Established in 1947, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program is an effort to recognize those in the state who show excellence not only in agriculture, but in their communities as well. The program is sponsored by Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Arkansas Press Association, Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit Midsouth Associations and Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. The award is made possible through the cooperation of the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education, University of Arkansas' Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service and the United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Services and Rural Development programs.
The family has a tradition of excellence in farming, and has long been active not only in the community of Success and Clay County, but throughout the state, as well. In addition to his work on the farm, Joe serves as Representative for the 56th House District, which includes the entirety of Clay County as well as portions of Green, Randolph and Lawrence.
The path to farming was a unique one for Jett, who was considering a different career in 1982.
"I was leaving the air force as an air traffic controller, wanting to go into the Federal Aviation Administration," Jett said. "The FAA controllers went on strike, and President Reagan put a hiring freeze on."
Jett was engaged to Lisa Moore at the time. Her father, John Moore, farmed west of Success. Knowing Joe was willing to work hard, Moore offered his future son-in-law a job.
"John and Carolyn Moore really helped me get my start in farming," Jett said. "John and I farmed together for several years until he decided to retire."
The Jetts began farming with 1,200 acres. Now, 32 years later, the own and rent a total of 5,400 acres. The Jetts' effort to expand was done in preparation for the couples' sons, Andy and Logan, to join them in the family farm.
"After our first son (Andy) was born, I quickly realized that living and raising a family on a farm was a great place to be," Jett said.
Andy and Logan are fifth generation farmers. The family line of farmers begins with their great-great-great-grandfather, Charlie Moore, who also farmed west of Success. Paul and Orene Moore, the great-great-grandparents of Andy and Logan, also farmed in the area, and were the 1970 Clay County Farm Family of the Year.
The family continues to grow.
Andy began farming full-time with Joe after graduating Cum Laude in Agriculture Business from Arkansas State University in 2006. He and his wife, Blayne, have two sons, four-year-old Jackson and Easton, who is 14-months-old. Blayne teaches third grade at Central Elementary in Corning.
Logan joined his father and brother in farming full-time after earning his degree in Agriculture Business from Arkansas State University. He is married to Molly, and they have a nine-month-old son, Mullen. Molly is an account representative with L.A. Darling in Piggott.
John and Carolyn Moore remain active in the farm they helped grow. Their experience has proven to be a great help through the years, and both assist with daily operations in numerous ways.
In addition to overseeing the farm's office and handling the accounting and payroll, Lisa also cares for her grandsons, Easton and Mullen, during the day, as she had previously done for Jackson, who began preschool this year.
"It truly is a family farm," Jett said. "Lisa grew up here, and then our boys, and now our grandsons are growing up on the farm. We are fortunate to have a family that has stayed close to one another and is able to work together like we have."