Story by JEFFREY POWELL
Another day is coming to an end as Garrett and Karley McDonald drive several head of cattle toward their pen for the night. This scene has been played out many times before at the McDonalds’ nearly 200-acre family farm and if patriarch Kyle has anything to do with things it will be played out many times again. It is, at least in part, this dedication to the farming lifestyle that the McDonalds have been chosen by the Walton County Extension Service as the 2011 Farm Family of the Year.
“I personally do not feel worthy of this honor,” Kyle said. “However, the rest of my family deserves this recognition. None of this would be possible without all of their hard work, especially my wife Kim. She is the one that deserves this attention. I have been blessed by God and could not be were I am today without the help of several wise friends.”
The McDonalds raise hay and cattle on their property and have eight horses. Both Karley and Garrett are accomplished riders and have competed in various events. Karley has competed as a roper and barrel racer while Garrett ropes, calf ropes and team ropes. He has won 16 saddles and several cash prizes over the years. In July, he placed fifth in the nation, in his age group, in the all-around event as well as 12th in calf-roping, eighth in ribbon roping and 10th in bulldogging.
“The most important reason this family was chosen was because of the level of involvement from the kids,” said Walton County Extension Service Director Mike Goodchild. “We like to see farming as a family affair. The McDonalds are a true farm family and seem to work as a cohesive unit on their property. Along with Kyle’s father they are truly a multi-generational farm family.”
The annual Farm Family of the Year award is sponsored by the North Florida Fair based in Tallahassee.