L to R: FBI Little Rock Citizens Academy Alumni Association Board Member Wes Booker, classmate and Senior Writer for Gov. Asa Hutchinson Jay Grelen, Grelen’s wife, Candace Rankin

Congratulations Candace!

Farmers Bank & Trust Community Specialist & Assistant Board Secretary Candace Rankin graduated from the prestigious FBI Citizens Academy program on June 7, 2022.

The FBI Citizens Academy gives business, religious, civic, and community leaders an inside look at the FBI. Candidates are nominated and then selected to participate by the special agent in charge of the local FBI field office.

“I have always had respect for law enforcement, but this experience really opened my eyes to a lot of things I was unaware of. The level of respect I have for them now is even greater,” Rankin said.

“The FBI Citizens Academy is an excellent curriculum to connect the FBI to our local leaders and difference-makers in Arkansas,” Farmers Bank Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Anderson said. “Candace has been instrumental in the Bank’s relationship with the FBI, by connecting them to the communities we serve.”

In her role, Rankin organizes various Bank and community events including the annual FBI Community Awareness Program luncheons where law enforcement from all departments across the state get together with community leaders for a presentation and brief training.

“Farmers Bank & Trust’s former Chairman & CEO Bob Burns went through this program many years ago and our CEO Chris Gosnell has gone through it as well,” Rankin said. “I’m honored the Bank nominated me for this opportunity and that I was able to attend.”

Once a week for eight weeks Rankin drove from Magnolia, Arkansas to Little Rock for class. Topics covered during the academy include cybersecurity, active shooter training, negotiation, domestic and counterterrorism, weapons of mass destruction, stop the bleed training, and more.

“I believe everyone who works in customer care should learn this information. It’s potentially life-saving,” Rankin said.

For more information about the FBI Citizens Academy, visit HERE.

Candace with classmate Alicia Evans of Arkansas Department of Labor

Mortgage is not the career path Madison Haltom had ever envisioned for herself. But, now she feels like she’s living her dream helping people into their dream homes. Madison works in one of Zillow’s most popular housing markets of 2022 – Prosper, Texas.

In this Right at the Heart Podcast episode, Madison talks about:

  • How she got started in mortgage
  • What you need to know to own your dream home
  • Advice for first-time homebuyers
  • Jumbo loans and the benefits for those who qualify for one
  • Investment properties

Tired of renting and want to move towards buying? Then it’s time to start chipping away at what you’ll need for a down payment. Not sure how to get started? Here are a few places to start!

  • Lace up and hit the streets instead of the gym: Save $60 per month
  • Slash your 4-5 days a week Starbucks runs down to just 1x per week: Save $120 per month
  • Buy store brand groceries: Save 25% on your monthly grocery budget
  • Plan out meals each week instead of picking up takeout: Save $150 per month
  • Trim that clothing budget (just a little!): Save $100 per month

These ideas alone could save you almost $500 every month. In two years’ time, that’s $12,000! And when you keep the goal before you — owning your very own home — it’s even easier to stay motivated!

If you have questions about financing, contact Madison HERE.

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Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender


Rockhounding is the hobby collecting of rocks, fossils, and geologic specimens from a natural environment. Arkansas has an environment that led to it being one of the best places in the world to rockhound for quartz crystals! In fact, it ties with Brazil for the quality of the quartz specimens.

The Ouachita mountain range in central Arkansas is home to some of the best quartz veins in the entire state and there are plentiful mines, both commercial and public. The commercial mines regularly produce museum-quality specimens for both private collectors and museums around the world. But, the beautiful quartz crystals can also be dug out by the general public at several of the mines. One of those places is free to explore, and located just outside of Mt. Ida, Arkansas!

Crystal Vista is an abandoned commercial mine that is now open to anyone to explore and hunt for quartz crystals. The four-acre, crystal digging area sits atop Mount Gardner and there is a .8-mile trail that leads to the top. The trail to the top is very steep, because, remember, you’re hiking up to the top of a mountain! Once you’re at the top of the trail, take a moment to enjoy the incredible scenery before you focus on the ground. The crystals can be found through two methods: surface hunting, and digging into the mountain. Both methods can produce great results, especially after fresh rain!

Here are a few tips to enjoy your crystal digging experience at Crystal Vista in Mt. Ida!

What to bring:

  • Sturdy hiking shoes for the hike up and down the mountain, sandals are not recommended due to the rocky terrain.
  • Clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, long sleeves and pants recommended for sun protection but also to protect from thorns, sharp rocks, insect bites, etc.
  • A hat and sunglasses, plus sunscreen and bug spray.
  • A five-gallon bucket to hold tools on the way up and tools plus crystals on the way down.
  • A small, clear bag or container to hold your smaller crystals and keep them safe.
  • Hand gardening tools, such as a trowel and small, hand rake.
  • A long, flat head screwdriver, and rubber mallet if desired.
  • Lots of water, plus extra water to leave in the car for afterward.
  • A picnic lunch plus snacks.

Things to keep in mind:

  • There is spotty or no phone service in this area. Bring a satellite communicator if absolutely necessary (I personally recommend the Zoleo satellite communicator).
  • Beware that it can get VERY hot in the summertime, so plan accordingly.
  • The weather can change quickly in the spring, and storms can pop up fast so be sure to check the weather forecast before you go.
  • You are exploring a wild area, and there may be wildlife in all forms including the possibility of snakes. Be aware of your surroundings and look before you pick up or move any rocks or logs.
  • Please practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you pack in.
  • There are no bathrooms, bring your own toilet paper and please pack it out.
L to R: Farmers Bank Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Anderson, Farmers Bank & Trust Hope Market President Jacob Jones, Hope Public Schools Superintendent Jonathan Crossley, Farmers Bank & Trust CEO Chris Gosnell, Farmers Bank & Trust Commercial Loan Officer, VP, Janet Choate

Courtesy of Hope Public Schools

The Farmers Bank Foundation of Magnolia, Arkansas, has announced an endowment of $125,000 to Hope Public Schools in Hope, Arkansas. Funds donated will be allocated to Hope Public Schools high school seniors to attend local universities and community colleges within the footprints of Farmers Bank & Trust branches.

“The main giving mission for the Farmers Bank Foundation is to help local education,” said Farmers Bank & Trust Hope Market President Jacob Jones. “We are thrilled to partner with Hope Public Schools to fund higher education locally and keep our best and brightest right here in South Arkansas.”

Scholarships will be available through the Hope Public Schools scholarship program starting in the 2023 school year, with the commitment to fund scholarships for years to come. The Farmers Bank Foundation will pay out the donation over ten years.

Hope Public Schools Superintendent Jonathan Crossley said, “This transformative partnership between Hope Public Schools and Farmers Bank will change the lives of HPS students. We already have innovative partnerships with UA-HT where students can graduate with associate’s degrees and skilled trade certifications. This investment from Farmers will decrease the financial barrier many students have in pursuing post-secondary education. We are so grateful for Farmers and their dedication to the Hope community. We have the vision that ALL students will graduate from Hope Public Schools ready for the next step, whatever that may be. In the coming years. Farmers Bank will help make that vision a guarantee.”

About Farmers Bank Foundation: Created in 2021 for Farmers Bank & Trust’s 115 anniversary, the Farmers Bank Foundation’s giving priorities are to support local nonprofits whose mission is to purposefully enrich the quality of life in the communities where Farmers Bank & Trust customers and employees live. The foundation’s funding is made possible by the bank’s shareholders and employees across Arkansas and Texas. The Farmers Bank Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that will operate independently from Farmers Bank & Trust. For additional information or to apply for Farmers Bank Foundation funding, please visit MyFarmers.Bank/FarmersBankFoundation.

The Farmers Bank & Trust Board of Directors recently announced the promotion of Jeff Whitener and Brad Moore to Regional Credit Officers.

In this new role, Whitener and Moore will have more responsibility overseeing loan production and credit quality in multiple markets as the Bank continues to grow in Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Jeff Whitener

Whitener has 10 years of banking experience and works out of the Magnolia Main Farmers Bank & Trust branch, located at 200 E. Main Street. He currently serves as Senior Commercial Loan Officer. He holds Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees. He will graduate from the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado in July of 2022. Whitener is involved in many local organizations in his community including First Baptist Church, United Way, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Golden Triangle, Columbia Christian School Board, Leadership Magnolia, Mulerider Club Board, and the Magnolia Hospital Auxiliary Board. He is married to Kelsey, and they have two kids, Alyssa, and Austin.

“I am humbled and excited for the opportunity,” said Whitener. “I look forward to assisting in growth and development opportunities for our customers and staff across the region.”

Brad Moore

Moore has 25 years of banking experience and is the New Boston, Texas Market President at ourbranch located at 416 N McCoy Boulevard. He holds BBA and MBA degrees from Texas A&M University-Texarkana. He is also involved in his community and serves as President of the Friends of West Bowie County and is the Vice President of the New Boston Noon Lions Club. He is married to Amanda and together they have one son, Phillip.

“My favorite part about working for Farmers is the culture of our Bank and local decision making,” said Moore. “I am honored our executive management team has confidence in me to fulfill this new role.”

“Jeff and Brad’s experience and leadership will help drive the Bank forward for years to come. I thank them for their unwavering commitment to the Bank’s lending team,” said Dave White, Farmers Bank & Trust Chief Lending Officer.

On Thursday, May 19, at 10:00 a.m. the public is invited to attend a celebration of the grand opening of the newly renovated Hempstead County Courthouse, located at 200 E. 3rd Street in Hope, Arkansas. A free catered brunch will be provided by Farmers Bank & Trust.

“Farmers Bank & Trust is proud to align itself with the voters of Hempstead County to bring this to fruition. The building is paid off and I believe it will serve our citizens well,” Farmers Bank & Trust Hope Market President Jacob Jones said.

Speakers for the event include Farmers Bank & Trust CEO Chris Gosnell, Hempstead County Judge Jerry Crane, and Justice of the Peace Steve Atchley, who is the project manager of courthouse improvements.

Farmers Bank & Trust sold the building to Hempstead County in 2017. To learn more, click HERE.

Have you ever heard of an Acrocanthesaurus atokensis? Did you know that it’s actually the state dinosaur of Oklahoma? You can see a cast of the most complete specimen ever found of this dinosaur on display at the Museum of The Red River, in Idabel, Oklahoma. The actual specimen was discovered just ten miles from the museum, in Atoka, in 1940.

Inka Predecessors, on display through June 5, 2022

This quaint museum in the small town of Idabel is worth a visit. It was built in 1974, thanks to the efforts of Quintus and Mary Herron. The government was conducting archeological surveys in the area during that time, and they had no place to store the artifacts they discovered.  The Herrons felt strongly that the history should be archived and preserved for everyone to learn from and enjoy. Thanks to their efforts,  the Museum of the Red River was officially established.

Native American Art

A vast collection of Caddo pottery inside the Museum of the Red River.

The Museum of the Red River is home to one of the largest collections of Native American and cultural archeological artifacts within a 150-mile radius! The many pieces of art and artifacts come from around the world but also give special recognition to Native American contributions.  When you enter the museum, you’ll go through the Don and Mary Etta Heron Reception Hall, which features beautiful sculptures and murals by Oklahoma and Texas artists, as well as art from indigenous artists. The Gregory H. Perino Archaeological Study Area is home to prehistoric stone tools and points, as well as a vast collection of Caddo pottery.  There are also rotating exhibits housed in the Mary Bratton Curtis gallery, and it currently features a collection of Inka pottery from South America! The exhibit is called “Inka Predecessors” and will be on view through June 5th, 2022.

Blog Writer Nichole Holze and family posing with the Oklahoma State Dinosaur, Acrocanthosaurus atokensis.

Community Programs & Events

The museum also has programs available for school groups, homeschool groups, and small group tours. Each tour has the option to add a hands-on pottery-making experience.  Throughout the year they have various festivals and celebrations, their biggest and most well-known is the Acrofest, which is usually held in March. This dinosaur-themed festival has something for the whole family including great food vendors, live music, face painting, balloon artists, various crafts, and sometimes life-size dino replicas! The museum also hosts art classes, lectures, and many opportunities to learn and experience one of the most enriching museum experiences in the four states area.

The Museum of the Red River makes for a great stop on your way to the Broken Bow area from Texarkana. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM, and on Sundays from 10 AM to 3 pm. Check their Facebook page and website for any upcoming events. Be sure to subscribe to their newsletter HERE to be in the know for the next Acro Fest!

Oftentimes, heart health is put on the back burner by people until it affects them. To shine a light on this topic, we’ve talked to Dr. Peyton Card of the Arkansas Heart Hospital.

This year, the Arkansas Heart Hospital is celebrating its 25th anniversary! He shares his experience while leading the COVID response unit, information about their Keep the Beat program, and the impact mental health has on the heart.

“Our Keep the Beat program is the ultimate cardiovascular screening program for many patients who have had a loved one that had a cardiac event, or if their family members have had problems they decide they want to get checked out,” said Dr. Card. “We check your labs and do some baseline imaging studies to see if you’re at a higher risk of having a blockage in your heart and things like that.”

To see if you’re eligible for the Keep the Beat Comprehensive Heart Screening, visit HERE. It’s $99 and includes nine components to build your cardiovascular risk profile. Dr. Card said to celebrate the hospital’s anniversary, there may be specials happening this year.

To read the Arkansas Heart Hospital blog, From the Heart, which includes heart-healthy recipes, surgery success stories, tips for heart health, and more visit HERE.

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender


How soon is too soon to talk to your kids or grandkids about money?

If they are old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they are old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime.

The best financial lessons are part of everyday experience. Look for opportunities to talk about money, read books aloud and play games that center around spending money wisely. Be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences—good or bad.

Here are some examples of teachable moments to help you get started:

At the bank

  • When you go to the bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work. Get the manager to explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest, and how an ATM works. Ask the manager for a tour, and open up a savings account!

On payday

  • Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food, and clothing, and how a portion is saved for future expenses such as college tuition and retirement.

At the market

  • It’s easy to give clear examples of “needs” and “wants” using different kinds of foods at a grocery store. Milk (for strong bones) is a need; soft drinks are a want. Explain the benefits of comparison shopping, coupons, and store brands.

Chores and allowances

  • Assign chores and give them a monetary value. Discuss ways to budget and divide allowances. Encourage children to set a financial goal, such as saving for a bike, and figure out how to achieve it.

Paying bills

  • Explain the many ways that bills can be paid: over the phone, paper or by check, electronic check, or online check draft. Discuss how each method of bill pay takes money out of your account. Be sure to cover late penalties, emphasizing the importance of paying bills on time.

Using credit cards

  • Explain that credit cards are a loan and need to be repaid. Share how each month a credit card statement comes in the mail with a bill, or online. Go over the features of different types of cards, such as ATM, debit, and credit cards.

Browsing the Internet

  • While online, explain to your children how valuable their personal information and privacy is to you, to them, and to online predators. Discuss the risks and benefits of sharing certain information. Then, as a family, make a list of rules for keeping personal information safe online.

Planning a vacation

  • Whether you are planning an outing to a local amusement park or a once-in-a-lifetime trip, emphasize the value of saving as a family. Set a family savings goal that involves your children. Figure out the cost and discuss ways everyone can help to reach the goal.


Always encourage your children to ask questions about money. If you don’t know the answer, research it together or ask your banker. Find a Farmers Bank & Trust location near you HERE.

For more resources to help your youth understand money concepts that will set them on the path to a smart financial future, visit HERE.

Click HERE for more information on how to open your child’s first savings account.

The Farmers Bank Foundation is preparing to host its first Battle of the Badges basketball game, benefiting the Paris Police Department and Paris Fire Department. The game will take place at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, at the Trinity Christian Academy gym located at 2192 FM 79 in Paris, Texas. Prior to the game, the public is invited to a hamburger dinner from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Admission is free and tickets are not required.

The Farmers Bank Foundation is donating $25,000. Additionally, all the money raised from live and silent auctions will be added to the total. To determine who will receive sixty percent of the cut, both departments will battle it out on the court. Local high school cheerleaders will also be performing during the event.

“We can never say thank you enough to the men and women who are willing to risk everything for our safety,” said Farmers Bank & Trust Regional Market President, Jeff Nutt. “This event is a great opportunity to show them how much we appreciate what they do.”

Live and Silent Auctions

The live auction will feature two utility trailers totaling more than $9,000 donated by MAXX-D Trailers and Lamar Trailers, a one-night cabin rental in Broken Bow, Oklahoma at Restoration Ridge donated by Don Preston and Jason Ward, and a certificate for Crawford’s Hole in the Wall’s famous Bread Pudding every month for a year.

“Our local businesses have been very supportive. We appreciate their donations to make this event a success!” said Farmers Bank & Trust Paris Market President, Erik Roddy.

Silent auction items include a Tonneau Roll-Up Truck Bed Cover donated by Jay Hodge Chevrolet – Sulphur Springs, a set of running boards donated by Jay Hodge – Hugo, a set of tires donated by Jay Hodge Dodge – Paris, a Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro 9MM Pistol donated by Blossom Hardware, Jeff Nutt, and Erik Roddy, RTIC Cooler donated by Farmers Bank & Trust, and two gift baskets full of gift cards from local restaurants and women’s boutiques.

“Farmers Bank & Trust and the Farmers Bank Foundation are looking forward to making a big impact in Paris, Texas,” said Farmers Bank Foundation Executive Director, Elizabeth Anderson. “We encourage everyone to come out and support their local police and fire departments.”