Name: Shawn & Greg Ragland

In The Country: Shawn and her husband Greg operate their 250 farm at Landis, Ark. “We have 47 momma cows, about 18 cow/calf pairs right now,” Greg said. “Of, course, there’s more spring calves coming all the time. Our cows are Black Angus, crossed with a Brangus bull. The reason we picked that breed, they’re easier kept and Angus beef is what consumers want. We bought 160 acres in 1994, and two years ago we added 90 acres to it.”

In Town: 
Shawn learned first hand about the lumber business. “I worked with my dad, Bill Derickson at Derickson Lumber Company in Leslie, Ark., from the time I was just a kid. After school and on weekends, I’d be at the store. Before it was Derickson’s Lumber, Great-Grandpa started it as a junk yard. Then Grandpa Bob took it over and turned it into a lumber yard. When Dad came back from the Navy, Grandpa gave it to him. A few years ago Dad got out of the business at Leslie and gave it to my sister, Michelle, and me. Michelle, her husband, Todd, and I managed the Leslie business until two years ago, when we bought another lumber and hardware business here in Marshall. My husband Greg came to Marshall to help out with the new business; re-named Derickson Lumber Company, and we run this one full time.”

Family: Son, six-year-old Isaac, and sister Michelle and brother-in-law, Todd Ragland.

How do you balance the farm and the job?
“I do most of the farm work,” Greg said. “I work at the store, too, but if anything comes up that one of us has to leave to take care of something on the farm, I go and Shawn stays at the store. Sometimes, like when snow is on the ground, we feed before going in to open the store. Weekends, we’ll both take care of the cattle and feeding.”

Are there any benefits to operating the lumber business and working a farm?
“After a busy day’s work, the stress I’m under at the store, it’s relaxing to get home and ride my four-wheeler out to feed the cows,” Shawn said. “They are very gentle, and I’ve got one in particular that will even eat out of my hand. Being in the country and fresh air, raising our own vegetables, spending time with Isaac, fishing with him from the farm pond, it’s a good way to raise a family.”

Why do you farm?
“We enjoy it,” Shawn said.
“It’s a big job, but I like to work outside,” Greg said. “If you don’t like working, though, you sure don’t need a farm.” 

By Jeanie Horn


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