Not Your Everyday Farm In Miller County
Farming is a second language to some and a foreign affair to many. Whether familiar or foreign to local Texarkana residents, it might surprise many that one of the largest farms in the United States sits in our backyard. Located along the riverbanks of the Red River and Highway 82, just 28 miles from Texarkana, Arkansas, and Interstate 30, Goldcrest Farms covers 25,000 acres of Southwest Arkansas. Almost twice the size of Manhattan, Goldcrest Farms features a new state-of-the-art irrigation structure, allowing for high productivity, low cost, and sustainable farming.
In 2018, Goldcrest Farm Trust Advisors, an investment management company specializing in row-crop farmland in the United States, saw an opportunity to invest in a run-down piece of land with ample potential. In partnership with Valmont Industries, the company began a full-scale redevelopment of Goldcrest Farms. The goal was to realize this potential by retrofitting the land with new, best-in-class irrigation technology, offering modern sustainability solutions that lower water usage and improve an operator’s bottom line. Interestingly, investors like Goldcrest are attracted to farmland for its low correlation to both stocks and bonds and the opportunity to diversify their portfolio.
“We saw a farm with great bones and a lot of potential,” Co-founder, President, and COO Edward Hargroves said. “Similar to how one proudly names a child after a parent or grandparent, we named this farm after our company. It’s our flagship farm.”
Goldcrest Farm Trust owns farmland across the United States, with Goldcrest Farms in Miller County being the largest. As part of Goldcrest Farms’ redevelopment, the company built two giant pump stations to pull water from the Red River. The water is then distributed across the farm through an 80-mile network of newly installed pipeline to efficiently irrigate via flood or pivot. To put this in perspective, the farm can pump enough water to fill an Olympic swimming pool in less than five minutes.
Goldcrest Farms is capable of producing a diverse crop mix, including rice, cotton, corn, soy, wheat and small grains, at scale. With proximity to key consumer packaged goods (CPGs) such as Walmart, Tyson, Conagra, and Anheuser-Busch, branding opportunities—indeed, the ability to trace large crop volumes to a single farm source—are bountiful.
With a focus on row crops, Goldcrest Farms’ annual corn production potential is equivalent to the amount that Hong Kong consumes every two and a half years. Farming efficiency is a top priority, and the large size and the advanced infrastructure and technology allows for more manageable farming and economies of scale. Reduced steps from “farm to fork” lower transportation costs, and reduced administration benefits the farmers and land.
We want to be part of the community. We will be doing creative thinking to find ways to connect with Texarkana and its surrounding areas.” —Edward Hargroves
Sustainability is a key to Goldcrest Farms Trust Advisors. After acquiring the land, they cleaned or added 33 miles of irrigation ditches, reservoirs, and bayous to improve drainage and enable sustainable water recapture. In addition, they precision-leveled over 7,000 acres of farmland to engage a rice or furrow irrigated cropping option that limits erosion and nitrogen runoff. The turbine pumps offer larger volume/low flow for precise depth of water application, and pivots have Low Elevation Spray Application and Low Energy Precision Application systems.
“Our goal is for Goldcrest Farms to be a model in large-scale sustainable food production and a hub for US agriculture,” Hargroves said. “We want to continue to invest in the region.”
Before its acquisition, Goldcrest Farms was locally owned for several generations and primarily used as farmland. Goldcrest Farm Trust Advisors chose to capitalize on the recreational and wildlife opportunities—including deer and waterfowl hunting—by establishing a premium corporate hunting retreat.
The acreage on Goldcrest Farms is currently leased to a number of tenants. Goldcrest Farm Trust Advisors pursue established farm operators who are good land stewards and plan to lease long-term.
More than anything, Hargroves expressed his desire for Goldcrest Farms to be part of the community. “COVID delayed our ability to build relationships and rapport with the area,” Hargroves said. “We want to be part of the community. We will be doing creative thinking to find ways to connect with Texarkana and its surrounding areas.”
According to myrecordjournal.com, the global population and demand for food are steadily increasing. This increase calls on farmers to increase crop production, increasing farmland value. With its focus on sustainability and food security, Goldcrest Farms adds a valuable component to the Texarkana region. The future of farming is bright, and it is exciting to know that Goldcrest Farms will allow our area to set the standard for success in the agriculture world—whether you speak the language or not.