A Conway family was named the Faulkner County winner for the 71st annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year and is in the running to be deemed the state winner.

Michael and Lauren Lee have a cattle farm focused on marketing beef directly to consumers. The couple has two children, Mary Elliott and Adelaide Grace. Lauren is a financial consultant while Michael manages the family farm.

“The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program recognizes great farmers and ranchers each year,” Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach said. “These families are involved in noble and important work to provide food, fiber and shelter to the world. Congratulations to these great farm families. We are pleased to honor their success, stewardship, and commitment to Arkansas agriculture.”

The county winners will be visited by a set of judges to determine the eight district winners, to be announced June 20. They will be visited again by a different set of judges in July to determine a state winner, which will be announced Dec. 6 at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon in North Little Rock.

The family that wins in December will go on to represent Arkansas at the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. Arkansas has had two overall winners, Brian and Nan Kirksey of Clark County in 2008 and Wildy Family Farms of Mississippi County in 2016. All winners are judged on their farm production, efficiency,

The Lee family were also named finalists for the Arkansas Farm Bureau’s annual Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award. The awards honor young farmers and ranchers between the ages of 18-35 for the general excellence of their operations, their hard work and innovation.

The winner of the Excellence in Agriculture Award will receive $11,000 cash prize and a trip to the 2019 American Farm Bureau Convention to compete for the national award. Two runners-up will receive $1,500.

The winners of the state awards will be announced at the organization’s annual Officers & Leaders Conference at the Embassy Suites in Rogers, July 23-24.