Across the way from the breeder houses on the Paisley Defoor Farm stand two abandoned breeder houses that now serve other purposes. As we looked where the Cleburne County Farm Family of the Year, Chris and Lisa Davis, intend to build two more buildings, their 10-year-old son Tyler approached from the direction of the abandoned buildings leading a beautiful, young, chocolate-colored horse named Drifter. When asked if the horse was green-broke, Tyler nodded. His dad added that the horse was fully broke by Tyler without any help. Davis stated that Tyler began working with him very early on.
Standing atop the hill near the breeder houses, Drifter enjoyed grazing the tender green grass until it was time for him to return to his stall in the older, repurposed buildings. Tyler tried a firm voice and a strong hand to pull him away, but it wasn’t until mom assisted that Drifter gave in and trotted back to his stable. Davis said Tyler helps a lot around the farm. Whether it’s hand-feeding the cattle or climbing on the tractors, Tyler, who will be a fifth-grader at Concord Elementary School in the fall, isn’t afraid to help dad with any aspect of the farm.
The Davises also have a statuesque 18-year-old daughter named Kaleah who recently graduated as the Salutatorian from Concord High School. Kaleah put her height to good use playing on the varsity basketball and softball teams for the Pirates and will continue her basketball career playing for Lyon College in the fall. As far as working on the farm, Davis said he counts on Kaleah to be his mower, and with so much acreage there is plenty to be mowed.
Kaleah also works at Citizens Bank in Batesville where her mother, Lisa, is the Vice-President of Compliance Lending and a Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager. Lisa grew up on a cattle farm, so she knew the amount of work it would require to operate the Paisley Defoor Farm, yet she continues to work at the bank as well.
In addition to all she does on her job and on the farm, Lisa still finds time to put up jars of vegetables and make jelly. Chris’ grandfather, who is now retired, lives across the narrow gravel road from the Davis’ farmhouse. The family helps him in his garden in exchange for reaping the benefits of fresh produce.
Like Lisa, Davis has also continued working outside of the farm. He is the owner of Chris Davis Construction Inc., a home-building operation he started more than 15 years ago. Davis, himself, built his beautiful family home at the end of a gravel road on a hilltop overlooking the many acres of the farm.
Behind the house are a couple of homemade birdhouses and a small pond stocked with bass and brim (aka bream, bluegill, and sun perch) where Tyler tries his hand at fishing. On the back side of the pond is a workshop where retired tools and equipment are displayed on a weathered wood wall under an awning and vintage tractors sit, basking in the sun. Here, a 1950-circa Allis-Chalmers sits between a 1952 John Deere that’s been restored and a modern John Deere with an enclosed cab.
Despite a productive hay farm, a herd of cattle, a breeder house full of chickens, outside jobs, gardening, fishing, mowing, and two active children, Chris and Lisa Davis also volunteer with the Concord Booster Club, coach Tyler’s baseball team and basketball team, and the family attends the Drasco General Baptist Church on Sundays. When Kaleah was still in high school Lisa also volunteered at the Concord High School concession stand as its coordinator. However, with Kaleah playing basketball at Lyon College and Tyler’s extra-curricular activities, it doesn’t look like the Davises will be slowing down anytime soon.