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Success Stories Abraham Carpenter Jr. Conservation Campaign Story | Arkansas

Strong family values with an appreciation and respect for the land are the keys to Abraham Carpenter Jr. success in Grady, Ark.

Abraham Carpenter Jr. (right) and Dr. Henry English, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, look over this year's crop.He manages a farming operation and owns and operates Carpenter Produce which has become a very successful small business. But what distinguishes his farm from the larger cotton, rice and soybean operations in the area is his success in growing a variety of alternative crops. His operation produces squash, greens, green beans, sweet potatoes, purple hull peas, watermelons, pinkeye peas, and other non-traditional crops.

Carpenter believes partnership is a vital tool for any successful farming operation. He promotes his successful participation in USDA programs and services, and the positive experiences he's gained from working with partnering entities by hosting demonstration field days, and speaking at agricultural community events, thus increasing minority producers' awareness of NRCS programs and services.

"We have a very good partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service; University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff extension staff; and the Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation (ALFDC)," Carpenter said. "We work very close with all three of them. We are able to partnership together and really address the majority of the needs the farmers have in the state of Arkansas."

Carpenter's commitment to conservation has also led to major improvements on his farm.

"There have been several conservation practices already installed on the farm including wells to address water conservation concerns, underground pipelines, organic farming and drip irrigation," said Robert Hankins, Lincoln County district conservationist.

"You can really farm without irrigation. I am so glad NRCS has programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help provide alternative crop producers access to irrigation," Carpenter said.
Abraham Carpenter Jr. and Robert Hankins, Lincoln County district conservationist, look at a map of Carpenter's property.
   By consistently incorporating a strong sense of family values in his operation, Abraham Carpenter has become a bridge of hope for other small and minority farmers, young people, business men and women, and his community as a hole. 

   As a successful entrepreneur, he regularly communicates the importance of land ownership, the plight of limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers, and how to become stewards of the land to youth and community groups.
 
  "Carpenter has been a major contributor serving as a mentor farmer to our youth and passing on his knowledge and wisdom of agriculture and business," said Dr. Calvin R. King Sr., ALFDC president.
 
   Carpenter says his belief in strong family values was passed down to him from his parents, and has enabled him to continue his farming operation, even through difficult times.

   Carpenter is an exceptional small farmer who has built a bridge of hope for his community, and a successful farming operation his family will enjoy for years to come.

   Contact: Creston Shrum, (501) 301-3168 e-mail: creston.shrum@ar.usda.gov