M & P Community Bancshares, holding company for Merchants and Planters Bank and M & P Insurance and Investment Services, announced today the addition of Jennifer James to their bank and holding company’s board of directors.
James is a fourth-generation rice, soybean, and corn farmer in Jackson County and part owner of H & J Land Company, a diversified operation of row crops, grain warehousing, cleaning facility, and container-loading facility to export specialty soybeans. James graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1994 with a bachelor’s of science in agricultural business.
James and her family take great pride in their operation’s commitment to soil, water, air, and wildlife preservation and institute practices that conserve natural resources, the company noted in a press release. In 2017, James was recognized by Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture as the Farmer of the Year for the conservation efforts on her farm and her leadership in sustainability, a true testament of her intense love of the land.
James currently serves as chairman of the USA Rice Sustainability Committee, as the vice chairman of the Arkansas Rice Farmers Board, chairman of the Northeast District Drier Council and is also on the board of directors of Riceland Foods, Inc.
In addition to being the newest member of the Merchants & Planters Bank board of directors, she is also a member of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Board Agribusiness Industry Council and the Arkansas Agriculture Board. James, and her husband Greg, have one son, Dylan (18), who hopes to continue their family farming legacy.
Jim S. Gowen, Jr., president and CEO of Merchants and Planters Bank says there are a number of reasons the board proudly welcomes James.
“It is truly an honor to have Jennifer join us as a member of our financial banking family. Her passion and extensive knowledge of the agricultural industry is an obvious fit for us as an ag-focused bank, but even more fundamental to us is her demonstration of integrity and honesty, service to her community, and commitment to her family. These are the principals that M & P was founded on seventy-three years ago and continue to operate by today, and it’s clear that Jennifer embodies these same values.”
The M & P Community Bancshares board is comprised of eight members that are appointed by shareholders and meet monthly to monitor and govern the bank’s operations. The current members are: Jim Gowen, Sr. – chairman of the board; Jim Gowen, Jr. – president and CEO of Merchants and Planters Bank; Dr. Larry Williams – former ASU-Newport chancellor; Mary K. Hardin Stewart – farm owner/operator; RM Bledsoe – owner of Farmers Elevator; Benjy Harris – owner of Harris Ford, Quick Lane, and Newport Cleaners; Terry Dillon – retired investment banker; and James – farm owner/operator.