Skip Navigation
Back to Top
Arkansas loans for poultry houses. Arkansas poultry financing. Financing for poultry equipment and improvements. Arkansas loans for poultry houses. Arkansas poultry financing. Financing for poultry equipment and improvements.

Navigating Hard Times in Agriculture

Six years of perseverance saved JC Marks' Ouachita County poultry farm when adversity hit.


Farm Credit of Western Arkansas

Marketing & Communications Team

Determined to succeed, longtime logging contractor turned poultry farmer JC Marks refused to take no for an answer when faced with adversity that tested his faith, patience, and fortitude for six long years. 

"You can't give up, or you lose," JC Marks of Marks Farms explains when asked what fueled his focus to save his Ouachita County farm and livelihood. 

Six years. That's probably five years more than the average producer would have given what many thought were impossible odds. 

After a 30-year career as a logging contractor, JC and his wife, Debbie, transitioned to raising poultry in their early 50s. The couple had always had cows and thought raising chickens would be a good fit as they aged.

With Farm Credit financing, they built their first four broiler houses in 2004. After three years of success, they decided to build two more. 

Everything was going according to plan until their integrator shut their southwest Arkansas plant in 2008. The closure affected 110 poultry producers, including the Marks. Looking at four-year-old poultry houses without a contract to grow birds was daunting. No birds meant no poultry income. No poultry income meant no immediate way to repay their Farm Credit loan. 

JC vividly remembers the day he learned there wouldn't be another coming when they finished their current flock. 

"I had a friend from the timber world who worked at the feed mill call me," JC remembers. 

"He said the good Lord told him I was going to be O.K. and that he should call and tell me. I'm embarrassed to say I was a bit weak in faith at the time." 

But true enough, two days later, four representatives from their original integrator visited his farm, liked what they saw, and offered him a contract. 

The new contract bought the Marks more time until the contract was canceled three years later due to their farm's distance to the nearest processing plant.

"They offered to buy our contract, but it would have only given us half of what we still owed on the chicken houses," JC continues. 

"I had to say no and take my chances even though there was no guarantee of another offer." 

Determined a solution existed, JC began exploring every avenue for growing birds. He secured a commitment to grow three flocks of pullets from a small producer. Those two opportunities carried Marks Farms to 2011. 

Poultry work dried up in 2011, though, JC says. They scraped by with cows, hauling gravel and timber work. During this time, he and Debbie also began raising their grandchildren full-time. 

JC found work where he could for the next almost seven years. He also made a habit of networking with poultry company personnel. He called one broiler manager every Monday morning for months. The man took his calls and learned his name. He smiles and remembers how he and that manager got to know one another over time. There was talk of a contract opportunity two or three different times, but they all fell through. His farm's distance to feed mills and processing plants was often the issue. 

JC even offered to haul his feed since he had the truck and experience, willing to do whatever it took to put his poultry houses back into production.  

Grit, persistence, and faith paid off in late 2017. Sadly, the call he and Debbie had prayed for since 2011 came three weeks after Debbie passed away following a brief illness. Not having Debbie there to celebrate the hard-fought win made it, understandably, a somber victory. Debbie and JC were married for 44 years and were partners on the farm for all of their marriage. 

"Faith has a lot to do with it," JC continues. "God helps those who help themselves. I'm a true believer, and we prayed a lot." 

Foster Farms offered JC a six-house contract growing broilers in 2017. Since then, he's been able to afford upgrades out-of-pocket and quickly work toward paying down debt.

Farm Credit advertises they're there for western Arkansas producers in good economic times and bad. We can only make that claim by pointing to real-life examples. Working with JC and his situation over six years demonstrates firsthand our commitment to farmers. 

"Thank goodness Farm Credit is designed for farming people,"
JC Marks Ouachita County Poultry Farmer

When the bad news struck in 2011, JC visited his Farm Credit loan officer to explain the situation.

"There was never a formal agreement," he remembers. "They understood and allowed my loan to accrue interest while I made whatever payments I could." 

"There was never a period when Mr. JC wasn't making payments of some sort," remembers Milly Lindsey, former longtime Financial Services Specialist at the Magnolia branch. Milly has since taken a new position as Consumer Loan Officer in Texarkana but welcomed the opportunity to visit Marks Farms and reconnect with one of her favorite members. 

"I've never seen anyone work harder to get a contract," Milly shares. "JC's determination and confidence are inspiring, and I truly admire his work ethic and character." 

Character is an essential consideration in the credit process. Borrower character weighs heavily in loan decisions at Farm Credit. 

"There was never any doubt JC was good for the loan," Milly continues. "Working with him through the situation made sense. He was going to find a way to pay for it. We had an exemplary lending relationship with him from 2004 to 2011. He had some bad luck in 2011, but because we knew him and had a history with him, it was a given that we'd work with him." 

"If I'd been with a bank, I would've lost everything," JC speculates. "Not to say anything against banks, they just operate differently. I don't think I'd have had the years of flexibility Farm Credit gave me." 

When asked what kept him positive and determined for more than six years, JC points to his 30-year logging career. 

"Logging is hard work and is stressful," he explains. "At one point, my operation had 14 employees and their families relying on our success. There were many nights I lost sleep back then." 

Those six determined years paid off. His operation has been thriving since 2017, and he loves the freedom that comes with raising chickens. 
According to JC, you only lose if you give up. He's offered us all a valuable lesson in perseverance by demonstrating how true it is. 

This story is from "You Only Lose If You Give Up," originally published in the summer 2021 issue of The Rural Scene magazine.

Other News

Text reads "$20,000 awarded in scholarships" with Farm Credit logo at bottom
May 23, 2024
2024 Scholarship Recipients Announced
Group of kids and teacher in outdoor garden.
May 08, 2024
Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest
Hand placing paper in ballot box.
May 02, 2024
2024 Director Nominations
Silhouette of tractor in a field, bright sun
Apr 04, 2024
Shining Light on Farm Safety
Arkansas Farmers Market Promotion Grant Program text over background image depicting jelly jars at farmers market.
Mar 13, 2024
Arkansas Farmers Market Grant Now Open
2024 YBS Conference Group Photo
Feb 22, 2024
2024 Future Legacy Conference Recap
Patronage open House Putting $11.7 million back in our members' pockets
Feb 12, 2024
2024 Patronage Open House Dates
2024 Record breaking patronage
Feb 11, 2024
Record Breaking Patronage in 2024
Where are they now
Jan 02, 2024
Where Are They Now? Scholarship Winners 15 Years Later
2024 Farm Credit of Western Arkansas Scholarship Application.
Jan 01, 2024
2024 Farm Credit of Western Arkansas Scholarships
Tax considerations ahead of the new year. Farm tax tips for 2024.
Dec 28, 2023
Tax Considerations Ahead of the New Year
Loans for agriculture business financing for cold storage facility Arkansas
Dec 25, 2023
Turning Up the Heat with Cold Storage Revolution
Holiday Recipe Series
Dec 23, 2023
Holiday Recipe Series: Cathy's Hash Brown Casserole
Iron Skillet Apple Pie Recipe
Dec 22, 2023
RECIPE: Iron Skillet Apple Pie
Farmhouse Christmas decorations. Purchase a home in the country Arknasas.
Dec 17, 2023
Holiday Home Feature: The Pearce Family
Top 5 Reasons to Apply for the Future Legacy Conference by Farm Credit
Dec 16, 2023
Top 5 Reasons to Apply to the 2024 Future Legacy Conference
Holiday Recipe Series
Dec 15, 2023
Holiday Recipe Series: Savannah's Red Hot Jello Salad
2023 Arkasnas Farm Family of the Year
Dec 13, 2023
JA Farms Named Arkansas Farm Family of the Year
Anvil Metals & Fabrication Wins Arkansas Ag Innovation Challenge
Dec 11, 2023
Anvil Metals & Fabrication Wins Arkansas Ag Innovation Challenge
Holiday Recipe Series
Dec 10, 2023
Holiday Recipe Series: Rachel's Apple Crumble Pie
Courtney and Andrew Witt at Blossomberry Nursery in Clarksville, Arkansas
Nov 24, 2023
Planting Joy at Blossomberry Nursery
Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, Casey Ford, Strawberry Jam, Canning, Food preservation, Canning for kids, canning recipes for kids
Nov 21, 2023
RECIPE: Strawberry Freezer Jam
2023 Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest Winners, background image of students in school garden
Nov 07, 2023
2023 Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest Winners Announced
Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, Credit Score, Understanding Your Credit Score, Jody Almand, Justin Carter, Ag Loans, Rural Home Loans, Arkansas, Land in Arkansas
Oct 30, 2023
Understanding Your Credit Score
Cody Jones, Board Chairman, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, Poultry operation, poultry operation in arkansas, cattle, cattle operation in arkansas, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, poultry loans, cattle loans, board of directors, ag loans
Oct 27, 2023
Cooperative Q&A
Stack of papers with binder clips, understanding financial documents, loan documents, what to provide when applying for loan
Oct 18, 2023
Financial Information Needed For Your Loan Request
Text reads, "National Cooperative Month" with biostar logo underneath. Photo is hands all meeting in middle with green overlay.
Oct 13, 2023
National Cooperative Month
2023 Director Election Results
Oct 12, 2023
2023 Director Election Results
October 2023 is Cybersecurity Month, digital lock background image
Oct 02, 2023
Tips for Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023
2023 Photo Contest Winners
Sep 13, 2023
2023 Photo Contest Winners Announced
2023 Farm Credit of Western Arkansas Director Election
Sep 12, 2023
2023 Annual Director Election Now Open
Bryan Pruit, former ag teacher, Bergman High School FFA, superintendent Eureka Springs School District. Farm Credit, Harrison Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, Calf Raffle, Brady Willis, Loan officer, land for sale in Harrison Arkansas, North Arkansas
Sep 05, 2023
Over 20 Years of Calf Raffle Success
Blevins' Family Lasagna
Aug 26, 2023
RECIPE: Blevins' Family Lasagna
Arkansas Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge
Aug 24, 2023
Arkansas Farm Bureau Launches Ag Innovation Challenge
The Stokes Family inside Tusk's Barn
Aug 21, 2023
Livin' on Tusk Time
Corn Dip
Aug 16, 2023
RECIPE: Corn Dip
The Blevins' House
Aug 09, 2023
Home Feature: The Blevins Family
Colton Hewitt, Field Services Inter, sits at a desk and smiles toward camera
Jul 24, 2023
Meet the Interns: Colton Hewitt
Austin Bell, Field Services Intern, loads watermelons into back of truck while smiling at camera
Jul 24, 2023
Meet the Interns: Austin Bell
Shae Parsons Angel, Field Service Intern
Jul 24, 2023
Meet the Interns: Shae Parsons Angel
Sarah Barkhimer, Communications Intern, sits at desk and smiles to camera
Jul 24, 2023
Meet the Interns: Sarah Barkhimer
Tips for building your dream home in the country Arkansas
Jul 07, 2023
5 Step Guide to Building Your Dream Home
Online banking help Farm Credit of Western Arkansas
Jun 30, 2023
Get Started with Online Banking
Participants and instructors in the 2023 Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education Institute at Arkansas Tech University pose for a group photograph.
Jun 29, 2023
Ag Educators From Across America Study at ATU
2023 Photo Contest Tips and Tricks with cows in back
Jun 13, 2023
2023 Photo Contest: Tips and Tricks
Issues facing Arkansas agriculture. Arkansas agriculture policy issues.
Jun 02, 2023
June 2023 Arkansas Legislative Update
Country Home in South Arkansas
May 31, 2023
Home Feature: The Thomas Family
DIY Cedar Plant Boxes
May 31, 2023
DIY: Cedar Plant Containers
School Garden of the Year Contest 2023
May 19, 2023
School Garden of the Year Contest Now Open
pencil completing vote ballot
May 08, 2023
2023 Director Nominations
Student studying at table, text reads "Farm Credit awards MANRRS VIP Scholarships"
Apr 11, 2023
Farm Credit Announces 2023 MANRRS VIP Scholarship Winners
Text reads $20,000 awarded in scholarships, green background with money and graduation cap.
Apr 06, 2023
2023 Scholarship Recipients Announced
Blue corduroy background, text reads Washington county students nominated to receive FFA jacket in honor of FFA Week."
Mar 02, 2023
Washington County Students Nominated to Receive FFA Jackets
Group of people stand in front of business sign outside. Text reads, "Taylor-Made From Start to Finish"
Feb 08, 2023
Taylor-Made from Start to Finish
Two $100 bills stick out of pocket of brown overalls.
Feb 06, 2023
$11 Million Back to Members
Graduation caps flying in the air, text reads "2023 Scholarship Application Now Open!"
Jan 30, 2023
Farm Credit of Western Arkansas Scholarship
TEXT: Where are they now? Farm Credit Scholarship recipients 15 years later
Dec 19, 2022
Where are they now?
Text reads, "Farm Credit Families Named District Farm Families of the Year." Pictured below are the Robertson and Stobaugh families
Dec 12, 2022
Farm Credit Members Named District Farm Families of the Year
Text reads: 2022 Soup Showdown, The Best Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup by Rachel Webb, FSS in Hope. Pictured is header with soup photos, Rachel's headshot, and a bowl of potato soup.
Dec 06, 2022
Soup Showdown: Rachel's Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Copy reads: 2022 soup showdown, Copycat Zuppa Toscana, by January Bennett, FSS in Texarkana. Headshot of January, bowl of soup.
Dec 06, 2022
Soup Showdown: January's Copycat Zuppa Toscana
2022 Soup Showdown logo, Text reads "Three simple soups to keep you warm this winter." Background photo is three bowls of soup surrounded by spices and bread.
Dec 06, 2022
Three Simple Soups to Keep You Warm This Winter
Miracle Farms Market
Oct 12, 2022
Miracle Farms Market
Garden sign reads "bell peppers"
Oct 12, 2022
2022 School Garden of the Year Winners
Haybales that look like rolls of money
Oct 11, 2022
5 Tips to Remain Successful During a Changing Economy
Farm School Scholarship for Veterans. Photo of red tractor and American flag in green field.
Sep 08, 2022
Homegrown by Heroes Scholarship Deadline Extended
Rusty barn in front of sunset. Top text reads "2022 Photo Contest Winners". Caption reads, "Grand Prize: Barn Sunset by Lisa McCarley"
Sep 07, 2022
2022 Photo Contest Winners Announced
Cathy's famous peach bread
Aug 23, 2022
RECIPE: Fresh Peach Bread
Troy Buck on Phone
Aug 18, 2022
Troy Buck: Arkansas Ag Ed Legacy
Homegrown by Heroes Scholarship
Aug 09, 2022
Homegrown By Heroes Scholarship
Intern Nicolette Graves
Jul 28, 2022
Intern Spotlight: Nicolette Graves
Intern Carter Horton
Jul 28, 2022
Intern Spotlight: Carter Horton
Intern Kyleen Hewitt
Jul 28, 2022
Intern Spotlight: Kyleen Hewitt
Intern Hannah Chambers
Jul 28, 2022
Intern Spotlight: Hannah Chambers
A note from our board chair
Jul 27, 2022
Farm Credit of Western Arkansas' Strength
Aeriel shot of family walking through row crop field
Jun 02, 2022
Beginning Farmers Living Their Dreams
Emerson Farmers Market
May 19, 2022
Emerson Community Pavilion Celebration
Text: $20,000 awarded in scholarships. Image: roll of cash with graduation cap
May 16, 2022
2022 Scholarship Recipients
Group of women
Mar 25, 2022
Arkansas Women in Agriculture Conference
Large group of young people
Mar 04, 2022
2022 Future Legacy
Hand putting patronage check in mailbox
Feb 25, 2022
25 Years of Patronage Cash
Back to Top