Monticello Live

Monticello's Daily News

Drew Memorial Hospital Griffin/Busby Supreme Lending Mainline Health Systems






Jon Bigham Timber Buyer

Jon Bigham Timber Buyer

Western Sizzlin’

Western Sizzlin'

Merchant & Planters Agency, INC.

Merchant & Planters Agency, INC.

NorthSide Baptist Church

Northside Baptist Church

Frazer’s Funeral Home

Frazer's Funeral Home Warren

Searcy & Associates 2

Searcy & Associates


The Guest House

The Guest House


Head of the Class

Quality Plus Dry Cleaners

Quality Plus Dry Cleaners

Chapman Tree Service

Chapman Tree Service

South Arkansas Business Solutions

Corner Express (O&M Oil Co.)

Corner Express

Burgess Process Service

Burgess Process Service

One 11 Southern Graphics 1

ONE11 Southern Graphics

War Eagle Boats


Monticello Tire (Goodyear)

Monticello Tire (Goodyear)

Monticello Realty

Monticello Realty

Farmer’s Insurance Two

AM Rental & Sales

AM Rental & Sales

Southern Quality Construction

Larry & Lance Kling

ESA Staffing

Mr. Bug

Mr. Bug



Searcy & Associates

Searcy & Associates

Commercial Bank

UAM News

UAM News

UAM Sports

UAM Sports

O’Fallon Vet

0'Fallon Vet

One 11 Southern Graphics 2

ONE11 Southern Graphics

Secure Storage 2

Lumber Jack Yamaha


Farmer’s Insurance One

ESA Staffing 2

James and Rene Knowles Chosen as 2010 Drew County Farm Family of the Year

July 21st, 2010 by and

This year’s Drew County Farm Family of the Year title has been awarded to James and Rene Knowles. Both were raised in farming families and made the decision to keep that tradition alive in their own family, that now includes two sons and a grandson.

“I’ve been farming all my life,” James said as he recalled growing up in Valley Community.  “Dad (Pharris Knowles) was originally a cotton farmer; when I was old enough to help farm he was a commercial hay farmer. He sold hay all over southeast Arkansas.”  James’ mother is Marjorie Knowles Craig.

James graduated from Drew Central High School, is a member of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association, and a member of the American Quarter Horse Association. He worked on the farm with his father until he was married to Rene.

Rene’s dad (Bob Person) owned a hog farm and raised cattle over the years. Rene’s mom was the late Joyce Person, “but  dad’s wife, Mrs. Judy, has been ‘mom’ for over 20 years.”  Rene graduated from Monticello High School and completed 3 years of college. Rene is a Drew Central School board member and was just re-elected to her second term on the Quorum Court. They are active members of Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church.

Once married, James and Rene delved into the trucking industry and began mobilizing hay for James’s dad. They also started farming on their own. In 1988, they began a 6 acre tomato farm that eventually grew to 20 acres. This small start turned into what is now a sprawling 400 acre farm.  Today, these many acres are used solely for farming hay and cattle.  All hay grown on the farm has a single purpose: to feed the approximately 300 head of cattle. They have been farming together as a family since they were married, 26 years ago.

Their eldest son, “JJ” Knowles is married to Catherine, and they have a two year old son, Cutter. They live in Alexandria, LA where JJ is a construction engineer.

Their youngest son, Cory Knowles, is in the family logging business.  Cory is pictured here with his girlfriend, Witni Boney.

James and Rene started Double J Logging in 1999 and say it is an integral part of business. They now have 13 employees, including Cory.

When asked how their methods of logging have changed over the years, James laughed, “Not much.”

“In 1999 we started with one skidder and had saw-hands trimming the tree and today we have two skidders along with the other equipment that are involved in logging.. and we still have saw-hands trimming the tree.”

Their logging business cuts tree length pine logs, which is considered a specialty, due to the fact that not many people still rely on saw-hands. “We still cut big timber.” Roughly 80% of their work comes from Union County, but they do some work here in Drew County as well.

The biggest notable change in the logging industry today verses 1999 is based around new environmental regulations. “Environmental concerns with logging are starting to be a lot more important. No more “rutting and gutting”, the regulations are much stricter.”

Though things may be much the same in the logging industry after 11 years, much has changed for the Knowles when it comes to farming hay. James remembered his high school days when all of the work with hay was done by hand.

“We did 1,000 bales every day by hand.. many people will probably remember seeing the convoys of square bales going down the road at 6:00AM. We started off with frames cut off of school buses, and now we don’t do any square bailing, and we use larger trucks.”

The Knowles grow rye grass on their farm, as well as hay, to allow winter grazing for their cattle. They don’t want to be totally hay dependant. Also, their cattle enjoy hybrid Bermuda grass in the cold months. Hybrid Bermuda grass is a cross breed between common Bermuda and a more efficient variety. The benefits of this hybrid are its production. “It’s thicker so it’s the same acreage, but more grass,” Rene explained.

James and Rene’s farm is now on its third generation of Knowles. It began with James’ grandfather, was bought by James’ father, and now is owned by James and his wife. James expressed his hope that his sons might one day show an interest in the family farm, but was understanding of the tough economic times farmers today must deal with and how this can turn people away from the hard work.

“I log to make a living. I farm because I like it.”

To relax after all of their hard work, this family turns to church and music to unwind. James said, “I used to be into hunting and fishing… but now I sing.”

James and Rene were completely humbled by their recognition as Drew County’s farm family of the year.

“We didn’t think we were deserving [of the recognition] because there have been years past that we did a lot more farming, and worked a lot harder than what we do now farming, with the logging being involved. They told us that logging is considered part of farming. When you get to do what you like to do, and they give you an honor like saying you’re the farm family of the year.. it’s real humbling.” – James

Each time you reach for a fresh piece of paper, serve your family nutritious food, or put on a soft cotton shirt, you are directly impacted by the noble profession of farming. The hard work and extreme dedication it takes to be a successful farmer are unknown to the majority of the population. Farmers are a special group of people that work hard to serve the community, and that is why we are so honored to recognize this year’s Farm Family of the Year.

“We give all the glory and our success to God. We have been blessed and work hard, but the Lord has carried us the whole way.” – Rene

14 Responses to “James and Rene Knowles Chosen as 2010 Drew County Farm Family of the Year”

  1. monticello resident says:

    That is great! They work so hard, Especially little Rene, what a hard worker. James is cutting trees and she’s feeding cows. A sweet super nice family.
    Thanks to all our Farmers!

  2. Kay says:

    congrats! James and Rene’! all that hard work has paid off finally, huh?

  3. farmersdaughter says:

    congratulations, people dont realise the blood sweat and tears that goes into a farm, its the hardest job you will ever love! from prayin for rain to grow the garden, to prayin the weathers good when the cow has the calf, and when it gets here prayin the fire ants or cyotes dont find it. thanks for hangin in there, good job!!

  4. Vicki Ross says:

    Way to go!! Congradulations !!!

  5. Rick Hales says:

    What a fitting tribute. The Knowles are super nice and dedicated servants to the area. I’m happy for them as well!

  6. congtats to the knowles family it takes a family doesn’t it

  7. Debbie Poe says:

    Congats James and Rene! Love ya, Debbie

  8. Jade & Zack says:

    Congrats! Y’all work hard & deserve this great honor. We are happy for you all!

  9. rdhjr77 says:

    congradulations james and rene!! Robert and Colleen Handly

  10. Kerry & Karen Withers says:

    Congratulations, James & Rene’ !! You both put your all into everything that you do. Your family is very deserving of this honor!

  11. NAN CARTER says:


  12. Janelle Martin says:

    Congratulations, James & Rene!

  13. Rose & Edgar Stain says:

    Congratulations, Rene and James.

  14. Miyoshi Smith says:

    Congratulations Mr. James and Mrs. Rene. Love ya, Miyoshi

Leave a Reply

Bradley County Medical Center

Citizen’s Bank 2

Citizen's Bank

Major’s Forest & Lawn 2


Mullis Insurance

Sammy Mullis Insurance

Cedar Hills Apartments

Cedar Hills Apartments

Lucky’s Of Monticello

Hashem Law Firm 2

Hashem Law Firm

Bone’s Auto Parts

Bone's Auto Parts


State Farm Mark Gray

CHI St. Vincent Heart Clinic 1

CHI St. Vincent Heart Clinic

Arkansas AG Jon Deere

Arkansas AG

Citizen’s Bank

Citizen's Bank

Cass Martin Realty

Cass Martin Realty

Malco Theater

Atlas Foundation Repair

BCMC Family Care Clinic 1

A.J. Huffman Graphic Design

Majors Forest & Lawn 1



Prescription Pad Pharmacy

The Prescription Pad Pharmacy

Jerry Cruce Stump Grinding

Synergy Facility Services

Synergy Facility Services

Farm Bureau

Drew Farm

Union Bank 2

Mingo Computer Consulting

Mingo Computer Consulting

City Drug

City Drug

Hashem Law Firm 1

Hashem Law Firm

Immanuel Baptist Church

Ray Ryburn Real Estate

CHI St. Vincent Heart Clinic 2

CHI St. Vincent Heart Clinic

Advertise With Monticello Live

Baker’s Electrical

Baker's Supply

BCMC Family Care Clinic 2

Monticello Animal Clinic

Monticello Animal Clinic

Pines Broadcasting Company

Pines Broadcasting Company

Small Bites Pediatric Dentist

Union Bank 1