From pushing his tractors around and pretending to disc the carpet in his grandparent’s house to actually being on the farm with his father and grandfather, Josh Cureton always knew that farming was exactly what he wanted to do. Josh is a sixth-generation rice and soybean farmer in Cash, Arkansas, and is carrying on the family tradition of caring for the land and providing food for an ever-growing world.
“It was just what I always wanted to do,” Josh said. “I loved riding the tractor with my dad growing up and I started driving a tractor by myself when I was just 10-years-old.”
A Call to Farm
Josh believes some people have a calling to work the land, and it’s a calling he never denied even though his parents and grandparents told him he was open to pursue anything he wanted. However, he believed in his calling so much so that he wanted to go straight to farming out of high school. His family pushed him otherwise.
“When I graduated high school, I didn’t want to go to college,” Josh said. “I told my family I wanted to start working on the farm immediately since it was what I wanted long term. They asked me ‘where are you going to farm?’ to make me see it wasn’t going to be as easy as that. I decided to attend Arkansas State University where I earned a degree in plant science and then went back to the farm full time where that degree has helped me tremendously.”
Today, Josh and his wife, Melissa, live on the farm where they are also raising their three kids. Through this unique lifestyle of living and working on a farm, they hope their kids learn to work hard for what they want and if things don’t work out like they planned, they know something will come as a result of their hard work.
“You just have to pray about it when things don’t work out. Things come around,” Josh said.
With his farm near the Cache River, Josh finds himself praying for things to work out as Mother Nature deals her own set of cards each day. The Cache River is a blessing in that it allows Josh to use water from the river when not using water from the farm’s tailwater recovery system, but the river can also be a curse. The river is also prone to flooding, flooding that can be detrimental. To help fight the flooding issue, Josh has built up the levees on the farm with a pump to fight the flooding issues. But, when the levee fails, Josh continues to pray and trusts that God will provide.
A Call to Educate
Josh recognized that he helps make up the mere two percent of the U.S. population involved in production agriculture and wanted to find an opportunity to share this lifestyle with the other 98 percent. To do this, Josh and Melissa launched the Cache River Corn Maze in 2017, a fall agritourism destination designed for families of all ages. They saw the corn maze as an opportunity for people to learn a little more about agriculture while they venture through the maze, pick out a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, take hayrides around the farm, pet farm animals and much more. Josh hopes that every person who visits will walk away having learned at least one new thing about agriculture.
Photo by Cache River Corn Maze
Photo by Cache River Corn Maze
“Farmers work hard to produce a safe and affordable food supply and a lot of countries aren’t afforded that same luxury,” Josh said. “I don’t want people here to take that for granted.”
Josh went on to note that he uses pesticides and other inputs as needed to help with production on his own farm. “I’m not trying to kill you. The genetics and seeds help produce a healthy plant. The chemicals we use are safe for the environment and safe for the consumer. These types of inputs help keep costs down in the grocery store allowing U.S. consumers to feed their families with only a small percentage of their disposable income.”
Josh’s calling is evident, but what’s even more evident is his passion and desire to pursue his calling in life. We are thankful for Josh and the many other farmers in our country who have answered this same calling to make the agriculture industry what it is today.
Learn more about the Cache River Corn Maze at www.facebook.com/CacheRiverCornMaze.