Clover Bend, Arkansas
Stan Jones, at Stan Jones Mallard Lodge, farms 7,000 acres of rice and soybeans, following in the footsteps of five generations of family members before him.
However, the lodge is more than a farm; it’s also a haven for duck farmers from across the country, a corporate retreat center and a wedding venue.
A plethora of passions
Stan has been farming for nearly 50 years. It’s a career he loves. However, his true passion, ever since he was a kid, has been duck hunting. Whenever he wasn’t helping his father on the farm, he’d be found pursuing wildlife in the river bottoms along the Black River. For years, Stan ran a successful guide service but always dreamed of giving hunters the ultimate duck hunting experience.
So, as Stan grew his farm business, he was vigilant about purchasing rice ground that he knew ducks would prefer. Located in between the Cache and Black rivers, Stan’s farm and lodge lie in a perfect place to for ducks to feed and rest. As a result, Stan has developed unique properties to which the ducks have imprinted, creating some of what he will argue is the best duck hunting ground in Arkansas.
“I've been duck hunting my whole life, and I was happy to share what I've got here with a lot of people,” Stan said.
Two birds, one stone
Each spring and summer, Stan plants his crops, allowing them to mature throughout the warm months of the year. Then, after harvest, he uses all that farmland for hunting, welcoming between 1,200 and 1,400 guests to the lodge per year. In addition to hosting hunters, Stan also hosts weddings, nearly thirty per year, as well as corporate events.
“Anything you do in a New York boardroom, you can do right here at this lodge,” Stan said.
Farm Credit, a trusted partner
Stan has been working with Farm Credit for years and is quick to recommend AgHeritage to anyone who asks him about his lender.
“A lot of the people talk to me and want to know who my lender is,” Stan said. “I absolutely set them up with AgHeritage. They are a farm lending institution and they are here to help farmers and to help agriculture. And that's who I want to be with.”
In good times and bad
Stan, like every farmer, knows that some years are good, some are bad and some you just barely breakeven; and AgHeritage has been there to support Stan no matter what.
“Never once has AgHeritage ever thought about going the other way. If I ever run into something that I can't figure out, we can lay the cards on the table and make a great decision,” Stan said.
Stan’s relationship with AgHeritage is more than he ever expected from a lender. “It's more like they've been a partner with me, a friend and a good relationship,” he said.
Thinking about legacy
Considering his many successes, from farming, to the hunting lodge to the corporate events and weddings, at the end of the day, stewardship is what matters most to Stan.
“I want to leave this place a better place than I found it,” Stan said. “The land that I've leveled, the way that I've recaptured the water and reused it again and been conscientious of conservation - that's what I'm most proud of.”