Hempstead County's Farm Family of the Year will represent Southwest Arkansas in the statewide Farm Family of the Year competition.

Hempstead County's Farm Family of the Year will represent Southwest Arkansas in the statewide Farm Family of the Year competition. The Larry and Leslie Griffin family of Columbus have been chosen to advance as district representatives to the statewide competition, and will meet with judges for that round of interviews in July, Hempstead County Agricultural Extension Agent Steven Sheets said. Sheets said the judging interviews will be similar to those conducted earlier this month on-site at the Griffin farms on Hempstead County Road 35 North. Larry and Leslie Griffin, of 1904 Hempstead County Road 35 North, have been in the cattle business for 30 years and have raised poultry for the past 16 years on acreage expanded originally through rental and purchase to a 100-head cow-calf operation, with eight poultry houses, 65 acres of hay production, and 100 acres in future use timber. The couple began with 20 acres and six head of cattle, then expanded their reach through rentals. Adult sons, Andrew and Carroll Wayne are also involved in the farming and poultry operations. Andrew and his wife, Jessica, are the parents of Audrey and Drew, ages five and three. Andrew is employed otherwise by Hope Tractor. Carroll Wayne is poultry manager for the farm. The family has built the diversified farming operation in steps over the years, and expanded into poultry in 1997. The farm raises poultry under contract to Tyson Foods. Larry Griffin has been employed off the farm as a millwright in Ashdown as a means of helping to payoff the farm investment, but he has been farming full time since June 1. Larry was active in FFA and 4-H Club during his school years, and has been a member of the Columbus Volunteer Fire Department since 1980, having also served as chief, is a member of the Columbus Cemetery Association Board of Directors, coaches youth athletics and youth agriculture teams, and is a deacon at the Hope Church of Christ, where he is active in various related ministries. He was named Top Broiler Producer by Tyson in 1998, 2001, and 2002, and he is a member of the NRA, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Hempstead County Cattlemen's Association. Leslie was active in athletics in her school years, is also a longtime member of the Columbus VFD and VFD Ladies' Auxiliary, has been an agriculture show team mom, and has been active in several church-related groups. She is a member of the Republican Women's Group, National Cattlewomen's Beef Association, Hempstead County Cattlewomen's Association, and is researching and writing a historical novel.