Conway County family receives farming honor

The Timothy “Timbo” Honeycutt family is the 2017 Conway County..

Conway County family receives farming honor

The Timothy “Timbo” Honeycutt family is the 2017 Conway County Farm Family of the Year. Members of the family include, front row, Wesley Honeycutt, left, and Nathan Honeycutt; and back row, from left, Preston Honeycutt, Minnie Honeycutt and Timbo Honeycutt. Not shown is Tiffany Duncan. The family raises hay, cattle and poultry.

CENTER RIDGE — Timothy “Timbo” Honeycutt grew up farming.

“I was raised on my parents’ farm,” said Timbo, a son of Tim and Flora Honeycutt. “I was raised in the dairy era. I started with a few cows … just grew into it.”

Timbo and his wife, Minnie Honeycutt, both 37, are the Conway County Farm Family of the Year.

They farm 560 acres between Center Ridge and Formosa and raise hay, poultry and cattle.

“It’s a huge honor to be named Conway County Farm Family of the Year,” Timbo said. “It’s a privilege.

“I’ve had a lot of friends who have gotten the honor before but never thought I would get it.”

Timbo and Minnie have been married five years and have a blended family.

Preston Honeycutt, 17, is the oldest child, followed by Tiffany Duncan, 14; Wesley Honeycutt, 13; and Nathan Honeycutt, 5.

The Honeycutts own six 43-by-500-foot poultry houses and raise an average of 1.209 million chickens per year under contract with Tyson Foods’ Dardanelle complex, where the chickens are processed. The Honeycutts have been under contract with Tyson since February 2010; prior to that, they grew chickens for Pilgrim’s Pride in Clinton.

The family raises approximately 200 head of cattle, including registered Red Angus, Charolais and Hereford; crossbred cows and calves; bulls; and bred heifers.

The family sells the cattle either by private treaty or at local sale barns.

“Most of the calf crops consist of steers going to market and heifers being kept for replacement cattle,” Timbo said.

Timbo credits his parents for his start in farming.

“They have provided me with the tools I needed to finally have a farm of my own,” said Timbo, who grew up near Formosa and graduated from Nemo Vista High School in Center Ridge.

“None of what I have accomplished would have been possible without the help, love and support they have given me and my family,” he said.

“In 1995, my parents and I started our dairy operation with the Arkansas Dairy Cooperative Association. I was only 15 at this time, and it was a big responsibility to have to milk cows before and after school,” Timbo said.

“In 1996, I decided to buy my own dairy cattle through an FFA program at Center Ridge High School, which was working with our local [Federal Housing Administration]. This was a small loan offered to students of $5,000 with zero percent interest. I bought seven milking cows at this time,” he said.

“After a few years, I paid that note off. Then I decided to talk to [Farm Credit of Western Arkansas] of Morrilton about buying more cattle, and they helped greatly. I was still farming with my parents, and we found a way for my cattle to pay their share of the utilities and make the payment for my new loan,” Timbo said.

“From 2000 to 2005, I took a job with the ADCA, where I worked on repairing and installing dairy equipment and helping with the overall dairy operation. In 2006, I decided to sell my part of the dairy cattle and construct poultry houses with Pilgrim’s Pride, which I financed through Farm Credit,” he said.

“In 2008, Pilgrim’s Pride shut down and left us stranded with our high mortgage. Thankfully, the oil and gas had just begun in our area and brought us some additional income. We gave that income to Farm Credit, who was working with everyone in this matter. Our three new poultry houses sat empty after 2008, and I had to go back to the dairy farm, which was becoming a dying industry,” Timbo said.

“In 2010, Tyson of Dardanelle gave us a contract to grow poultry for them. We invested a large amount of money getting our poultry houses back in shape after the two years they had lain dormant. At this time, I decided to start my own beef herd. I purchased five heifers from my father, and we began growing our own herd. Now we are up to 100-plus head of grown cattle,” Timbo said.

“Also during this time, I had the opportunity to purchase a farm joining my original three poultry houses,” he said. “This farm consisted of 40 acres and three poultry houses. The farm needed some upgrades, but I decided to make the investment. Tyson contracted us for the additional three houses, so we had six poultry houses growing by 2011.

“My family and I still help work on my parents’ farm. My dad, wife and sons work to ensure that there is enough hay for their farm and for ours. This consists of putting up around 3,000 bales per year. My parents are still farming around 800 acres and around 400 head of cattle, which we are still a big part of. We could not make this possible without all working together on something we love and can pass on to our children.”

Timbo said his wife and children are involved in the everyday practices around and at the farm.

“My wife and I are trying to teach our children that nothing is impossible to accomplish and that hard work always pays off,” he said.

“I love the farm,” said Minnie, who grew up in Clinton. “It’s so rewarding to see what you are building grow. I see [Timbo]. … He is so proud of all that he is accomplishing. To watch yourself grow is so rewarding.”

Timbo said his goal “is to just grow.”

“I’m almost at a standstill on the chicken side,” he said, explaining that the cost of building new houses today is almost prohibitive.

“I want to concentrate more on the beef cattle, keeping good blood lines and building up the herd. If I can help the kids get their herds built up, that’s what I want to do,” he said.

“I am bettering myself and my kids and teaching my kids to know that hard work does pay off … teaching them what you can do by working hard. The oldest boy, [Preston], wants to go into athletics, become a coach,” Timbo said. “The other two boys, [Wesley and Nathan], are the future farmers. The one in the fifth grade, [Nathan], will ride a tractor all day long.

“Our daughter likes to stay inside. … She keeps the house.”

Preston Honeycutt recently graduated from Nemo Vista High School and plans to attend the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, graduate and move on to Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. He coached for the Center Ridge Little League baseball program this summer.

Wesley and Nathan are active in the Center Ridge youth baseball program and the Nemo Vista basketball program; they attend Nemo Vista schools.

Tiffany attends Clinton High School and is on a team at school that judges poultry at other schools through the FFA program.

The family is active at the Formosa Church of Christ.

Timbo is a member of the Conway County Cattlemen’s Association, the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association, the Red Angus Association of America, the American International Charolais Association, the Holstein Association USA Inc., the American Angus Association and the American Hereford Association. He is a coach for the Center Ridge Baseball Association and dairy superintendent of the Conway County Fair.

Minnie is an assistant coach for the Center Ridge Baseball Association.

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