The Nathan and Kristin Reed family of Marianna (Lee County ) is the East Central District Farm Family of the Year. They have a 6,000 acre farm where they raise cotton, corn, soybeans and milo. When Nathan began farming with his dad 14 years ago, they were farming on 600 acres.
Conservation of soil, water and energy play a major part on the Reed Farm. Fertilizer is applied using variable rate technology and irrigation wells and center pivot systems run off electric power thus creating substantial energy savings. Nathan uses an automated cloud-based air drying system in his grain facility which allows him to dry crops with no additional heat and save 25 to 30 percent on drying costs.
In order to expand his horizons in agriculture, Nathan tries to set aside a small portion of land each year to try out different crops or cropping practices. In 2011, he had 600 acres of second crop cotton behind wheat and in 2013, had 400 acres of sesame second cropped behind wheat. This year, he has 250 acres of conventional, non-transgenic cotton and 50 acres of conventional cotton no-tilled behind cereal rye he’s growing for seed for cover crops.
Nathan said, “While I have yet to get rich off of these cropping experiments, the experience I have received from them has been invaluable, and I have made a small profit each year. It also provides plenty of discussion at the local diner.” Nathan’s other goals on the farm include purchasing more land, incurring as little debt as possible and gaining a better understanding of the fertility requirements of his crops, particularly cotton.
Nathan and Kristin strongly believe in the importance of being involved in their community and state. Nathan currently serves on the Lee County Farm Bureau board of directors, Lee County Farm Bureau Resolutions Chair, Lee County Justice of the Peace, the Arkansas Agriculture Council Board of Directors, Vice Chairman of the Arkansas Cotton State Support Committee and the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the University of Arkansas Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. Kristin serves on the budget committee at her church and has volunteered for vacation bible school. Both are members of First Baptist Church of Marianna. Nathan and Kristin have three children, Jane-Anne (2), Stanley “Eldon” (2) and Katherine (7 months).