After multiple setbacks in the 80s, twins Jerry and Terry Fuller were told they had to return to the farm after college. Otherwise, they would have been faced with the unthinkable – selling the family farm. The drought of 1980, the purchase of another large farm and the 80s price crash all contributed to rough times for the Fullers, but Jerry and Terry decided to answer the call anyway. They returned to the farm and now couldn’t picture any other lifestyle for them and their families. Jerry and Suzie Fuller and Terry and Lisa Fuller of Phillips County are the 2015 Southeast District Farm Family of the Year. They raise wheat, milo, corn, soybeans, feeder calves and replacement heifers on their 2,700-acre farm in Poplar Grove. Jerry manages the cattle operation while Terry tends to the row crops and marketing.
When Jerry and Terry started farming in 1982, soybean prices had just fallen from $10/bushel to $5/bushel and their father, Ray Fuller, had just purchased 2,700 acres of farmland. Instead of calling it quits, the family started Fuller Seed and Supply to add value to their crops by selling seed they had grew on the farm. Since then, Fuller Seed and Supply has grown into a successful retail and wholesale seed and chemical supply business.
Jerry and Terry have implemented a number of sustainability practices to guarantee the longevity of their farm. Irrigation is now 50 percent more efficient as a result of precision leveling most of the land. Additionally, they recycle all of their poly-pipe and plant as early as possible to keep irrigation costs low. They use conservation tillage and no-till where applicable. Since 1995, they’ve planted soybeans behind wheat with a no-till planter in wheat stubble.
After the flood of 2011, Jerry started buying feeder calves at the local sales to eat the haylage they baled right before the flood covered the wheat crop. The expanded cattle sales have just about equaled the income of a 2,000-acre farm. This enterprise grew to more than $1 million in cattle sales in 2014.
The Fuller’s cattle operation consists of feeder calves and replacement heifers. Feeder calves are purchased in the local market within 100 miles and then sold at the Oklahoma City National Stock Yard Company, the world’s largest market of stocker and feeder cattle. Jerry uses his trained eye to select quality replacement heifers from the feeder calves.
Jerry’s son, Kyle, and Terry’s son-in-law, Alex, are now working in the family business. Kyle has primarily taken over the row crop operation alongside doing custom planting and harvesting for other farmers. He’s always looking for more efficient ways to boost his yields and as a result of his work, he placed in the Arkansas Grow for the Green Soybean Yield Contest in 2014. Alex is learning the sales side of the operation at Fuller Seed and Supply and the many marketing strategies. He also helps Jerry with the cattle.
Terry serves on the Arkansas State Plant Board, Arkansas Seed Council, Arkansas Seed Dealers, and the Arkansas Seed Growers. Jerry is active with the Arkansas Cattleman’s Association and the Arkansas Quarter Horse Association. Jerry, Terry and their families attend Marvell United Methodist Church.
- 1 package wild rice, long grain
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- One 6-oz. can mushrooms
- 1½ cups duck broth
- 3 cups boiled diced duck
- 1½ cups cream or one 10¾ oz. can cream of mushroom soup
- One 8-oz. can water chestnuts, sliced thin
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1½ teaspoons salt and pepper to taste
Cook rice as directed. Sauté onion in butter; stir in flour; add mushrooms and broth, stir. Add all other ingredients; pour into casserole and bake covered, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.