quality of leadership displayed
other civic groups. These are the people who
level, strengthening our success by working
So we are blessed with strong
are opinion makers in their communities.
membership, strong leadership, a strong
These are the people that folks back in the
policy-development process and a strong
counties and in their communities look up
staff to carry it out. All of this makes the road
to, to know what’s going on at the capitol,
ahead one of optimism.
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FOlK School March 17-21
earn traditional Ozark music, crafts and gardening in the beautiful and relaxed atmosphere of the Arkansas Ozarks. This week allows you to immerse yourself in the crafts, herbal studies and
Individuals or groups may design their own workshops with our herbalists, artisans and musicians during the regular season. Contact the park to plan your event.
music you enjoy. There’s a whole lot more than just great classes going on during Folk School. Evening tours of local artists studios; movie night showing videos of the original craftspeople; and a pickin’ down in the cabins recreation room are just a few of the evening activities. Sign on to OzarkFolkCenter.com for classes being offered and reserve your spot today.
M O U N T A I N V I E W, A R K A N S A S
Cabin Reservations: 800-264-3655 • Information: 870-269-3851 • OzarkFolkCenter.com
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F ro n t P or c h
a r fb.co m
Watching for Smokes A history of Arkansas’ fire lookout towers Story and photos by Keith Sutton
Eyes in the sky Mattie Robertson (left) worked 10 years in this Clark County fire tower near Alpine, earning a citation for outstanding achievement in fire prevention. Her son, Joe, (right) worked as a forest ranger and often dressed as Smoky Bear doing forest fire prevention programs.
In 1993, I climbed to the top of the Alpine lookout tower in
chilling me, but I stayed awhile, captivated by the breathtaking view
Clark County. I stumbled across the abandoned, 110-foot-tall,
of the Ouachita Mountains. Looking out the windows, I could see for
steel structure while driving to visit my fiancée, Theresa, and was
miles in every direction, including a view of my future in-laws’ home
possessed to see the view from the top.
a mile away in Chalybeate Valley.
For me, who has a fear of heights, the climb to the tower’s high
I imagined I was the lookout person who once worked here each
metal cab was frightening. I gripped the hand rails tightly until I
day, scanning the surrounding forest for wisps of smoke in a never-
entered the observation room. It was smaller than I expected — 7
ending vigil to detect forest fires. I could not have known it then, but
feet by 7 feet. The inside was empty except for broken glass littering
in two decades, I would sit in that person’s home and listen as she
the floor. Vandals had shot out all 72 panes — 18 per side — on the
told stories about working in the Alpine tower high above the rest of
cab’s swing-out windows. A cold wind rushed through the openings,
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Tall tower At 120 feet, Crossroads Fire Tower near Hamburg is the tallest tower ever built in Arkansas. Recently renovated, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mattie Robertson After marrying, I asked my mother-in-law, Helen, if she knew people who had worked in the tower. “Sure,” she said. “One still lives just up the road. Her name is Mattie Robertson.” Several years passed before I called upon Mrs. Mattie, a petite, energetic 88-year-old who didn’t fit my image of a fire-tower lookout. Her son Joe worked as the Clark County forest ranger from 1973 to 1985. He welcomed me into the family home just a few miles from the tower, and I listened as he and his mother described their work for the Arkansas Forestry Commission. “I got my start through Joe,” Mattie said. “He had worked as county forest ranger two years when the tower job came open and I hired on. They didn’t give me formal training. Joe taught me what I needed to know.” That was 1975, and for the next 10 years, Mrs. Mattie worked in the tower, climbing the steps to the top each morning for an eight-hour shift. “The tower was 110 feet high, and there were exactly 110 steps,” she told me. “I counted them often enough, I should know.” She carried her lunch and a radio and rarely came down until her shift ended. “I did a lot of different jobs for the Forestry Commission: tree planting, helping with controlled burns and even flying with a pilot to look for bug spots [insect damage],” she said. “Joe and I also visited schools and fairs to talk about forest-fire prevention. He was Smokey Bear to all the local kids — had a costume he wore wherever we went. But my main job was being in that tower watching for smokes.” “Watching for smokes” meant scanning the surrounding woodlands for tendrils of smoke indicating a fire, and with a view extending 20 miles in all directions, there was plenty of watching to do. When smoke was seen, Mattie would radio a fellow lookout in another tower (there were three in Clark County), and they would use special instruments to pinpoint the fire and send a crew to put it out. “Back then, fire problems were a lot worse than now,” she said. “On average, we probably reported 50 fires each year, sometimes several in one day if conditions were bad. “What I did was very important,” Mattie said. “The job of all the fire lookouts was important. It was not only for protection of the timberlands, but for protection of the people who lived in the timberlands, too.” Mattie ended her career with the Forestry Commission in 1985. Joe nearly died that year while fighting a fire in Dallas County. The burning trees had recently been sprayed with chemicals to kill hardwoods. When Joe and two fellow firefighters inhaled the noxious fumes, they became extremely ill and sustained serious neurological damage. After an extended recovery period, all three were put on permanent disability, and Mattie decided she would quit her job to take care of Joe. As it turned out, lookout towers throughout Arkansas and the nation were about to close anyway.
continued on page 10
F r o nt P o rch
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Putting your soybean checkoff dollars to work, improving sustainability and profitability of soybean farmers in Arkansas.
Congratulations to this yearâ€™s Race for 100 winners! Nelson Crow
Farm: Dumas (Desha County) Soybean variety: Pioneer 93Y92 Date barrier was broken: Aug. 30 Bushels per acre: 100.82
Matt & Sherrie Kay Miles
Farm: McGehee (Desha County) Soybean variety: Asgrow 4632 Date barrier was broken: Sep. 13 Bushels per acre: 107.63
Farm: Atkins (Pope County) Soybean variety: Pioneer 94Y70 variety Date barrier was broken: Sep. 27 Bushels per acre: 104.83
Tree house lookout Before fire towers, lookout personnel often sat on platforms in tall trees to watch for fires. The â€œLook Seeâ€? tree in Coleman is the last lookout tree still standing in Arkansas.
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The beginning and the end
To the south, in Ashley County, the Crossroads Fire Tower
The U.S. Forest Service was created in 1905 to oversee
rises high above the flat south Arkansas timberlands. No taller
management of the country’s woodlands. Five years later, a fire
lookout has ever been built in Arkansas. This one, erected by
called the Big Blowup burned 3 million acres in Washington,
the CCC in 1935, originally rose 100 feet, but 20 additional
Idaho and Montana. Eighty-seven people died in what is believed
feet were added later to increase its range of view. The addition
to be the largest forest fire in recorded U.S. history.
gave the tower a unique “bulged out” profile. The tower was
A few fire lookout towers existed before 1910, operated
closed in 1985, added to the National Register of Historic
primarily to protect towns and industrial sites. After the Big
Places in 2006 and restored by the city of Hamburg in 2008. It
Blowup, the Forest Service built more in response to a new rule:
can be seen on Highway 133 north of Crossett.
“All fires must be extinguished by 10 a.m. the following morning.”
Rich Mountain Fire Tower in Polk County may be the only
Early fire detection and suppression suddenly became priorities,
remaining tower in Arkansas where visitors can get a view
and permanent towers sprung up nationwide to replace the tall
from the top. Volunteers give tours, weather permitting, on
trees and mountaintop tent shelters used by earlier lookouts.
weekend afternoons between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps
There’s a beautiful view of Arkansas and Oklahoma from the
built 3,100 additional towers, including many in the Ozark,
58-foot tower atop 2,681-foot-high Rich Mountain, the highest
Ouachita and St. Francis national forests in Arkansas. After the
peak in Ouachita National Forest. Constructed in 1952 and
Arkansas Forestry Commission was established in 1931, it, too,
used for fire detection until 1975, the tower is 10 miles west of
built towers and manned them to prevent and suppress wildfires.
Mena on Talimena Scenic Byway (Highway 88).
It’s difficult to determine exactly how many lookout towers
While driving through the state, you can see many other
once stood throughout Arkansas. Various sources put the number
lookout towers, as well. Some sit alongside major roadways.
somewhere between 121 and 173. What we can say with certainty
For example, on Arkansas Highway 27 in Pike County,
is fewer than half still stand today, perhaps as few as 40 or less.
between Murfreesboro and Kirby, one can see for miles a tall
The towers were closed one after another as use of the forests grew,
lookout on top of Tower Mountain. Behind the Buffalo River
road systems expanded, and citizen reports of fire began to equal
Outfitters store on U.S. 65 near St. Joe (Searcy County) is a
reports by lookouts. With increased aerial surveillance and, later,
tower with a smiley face painted on the cab. Just off Arkansas
satellite surveillance and the advent of cell phones, the use of
1 in St. Charles (Arkansas County), in the White River
lookout towers diminished.
National Wildlife Refuge compound, is a tower owned by the
Today, some lookout towers in other states remain in service.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. A tower is visible from U.S. 167
Having human eyes to detect smoke and call in a fire report still
just south of Sheridan (Grant County), another on Arkansas 25
remains, in some cases, the best way to stop fires before they
near Guy (watch for the big water tower it sits by) and another
spread. In Arkansas, however, the towers no longer are used for
on a ridge north of the Arkansas 25 bypass in Heber Springs.
their original purpose. Many have been dismantled. Most that
To see most towers, you’ll have to venture far off the
remain exist only because they provide convenient places to attach
beaten path. There’s one at University of Arkansas’ Pine
radio antennas used by government agencies. But the towers still
Tree Experimental Station in St. Francis County, another off
standing are iconic reminders of forest management’s early days.
Highway 51 east of Okolona (Clark County) and Horn Lookout Tower on Lee County 217 in the St. Francis National Forest.
Looking for lookouts
Some towers have been placed off limits to protect historical structures, including two on the National Register of Historic
In the Drew County community of Coleman, at the southwest
Places: Tall Peak Tower, an unusual stone and wood structure
corner of Arkansas Highway 83 and Pleasant Springs Road, you
built in 1938 in the Ouachita NF near Mena, and the 110-foot-
can see the Look See Tree, a huge white oak used as a forest-fire
tall Sugarloaf Fire Tower built in 1937 in the Ozark NF near
lookout during the 1930s and 1940s. The surrounding area is more
densely wooded now, restricting the view, but when the tree was
The Alpine tower cannot be climbed now, but you can
in use, lookouts could see all the way to Dumas, 20 miles distant.
drive right to the foot of it and look up at the tiny cab where
Look closely and you’ll see two rows of iron climbing pegs driven
Mattie Robertson spent 10 years of her life “watching for
into the trunk to provide access to a wooden viewing platform,
smokes.” From Highway 8 in the Clark County community of
and a white porcelain insulator from a hand-crank telephone
Alpine, turn south on Alpine Road and continue to its junction
system used for emergency communication. No other lookout
with Skyline Dr. The tower is on the left, a fragile reminder
trees still stand in Arkansas. The Look See Tree was added to the
of a bygone era when the sharp eyes of lookouts like Mattie
National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
Robertson were Arkansas’ first line of defense against forest fires.
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RuralReflections Contest winners take great photos depicting rural life.
Honorable Mention: This beautiful scene was shot by Sheena Hare of Conway. She calls it “Sunset & Hay Bales.”
Kelly Peebles of McCrory is the Adult division and Grand Prize winner of Front Porch magazine’s 5th Annual Rural Reflections Photo Contest. Her photo depicts son, Pearson, resting on a palette of seed while watching his dad planting.
Honorable Mention: This classic shot called “Chickens at the fair” was taken by Ginny Hulsey of Alpena.
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Honorable Mention: Susan Pfiefler of Oark took this photo of the â€œsecond hay cutting of the season ready for the barn.â€? Honorable Mention: Randi McDonald of Lewisville took this photo of Hunter and a calf named Sadie Mae. Seems there might be an argument brewing over that bottle.
Honorable Mention: Annette Rowe took this photo while on a drive with her husband on a back road near Gentry. Front Porch
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Taste Arkansas From farm to table
compiled by Tara Johnson
Reasons I love to cook I cook at least one meal almost
every day. Sometimes I’m cooking recipes for the Taste Arkansas blog. Sometimes I make recipes just for me. Other times I’m cooking for friends and family. I recently realized I’ve made more than 250 recipes for the Tara Johnson
Taste Arkansas blog. Even though I’ve made all of these recipes, it’s hard to wrap my mind around it. But I love to cook, so these thoughts made me reflect on why I love it so much. The primary reason I love cooking
is I grew up cooking. Ever since I can remember, I’ve helped my mom stir cookie dough, mash potatoes, flip
Look online Check out the recipe for these Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies on page 24. And for more than 250 recipes, including Tara’s cheese ball recipe, go to tastearkansas.com.
pancakes and taste test whatever was cooked. I watched my mom and dad
to kick it up a notch and make the
cook every night, constantly asking
most flavorful scrambled eggs ever. I
questions about why they did this or
love using my kitchen skills to make
that. At 10, I entered a 4-H chicken-
cooking contest and was first runner-up
Finally, I love cooking, because
by half a point. I was hooked. Now, I
I like to control what I’m eating.
create recipes myself and attribute that
Nutrition is important and, although
skill to spending those great times in
I do indulge in decadent recipes,
the kitchen with my parents.
I like knowing – most of the time
An obvious reason I love cooking is
– I’m eating a well-balanced meal
I love food. I think about it constantly.
without a ton of salt, preservatives or
I’ve always had a good appetite, and I
hidden extra calories.
enjoy trying new things. There’s only
It’s important to remember why
one food I don’t like – coleslaw. We
we began doing something in the
don’t get along. It’s a texture thing.
first place. I started cooking because
Other than that, I’ll try anything and
my parents cooked. I continue
probably like it.
cooking, because I love food and
Another reason I love cooking is I
happy. The kitchen is always a place
my recipes. If attending a tailgate or
of enjoyment, great conversation,
potluck, my friends insist I bring my
family, friends and good food.
cheese ball. And I’m almost always in charge of the kitchen if it’s having
Tara Johnson is a contributor to
dinner for friends. Cooking is an art
Arkansas Farm Bureau’s Taste Arkansas
form even if I’m making scrambled
blog. For recipes, videos and farmer
eggs for a quick breakfast. I’m going
profiles visit tastearkansas.com today.
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2. When chopping herbs, toss a little salt onto the cutting board. It keeps the herbs from flying around. 3. Recipes are only a guideline, not the Bible. Feel comfortable replacing ingredients with similar ingredients you like.
making my friends and family
love wowing friends and family with
1. Cook pasta 1 minute less than the package instructions, and cook it the rest of the way in the pan with sauce.
ORKSHOP POULTRY W APRIL
MOSS MOUNTAIN FARM ticket price $90 per person
IN ROLAND, ARKANSAS
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Garden Home Design Me and my farm: Early signs of spring
Taste and see the early signs of spring by P. Allen Smith
There’s something truly special
about this time of year. The hustle,
of promise is about to take to shape. When it comes to blooms,
While I might be partial to
bustle and cheer of the holiday
daffodils are one of my first thoughts
daffodils, they aren’t the only signs
season have passed. We’ve enjoyed
when I think of spring. This is
that spring is in air. The branches
the chill of winter and time spent
especially true at my farm where
of forsythia, witch hazel and quince
around the fire, and — if you’re like
we’ve planted 300,000 (yes, I truly
all bloom as winter is drawing to a
me — you’re ready to get outdoors
love daffodils) bulbs to create a
close. If you’re looking for a bloom
and into the garden. As winter
blanket of yellow to cover the land
that is not only attractive but also
wanes, I keep a close eye out for the
around my home in the spring.
enlivens your sense of smell, seek out
signs of spring approaching in my
Daffodils are one of the first plants
winter honeysuckle. These fragrant
garden retreat at Moss Mountain
to bloom, and I love how their
blooms can transport you to a sunny
Farm. Both blooms and garden
cheerful shape and color seem to
day in no time.
delicacies remind me a new year full
remind us to perk up and welcome
Signs of spring Daffodils are one of the first signs of the hope of spring’s arrival. If weather conditions warm enough, these flowers can bloom as early as late January in Arkansas.
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You also may have noticed these
blooms aren’t newcomers to our farm’s landscape. I think the nostalgia of seeing a specific bloom year after year also plays a key role in alerting us to the start of a new season. Perhaps we saw winter honeysuckle while riding our bikes at our family’s homestead, or we may recall sunny daffodils popping up in our mother’s garden. Whatever the reason, if these blooms signal spring in your mind, I encourage you to plant a few of your own to enjoy next year. At my farm, flowering plants aren’t the only ones indicating the arrival of spring. What’s growing in the vegetable garden is equally important. I love to enjoy spring delicacies such
Living salad bowl Get an early start on enjoying garden produce by planting lettuce in easy-tomove pots.
as fiddlehead greens, mushrooms, asparagus and leeks. Just as the blooms of spring hold a bit of nostalgia, so do these vegetables. You’ll begin to see them appearing in your garden (and hopefully on your menu) around the Jane Colclasure
same time you take note of spring blooms. Filling your plate with these vegetables while at their peak can take you back to a spring family gathering in no time. Just like the blooms, I encourage you to plant these seasonal delicacies and enjoy the goodness of spring!
Grow your own “living salad bowls”
If you’re ready to welcome spring with your own green thumb but want to start with a small project, I suggest a
1. Fill your container with soil to about six inches below the top.
lettuce container garden. Follow these three quick steps and
2. Plant the lettuce in the container, and then fill the
you’ll have the base for a delicious spring salad in no time. In
pot with additional soil, leaving about one inch of space
fact, I like to refer to these containers as “living salad bowls.”
between the soil and the top of the container to allow
Here’s what you’ll need:
you to water easily.
• 18-inch container with saucer (I love using traditional
3. Place the container in a spot that receives full sun
round terra cotta planters with pre-drilled drainage
to partial shade, and keep the soil consistently moist.
When it’s time to harvest, cut the leaves above the crown.
• two six packs of lettuce plants (I suggest trying arugula, oakleaf or my favorite, buttercrunch.)
If you continue to care for your lettuce, you should have a new crop to harvest every few weeks.
• potting soil (with a slow-release fertilizer)
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Land&People Farm Family of the Year
Desha County family honored
by Ken Moore
The Gill family of McGehee is the
2013 Arkansas Farm Family of the Year. Andy and Shannon Gill, along with their son Andrew and daughter Madeline, farm 3,200 acres of corn and soybeans.
After growing cotton for 30 years,
Andy sold his cotton picker in 2012 and made the decision to concentrate strictly on corn and soybeans. He has built a new on-farm storage facility to Keith Sutton
handle their growing corn production. Both Andrew and Madeline are graduates of the University of Arkansas. Andrew earned an ag business degree and now works with his father on the farm. Andy grew up working on the farm
Top family The Gills of McGehee, Andy, Shannon, Madeline and Andrew, are the state’s 2013 Farm Family of the Year.
for his father and uncle, Doyle Sims, who helped him rent 265 cotton acres
son team is a prime model of a hard-
Southeastern Farmer of the Year
to get started on his own. Over time
working, successful farm family.”
program. A winner will be named from
he added acres and equipment to
Andy and Shannon also serve their
among 10 southeastern state winners
his operation. He has improved the
community. Andy is president of the
efficiency of his farm by placing drop
McGehee Men’s Club and has been
pipes for drainage and installing three
a member of the organization for 20
Year program is the longest-running
tailwater recovery systems to capture
years. As president, he has overseen
farm family recognition program of
and use surface water for irrigation.
the remodeling of a facility which
its type in the United States,” said
Where he can, Andy has converted
serves as the community center in
Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy
his power units to electricity and
McGehee. He also coordinates the
Veach. “We congratulate each of the
participates in the USDA Conservation
annual oyster dinner with the proceeds
county and district winners for this
funding community activities. Shannon
“The Gills are an example of
is a board member of the McGehee
next October in Moultrie, Ga. “The Arkansas Farm Family of the
The Farm Family of the Year
the many successful and efficient
Community Food Pantry, while Andrew
program, now in its 68th year, begins
family farming operations that exist
is a member of the Arkansas Young and
with selection of the top farm family in
in Arkansas,” said Andy Guffey,
Beginning Farmers Advisory board. The
each county. Then, eight district Farm
coordinator of the Arkansas Farm
family is active with the First United
Families of the Year are selected. The
Family of the Year program. “They
competition is judged on production,
understand what it means to protect the
As Arkansas’ Farm Family of the
efficiency and management of farm
environment and the natural resources
Year, the Gills will compete in the
operations, family life and rural/
used in growing their crops. This father-
2014 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo
community leadership and values.
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TASTE ArkAnsAs.com from farm to table
Our Taste Arkansas food blog connects those interested in food production with the farmers & ranchers who provide an abundance of Arkansas agricultural products.
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DoItYourself Learn knife making Be part of Arkansas’ rich history
by Gregg Patterson There are place markers in
history where a moment or event in time, the iconic nature of an object and a personality larger than life all come together to create something special. The Bowie knife – so named after legendary frontiersman and knife fighter Jim Bowie – is that iconic object. Who made the first Bowie knife isn’t a completely settled question. However, the belief of
Functional art A little more than a decade ago, Lin Rhea decided he wanted to be a part of Arkansas’ rich knife-making history. Rhea, a blacksmith at the Historic Arkansas Museum, attended a knife-making class at Old Washington State Park, and it fired his creativity. His knife-making skill is well respected.
some prominent knife historians the maker as James Black, a renowned
craft more than 175 years ago. “’Introduction to Bladesmithing’ is
knife maker of the time who lived in
where someone who has never done it
Washington, Ark. Black’s signature coffin-
before can come in and learn the basics of
handled, long-bladed knives were popular
forging a blade. That includes the forging,
at the time along with other quality large
the grinding and heat treating of the blade,”
knives (blades at least 8.25 inches). The
big knives also were nicknamed “Arkansas
suggests the best evidence supports
everyday use. His finished knives have won
The first two-week class in 2014 will
awards in ABS cutting competitions designed
toothpicks” by riverboat men, hunters,
be April 21-25 and April 28-May 2. Other
trappers, woodcutters and others who
classes throughout the year include classes
valued their utilitarian uses for frontier
on making knife handles and guards,
reputation as a knife maker grows based on
living, like skinning, chopping and self-
making Damascus blades, and forging and
doing well in competitions and testimonies
defense. The wild, rough-and-tumble
hammering techniques. Rhea will teach a
from people who use your knife,” Rhea said.
Arkansas territory was a hotbed for quality
“Handles and Guards” class Sept. 29-Oct. 3.
knife makers in the early 1800s.
Class registration and payment is handled
a strong tip, its ability to hold an edge or
by Texarkana College. Rhea suggests
resist pitting – is based on how the maker
getting more information by going to the
heat treats, or forges, it. “If he does a really
American Bladesmith Society (ABS) website
good job on his heat-treat, the people who
purchase and use his knives will testify to his
It still is today. And you can be a part of it. Lin Rhea of Prattsville (rheaknives. com) is one of those carrying on Arkansas’ prestigious knife making tradition. Rhea,
Rhea believes in “doing it properly”
specifically to test for blade quality. “I always like to test my knives. Your
Rhea says the quality of a knife blade –
superior skill,” Rhea said.
56, is a Master Bladesmith who took up
when it comes to knife making. That means
knife-making at the urging of his wife,
making every part of the knife himself. He
use of each knife he crafts, he understands
Kay, in 2002. He signed up for the Bill
also makes all of his knives for use. This
the artistic nature of knife making. “It’s
Moran School of Bladesmithing held at
means during the knife-making process,
functional art. I make and am involved
Old Washington State Park, the same
he “runs each knife through its paces,”
in every part of my knives,” Rhea said. “It
Washington where James Black plied his
testing each to make sure it will withstand
brings complete enjoyment.”
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Though Rhea demands the functional
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Health&Safety Farm Bureau Insurance launches app
New MOBILE agent an easy use
by Dina Bates
Farm Bureau Insurance has launched the
MOBILE agent app for Apple and Android devices, which provides policyholders with on-the-go convenience. Looking to send a quick email to your local agent? Need to pay your bill or submit a claim? These are just some of the many features available through the new MOBILE agent app.
MOBILE agent offers these features:
Easy app Farm Bureau Insurance’s new MOBILE Agent app makes conducting insurance business as simple as a finger tap.
The “My Policies” feature provides an overview of all active policies, including
And while customers wanting to pay
agent allows customers to request roadside
vehicle specific information for policyholders
premiums and/or membership dues with
assistance, receive confirmation help is
who have auto policies. “My Agent”
a credit or debit card will need to use the
on the way and track the service provider
allows customers to contact their agent by
online website (afbic.com), this feature will
all without ever having to talk with
phone or email with a simple tap of the
be added to the mobile app in the near
someone on the phone. MOBILE agent
screen. Policyholders can view their Farm
relies on Global Positioning Service (GPS)
Bureau membership card by selecting the “Membership” feature. Policyholders can use the “ID Card” feature to view vehicle insurance
The app also makes it easy to report
coordinates but only uses GPS location
an automobile claim in the case of a loss.
services when needed or selected by the
Just select “Report Claim” and follow the
customer, saving battery life and data plan
identification cards on any active auto policy
If roadside assistance is needed,
and view boat insurance identification cards
the “Send Help” option immediately
on any active boat policy. The “Nearest
dispatches a service provider or connects
Office” feature allows policyholders to locate
callers to a customer service representative.
an office or claims service center using an
The roadside feature lists vehicles with
address or current location.
roadside assistance coverage but also offers
roadside help for non-covered vehicles. If a
The MOBILE agent “Pay Bill” feature
The app is free and can be downloaded in both GooglePlay and iTunes. Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/ apps/details?id=com.sfbcic.android iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/
offers an electronic funds transfer
vehicle doesn’t have coverage for roadside
In order to use the app, you must first
transaction option to pay policy premiums
assistance, help will be dispatched, but the
be a registered user. Register within the app
and/or Farm Bureau membership dues
policyholder will be responsible for full
once you download it or go to www.afbic.
from either a savings or checking account.
payment to the service provider. MOBILE
com to register.
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yourself to the Conversation
• facebook.com/ArkansasFarmBureau • youtube.com/ArkansasFarmBureau • twitter.com/ARFB • www.arfb.com
Life is priceless. Insuring it should be affordable. There’s no limit to what you would do for your children. But there is a limit to your budget. We know how to help you with both. Call now for a Get Real Review from your local Farm Bureau Insurance Agent.
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co., Jackson, MS
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IntheKitchen Cookie craziness
Easy, portable dessert
by Tara Johnson I always like making batches of
cookies. Cookies are so portable, easy to give as a gift for almost any occasion and bring a smile to the person receiving them. Crackle Sugar Cookies are one of my favorites. These cookies are slightly chewy, soft, sweet and perfect for an on-the-go dessert. I also love the oatmeal cookie recipe. Cinnamon has always been one of my favorite spices and makes these Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies something special. They’re chewy and full of Tara Johnson
texture with the warm cinnamon flavor.
Crackle Sugar Cookies Ingredients • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened • 1¼ cups granulated sugar • 3 large egg yolks • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract • ¼ teaspoon salt • 2½ cups all-purpose flour • 1 teaspoon baking soda • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar • ¼ cup sugar for rolling cookie dough in
Directions 1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom. 2. Add yolks, vanilla and salt, and mix on medium speed until smooth; about 30 seconds.
Cookie monster Easy to make, cookies are the universally loved takeanywhere treat. 3. Add flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Mix on low speed until dough comes together. Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons and roll between your hands until smooth. 4. Roll dough in granulated sugar to coat and place on aluminum foillined baking sheets. 5. Bake cookies on middle rack until
• • • • • • •
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
Instructions 1. In a large bowl, cream butter and
they are golden brown on the
sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in
edges, but soft in the center. About
eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour,
15 minutes. Cool on a rack and
baking soda, cinnamon, baking
powder and salt; gradually add to
Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies
in oats. 2. Shape into 1½ inch balls. Place
Ingredients • • • •
creamed mixture and mix well. Stir
2 in. apart on ungreased baking
1 cup butter, softened
sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12
1 cup sugar
minutes or until golden brown.
1 cup packed brown sugar
Cool for 1 minute before removing
2 large eggs
to wire racks.
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hunter: another word for conservationist Hunters do more to conserve habitat than any other group. And they have achieved great things for wildlife and wild places by supporting conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited. With their support, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres of habitat across the continent. Come share our vision of skies filled with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever.
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Muscadines and Blackberries.
We also offer over 200 varieties of Fruit and a Nut Trees plus Vine and Berry Plants.
Ison’s Nursery Free Catalog
PO Box 190 Brooks, GA 30205 1-800-733-0324 • isons.com
*Farm Bureau® Mutual Insurance Co. of Arkansas, Inc. *Southern Farm Bureau® Casualty Insurance Co. *Southern Farm Bureau® Life Insurance Co., Jackson, MS
NEW YEAR BRINGS NEW ADVENTURE Are you ready for your adventure? Let us help you spend more by saving money on your next purchase or refinance of a new or used vehicle with Farm Bureau Bank. Members receive special rates, vehicle protection plans*, and dedicated Farm Bureau member service. We make financing easy. Apply today and save!
Contact your local Arkansas Farm Bureau agent or visit www.farmbureaubank.com Existing Farm Bureau Bank vehicle loans are excluded from this offer. * Rates disclosed as Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and are based on acquiring one of the following collateral protection products: Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) or Major Mechanical Protection (MMP). Additional discounts do apply for purchasing more than one collateral protection product. The advertised APR of 2.99% is effective as of September 13, 2013. Final APR may differ from the loan interest rate due to additional fees (such as a loan documentation fee, which may be applicable). For a $25,050 vehicle loan with a term of 36 months, a 45 day first payment date and a 2.99% APR, the monthly payment will be $727.72. To qualify for the disclosed rate, customer must be a Farm Bureau member. Rates may vary based on the amount financed, term and first payment date. Non-member rates may vary. Finance charges accrue from origination date of the loan. Some restrictions apply based on the make and model of vehicle offered as collateral. All loans are subject to credit approval, verification, and collateral evaluation. Other rates and financing options are available. Non-member rates may be 1-3% higher than posted rates. Loans for RVs, motorcycles, trailers, ATVs, watercraft and commercial vehicles may be 1.00% higher. This offer is not available in all states and rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Rates and financing are limited to vehicle models 2005 and newer and subject to change. Farm Bureau Bank does not finance totaled, rebuilt or salvaged vehicles. Banking services provided by Farm Bureau Bank, FSB. Farm Bureau, FB, and the FB National Logo are registered service marks owned by, and used by Farm Bureau Bank FSB under license from, the American Farm Bureau Federation. EQUAL HOUSING