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Thursday, May 5, 2016

2008 Izard County Farm Family -- The Harber Family

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kim Smith-Harber, Doug Harber, Chance Harber and Suzonne Harber.
Doug Harber and wife Kim of Wiseman, along with their two children, Suzonne, 7, and Chance, 2, have been named the 2008 Izard County Farm Family of the Year.

The Harber farm is a combination of rented and owned property currently covering 775 acres.

The Harber Farm's major crops include 100 acres of hay with six bales at 700 pound yield-per-acre, and 150 acres of fescue seed with 350 pound yield per acre. The farm also produces wheat and ryegrass for the Harber's personal use. Doug said, "We try to raise enough to overseed 150-200 acres in the fall."

Along with their crops, the Harber Farm currently has around 125 head of cattle and four 40-feet by 450-feet chicken houses located in Violet Hill.

"Doug was raised on the farm in Wiseman. He attended school at Izard County Consolidated and received his animal science degree from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro," Kim said.

"I was raised in Wheeling, Ark., and attended school at Salem. I graduated with my BA in English and education from Lyon College in Batesville," Kim said. "I received my master's in library science and information technology from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway."

Growing up in the same area it wasn't long before Kim and Doug found each other and although Kim said it wasn't love at first sight, the second look was worth it.

"Doug's mother was a nurse for the doctor whom I was a patient of. A friend of mine worked at the same doctor's office. She asked Doug's mother if she could set him up on a blind date with me," Kim said.

"So, Judy (Doug's mother) gave him my phone number and he called me," Kim said.

"We went on a date, and at first, I really wasn't that interested. But, he called me a couple of times and we agreed to go out again. It just kind of all fell into place. We spent every possible moment together after that and were married about five months later," she said.

Kim said she knew it was meant to be about a month later while Doug was helping her parents paint their house. "He just fit right in with the family," she said.

As Izard County Farm Family it is obvious the Harbers put in a lot of hours on the farm but it is still necessary to have other sources of income, Kim said.

"We can't depend on farming and agriculture for a living. So, we both have other full time jobs. I work as the library media specialist at Salem High School. I was previously the high school English teacher there. I plan to pursue my doctorate in education beginning next summer," Kim said. "Doug works with Vigortone Ag Products as a sales representative. He covers four states and stays busy with that," she said.

The Harbers set a few goals recently that Doug said have been reached. The farm has increased stocking capacity by improved pastures and added cross fencing and the farm's cattle genetics have been improved which has increased weaning weights leading to a tighter calf season.

Life on the farm was in the blood for Doug but it came as a bit of a surprise to Kim, she said.

"Doug always knew he would raise his family on a farm. I never really expected it. We farm because we love it. On my part, it took some getting use to in the beginning. I was definitely not use to the hours. But, now I wouldn't trade it for anything," she said.

Kim said her children have a passion for the farm even at their young age.

"Suzonne is 7-years-old and a member of the Footprints Livestock 4-H Club. She shows cattle and will be showing hogs this fall," Kim said, adding that Suzonne is active in dance and softball. "Chance is 2 and he is active in about everything."

"I enjoy checking the cattle and watching Doug try to nurse one back to health. I love walking the chicken houses. Believe it or not, it's relaxing. Unless a water line breaks," she said laughing.

With her children raised on the farm, Kim said she has more good memories than she can count.

"With Suzonne, my favorite memory is when she received her first set of pigs. Her daddy surprised her with them and she had such a smile on her face. And, his smile was just as big. It meant a lot to me. With Chance, I love when we're all in the truck checking cows. He'll sit on my lap and call the cows just like his daddy does," Kim said.

Doug said he plans to increase his cattle population to 200 and add a couple more chicken houses along with buying more land.

"Basically, this is a good life for us and the kids. It teaches them responsibility and it teaches us patience. Also, Doug would not be the person he is without the farm. I always hear people say that they love the farm, and I never really believed it until I met Doug. He truly loves this farm, not only because he gets to work the cattle and the chickens, but this farm has been a part of his family for generations. He plans to keep it in the family," Kim said.

For more photos visit the photo gallery at http://www.areawidenews.com/gallery/icfa...

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