The Andy Gill family of McGehee has been selected as the 2013 Southeast Arkansas District Farm Family of the Year. Andy and Shannon Gill, along with their son Andrew and daughter Madeline, raise 3,200 acres of corn and soybeans in Desha County, according to an Arkansas Farm Bureau news release announcing the eight district winners.

The district winners will now be judged to determine a state winner, to be announced at the Dec. 12 Farm Family of the Year luncheon at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock. 

Other district winners are Jeff and Tanya Hill of Moro (Lee County) in the East Central District. The Hills grow soybeans, rice, wheat and corn on 6,000 acres. They have two young children, Caitlynn Nicole and Cooper.

The Aday Family of Leslie (Van Buren County) in the North Central District. The Adays, including Opal Aday and her grown sons Guinn and Allan, and their families, operate a 1700-acre cattle and forage farm.

Nick and Deanne Yount of Pollard (Clay County) in the Northeast District. The Younts, along with brother John, who serves as farm manager, and youngest son Luke, farm 1,500 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and hay.

Len and Tammy Williams of Huntington (Sebastian County) in the Northwest District. The Williams operate a registered Charolais herd, along with crossbred cattle and sheep, on 420 acres. They have two grown children, Jared and Breanna.

Larry and Leslie Griffin of Ozan (Hempstead County) in the Southwest District. The Griffins, along with grown sons Andrew and Carroll Wayne, raise almost 1 million chickens annually, maintain a 100-head cow/calf operation, and have Bermuda and rye grass forage.

Bob and Sarah Gorden of Mena (Polk County) in the Western District. Along with their grown sons Brent and Kent, the Gordens operate a 600-head cattle herd on 750 acres.

Mario and Lucina Maya of DeQueen (Sevier County) in the West Central District. The Mayas raise cattle, sheep and maintain a pair of poultry houses. They have three children, Anita, Rachel and Jose.

“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, a cotton, soybean and wheat farmer from Manila (Mississippi County), who serves as president of Arkansas Farm Bureau. “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. In fact, it is the largest business sector, adding around $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.”

The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with selection of top farm families in each county and culminates in December with selection of the state Farm Family of the Year. All winners are judged on their farm production, efficiency, management, family life and rural/community leadership.

Sponsors of the Farm Family of the Year program are Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Arkansas Press Association, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and the three Farm Credit agencies that serve Arkansas: AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas and Midsouth Farm Credit. Additionally, support for the program is provided by the Arkansas Department of Career Education, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development.

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 200,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.