The Whorton family continues the farm started in 1984. Contributed Photo.
Contributed Photo

The Whorton family continues the farm started in 1984

LINCOLN, ARK. – Farming is more than a way of life to the Whorton family, it is their heritage. Tim and Tyler Whorton, along with their wives Stephanie (Tim) and Matea (Tyler), own and operate approximately 2,000 acres in western Washington County, Ark. Tyler’s daughters, Maebree (12) and Basilee (7), will carry it forth to the next generation. 

Basil Whorton bought the farm in 1984. 

“My dad had started the farm when he retired. He was the vice president of Phillips and Food 4 Less, and he bought 160 acres here. I had just graduated high school and my wife and I were newly married, and Dad built the breeder houses; he took care of one and I took care of the other. We moved to the farm a few years later. We raised cattle with the breeder hens.” Tim recalled, “My dad passed away in 2008. He was my best friend and I worked side by side with him for about 15 years. He worked hard all his life; all he knew how to do was work. We have taken what he left us and carried it on and grew it a little bit.”

When Basil became ill in 2005, they decided to sell off the breeder hen operation and focus on beef cattle. 

“We have grown from 160 acres to close to 2,000 acres between leased land and hay pastures,” Tyler explained. “It is all hands-on deck and our wives and the kids help.”

The herd consists of Simmental based cattle with Angus and Maine Anjou sprinkled in.

“These crosses raise exactly what we want.” Tim said. “Our focus is to turn out really good females.” 

“We fluctuate between 150 to 200 head every year, depending on where we are in the season,” Tyler added. “We also buy and sell cattle for different people. We are buying and selling bulls and replacements all the time.”

Cattle are bred by artificial insemination and embryo transfer. 

“We are in the middle of calving season right now, and everyone helps pull the load,” Tim said.

“It is a family deal,” Tyler added. “When we are checking cattle, my girls are always there. We have had several calves coming in backwards this year and Maebree gets right in there with us.” Maebree is the “calm in the storm” Tim said. 

“She is usually the one tell us to ‘slow down,’” he said

 “I know where everything is and what it is used for,” Maebree quipped. 

Calving season is Tim’s favorite time of the year. 

Contributed Photo
Contributed Photo

“It is just like Christmas; you take your best genetics and try to decide what bull would work best. Sometimes you do good, and sometimes you don’t. We have had 29 calves in the last 45 days, it is a lot of fun,” he said. 

Cattle are pasture fed with supplemental grain as needed. Pastures are cross-fenced and they utilize rotational grazing. They are very diligent about health protocols. 

“I’ve been raising cattle my whole adult life,” Tim said “I have never seen pinkeye like we seen two years ago, nothing would stop it. We had a veterinarian in Siloam Springs (Ark.) develop an autogenous vaccine, which was specific for our area, and it worked! It is not every day you hit a home run but this was a ‘Hallelujah, thank God it worked vaccine.’”

The Whortons have dinner together every night. It is important to them. 

“We have had good times and we have had rough times, but God is always good to us,” Stephanie said. 

“What these guys are doing now was what Basil loved to do and he would be so proud of them.” Tyler said “My favorite thing is that Dad got to work with Grandpa all those years and now the roles are switched and I get to work with my dad. That is my best friend right there. We want to help people; we want our way of life to continue. It is important to me to keep my daughters involved so they can carry it on. You don’t always have to shout from the mountain top, let it show in how you live your life, your integrity. My grandpa taught me that ‘people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.’”

“My Dad was a praying man,” Tim said. “He had an old tractor with a cracked head, we were not mechanics, still ain’t. He did not have the money for repairs so he smeared gasket seal on the head and prayed ‘God, I’ve got to have it, I’m depending on you.’  You know what? That tractor never leaked again. It might of for the next old boy who had it, but it didn’t on my Daddy. I tell everybody if you farm it’s because you love it, because it’s not the most profitable, and its long hours if you don’t love it, you won’t understand, it but if you do love it, you understand that it’s worth it.”


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