Ray Brown started farming more than 40 years ago with meager financial means, promising a bank that his hands and hard work would provide the security for a $1,000 loan he needed to purchase 20 acres.

The promise was fulfilled, and that humble beginning is a far cry from the success of the man and his wife today.Brown and his wife, Beth, are recipients of Millard County's Farmer-of-the-Year Award, presented by the Delta Soil Conservation District in recognition of the pair's efforts and outstanding stewardship of the land on which they have toiled so long.

The Hinckley couple now has a laser-leveled farm, and they are successful beef producers.

Since his first land purchase, Brown has worked other jobs for the financial means to expand his farming operations and ownership. His wife has also held jobs outside the home while their five children helped with the farm work. Now their grandchildren are beginning to take an interest in the farm.

Brown's next big leap into the farming industry came in 1950, when he bought 120 acres of land and 230 shares of water and selling his original 20 acres to get the down payment for a loan from the Farmers Home Administration.

The land had been used only for pasturing of cattle. It contained substantial amounts of alkali and was not fit for farming, the Browns were told. There was a high water table too.

But the couple set out to prove the prognosticators wrong - but it took a lot of hard work.

Brown worked in cooperation with representatives of the Farmers Home Administration and the Soil Conservation Service. The ground was leveled - part of it not once but four times. That was necessary to get it properly leveled for a drainage system that was installed. Large amounts of manure and commercial fertilizer was hauled onto the land.

Later, the couple bought another 46 acres and 100 mores shares of water.

Their farming dreams have now become a reality, and the award they received recognizes their continued efforts toward conservation and success on the land.