Dewayne and Kim Ezell of Drasco have been named the Cleburne County Farm Family of the Year

DRASCO- Dewayne and Kim Ezell of Drasco have been named the Cleburne County Farm Family of the Year for 2009. A panel of Farm Bureau members selected the Ezells from about a dozen families in the county.
Dewayne loves to tend to the cattle and Kim loves to tend to her beautiful flowers, trees, and azalea bushes. Some might say Dewayne is the kid of the family, but Kim admits their 11-year-old German Shepherd, Lisa, is the true child of the family. Another fun-loving member of the family is Sadie the Charolais cow.
Dewayne and Kim own 800 acres of land used for cattle, hay, and recreation. This is a far cry from the 15 acres owned when the farm first began. Dewayne said he has been involved in farming his entire life.
In their Farm Family interview, Dewayne said, “I purchased my first 15 acres at the age of 16. I worked on the family farm to help out and in addition I worked on the Melvins’s farm, caught chickens at night, and worked at Chaparral Trailers to earn the money used to purchase my first property. I also restored old vehicles as a teenager to earn money to help purchase my first property.”
In the summer he worked at Rock Products. At 17 he purchased a mobile home to put on the 15 acres. “I grew up on a farm with chickens and cattle and at a very young age helped Melvin, who was in a wheelchair, feed his calves and chickens. When I was 20 I bought The Country Store in Drasco. In 1987 I married Kim and we have been working side by side in the store and on the farm ever since.”
They, along with Dewayne’s dad Marvin, work the farm, which includes over 170 cattle and 145 acres of hay. “We raise the calves and the ones that we sell are sold at the Cleburne County Livestock Auction,” they said. “We keep all of the hay that we make to use on the farm.”
Dewayne tries to carry over hay from one year to the next in case any problems arise to prevent a good hay yield the following season.
In addition to the cattle and hay, the Ezells own and operate the County Store in Drasco. Dewayne and Kim work 60 to 70 hours each week in the store. “There is a lack of time to do all we need to do at the farm because the store takes several hours each week away from what could be getting done, but it is what provides the funding so we can continue buying items needed for the farm.”
The Ezells plan on working the farm fulltime in the future. “We hope to build more fences, add to our pasture, get more cattle, and do more to improve the farm each year. We also want to continue to work with NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) to make improvements and have a more efficient farm.”
Over the years the Ezells have set goals for themselves and their operation. “We wanted to improve management of the fields and as a result of hard work, we have better pastures. With the better pastures we have better control over the cattle with cross fencing and rotational grazing. Another thing we had to improve upon were the costs associated with the farm and by doing better, we have better hayfields. We also want to improve seasonal calving.”
Farm Bureau asked the Ezells what practices they have employed that contribute to protecting the environment. “We have fenced off our ponds and established grasses. We plan to fence off our creek next year with guidance from NRCS.
“We have food plots for deer and also help manage wildlife on our property. We have planted lots of clover. We worked with NRCS to build new fences, ponds, set up a rotational grazing system, and put water tanks on the farm.
“We have put fire breaks around the farm. Pasture planting using improved varieties – orchard, MaxQ, Wanger Bermuda. Put in cross fencing, use tanks, and fence off ponds. Practice timber management, made fire lanes, and burns off for wildlife. Soil samples are taken to see what nutrients are needed for the property to improve the grasses.”
Coyotes and cattle may not sound like a very good combination, but the Ezells have a working solution. “On about 185 acres of our property we have coyotes. We have a cabin on the property that has been named the ‘Fox Pen’. People pay a fee to let their dogs run the area and the income helps to improve the farm.
“This doesn’t interfere with raising the cattle. The coyotes are fed a special feed, which keeps them from bothering the cattle.”
Kim’s dad Earl spends time at the Fox Pen, making sure things are in order and letting his Walkers run about.
The farm couldn’t run without proper bookkeeping. Kim does the bookkeeping for the farm. “She does the cooking and takes care of the house and works at the store,” said Dewayne. “She helps worm the cattle and put in the ear tags. She does a great job helping with weed control on the farm as a spotter by riding with me and pointing out the weeds.”
Both Dewayne and Kim enjoy deer and turkey hunting to put meat in the freezer. “Kim puts up vegetables from the garden in the summer. She also has flower gardens at home.”
Their child is the 11-year-old German Shepherd Sadie. “She is part of the family,” Kim said.
The Ezells are members of the Drasco General Baptist Church where Kim is a sixth grade Sunday school teacher. “We have been members of the Cleburne County Cattlemen’s Association for 10 years. We are also members of Farm Bureau and have been members of the Cleburne County Community Foundation for a year. We have also been members of the Arkansas Community Foundation for a year.”
This is the 62nd year for Farm Bureau to hold the farm family of the year program. The annual announcement takes place around this time each year.
As being the Cleburne County Farm Family of the Year, the Ezells are now in the running for the State Farm Family of the Year and could possibly move on to Southeastern Farmer of the Year ceremony in Moultrie, GA.
Louis Short
(media contact for 2009 Cleburne County Farm Family of the Year)