Published on Wednesday, May 24, 2017
The Wildy family has a strong reputation as outstanding Arkansas farmers. In 2015, they were honored as the Arkansas Farm Family of the year. But their legacy goes back even further than that. “My granddad was the Arkansas Master Farmer back in 1920, I think it was.” David Wildy beams, pointing to a newspaper clipping proudly displayed in the farm office. “And then my dad was the Arkansas Master Farmer in 1956 or so.”
Although David’s father and grandfather set the bar high with their awards and achievements, those aren’t the most important things David learned while growing up on the farm. “My dad taught me to love God and know that's who's responsible for everything that we have here. That's a big part of what we do. We're a strong, faith-driven family. And that means a lot to me.” David smiles.
After college, David returned to the family farm to work alongside his dad and eventually raised his own children on the farm. Now, David has four grown children whose families are all involved in the farm in their own way. He’s thrilled to see his grandchildren take an interest in agriculture as well. Together, they work as a team to raise cotton, peanuts, corn and soybeans.
While many of the day-to-day responsibilities are now handled by his sons, David is still passing along his wisdom to the next generation. “I guess the biggest thing my dad taught me is just to be honest.” David says. “Whether you like what you've got to say or not, if you tell the truth, that's the best characteristic that you can have, to be an honest person.”
Seeing their dad’s passion has helped David’s children find their own. “I grew up out here as a kid riding my three-wheeler every day and watching my dad and my granddad.” David’s oldest son, Justin recalls. “It just gets in your blood and that's all you want to do. So that's the main reason I wanted to come back. It’s just the life of playing in the dirt and being on the farm. I've never wanted to do anything else.”
Even though the farm is where their heart is, the Wildys can often be found sharing their passion around the community. They give their time as members of organizations like Arkansas Farm Bureau and offer scholarships for local youth looking to pursue agriculture in college. They’ve even been known to open their farm for field days and other educational activities.
"We must be involved in our communities. That's one thing that my dad did a lot of, community service.” David remembers. “He served on a lot of boards and did a lot of volunteer work. He taught us that, and the boys are learning the same thing, we're not here as farmers to take from the community or take from the land. We're here to give. We want to give back to our community. So if we can help our fellow farmer, or neighbor, or our schools, we want to do that. That's just our philosophy."
Simply put, David loves this way of life and is happy to share it with others. “I farm because I love the land. I love to produce crops. I love the independence that it gives us. I love to see my family here every day, and get up and try to be a motivation to other people. I have tremendous respect for what has been given to us, and we're only here for a short time, so we need to make the most of it while we can. I just love to get up in the morning and go to the farm.”
That’s why the Wildy family farms.
Author: Natalina Sents
Categories: Why I Farm, Why I Farm Roadtrip
Tags: Beck's Blog, Why I Farm, Beck's Hybrids, corn, soybeans, Natalina Sents, Why I Farm Roadtrip, peanuts, Cotton, Wildy Family Farm, Arkansas