The term “family farm” can mean a lot of things, depending on whom you ask. But for the Hall Family, the emphasis is on the word ‘family.’ Terry Hall’s grandfather cleared the very land on which it all sits. His father Russell, now 74, was born and raised on the farm and works it today. Terry followed the same path, and this past year, his son Hanner officially joined the team. Hall Farms grows corn, rice, and soybeans on a farm that stretches from one side of Craighead County, Arkansas to the other.
Terry Hall talks of wanting to farm as far back as he can remember, something all of the Halls, oldest to youngest, seem to have in common. Growing up on the farm, of course he learned the ropes from a young age, just like the elder Halls and his own son. When we spoke about how he got involved business-wise, Terry reflected on growing rice back in the eighties, laughing that his grandfather—accustomed to farming cotton and maybe some soybeans—wanted no part of handling a rice crop when the idea was first proposed. When Terry joined the fray, he recognized their ground (about 350 acres or so) would suit rice well, and influenced the streamlining of the operation to rice, beans and corn. That enabled them to pare down and update the combine and tractors and set them on the path to the present, growing to the 6500+ acre operation they run today.
With Hanner joining the farm this past year, Terry is hopeful that he will bring a new perspective to the operation, just as he, himself, did after joining Hall Farms at the very same age. Agriculture is evolving at a rapid pace, with new technologies availing themselves at every turn. By embracing the skill set of each new generation, farms can keep pace with smart use of innovations to meet the many challenges they face.
When it comes to the Halls’ relationship with Farm Credit, that too goes back a good long way. Terry mentions the family has never turned to any other institution to seek financing because “Farm Credit has stuck with us all the way.” When asked to elaborate, Terry explains the many reasons Farm Credit has been a great fit for his family.
“First and foremost, they’ll listen to you,” he says. “And they know farming.” So, when we propose our plans, the folks on the Farm Credit side of things look past the obvious, and understand where we’re coming from, he adds.
“The best thing about our relationship with Farm Credit is that it’s not just the Farm Credit name standing behind us,” he says. “It’s the Christy Case, Becky Street, Robin and Tera, all of the people up at Farm Credit that make it so easy (to do business there.)”
According to Terry, maybe the second-best thing about Farm Credit is the patronage program. Because Farm Credit is a cooperative, the Association returns a portion of its profits to its Members each year.
“Patronage is a big deal,” Terry notes. “It comes at a great time of the year. When you consider their interest rates are competitive, if not lower, than add that patronage, it’s just huge. That patronage check adds up, and adds up quick.”
Together the Hall family resides along that gravel road forged by the Halls’ grandfather all those years ago in Needham, Arkansas, with three separate houses set on about 40 acres. Living and working together, they are the very definition of family farming. And, as Russell notes, his own father, who the family lost in 1998, would be “proud of what’s here today.”
GROWING WISHES - The Hall Family founded Growing Wishes, in support of Make-a-Wish, after their own son, Haydon was granted a wish years ago before passing. Over the last six years, the family has partnered with a number of area companies to fund raise and grant a number of wishes to kids battling medical conditions.