Oklahoma

Adair County's Jack and Jodi Simmons were named Oklahoma Farm Bureau YF&R Achievement Award winner Nov. 14 at the 67th annual convention in Oklahoma City.

The YF&R Achievement Award honors the state's top young farmer or farm family for their achievements in the farming business and their leadership in the agricultural community. A panel of judges selected the Stilwell couple for the award.

They received an expense-paid trip to the 2009 American Farm Bureau convention in San Antonio, Texas, to represent Oklahoma in the national contest where they will compete for Dodge pickups and Arctic Cat four-wheelers. As the Oklahoma winner, the Simmons received a year's use of a Dodge pickup and the use of a Kubota tractor along with other prizes.

Jack, 37, and Jodi, 34, have two children, Eryn, 14, and Spencer, 5.

They have more than 1,300 acres near Stilwell where they have 100 acres of hay and run 240 head of cattle in addition to operating a liquid feed business.

Both Jack and Jodi grew up on farms. Their operation today includes parts of the farm where Jack was reared. Their operation dates to 1989, when they rented pasture and purchased 60 head of cattle. They purchased their first 100 acres that same year, added another 669 acres in 1992, 500 acres in 1993 and purchased their last 100 acres two years ago.

"We have made several changes, expansion and improvements in both management and marketing practices for our cow-calf operation," they said.

Among the changes implemented are spraying pastures for weed control as opposed to mowing, improved genetics in the cattle herd and the use of video auctions for their animals to access more buyers.

In the future, the couple hopes to clear more timber to increase pasture opportunities for their animals as well as cross-fencing to better manage grazing. There also are plans to build a hay barn and facilities for backgrounding calves.

While their occupation occupies much of their time, both serve on their county's YF&R Committee. Jack also serves as the Adair County Farm Bureau vice president and Jodi serves as secretary of the county Women's Committee. They also both are members of the county's 4-H and FFA Boosters Club.

"We measure and evaluate the management of our family operation by debt to income ratio. As our income increases, it enables us to decrease our debt."

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