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— Monday started out like many other days for dairyman Bill Haak. He woke up, milked his 100 dairy cows, watched as one of his cows gave birth to a calf, and gave an IV to the mother to help her get through the milk fever she had after delivering the newest addition to the Haak dairy farm.

After taking care of his daily chores, Haak got cleaned up and prepared to host his family members and his closest friends as he and his wife, Delia, were named Benton County Farm Family of the Year.

“This is the one occasion of the year when we get to celebrate a farm family,” said Robert Seay of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

“We have 2,100 farm families in Benton County, and this is one day we can focus on the accomplishments and contributions of those families,” Seay said.

“One of the big things about this family is they are very, very active in the local community,” Jim Singleton, chairman of the Benton County Farm Family Selection Committee, said of Bill’s service with the Benton County Conservation District and Delia’s work with the Illinois River Watershed Project.

“We have a very deserving family, and we are so proud to have them represent us this year,” Singleton said.

“Today is special for all farm families because it is giving recognition to all of the hard work our farm families do to provide food,” said Susan Anglin, the 1996 winner of Farm Family of the Year.

“It makes you feel very proud of what you do and the fact that your family and friends are trying to support you in what you do,” Anglin said of the award.

“This is nice because (farming) is seven days a week and almost 365 days a year. It is nice people recognize that it is hard work and perseverance,” Delia said.

“It is an award that we are sharing with all of the people here.

Each and every one of them had had a big part in making this farm a success,” Bill said, with a smile beaming from his face as he looked around at all of the people gathered at his home to celebrate the occasion with him.

“I am very proud of him,” Delia said, smiling brightly at her husband. “He is a very good man.” Chatting with his friends and watching his grandkids walking around, eating cake and playing with each other, Haak celebrated a little. He and his friends celebrated the not-always-easy life of being a farmer and putting in an honest day’s work and knowing that one day, the farm will be in good hands with his two sons, Luke and Jake, and their children, one of whom has already started helping milk the cows.

Amelia’s father, Jake, promised her that she would be old enough to help him milk the Haak Dairy Farm’s cows when she turned 4, and sure enough, when she turned 4 years old in March, Amelia headed to the milking barn one night with her father, Delia Haak said.

“My favorite thing about the cows is when they go moo,” Amelia said, with her grandmother, Delia, smiling all the while.

Family and Friends, Pages 6 on 12/30/2009

Print Headline: Bill and Delia Haak crowned Farm Family of the Year

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