In a unique twist of fate, former Arkansas State University roommates Austin Kennon and Chris Damron earned Arkansas’ top two Young Farmers and Ranchers awards. The two were honored at this year’s Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 69th Officers & Leaders Conference at the Hot Springs Convention Center in Hot Springs, Ark.
Chris and Breanne Damron won the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award. The Jonesboro, Ark., couple farm rice and soybeans. They won $35,000 courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Co. and an expense-paid trip to Nashville in January to represent Arkansas at the American Farm Bureau annual conference.
The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming/ranching operations and exhibited outstanding leadership abilities.
The Damrons have two children, Reese and Mason.
Kennon and his wife Amber grabbed the Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Achievement Award. The Mountain View, Ark., couple raise meat goats and sell show goats.
The award recognizes young farmers and ranchers engaged in production agriculture but who derive the majority of their income off the farm. Austin is a vo-ag teacher and FFA adviser at Mountain View High School. Award candidates are judged on their leadership abilities and involvement in Farm Bureau and their local community.
The Kennons received an $11,000 check for winning courtesy of Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. and PCI Publishing Co. They will also represent Arkansas on an expense-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau convention in Nashville next January.
The Kennons have four children: Addison, Ava, Aubrey and Archer.
The two former ASU ag students now live 105 miles apart — one in the mountainous Ozarks and the other in the flatlands of the Delta; one raising livestock, the other row crops — but stay in touch with each other and were thrilled to win.
“I’m tickled that they think that much of me,” Chris Damron said. “I’m truly honored.”
“Being college roommates makes it all the more special,” Austin Kennon added as the two posed for pictures with their wives. “This is pretty special.”
Tyler and Randi McDonald, who raise corn silage, hay and pecans near Lewisville, Ark., and Jamey and Sarah Allen of Prattsville, Ark., who raise cattle, hay and corn silage were runners-up for the Agriculture Achievement Award. They both won $5,000.