The Pine Bluff John McAlmont Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution met recently at the Pine Bluff Country Club. Regent Sandra Poore called the meeting to order and led in the DAR Ritual assisted by Chaplain Cary Swanson.

Swanson conducted a candle lit memorial service honoring past members Mary Leah Harris and Elizabeth Jackson Thompson.

Program Chairwoman, Helen Campbell, introduced Kenny Bonds, who has been involved in his family farming business his entire adult life. He spoke about the importance of protecting the farms and those who work them.

“Farming can be done in a way that either conserves or wastes natural resources. It takes 500 years to make an inch of topsoil, which is a living organism that filters water and feeds our crops,” according to the presentation. “There are more microbes in a handful of soil that there are people on earth. Different types of soil are best suited for specific crops. Sandy soil is suited to grow cotton, corn, and beans. Clay soil is best suited for growing rice. Arkansas is #1 in the country in rice production.”

Bonds grows cotton, soybeans, corn, and rice. He says that cotton is a most interesting crop. Arkansas is #3 in cotton production in the U.S.

“Arkansas cotton is the long staple type used in clothing. Every part of the cotton plant can be used whether it be for the cotton fiber itself, the seeds, the stalks, and even the leaves and hulls of the boll. It can be made into mulch, cooking oil, and animal feed just to name a few. There is no longer a cotton gin in Jefferson County, the closest being in McGehee; however Pine Bluff is fortunate to be the home of Planters Cotton Oil Mill, which is the second largest of its kind in the U.S.,” according to the presentation.

According to Bonds, Pine Bluff is the gateway to the Delta and has rich farming land.

“The Delta is also part of the Mississippi Flyway, so we have wonderful duck hunting. Bayou Bartholomew is the longest Bayou in the United States and provides a winter home for various water fowl. Arkansas is blessed with water. The Arkansas River feeds an alluvial aquifer. The Sparta Aquifer is 500-800 feet deep, which is why Pine Bluff’s water is so good,” according to the presentation.

Poore reported that the 110th Arkansas State DAR Conference in Little Rock March 29-31 was a success. The chapter received 15 certificates of accomplishments, including a first place award for the “Books Under Cover” Literacy Promotion project. This project has been forwarded to the South Central Division to be considered for further recognition.

Beverly Brainard Madison was recognized as being a 50 Year Member of DAR. She received a certificate of recognition from NSDAR in Washington, D.C.

Sharon Wyatt reported that the Bob and Tess Nicholson Hill Scholarship Committee received five applications. The committee will review these and announce the winner in May.

Lela Murray, nominating committee representative, presented the prospective slate of officers. The chapter voted unanimously to accept the slate as presented. These officers will be installed at the May meeting.

Poore reported that the World War I Tree Planting Ceremony was held in Graceland Cemetery on April 10. A willow oak tree was planted with the assistance of the Arkansas Forestry Commission and the Arkansas Heritage World War I Centennial Committee. Soil from the National Cemetery in France was added into the planting.

Chapter members presented ROTC and JROTC medals the week of April 23-27 throughout the Pine Bluff area. Supporting students in these programs is an important part of the DAR experience.

A Memorial Day Ceremony will be held in White Hall on Monday, May 28. The Chapter has been asked to serve as hostesses and provide cookies following the ceremony.

The meeting was adjourned with a benediction by Swanson.