Ned Ray Purtle was born in Prescott, Arkansas, and has been a lifelong resident of Southwest Arkansas. He attended Southern State University and graduated with a degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University. Mr. Purtle established and has operated Ned Purtle & Son Ranch in Hope, Arkansas. He has acted as a judge of beef cattle at various state and national shows, including five times at the National Western in Denver, Colorado. He was the principal owner and has served as the chairman of the board of Arkansas State Bank in Clarksville. Mr. Purtle has served on the Board of Directors of Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation and Mutual Insurance Company, and the Board of Directors of Heartland Community Bank in Camden, Arkansas. He began serving on the Board of Governors of the Arkansas State Fair in 1957 and became chairman of that board in 1997. He has served on the board of directors of numerous other financial and agricultural institutions, including the National Cattlemen’s Association, the American Hereford Association, the National Beef Board and the Arkansas Beef Council. Mr. Purtle has also served as president of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association and as president of the Hempstead County Farm Bureau. He is also a member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. Mr. Purtle was honored as the Progressive Farmer “Man of the Year in Agriculture” in 1997. He received the University of Arkansas “Friend of Animal Science Award” in 1998, and was an Animal Science graduate of Distinction in 2000. Mr. Purtle received a “Special Recognition Award” from the U of A Department of Agriculture and received an “Honorary Arkansas Farmer Degree” from the University of Arkansas in 2001.