PLEASANT VALLEY — Jason Gipson of the Pleasant Valley community is keeping up his family’s tradition.
Jason, 38, and his wife, Sara, 35, along with their young sons, Grant, 7, and Gavin, 6, are the 2014 Perry County Farm Family of the Year. Jason’s father, Bill Gipson and his wife, Alma, of Bigelow received the same honor in 1992.
“It’s definitely an honor to be recognized as Farm Family of the Year,” Jason said.
“I’ve always farmed,” Jason said. “Dad still farms. He has cattle and row crops. We do our row crops together.”
Jason farms 1,157 acres, which includes 140 acres of rice, 450 acres of soybeans and 50 acres of milo. He also has a 160-head cow/calf operation with five bulls.
He said his cattle operation is “mainly Charolais-based.
“I do have some red and some black. I also have a Brahman bull,” he said.
“My rice looks good,” Jason told visitors on June 11, “but I haven’t planted the soybeans yet; they’re still in a bag. I don’t know if we’ll get them in or not; it’s been too wet.
“The milo is planted. We’ll use that to feed our cattle.”
Jason said he has cut 200 bales of hay so far.
“We’ll get busy as soon as it dries out a little,” he said.
His haying operation includes growing wheat straw that is used for road construction. He has a sandbagging and rock business, as well as 10 rent houses.
“This helps us out with our success in farming,” Jason said.
The Gipsons sell their calves at the Oklahoma City stockyards. The soybeans are sold to Bruce Oakley Inc. in Morrilton, and the rice goes to Riceland Foods in Stuttgart.
Jason said he tries to use as many conservation practices as he can.
“We have installed automatic wells and water tanks for our cows to help conserve water,” he said. “I have finally managed to recycle anything that can be reused — from feed tubs and sacks to repurposing building materials.”
Jason also works off the farm. He works for ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas Corp., which has an office in Little Rock.
“We install elevators and escalators,” Jason said. “I do maintenance on them. I take care of about 200 elevators.”
Jason graduated in 1994 from Bigelow High School, where he played basketball. Sara graduated in 1997. The couple dated in high school and have been married for 12 years.
He has three brothers, Bill “Billy” Jr., Steve and Glenn; and a sister, Julie.
Sara grew up on Wye Mountain, the daughter of James and Sharee Browning. She has three brothers: Burt, Blake and Brent Browning.
“I did not grow up farming,” Sara said, smiling. “Taking care of these two boys is what I do. I did drive my first truck of hay last summer.”
The Gipsons hope to purchase more land in the future, for farming and for recreation.
“I’d like to leave a place for my boys to go fishing and hunting,” Jason said. “I enjoy deer hunting.”
Grant and Gavin attend Ann Watson Elementary School, where Sara volunteers in the classroom. The boys are members of the St. Boniface 4-H Club and show pigs and chickens as their 4-H projects at the Perry County Fair. Both have won top ribbons for their animals. They also bottle-feed calves.
Both boys play baseball. Grant plays for the Bigelow Cubs and Gavin for the Sea Monsters.
Jason is a member of the Perry County Farm Bureau and the Last Resort Hunting Club.