The Gross family of Hot Springs (Garland County) is the West Central District Farm Family of the Year. The family includes Steve and Stacy, Scott and Kay, and Billy and Mary, parents of Steve and Scott. They have a diverse farm on 1,280 acres which consists of hay, timber, beef cattle, pigs, chickens, and horses.
The family purchased the property from Weyerhaeuser Realty, so land had to be cleared to create pastures. Nine ponds were built to provide an adequate water supply for each pasture, and a fence was built around the initial 180 acres. As pasture land was developed, soil samples were taken and sent to the University of Arkansas Department of Agriculture where it was recommended they apply lime, fertilizer and seed to improve the quality of the pasture. Each year, they plant sawtooth oak trees to replace trees that have died or been harvested. The trees provide food for wildlife in the area.
Every member of the family plays a key role in the farm from training horses to baling hay to showing livestock. Colton, Steve and Stacy’s oldest son, has been able to find purpose in life through the farm. He has cerebral palsy and must use a walker to get wherever he needs to go. However, he is just as much a part of the farm as the rest of the family. He has a Polaris Ranger he drives around the farm and checks the cattle herds daily. He also has his own tractor, so he can put hay out for the cows with the assistance of his brother, Seth.
Scott and Kay and Steve and Stacy are all members of the Garland County Cattlemen’s Association and Garland County Farm Bureau. Both Scott and Kay have served as 4-H leaders, and Kay still serves on the Garland County 4-H Foundation Board.
“What an honor it is to be chosen to participate in the Farm Family of the Year program. Words cannot express our thanks for this honorable recognition, “said the Gross family. “We hope that we can share and pass on some of the great things we have learned about farming to our kids and neighbors, so that we can be better stewards of the land.”