Standridges are 2018 Van Buren County Farm Family of the Year
You would think the numbers tell the story: 600 -plus acres, 700 head in 2017, 15 years, three children, first place (a number that comes up a lot), and other numbers, measures of time, space, finishing order.
And they’re impressive numbers, the story of the ranch, the family, up in Dennard, that handsome spread of land. The trouble being, of course, that they’re just numbers, they don’t tell the story, not the whole story, of the family, the people, the Standridge Family, the Van Buren County Farm Family of the year.
The Standridge family is Jared and Lacey with children Sydney, 13, Sam, 11 and Shelby, 9, and they operate Standridge Ranch. On the ranch in Hartsugg Cattle Company, named after the creek on the west side of the land.
“Operate” is a loaded term, they have a lot going on. Cattle of course, operating across both the ranch’s 606 acres and the additional rented 175 acres. More numbers here, as it’s not “just” cattle, but 400 head of Corriente/Longhorn Cattle for lease, 75 head for beef, and 40 head of show cattle.
The lease cattle go out to stock contractors, rodeo events and roping clubs, specialty animals reflecting Jared’s turn as a roper - world champ in 2007. As proof that some hobbies become habits, Jared still works the farm from horseback, as opposed to the more typical ATV of these times.
(In 2003, Jared and Lacey were wed. And in 2007 they had a busy year: the year of the championship, and the year their very inviting home was built.)
Other cattle, the show cattle is part of the family business. The ranch has a shown barn on site where FFA competitors train and take advantage of the Collegiate Livestock judge, Trenton Tosh, who is a member of the ranch staff. More to it here as the children participate in showing cattle. Sydney, the oldest, was the Arkansas Junior Cattlemen’s High Point Overall Showman last year.
For that matter the tradition of raising and showing doesn’t end with cattle. Sam, the son, has 20 chickens, penned just a few yards past the main barn. (Sam and Shelby were happy to show the stock to a visiting reporter.)
And it is, getting back to numbers, hours of work. The night before our visit they were out ‘til 10 p.m. doing all the things that go into raising cattle. This on top of running S&P Insurance Partners agency full-time. The children help as it’s all part of the life, of running a ranch. The story’s told of an earlier time of stick-and-ball sports on top of work of a ranch but it was just too much. Baseball and the like is on the back burner as more time is given for caring for the farm, for the cattle, for the family business.
They continue to reach out in the community, however. Lacey, a former kindergarten teacher, was recently elected to the Clinton school board as well as the Clinton Chamber of Commerce - along with serving on the Youth Committee at First Baptist Church.
The family participates in, and contributes to, FFA, with Jared serving on the foundation board. Of course Jared and Lacey are members of the county Cattlemen’s Association. Hosting FFA and 4H for education day trips is also part of ranch operations.
By Alex Kienlen