Harts honored as Conway County’s top farm family

Published July 20, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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The Jimmy Hart Family of Springfield is the 2014 Conway County Farm Family of the Year. Doing business as Hart & Sons, LLC, the family includes Jimmy and his wife, Nancy; their son Todd Hart, his wife, Danna, and their 2-year-old son, Tyler; and son Greg Hart, his wife, Rachel, and their 2-year-old son, Cameron. Standing, from left, are Danna, Jimmy, Nancy and Rachel; and seated are Todd, holding Tyler, and Greg, holding Cameron. Jimmy and Nancy have two other children — Greg Hart and Ashley Mayor — who are not involved in the farm operation.

SPRINGFIELD — Jimmy Hart is a lifelong farmer.

He traces his roots back to 1944, when his grandfather, the late C.H. Hart, purchased 38 acres in the Mallettown Bottoms and began a dairy farm.

Jimmy has passed along his love of farming to his sons Todd and Greg. Together they manage a 915-acre farming operation known as Hart & Sons, LLC.

The Harts are the 2014 Conway County Farm Family of the Year. Members of the family include Jimmy and his wife, Nancy, both 56; Todd, 33, his wife Danna, 38, and their 2-year-old son, Tyler; and Greg, 30, his wife, Rachel, 28, and their 2-year-old son, Cameron.

Jimmy and Nancy have two other children who are not involved in the farming operation.

Their son Kevin, 31, graduated as a diesel mechanic from Oklahoma State University and works in the gas industry. He and his wife, Kayla, who is a registered nurse, have three children — Ryley, 6; Collin, 4; and Caroline, 2 ½ — and are expecting another child in September.

The Harts’ daughter, Ashley, 28, is married to Justin Mayor. She has a degree in nursing and works in Greenbrier.

Jimmy, Todd and Greg raise corn silage, wheat, soybeans, haygrazer sorghum silage and hay. They also have a 150-head commercial cow/calf operation.

Jimmy, who is a graduate of Morrilton High School, grew up farming. He milked cows for 25 years with his parents and brother on a dairy farm that was sold in 1999.

He was elected Conway County judge in 2000, a position Jimmy continues to hold. He and his sons formed Hart & Sons, LLC, in 2000, making Todd and Greg fourth-generation farmers to farm the same family land.

Both Todd and Greg have commercial driver’s licenses, allowing them to deliver grain with their own 18-wheelers and hopper-bottom trailers. Jimmy and his sons each have a license for chemical application, which allows them to apply chemicals in a safe and efficient way.

Jimmy and Nancy have been married for 35 years.

Jimmy is the immediate past president of the County Judges Association of Arkansas and a member of the Arkansas State Workforce Investment Board, the Association of Arkansas Counties Executive Board and the West River Valley Regional Solid Waster Management District Board.

He is an ex officio member of the Conway County Economic Development Corp. and the Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He is a member of the Universal Housing Executive Board, the Kiwanis Club of Morrilton, the Conway County Cattlemen’s Association and the Conway County Farm Bureau.

Jimmy attends Mallettown United Methodist Church.

Nancy is retired from the South Conway County School District, where she served as a kindergarten teacher for 32 years. She attends Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Plumerville.

Jimmy said he is pleased that his sons “both came back to the farm and are making a go of it.

“Agriculture is a tough industry. It requires lots of hours and lots of work. It’s molded me a little bit for the political world, especially for my job as county judge.”

Jimmy said one of the biggest challenges a farmer faces is Mother Nature.

“We usually don’t get floods in June, like we did this year,” Jimmy said, “but that’s just Mother Nature.”

As far as the future is concerned, Jimmy said, “I’d like to see us get better at what we do. There’s no such thing as ‘status quo.’ We need to get better and more efficient at what we do. We want to squeeze George (the dollar bill) until his tongue hangs out.”

Todd graduated from Morrilton High School in 1999.

“I told Mom and Dad I would rather drive a truck and a tractor than go to college,” Todd said with a smile.

He recalls that he drove his first tractor when he was 7.

“I’ve been farming ever since,” he said.

“Everything we’ve gotten, we’ve worked for,” Todd said. “We’ve made money that we used to upgrade our equipment so we could farm better and be more profitable, so that we could get home early to see our wives.”

Todd said Hart & Sons, LLC, also started a custom silage-cutting operation in 2000.

“We harvest for ourselves mainly, but we can do it for our neighbors, too,” Todd said.

Todd said the farming operation is divided into thirds — cattle, row crops and custom silage cutting.

“We are diversified,” Todd said. “We don’t have all our eggs in one basket.”

Todd and Danna have been married for five years.

Danna graduated from Center Ridge High School and the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, where she received an associate degree in information systems. She is co-owner and manager of Decker’s Convenience Store in Springfield.

Danna helps Todd computerize all the farming bookwork.

Todd and Danna are members of the Springfield Missionary Baptist Church, where she plays piano.

Todd is a member of the Conway County Cattlemen’s Association and the Conway County Farm Bureau, which he also serves as a member of the board of directors.

Greg graduated from Morrilton High school in 2002, and from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural business.

Greg said he thinks his college degree has helped him with the day-to-day operation of the farm.

“It gives you more insight into the market,” he said. “It makes you more open-minded to new things. It helps expand your knowledge of what you’re doing.

“We are trying to slowly keep increasing the number of cows we have. We would also like to get more of our crops irrigated.”

Greg said he started out to become a veterinarian.

“I am certified to do artificial insemination, and I can doctor our cows and calves,” he said.

“Each of us has our own expertise,” Greg said. “We work together every day.

“Farming is a lifestyle, not a job,” Greg said. “You really don’t ever get away from it.”

Greg and Rachel married in 2008.

Rachel attended Central Baptist College in Conway, where she became friends with Greg and Todd’s sister, Ashley, who introduced Rachel to the family. She graduated from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene. She works as a dental hygienist in Conway.

Greg and Rachel are active members of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Plumerville.

Greg is a member of the Conway County Cattlemen’s Association and the Conway County Farm Bureau.

When not on the farm, the entire family enjoys camping and spending time on the lake.

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