The Lynn and Debbie Pye Family of the Shakertown Community has been chosen Clark County’s Farm Family of the Year.

The Lynn and Debbie Pye Family of the Shakertown Community has been chosen Clark County’s Farm Family of the Year.
The announcement was made by representatives of the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture Extension Office, Bank of Delight, Bank of the Ozarks, Citizens Bank, Chambers Bank, Clark County Cattleman’s, Clark County Farm Bureau, Farm Credit Services, First State Bank, The Natural Resource Conservation Service, The Olds Foundation, Regions Bank, Southern Bancorp, South Central Co-Op, US Bank, and the USDA Service Center. These organizations are the chief sponsors of the farm family program in Clark County.
Lynn and Debbie raise cows, hay and vegetables on approximately 400 acres that have been in their family for 37 years.
Lynn said he was “honored” and “shocked” to find out they had been chosen as this year’s Farm Family.
“We were excited and honored,” said Debbie.
The Pyes have 28 cows, 18 calves and one Red Angus Bull. Weaned calves are sold when they weigh between 550 and 600 pounds at the Hope Livestock Sale Barn. Lynn has plans of doubling the size of his heard in the next five years.
Lynn recalled a time in the early 1990s when the Ouachita River was flooding. Pye’s home is located approximately three miles from the river.
“I had a phone number I could call because I was keeping up with it. The river was rising a foot an hour,” said Lynn.
At the time, the cattle was being kept on about six acres of land. Using a boat, Lynn was able to check on the welfare of his livestock. To Lynn’s delight, none of the cattle perished as they were able to find refuge on a nearby mound. The mound was created by Lynn’s grandfather.
“It was about four days before the river went down,” said Lynn.
Plans are in the works to add chickens to the farm for egg production. Lynn has plans of selling the eggs at the local farmers markets.
Debbie produces fresh vegetables for a couple of local farmers markets while Lynn works off the farm at Walmart in Arkadelphia to supplement the family income.
The Pyes grow some of their vegetables in raised beds to help provide easier maintenance.
“You can get a lot in a raised bed. They seem to do better in the beds. I can control the weeds and grass and they are easier to water,” Debbie explained.
Debbie uses potting soil, mulch and compost for their 13 raised beds. The rest of their produce is planted in their regular garden.
“We use the raised beds because we found out that the peppers do better in raised beds than they do in the actual gardens,” said Lynn.
According to Lynn, he and his wife planted onions in the raised beds for the first time this year.
“They were much bigger in the raised beds than when we planted them in the regular garden. We’re experimenting and seeing what will work better,” Lynn said.
In addition to the peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, peas, squash, beans and other vegetables, the Pyes also have pear and fig trees.
The Pyes use organic methods for there vegetables. No pesticides are used.
Debbie makes jellies and jams that are sold at the farmers markets. She also makes a variety of relishes for the home and family.
With the help of their children; Jason, Mindy and Bobby, the Pyes are able to maintain their farm without outside help.
“We call the kids. We’re strictly family. We do not have any outside help or hired labor; it’s all family,” said Lynn.
Jason is an insurance adjuster with Farm Bureau in Arkadelphia. His wife Rachel is the business office manager at The Plaza Assisted Living Facility in Arkadelphia. Their son Kasey attends Arkadelphia Public Schools and plays tournament baseball with the 3D Raptors of Arkadelphia where Jason serves as a coach.
Mindy is the lead teacher/site supervisor at Gurdon Head Start. Her husband, Jason Burns works with Union Pacific Railroad. Mindy’s son, Cameron Mayhue is a sophomore at Henderson State University, while son Hunter Mayhue is a recent graduate of Gurdon High School. Hunter plans to attend HSU.
Bobby is the water/wastewater superintendent for the City of Sparkman. His wife Alyssa is a registered nurse in the surgery department at Baptist Health Medical Center in Arkadelphia. Their daughter Penelope is a vibrant toddler who loves to see the animals and the garden on the farm.
Lynn and Debbie currently live on the property that was once owned by Lynn’s grandfather, Ernest Cagle.
Lynn’s mother inherited a portion of the property after Cagle’s death. Lynn bought a portion of the property and rents another portion from his aunt.
The community was once known as Cagletown. It was renamed Shakertown because the unpaved road was so rough that it would literally shake drivers off the road if they were driving at a high rate of speed.
“You couldn’t drive over 20 miles per hour because the road was so rough,” Lynn said.
The Pyes are members of Beech Street Baptist Church in Gurdon.
Lynn serves as a deacon, choir member, usher and sound technician. They enjoy watching their grandsons play baseball, duck and deer hunt and fishing on the pond. The entire Pye Family attend Beech Street Baptist Church together.
As the Clark County Farm Family of the Year, the Pye Family will join 74 other county farm families in vying for district and state recognition as the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year.
The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year will be announced in December at a banquet at the Wyndham Riverfront in North Little Rock.
“We are doing what we enjoy doing. We love farming,” said Debbie.
“This was my grandpa’s place. I wanted to carry on the farm and keep it going,” said Lynn.