Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
Jefferson County grower Lawrence “Wink” Conyer was one of three agriculture producers to receive national honors at the 24th Annual 2016 Outreach & Agriculture Education Expo in Atlanta recently.
Conyer placed third in the national competition for the Lloyd Wright Small Farmers Award presented by the National Organization of Professional Black Natural Resources Service Employees (NOPBNRCSE) and named for its founder Lloyd E. Wright. The award is bestowed on producers who share a passion for improving awareness and development in agriculture.
Levell Foote, recently retired district conservationist, said that Conyer was nominated because of his excellence in implementing the conservation plan designed for him. Conyer has participated in farm workshops, local and state conservation office seminars, and land-grant university activities.
In addition to the Wright Award and recognition, Conyer and his wife were invited to the White House.
After retiring in 2012 from the Department of Defense with 32 years of service, Conyer devoted himself to full-time farming. He is the owner/operator of Conyer Farm, LLC where he farms approximately 1,500 acres in Jefferson and Lincoln counties growing soybeans, corn, rice, wheat and milo. Besides row crops, Conyer plants purple hull peas, sweet corn and mustard, turnip and collard greens. He welcomes anyone to take what he or she needs from his garden at no cost.
“Conyer is an active participant in the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Small Farm Program and has been for many years,” said Dr. Henry English, Small Farm Program head. “He regularly attends the UAPB Rural Life Conference, Small Farm workshops, Cooperative Extension Program and Cooperative Extension Service workshops and farm meetings, and the Southern Cover Crop Conference in Jonesboro.”
Conyer has worked closely with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in his efforts to farm wisely. He has active contracts in both the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). He also follows NRCS conservation practices including irrigation water management, irrigation land leveling, cover crops and crop rotation. He has two water monitoring stations on opposite sides of his field where the water drains off the field. Data is collected and analyzed for sediment and nutrient concentrations.
In 2014, he hosted at his farm agriculture leaders from the Mission of Cote d’lvoire (formerly the Ivory Coast) to the United Nations, who were visiting the Northwest Arkansas World Trade Center in Rogers. Also, in 2014, in cooperation with the National Association of Equal Opportunity in Higher Education and NRCS, he was asked to host a tour for college bound students from several states.
Conyer plans to retire a second time and pass his farm on to his children. He and his wife Edna Washington Conyer, the first female UAPB agriculture economics graduate, have three children.