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Arkansas farmers celebrate 100 years of farming

Many family farms in Arkansas got recognition as the newest members of the century club at the Arkansas State Capitol on Monday afternoon.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Some people have activities that they've been doing for a while— a week, a month, a year, or any length of time in between. 

Though most people can't say that they've done something for 100 years, a group of Arkansan farmers were recently honored for doing just that. 

Secretary of Agriculture for Arkansas, Wes Ward, explained that they were in attendance at the state capitol to "celebrate the families that are a part of making our state what it is." 

Various farming families joined together and were recognized at the state capitol for having been in the business of farming for over a century.

Bell Farm has been in operation since 1917, and Ann Bell Bryan explained that they have six generations involved in their farming business. 

"Your heart is in it, and this is your life, and this is what you've chosen to do," she said. 

She's not the first person that has worked on their property, and she won't be the last— A tradition also mimicked by many of the families that were recognized on Monday.

"Only a small, small few of those make it this far to have a farm 100 plus years," Ward said.

Those families haven't kept their farms for 100 years just to be recognized, though – all their hard work started out on the farm.

"Proud, proud that it's still in the family," Benny Weatherford explained.

Weatherford Farms, just a few miles west of Beebe, has been in their family for 104 years.

As time has passed and the seasons have changed, the years and the problems have blended together.

"It's always challenging, whatever year it is," Weatherford said. "It's something new every year."

Recently, the main problem they've had to deal with has been the cost of things.

 Fertilizers, parts, fuel, and more have been impacted by inflation.

"Those sorts of things that have an impact on your ability to stay in business," Ward said. "They have been resilient through all those challenges."

Sometimes it has been too much rain, or even not enough.

"Like I said, it's something all the time, over the years, it's something new, it's gonna be a problem every year or every five or six years," Weatherford described. "It's a drought or it'll be something, so, you know, you just get used to doing it, go ahead and do it."

But you don't get to be at the Capitol, and honored for your history, without a little resiliency.

"I can't explain exactly how, but it gets in your blood, and you're gonna do it," Weatherford expressed.

There is also a lot of dedication involved in achieving such a large accomplishment. 

"And there's a love that you cannot explain," Bell Bryan said. "There's a love for your property that goes back prior to even the generations before my family had the farm."

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