he relies on advice from Blue Reef Agri-Marketing, Inc. He says
the organization helps him make decisions on cash sales, forward
contracts, and futures and options.
With 350,000 bushels of grain storage capacity, he is able to
wait for market prices to improve before selling. He markets his
own cotton and says the firms he sells to have treated him fairly.
Staying on good terms with the 30 landowners they rent from is
an important and ongoing effort that Wildy and his family focus
on. “We are privileged to care for their land, and we believe in
leaving it in better condition than when we received it,” he says.
“Strong family ties are of utmost importance, and we’re proud
that we’ve been able to raise our families on the farm,” says Wildy.
The farm has its own website and has been certified for meeting
environmental protection, security, and farm safety standards.
All successful family farms eventually face major decisions
SUPPORTERS OF EDUCATION
about succession and estate planning, and Wildy says he and his
family have decided to keep the farm intact rather than to set up
separate farms for each family member. “We focus on enhancing
profits, reducing risks, building value, promoting legacy, and in
the process, supporting our community.”
He has supported his community by serving on the board
and as president of the Mississippi County Farm Bureau. He has
been on the committee of the USDA-Farm Service Agency in
Mississippi County, currently serves on the boards of Mississippi
County Electric Cooperative and Buffalo Island Regional Water
District, and is a member of the Buffalo Island Central FFA Alumni
Committee. He also chairs the board of Drainage District 16.
Since 1984, he has provided scholarships to graduates pursuing
agricultural studies at two local high schools, and the farm also
helps provide books for local elementary school students that are
aimed at developing strong values of character and citizenship.
On the state level, Wildy is a member of the University of
Arkansas Agriculture Development Council, has served on the
Arkansas Northeastern College Foundation board of governors,
and is on the board of directors of St. Francis Levee District of
Arkansas and Arkansas Certified Crop Advisor Board.
On the national level, he has been affiliated since 2014
with Family Farms Group, an Illinois-based member-owned
organization that provides business management and training for
the owners and operators of medium and large farms.
David’s wife, Patty, has been active at First Lutheran Church
of Blytheville, and was a member of the Mississippi County Farm
Bureau Women’s Committee and Cotton Wives organization.
On the state level, she is active in the P.E.O. philanthropic
David and Patty have four adult children, sons Justin and Tab,
and daughters Hayley and Bethany. Bethany owns and operates
Silhouettes Boutique and Salon at Manila, and her husband, Paul
Harris, works on the farm and specializes in precision farming
applications. During stressful farm discussions, Wildy says, Paul
will tell a joke that puts everyone at ease. Though born with
Down’s Syndrome, Hayley makes vital contributions in the farm
office by gathering mail and shredding paper.
Son Justin has been working on the farm since he was young,
and like his father, he is active in farm organizations. Justin’s wife,
Kristi, manages the farm office and focuses on keeping landlords
informed about what is taking place on their land. Tab, the
Wildy’s youngest son, is largely responsible for managing peanut
production and field records.
The Wildys rely on Dale Wells, who works full time for the farm,
Mollie Dykes with Arkansas Farm Bureau coordinates the
Farmer of the Year award for Arkansas. Wildy was nominated
for the honor by Ray Benson, Extension agent in Mississippi
County, Ark., who says he admires Wildy for his extensive on-farm
research and Extension demonstration projects. “We have more
studies on his farm than on any other. David is also focused on
environmental protection and on sustainability.”
As Arkansas state winner, Wildy receives a $2,500 cash award
and an expense-paid trip to the Sunbelt Expo from Swisher
He is eligible for the $15,000 cash prize that will go to the
overall winner. Other prizes for the overall winner include the use
of a Massey Ferguson tractor for a year from Massey Ferguson
North America, another $500 gift certificate from Southern States,
a Columbia jacket from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply, and a
smoker-grill from Hays LTI.
Swisher International, through its Swisher Sweets cigar brand,
and the Sunbelt Expo are sponsoring the Southeastern Farmer
of the Year awards for the 27th consecutive year. Swisher has
contributed some $1.04 million in cash awards and other honors
to southeastern farmers since the award was initiated in 1990.
Previous Arkansas winners include Michael Simon of Conway,
2007; Brian Kirksey of Amity, 2008; Orelan Johnson of England,
2009; Bill Haak of Gentry, 2010; Michael Oxner of Searcy, 2011;
Heath Long of Tichnor, 2012; Phillip DeSalvo of Center Ridge,
2013; Andy Gill of McGeehee, 2014; and Nathan Reed of Marianna,
2015. Arkansas has had one overall winner, Kirksey in 2008.
STORAGE & CARGO
• Portable Workshops
• Pole Barns
• Secure Food Storage
• Rodent & Insect Proof
• Wind/Water Tight
• Implement/Lift Pump Storage
• Cotton, Grain & Peanuts
Visit us in Section
B10-837 of the Sunbelt Expo
Oct. 18-20, 2016