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Soybean

Farming love story strengthened through hardship and happiness

When Matt Miles’ father got sick, Sherrie Snow’s father helped them harvest that year’s crop. Sherrie’s father would not take money, so Matt’s father bought him a coat as a way to show his appreciation. When they delivered the coat, Sherrie came out of the house and Matt told his mother, “I’ve got to find out who she is.” Matt was 15. Sherrie was 17. That’s how this Southeast Arkansas farming-based love story began.

Sherrie handled the books for her father and Matt worked the fields for his. The courtship began in 1985. Because they grew up on the farm, their career paths seemed set. People began wondering when wedding bells would ring.

After playing the piano at the church revival one spring, Sherrie drove out to the field where Matt was hipping up rows. He looked up and saw her shucking off her hose and shoes before running as fast as she could across the freshly plowed ground toward him. That’s when he knew this farmer’s daughter was the girl for him.

It seemed to be a mutually-agreed-upon foregone conclusion they would get married, and on March 18, 1989, they finally did. She had a $10,000 CD they used to purchase their first tractor — a John Deere 4840. Matt knew Sherrie would support his farming lifestyle and investing that CD in him and that tractor just proved she was all in.

For their wedding present, Sherrie’s father rented them the 50 acres of land where once stood the house in which he was born. Matt and Sherrie would set their first of many state soybean yield records on that land. They were feeling blessed beyond belief. But when Matt’s father died in 2000, Matt was immersed in a bowl of farming hot water. That is when Billy Allen Garner came into their lives. Billy taught Matt as much about farming as Matt taught Billy.

Their friendship was instantaneous. They were inseparable. If they were not farming together, they were hunting together. While Sherrie raised three children on her lap as she kept the farm’s books and paid bills, Matt and Billy expanded the operation. On Father’s Day, June 16, 2019, Matt and Billy were in a side-by-side with their wives riding out to check on a field’s moisture level when it happened.

Farm accidents have taken many lives and that day when the side-by-side rolled over, it took Billy Allen Garner’s. The lowest of lows had happened.

The grief was unimaginable, but they had crops in the fields and they persevered.

On Christmas Eve, the night when the world stopped to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Layne, Matt and Sherrie’s only son, became a father. Billy will always be with Matt and Sherrie through their grandson, Owen Bradley Allen Miles, who each day gives them the highest of highs.

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