Sidney family honored for farming operation

Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer Published July 16, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.
0 Comments A A Font Size
Carol Rolf/Contributing Photographer

The Colton Asberry family of Sidney is the 2017 Sharp County Farm Family of the Year. The family includes Colton and his wife, Sara, and their 4-year-old daughter, Larcyn. The family raises poultry, cattle and hay.

SIDNEY — Although Colton Asberry has only been farming on his own for seven years, “It has been really good so far,” he said.

“I enjoy it,” he said, smiling. “I don’t wake up in the morning dreading the day.”

Colton, 28; his wife, Sara, 25; and their 4-year-old daughter, Larcyn, are the 2017 Sharp County Farm Family of the Year. The couple have been married six years; they are expecting another baby in December.

The Asberrys raise poultry, cattle and hay on 913 acres, some of which is owned, and some leased.

“Being named Sharp County Farm Family of the Year is an honor,” Colton said. “It’s humbling, in a way. We do what we do and don’t ask to be recognized. But when we are recognized, it is an honor.”

Colton grew up working on cattle farms. At a young age, he began backgrounding cattle (feeding calves extra after they are weaned), working in hayfields and hauling cattle commercially for local barns and individual farmers.

He grew up in Cave City, a son of Gregg and Debbie Asberry, now of Sidney. Colton has two brothers, Tyler Asberry and Taylor Asberry.

Colton graduated from Cave City High School in 2007. He attended the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville for two years and transferred to Arkansas State University-Jonesboro. He graduated from ASU in 2011 with a degree in agriculture business with an emphasis in finance.

“I planned to get a job in an agriculture-related loan business, but that did not work out,” he said, adding that the job market in 2007-08 “slowed down, and there were not many opportunities.

“I did work at First Commercial Bank for six months in the credit department. About that same time, Ozark Mountain Poultry began talking about expanding in this area, and we had an opportunity to build some chicken houses and manage our cattle as well.

“That has worked out well for us. It’s hard to make a living in the cattle business, but the poultry business has given us the income to continue to expand our cattle business.”

Sara grew up in the Melbourne/Mount Pleasant area, a daughter of Jon and Debbie Adams of the Bonetown community, which is near Melbourne. Sara has two brothers, Dan Adams of Cave City and Jon Hunter Adams of Bonetown.

“I did not grow up on a farm,” Sara said. “My parents bought a few cows, but they didn’t farm.

“I love it now. It’s my favorite thing to do, … go out and check on the cattle. Sis (Larcyn) helps, too.”

Sara graduated from Melbourne High School in 2010. She started college at Lyon College in Batesville and transferred to Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, where she graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree with an emphasis in early-childhood elementary education. She teaches third grade at Cave City Elementary School.

After graduating from college, Colton and Sara started their own herd of cattle. In 2014, they started the poultry operation with Ozark Mountain Poultry. Since then, they have added acreage and cattle.

Today, the Asberrys own and operate six Ozark Mountain Poultry broiler houses. They raise at least five flocks per year at 172,200 head per flock. Colton also manages six more OMP broiler houses for his parents, who own those six houses and have full-time jobs off the farm.

“We get the chickens the day they are hatched and raise them for 45 to 48 days,” he said. “They weigh 6 to

6 1/2 pounds when OMP picks them up. They are processed at the plant in Batesville.”

Additionally, the Asberrys have a commercial cow/calf operation of 67 cows, plus their calves and two bulls. The family also backgrounds approximately 600 yearlings each year.

Raised cattle are backgrounded and sold off the farm in 50,000-pound load lots or sold through local

livestock auctions. The

Asberrys also buy backgrounded cattle through local livestock auctions and sell them off the farm in 50,000-pound load lots directly to feed lots.

The family raises 200 acres of hay, which yields approximately 850 bales annually.

“The three of us, almost daily, are monitoring our cow/calf herd, our feeder cattle herd and monitoring temperature ventilation and feed supply in our poultry houses,” Colton said. “We’re always checking progress in the pasture and all aspects of the poultry, cattle and horse operations.”

Colton said he would like to add another six poultry houses and expand his cattle operation as well.

“We have been able to expand our cattle business since we began raising the chickens,” he said. “We have improved our pastures and implemented a proper spray program to solve the problems of weeds and army worms. We want to continue to clear ground and improve our pasture and hay acreage and quality.

“We do have help on the farm,” he said. “We have four full-time employees; three live on the farm, and one lives just a few minutes away.”

The Asberrys, along with Colton’s parents and younger brother, operate equine events in an indoor facility as a way to bring in more income, but “it’s a like a hobby, too. … It’s fun,” Colton said.

“We operate the Sidney Creek Arena. We do ranch sorting, which is a cow/horse event. It’s a competition; you get payback money if you win,” he said.

“It’s another source of income, but it’s something we do besides work. Plus, we get to visit with the people,” he said.

“I compete, and Taylor does, too,” Colton said, adding that they do not hold events during the summer when the temperatures are too hot. “We have been to out-of-state competitions in Oklahoma City and Batesville, Mississippi. It’s fun.”

They hold approximately 35 events per year at Sidney Creek Arena. The backgrounded cattle are used in these cow/horse events.

The Asberrys are active in the community. They attend First Baptist Church in Cave City. Colton is a member of the Sharp County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

To report abuse or misuse of this area please hit the "Suggest Removal" link in the comment to alert our online managers. Read our Terms of Use policy.

Subscribe Register Login

You must login to make comments.