Griggs named Farm Family of the Year
Smiling, Michael Grigg Sr. points at the sprawling hills before him at Rockin G Farms just outside Green Forest. It has been raining, leaving the trees in the distance with a distinct shine. The sun peeks through the clouds, and Grigg gestures again at the surrounding greenery.
"This is my office," he says. "Rain or shine, you can't beat it."
Grigg's family has been named Carroll County's 2015 Farm Family of the Year, an honor recognizing Arkansas farm families who excel in farming, homemaking and community leadership.
The Grigg family certainly fits the bill. According to Grigg's wife, Jaretta Grigg, the Grigg family has owned and operated a farm for more than 100 years. She said her husband has lived on the farm all his life. She moved to the farm after they were married in 1985.
The couple raised two children on the farm -- Kayla Grigg and Michael Grigg Jr. Kayla Grigg died in a car accident in 2009, but Jaretta Grigg said she has pleasant memories to look back on.
"We had some good times, and we've got lots of wonderful memories," Jaretta Grigg said.
She added that her son, Michael Grigg Jr., attended college from 2009 to 2012 and now works as foreman on the family farm. He lives on the farm with his wife, Sara Grigg, whom he married in 2012.
In the late 1980s, Jaretta Grigg said, she and Michael Grigg Sr. purchased dairy cattle and partnered with his parents in the dairy business. That business lasted five years, then Michael and Jaretta Grigg began working with beef cattle.
After Michael Grigg Sr.'s father died in 2005, he and Jaretta Grigg acquired the 164.3-acre family farm and began building poultry houses on the property. The family received its first batch of turkeys in 2007, owning one brooder and two range houses at the time.
All range houses were converted into brooder houses in 2013, when the family became a brood hub for Butterball. In 2014, the family acquired another 520 acres of land, bringing its acreage to 684.3.
Jaretta Grigg described the plans for this property, saying the family has been clearing and fencing it since September 2014 and hopes to clear enough land to use rotational grazing to improve pasture utilization.
She added that the family has been using branches and trees to prevent erosion of the soil, outlining plans to add some ponds, a holding pen and a working corral on the property. With the new property, Jaretta Grigg said, the family could have 150 to 200 mother cows in the near future.
Though she said the farm is really her husband's dream, Jaretta Grigg noted that she loves watching the cattle being born. Michael Grigg Jr. echoed his mother, saying he enjoys the cattle as well.
"I like watching them grow. They're always special to me. I could tell you almost every cow's number just by looking," Michael Grigg Jr. said.
His father said he enjoys the farm because of the way it brings the family together. Without the farm, Michael Grigg Sr. said, he would not be so close to his son.
"Me and Michael work together day in and day out. If not, he'd be off somewhere and I'd be off somewhere and we wouldn't see each other very often," Michael Grigg Sr. said.
He said he was grateful for being named Farm Family of the Year, saying he has always hoped his family would receive the honor.
"We're nothing major. We're nothing fancy. But to win something like that -- it makes you feel good," Michael Grigg Sr. said.
His wife expressed similar gratitude and said she's still in shock about the recognition.
"We're honored that they think that much of us. It was a nice thing for the county to do," Jaretta Grigg said.
Michael Grigg Sr. said his family brings him more joy than anything in the world.
"We're not the biggest and we're not the best, but we're happy. That's what matters," he said.
The Griggs are members of Victory Tabernacle Church in Green Forest, and Michael Grigg Sr. served on the Green Forest School Board for five years. The family sponsors local youth programs and helps provide a scholarship in Kayla Grigg's memory for Carroll County students.