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— Bill and Delia Haak of Gentry are Arkansas’ 2009 Farm Family of the Year. The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Committee announced the award Dec. 11 at a luncheon honoring the county and district Farm Families of the Year.

The Haaks run a dairy and beef cattle operation on 830 acres and grow and sell hay locally. Conservation is also important to the couple. Delia is executive director and Bill is a past vice president of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership.

The Haaks have a dairy herd of 100 Holsteins, as well as 120 Holstein heifers sold each year. Their dairy cows produce seven gallons of milk per animal per day. Their beef herd includes 120 cow-calf pairs. They also service 40 poultry producers with sawdust/shavings.

Bermuda and fescue hay produce an average of six tons and four tons per acre, respectively, while soybeans average 40 bushels per acre. With the new Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program for the Illinois River watershed, the Haaks plan to enroll acreage in that program to protect water quality.

The Haaks have two grown sons who are married. Luke is a CDL driver for Lowe’s, and Jake is a manager for the Gravette School District. The Haaks have six grandchildren.

As Arkansas’ Farm Family of the Year, the Haaks will compete in next year’s Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year program. The competition is held in Moultrie, Ga.

“The Haak family is a fine example of Arkansas’ agricultural producers,” said Andy Guffey, coordinator of the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program. “They have deftly blended conservation practices into their production techniques and consistently maintained high outputs.”

“The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program is the longest-running farm family recognition program of its type in the United States,” said Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach, a cotton farmer from Manila (Mississippi County). “Farm families are the foundationof our economy and culture. For more than 60 years, the Farm Family of the Year program has showcased outstanding agriculture, and Arkansas Farm Bureau is proud to be a part of that.

“We congratulate the Haaks and each of the county Farm Families of the Year.”

Bill Haak is a member of and past president of Benton County Farm Bureau. He presently serves on Farm Bureau’s state Environmental Affairs Committee. The Haaks attend Siloam Springs Bible Church.

The Farm Family of the Year program, now in its 64th year, begins with selection of the top farm family in each county. Then, eight district Farm Families of the Year are selected. The process concludes with a banquet honoring each county winner and the selection of the state Farm Family of the Year.

The competition is judged on production, efficiency and management of their farm operations, family life and rural/community leadership and values.

The 2009 District Farm Family of the Year winners included: Lonnie and Betty Medford of Brinkley (Monroe), East Central District; Mark and Susan Trucks of Batesville (Independence), North Central District; Gino and Lucetta Baioni of Marion (Crittenden), Northeast District; Michael and Becky Knoll of DeWitt (Arkansas), Southeast District; Chet and Kelly Brown of Warren (Bradley), Southwest District; Brian and Elizabeth Walker of Horatio (Sevier), West Central District; Bob and Pat Schaefers of Conway (Faulkner), Western District.

Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Arkansas Press Association, AgHeritage FCS, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, Farm Credit MidSouth, and Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are primary sponsors of the annual recognition program. Additional program support is provided by the Arkansas Department of Career Education; the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service; and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development.

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 220,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

News, Pages 20 on 12/16/2009

Print Headline: Haak Family of Gentry named Arkansas’ Farm Family of Year

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