Five inducted in Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,756 views 

From left to right: Ellis Bell, Chris Isbell, Dr. Bert Greenwalt, Steve Stevens and Carla Vaught accepting on behalf of her late father, J.D. Vaught.

The five newest inductees into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame were added in a March 3rd ceremony at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

A total of 180 men and women are now enshrined in the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame.

The latest 5 inductees are:

Ellis Bell, Forrest City
A fourth-generation farmer who spent decades overcoming obstacles, Ellis Bell now operates an Arkansas Century Farm established in 1878. After graduating in 1956 from Lincoln High in Forrest City, Bell worked 13 years as both an aircraft mechanic and as an insurance industry broker in St. Louis before returning to the farm in 1971 when his father retired.

Bert Greenwalt, Jonesboro
A professor of Agri Economics at Arkansas State University since 1991, Bert Greenwalt co-founded and directs the college’s annual Agribusiness Conference and sponsors the Agribusiness Club, including trips to the Chicago Board of Trade and Federal Reserve Bank locations.

Chris Isbell, Humnoke
Innovative Chris Isbell was the first farmer to grow prized Koshihikari rice outside of Japan, and the thrill of doing it spurred him on to develop and grow a premium variety of Yamanda Nishki rice used to make Japanese sake. When covid shut down Japan exports in 2020, Isbell had Japanese sake rice ready and waiting, and he now sells rice to sake breweries around the world. His sustainability efforts include water-saving methods, solar fields helping power the farm and flooded fields for waterfowl in the offseason.

Steve Stevens, Tillar
Steve Stevens has a long history of learning from and working with researchers to make farming better. One of the more significant cotton seedbed-preparation innovations was first implemented in Arkansas on Stevens’ farm in the early 1990s. He was an early adopter of computerized-hole selection for irrigation and COTMAN (Cotton Management program), improving soil, water and insecticide use. Arkansas Discovery Farms selected Stevens’ fields for cotton research in 2013, and it has had more water-quality, water-use and nutrient-loss data collected on it than on any other farm in America.

Jesse “J.D.” Vaught, Horatio
A pioneer in contract livestock production, J.D. Vaught adapted early in both chicken and swine production and used technology like performance records and artificial insemination to improve purebred Charolais (early 1970s) and Angus cattle (1980s). He built chicken houses in the early 1960s and a contract hog facility in the mid 1970s, produced poultry from 1964-1999 and was a partner in Poultry House Cleanout Service from 1968-74.