Gathright receives Farmer of the Year Award

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dennis Gathright of Monette was the recipient of the Farmer of the Year award.

The Excellence in Agriculture Farmer of the Year and the Excellence in Agriculture Business Person of the Year awards were presented at the Regional Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and awards dinner held at the Arkansas State Convocation Center on Thursday.

Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business Committee Chairman Jeff Gregory (left) presents the Excellence in Agriculture Farmer of the Year Award to Dennis Gathright of Monette. (photo provided)

Gathright worked on his family farm throughout his school years. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Gene Gathright. He comes from a farming background on both sides of his family as his grandfathers, Clyde Gathright and Elvin Woodsmall, were farmers. After graduating from high school he started farming full time on the family farm. He started accumulating ground for his own operation and in the mid-1980s he rented enough land to start his own farming business.

In 1988 his son, Justin, graduated from high school and started college. Together they have continued to add land to the operation so that Justin now has his own farming business. The Gathrights have 3,400 acres of 100 percent irrigated cotton land.

Dennis Gathright said it was an honor and surprise to be nominated much less to receive the award.

"Everyone who is still trying to farm today deserves this award," Gathright said. "I have a brother, uncles and cousins all farming in the community."

Throughout his career, he has emphasized conservation and leveling land for irrigation.

Gathright contributes his success to his employees and his wife, Jennifer, and their children, Amanda, Megan and Rachel, along with his son and his wife, Leah, and grandchildren, Madalyn and Presley.

Justin makes up part of the fourth generation of Gathright farmers in the area.

"I couldn't do it without Justin and my employees," Gathright said. "It takes more than one person. We appreciate our landlords who allow us to farm their land and their willingness to help any way they can. They are aware of the high cost facing growers today. It takes all of us working together."

The 2008 Excellence in Agriculture Business Person of the Year was Donald E. Brown of Jonesboro, vice president of support services and chief appraiser at Farm Credit Mid-South.

The awards were presented by Jeff Gregory, chairman of the Chamber's Agri-Business Committee.

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