The Kent and Diana Barnes family of Hulbert recently was honored with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee's District Six Farm and Ranch Family Recognition.
The Barnes family splits time between their home in Hulbert and the multigenerational ranch founded by Kent's family, in Lincoln County. Kent and Diana each worked for Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension, which brought them to Cherokee County.
The Barneses focus their ranching efforts on raising Hereford cattle, concentrating on breeding high-quality animals. They also raise stocker cattle on wheat pasture in Lincoln County, and they have animals that need special care at their home in Hulbert.
Together, Kent and Diana, along with their children - K.C., 25, and Hallie, 23 - are carrying on a 75-year-old tradition of raising Herefords in Lincoln County where Kent's grandfather started ranching
"We spend a lot of time trying to improve the property here," Kent said. "My granddad actually accumulated the property. My dad and his generation improved it a whole lot, and we're trying to continue on with that and manage it."
To achieve that goal, the Barnes family has a weed-management plan for their pasture ground, and they keep stocking rates low to ensure an ample supply of grass for their cattle.
The family has spent numerous hours on the road between their two places, which provided lots of quality family time, and even gave K.C. and Hallie plenty of opportunities to practice their speeches and meats judging skills as 4-H and FFA members while learning life lessons in agriculture. Currently, both K.C. and Hallie are continuing their education in agriculture as they both pursue master's degrees, with K.C. studying agricultural economics at the University of Arkansas, and Hallie studying agribusiness at Oklahoma State University.
The time spent together sharing a love for agriculture has made the Barneses' ranching endeavors a real family affair. Everyone pitches in to keep both locations running smoothly, and K.C. and Hallie work to select the genetics the family uses to continually improve their herd using artificial insemination.
"We all work hard, and everybody knows how to do everything," Diana said. "We have our special things that we do when we're working cattle, but everybody can pretty much do everything."
Though the miles spent traveling between their two ranches over the years are uncountable, so are the blessings for the Barnes family as they continue the agricultural tradition.
"We just love it," Diana said. "We just like being out here and working and working with the animals."
OKFB's Farm and Ranch Family Recognition program honors a farm and ranch family in each of the organization's nine districts who upholds the best traditions of Oklahoma agriculture and rural Oklahoma as they raise food and fiber for our state and beyond.
"Farm and ranch families are the very backbone of Oklahoma agriculture and our state's rural communities as a whole," said Mignon Bolay, OKFB WLC chair. "The OKFB Women's Leadership Committee is proud to honor these nine families who exemplify the very best of our industry as they work to feed, clothe and fuel our nation and our world."
As part of their recognition, the family received a cash award and a custom sign to hang at their farm gate. Read more about the farm and ranch families at okfarmbureau.org/farmfamily2020.