Hare Family Dairy Named
2015 Agriculturalists of the Year



From Professional Ag Workers



The Professional Ag Workers Association named the Hare Family Dairy and Ranch, the 2015 Hopkins County Agriculturalists of the Year at Thursday night's Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce Banquet. They join a "roll of honor" of past recipients that began with the first presentation back in 1963.

The award was received by Mark Hare and his wife Debbie, current owners of the farm and ranch, that was begun by his parents, Junior and Martha Hare, back in 1953, on a 76 acre farm, located on the Hopkins/Franklin County line. They built a dairy barn and began selling Grade-B milk and a few years later built their first Grade-A barn. The family grew the operation to include three dairy barns on over 1100 acres. Today they still operate Hare and Hare Dairy. Wayne Foster has been employed by this family for 43 years and manages the daily work as well as serving as a loyal and devoted friend.

They also run a beef cattle operation. Mark additionally raises and shows cutting horse. The Hare Family Farms is in its sixty-third year of operation, no small feat for an agricultural operation or any kind of business.

The family did whatever it took to keep the farms in operation. Martha, back in the early years, to supplement the farm income, made her way into Sulphur Springs to a job at the H.D. Lee Jeans Factory, during some of those "lean" years.



They were active in community service, being a part of establishing rural water service for the area. Spurred by the need for water for dairy farms and other rural residents, Martha, in 1968, had a hand in chartering the North Franklin Water Supply Corporation. Chartered in July of 1969, 6 months later, in January of 1970, water began flowing to rural customers.

Martha was an avid genealogist and a member of the Hopkins County Genealogical Society.




Junior served on the Southeast Area Council of Dairy Farmers of America, and Martha served the remainder of his term, upon his death in April 2001. Then, she was re-elected to serve three more terms on her own. From this board, Martha also served on the promotional Dairy Max Board. Junior passed away, doing what he loved, at DFA meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee, serving his fellow dairy farmers.

Mark and Debbie have also been active in service to their community. Mark has served 18 years on the Rivercrest ISD Board of Education and was president for 5 years. He also coached Dixie League Softball for 26 years, taking two teams to the World Series. Debbie helped organize the Rivercrest Educational Foundation, whose purpose is to raise funds and award scholarships for RHS seniors, to attend college. The Masonic Lodge named Mark and Debbie as Community Builders for outstanding Community work in 2010.

In June 2014, Martha was honored as the Grand Marshal of the 55th Annual Hopkins County Dairy Festival Parade and led the parade through downtown Sulphur Springs.

The Hare Family Dairy and Ranch is certainly deserving of the 2015 Agriculturalists of the Year award!

Congratulations, Mark, Debbie, and Family!!!