Rowbothams honored with Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award

Theron and Jeanie Rowbotham call their operation Infinity Ranch for a reason: They are in agriculture for the long run. The Rowbothams, of Hagarville in Johnson County, raise turkeys for Butterball, as well as commercial cattle and forage.

Off the farm, Jeanie Rowbotham is a Johnson County extension agent and Theron is a reactor operator trainer at Arkansas Nuclear One. The family was honored in February by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association at the 2022 International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta with its Family Farm Environmental Excellence Awards.

The award takes into account the many ways farming and the environment converge including nutrient and energy management and interaction with the community. The Rowbothams were selected after farm visits conducted by a team of environmental professionals from universities, regulatory agencies and state poultry associations.

Theron Rowbotham ensures that the litter produced by his turkeys is applied following his nutrient management plan. Litter clean-out operations are timed to coincide with opportunities to fertilize crops and forage. The family also has been recognized for its use of solar power. Using a stepped approach, the family introduced solar panels to its operations in May 2019. Initially the system was designed to provide 50% of the farm’s needs, powering four turkey houses.

“The system is designed to where it feeds into your poultry system first, then if you’re not using as much electricity … it sends it back to the grid to get a credit,” he said. “We put in another 15-kilowatt system on our shop in December to add to what we have,” Theron Rowbotham said. “Once you get it paid for you should be able to use that money to invest in other capital expenditures for something else instead of paying someone else for a service.”

The award also looks at community involvement. Theron Rowbotham is part of the Arkansas Farm Bureau and Jeanie manages the county 4-H program. Looking forward The couple called their farm “Infinity Ranch” for two good reasons: Their children, ages 3 and 5.

“Our name is the Infinity Ranch, and we are trying to keep it infinite,” Jeanie Rowbotham said. “We get asked about solar a lot and there are a lot of logical reasons to put solar in, but in terms of being a mom, raising kids on this farm, they are the most important thing we will ever raise here,” she said. “We hope they will come back to the farm. We want to make it easier for them to do that.”

The USPOULTRY award comes on the heels of Butterball recently recognizing Infinity Ranch as an outstanding grower in their Midwest region.