Hometown: Dean Springs/Alma, Ark.
Family: Wife, Karen Ginn
In Town: “I am an emergency room nurse at Washington Regional Hospital while Karen works from home and is a nurse case manager for Odessa Regional Hospital in western Texas in natal intensive care. We lived in Texas and moved to Arkansas to be closer to her family, Tilsey and Shelva Byram, who are still highly involved with the care of her sister Lori, who has Downs Syndrome. I belong to the Emergency Nurse Association while Karen sits on the human rights committee for the Cedar Ridge Group Home for the mentally challenged.”
In the Country: “We live on 5 acres in Dean Springs Community outside of Alma, Ark., right next to 10 acres owned by Karen’s parents. Karen and I are both town people, but wanted to embrace country life. Needless to say, the learning curve has been very steep. We are on our seventh batch of chickens which we raise for eggs to sell to neighbors and coworkers. Not long ago we tried to raise chicks for meat, which turned out to be such a complete disaster. We now have a new batch of 25 chicks and will go back to raising them for eggs. In addition, we have two Jersey cows we breed ourselves and subsequently use the milk in preparation for what we hope will become a raw Jersey milk business. After learning to not walk to close to the rear end of a cow, we also learned that the genetics for producing as much milk as possible has made fertility a Jersey issue, at least for us. Karen went to AI school at the recommendation of our veterinarian Jay English in Van Buren. We recently purchased a Lowline Angus bull named Rascal who seems very happy with his new job. The Jersey/Lowline combination makes sense for us since we have such a limited amount of land and they are smaller animals. Because we are using the milk only in the family at this point, we not only use it for human consumption but also as part of the feed for our dogs and chickens, as well as a fertilizer for the pasture with a ratio of three gallons of milk to 17 gallons of water.”
Future: “We have only been in Arkansas since 2009 and want to expand our egg business as well as adding USDA processed beef and more Jersey cows. We can only dream, but we hope one day, perhaps when we retire, to be able transition to full-time farming maybe.