Frankie Andrews wears many hats at his farm in Farmington, Ark.
Frankie Andrews of Farmington, Ark., knows everybody, does a little bit of everything and always wears smile.
Frankie was raised on a hog, sheep and cattle farm in Farmington, Ark., where his father Alvin managed the farm in partnership for the owner while he also worked at Shipley Baking Company on Dixon Street in Fayetteville, Ark.
When Frankie was 8, he made a rope out of bailing twine and wanted to rope a calf. His older brother Kenny told him not to chase the cows but to rope a pig instead, never dreaming Frankie would really do it. Of course, the pig squealed and the sow chased him up on a feed trough. That’s when his brother ordered him to let it loose.
“I told my brother in no uncertain terms that I just did what he told me and I wasn’t letting that pig loose,” Frankie said with laugh.
Frankie has a small commercial cow/calf operation with 16 mommas and two bulls, as well as 15 Holstein yearlings he is raising for sale.
In addition to buying, trading and selling horses, Frankie works for other farmers who may have a specific task for him such as hauling hay or cattle, or even helping a vet catch a heifer running around with a calf hanging out of her. Frankie takes care of places when farmers can’t and has worked for one farm for 40 years, where he now works for the grandson of the original owner. To make sure he stays busy enough, he also has a farm equipment business spread over different properties he owns and leases for a total close to 300 acres and has bought and sold farm properties over the years. He also helped the Washington County Sheriff’s Department by catching loose cattle on the highways. Feeling a need to slow down a bit, he finally gave that up eight years ago because phone calls would come often in the middle of the night and his days are planning long enough as is.
One of the things that makes Frankie successful and well-liked comes from advice his grandfather Samuel gave to his father. Samuel had said that you are born with your name and die with your name; and if you don’t have a good name, you die with the bad one. That advice is proudly displayed in a frame in Frankie’s home and governs how he treats everyone around, adding a smile and a twinkle in his eye that would make Santa jealous.
Early on when he was in a commercial hay business with his father, he bought some equipment, including a new baler and buying his dad out. Then a drought forced him to turn the baler back.
“I made a point of not having to do that again,” Frankie said with that same twinkle.
Frankie likes purchasing thin animals because he believes he has room to take a gamble if they don’t survive though, all of his current batch of Holsteins are thriving. He describes his young Holsteins when he brought them home as being “as poor as a whippoorwill.”
Frankie immediately worked them and started graining them with a ration from L&S Feed and Supply in Westville, Okla. The feed contains 16 percent protein, a little a molasses and is also safe for his horses. Frankie purchases the feed 3,000 pounds at a time and stores it in two bins.
In addition to loose minerals and mineral blocks, Frankie hays his cattle but usually not until it snows. Last year, he produced 2,300 square bales and 1,000 round bales but has John Calhoun harvest the hay with Frankie getting 40 percent, most of which he sells. Frankie does not fertilize because he leases the land one year at a time and can lose the lease at any time. For the same reason he spot sprays for thistles but does not broadcast spray.
Another important piece of advice that Frankie received years ago came from Bill Beckett, a friend of Frankie’s brother Bill. Frankie had a disappointing deal and Bill simply told him that when he got a bad deal to just get rid of it and find a new one. He has been following this throughout his life and applies it particularly to his equipment business.
“I buy anything I can make enough money on,” Frankie said. “Bankruptcies, estate sales, farm sales and consignment auctions like the spring and fall auction in Neosho, Mo., are good sources. The trick is recognizing a good deal from one that’s not.”
An example of how Frankie works the equipment side of his life is when he purchased equipment from a company called American Milking. They were liquidating assets at 30 percent off and Frankie asked for 50 percent off. They declined but then later agreed. They still had items to be sold with little interest being shown. Frankie came back again later and said “I’ll write a check for anything that’s left including feed and stalls.” They agreed but retained some items which he ended up purchasing with an even greater discount after one more visit. He did well and sold almost everything he purchased for profit.
Frankie wears so many hats that waiting to sell in Stilwell or Siloam Springs when the market is favorable is possible. He uses Craig’s list and auctions for equipment sales and receives many calls. If he doesn’t have a particular piece of equipment, he keeps his eye open and tries to meet his customers’ needs.
“Every sale day may not be a good day, but every day is a good day of life,” Frankie said.