Van Buren County’s Adays take district farm family title

Carol Rolf Originally Published July 21, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 19, 2013 at 2:22 p.m.
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Carol Rolf

The Aday family of Chimes is the 2013 Van Buren County Farm Family of the Year. Family members include, front row, from left, Tamie Aday, Allen Aday, Opal Aday, Peggy Aday, Kristy Eastridge, Lyndsey Aday, Kristina Aday, Zack Aday and Tyler Aday, and back row, from left, Justin Aday, Guinn Aday, Doug Eastridge and Brent Aday.

CHIMES — Opal Aday and her family received two surprises. First, they learned they had been named the 2013 Van Buren County Farm Family of the Year. Just a few weeks later, they learned they had been named the North Central District Farm Family of the Year.

Opal, 91, and her sons, Guinn Aday, 62, and Allen Aday, 52, and their families run the family farm, one that has been in operation for more than 60 years. “Mom and Dad started farming here 44 years ago,” Allen said. “After Dad passed away, we’ve kept it going.” Clifford Aday died in 2009.

The Adays operate a 1,700-acre cattle and forage farm north of Clinton in the Chimes community. Guinn and Allen also own and operate Aday Lime and Fertilizer Co., which was started by their father in Chimes and is now located in Clinton.

Allen said the district honor was “a big surprise.”

“A good surprise, too,” he said with a laugh. “We will try to represent the district well.

“It’s quite an honor. We are proud to get it. Mom is proud, too, although she doesn’t say much about it. She’s been on the farm all her life. I’m proud that we have been able to keep the farm together.”

Guinn agrees with his brother. “We are really honored,” he said. “It is quite an honor that we won the district title.

“The state judges have already been here and toured the farm,” Guinn said. “They were here about two hours. We had a good visit.”

Opal said the family had received the county farm family of the year title before. “Clifford and I received it in 1964,” she said. “The boys were just little at the time.”

The Adays are now in competition with seven other farm families from across Arkansas. The state winner will be announced Dec. 12 in a ceremony at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock.

“It is a great honor to recognize the men and women of agriculture and their families, for their hard work and success,” said Randy Veach of Manila, president of Arkansas Farm Bureau, a major sponsor of the Farm Family of the Year program. “What a great honor for their families. They represent the very best of what our state offers.

“Every year I am amazed at the wide variety of farms and the considerable work put forth by these outstanding farm families. I want to congratulate those who have been named county and district farm families of the year.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our state,” Veach said. “In fact, it is the largest business sector, adding $16 billion to our economy each year. These farm families are a part of a wonderful legacy and industry that helps provide all of us an abundant, safe and affordable food supply, which we should never take for granted.”

Guinn and his wife, Peggy, 61, have two grown children. Daughter Kristy Eastridge, 41, and her husband, Doug, 50, live in Crabtree. Kristy teaches school in Clinton. Doug works on nuclear plant outages and travels across the county.

Son Brent Aday, 32, and his wife, Kristina, 31, live in Chimes with their three children, Tyler, 12, Lyndsey, 11, and Zack, 7. They own a rock crusher and quarry in Chimes.

Guinn and Peggy are members of Archey Valley Church. Guinn is president of the Chimes Volunteer Fire Department and is a first responder and firefighter with the fire department. He is a member of the Van Buren County Hospital Board of Governors and of the Van Buren Cattlemen’s Association. Peggy is treasurer of Archey Valley Church, a member of the Chimes Extension Homemakers Club and volunteers at the Marshall and Clinton public schools.

Brent and Kristina are also volunteer firefighters.

Allen and his wife, Tamie, 55, have one son Jason, 22, who is a recent graduate of Arkansas Tech University with a degree in finance and economics and is a financial loan officer at First Service Bank in Clinton. Jason is engaged to Kristin Pruitt, who will graduate from Arkansas Tech in the fall with a degree in nursing.

Allen is a member of the Van Buren County Cattlemen’s Association. Tamie is a member of the Ladies Auxiliary at Ozark Health Hospital and Nursing Home and owns Part-Time Flowers in Clinton.

The Aday family raises 130 cow-calf pairs of Charolais crossbred cattle and nine bulls, which are Charolais, Brangus and Angus. They sell the calves at local markets when they reach 600 to 700 pounds.

They also raise hay, which is a mixture of Bermuda grass. If they have surplus hay, they sell it to local buyers.

Clifford Aday started the family’s fertilizer business in the mid-1960s. Quinn said their dad bought an old spreader truck because he had trouble getting anyone to come out to Chimes to spread lime on their farm. The neighbors also wanted him to spread their lime, so he bought a new truck and began the business.

Guinn and Allen grew up spreading fertilizer with their dad. In 1979, when Clifford decided he didn’t want to continue spreading since he really wanted to raise cattle, his sons took over the business.

“I was teaching school at Witts Springs Elementary School,” Guinn said. “I taught there for eight years but decided to give it up to help Allen run the fertilizer business.”

Guinn and Allen are graduates of Witts Springs High School. Quinn graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with bachelor and master’s degrees in education with a certification as a reading specialist for kindergarten through 12th grade. His wife, Peggy, who is from Tilly, is a retired schoolteacher.

Allen attended UCA for two years. He said he spent most of his time driving a fertilizer truck. His wife, Tamie, is from Leslie. Allen and Tamie now live in Clinton.

“Dad was raised at Zion Hill,” Guinn said. “He always farmed. He found 85 acres here in Chimes and bought it. He put his whole life into it. He got this all going.”

Everyone helps out on the farm, including the great-grandchildren. Guinn said he and Peggy have involved them on the farm from when they were small by having them help him check the cows. “We are ensuring this involvement by the fourth generation of the Aday family,” he said.

Opal continues to gather the family together as often as she can. She fixes lunch after church every Sunday for whoever can come by. The family also enjoys her lunches on days they gather to work on the farm.

“That’s how I can help out, by cooking for my family,” Opal said.

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