When Online Editor Tyler Hale and I first saw the photos from his trip to Newport to interview Riceland board member Jennifer James, his first comment was, “That’s why we got up at 2:30 in the morning.”
Indeed, Tyler and Jamison Mosley, our talented art director, embarked in the middle of the night for Jackson County to interview and photograph Jennifer, who graciously agreed to pose — at dawn — in one of her rice fields. In the pages that follow, the result of that dedication is self-evident. Jamison knew the extra effort would be worth it.
“The farm” means something different than it did 50 years ago, but it still packs a wallop in Arkansas. It doesn’t take near as many to operate them these days, but farms remain a strong component to the cultural fabric of our rural state. Tyler’s profile of Jennifer captures the spirit of an old Arkansas farm family, and Jamison’s shots quite literally open a window into the abundance of the Arkansas Delta.
According to Arkansas Farm Bureau, Arkansas is one of just a few states where average per-capita farm income exceeds non-farm per capita income. Jennifer, a fourth-generation farmer, embodies the “can do” of Arkansas farmers. And, of course, she’s blazing trails as Riceland’s first-ever female board member.
Hospitality is evolving beyond restaurants and bars, and the Ropeswing Group in Bentonville seems to be perched at the top of the proverbial evolutionary tree. Inside, we visit Ropeswing’s latest venture, the Blake Street House. Rob Apple and his team are redefining the industry in Bentonville, a unique destination most definitely punching above its playing weight these days.
The business of hospitality also is alive and well in Little Rock. Gretchen Hall, CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, believes the new entertainment district will prove to be a good thing for the River Market. As the parent said when his son announced he was going to apply to the University of Hawaii, “We’ll see.”
This month’s issue includes a snapshot of Arkansas casinos. Expansions at Oaklawn and Southland continue, and ground has been broken in Pine Bluff for the Quapaw tribe’s planned jewel. Meanwhile, things have begun playing out interestingly in Pope County. How else could they? Next month, AMP will dive into the weeds of what promises to be a drawn-out crusade to bring a casino to the River Valley.
We take a look at electric cars in Arkansas — more prevalent than you may think, and Tim Griffin is “first hat” in the governor’s ring.
Lots to ingest. Questions? Concerns? Critique? My email is open 24/7: MCarter@ARMoneyandPolitics.com.