Wilson Ranch history: Rob grew up in Cleburne County, Arkansas, where his family had a farm that was mostly for timber and wildlife but, they also had a very large garden. Today it would be called a “truck patch.” They raised 200 hills of cantaloupe and watermelon, had pickup truck loads of corn, beans, squash and other vegetables. Rob and his brother started selling the produce on the street corner when he was about 10! They continued that garden until he graduated High School. Rob was also very involved in the school FFA, which introduced him to livestock, horticulture and Ag-mechanics. This gave him a love and desire for the cattle and agronomy side of farming. Rob knew then that when he had a family he would raise his children on a farm, knowing it really is the basis for our society. At that young age, he knew that living on a farm teaches all the lessons necessary to succeed in life, no matter what profession you choose.
Nan grew up in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, where she had little exposure to farm life. Rob and Nan met through the Neighborhood Christian Center, (an inner city ministry), where Nan was the coordinator of the tutoring program and Rob was a volunteer tutor during Dental School at the University of Tennessee.
Rob and Nan married in 1994 and left for Camp Lejune, North Carolina, in 1995 where Rob was a Naval Officer. Upon returning back to Cleburne County in 1998 after serving several years in the United States Navy, they started their farm with the intent of raising kids. The cattle and agronomy were going to be the tools to help them do so!
Rob and Nan have both said that living on a farm has truly been a blessing to them and to their family, bringing family unity, work, joy and communication. “ We still have family farm dinners which also includes anyone on the farm helping us at that given time. They get to sit at our table, just like in times past, for a big, family farm lunch, which usually is on Saturdays and Mondays, our main farming days,” says Rob. “Beginning the farm, although not in-expensive in terms of money, time and work, has truly been the best family investment we could have ever made and I thank the Lord that He has allowed us to do so!”
First of all, let me say that we began this farming operation with only a cursory knowledge of the necessary agronomy, husbandry and business areas of the farm. The learning curve in those areas was and is still steep but with help from very old text books, seasoned and well knowledgeable farmers, the NRCS office and our County Extension agents, we are improving.