According to National Agriculture Statistics Service, Marshall County is home to 1,505 farms that produce chickens, cattle, pigs, vegetables, fruit and more. Farming is an essential industry. As the bumper sticker declares, “No farms, no food.”
Beyond essentiality, farming is a way of life, and, more often than not, a family way of life. That holds true at Sumners Farm near Boaz – in the Blessing community, to be more precise – where farming’s been a way of life for at least three consecutive generations.
Andy Sumners partners with his father, Stanley, who lives nearby. Stanley’s father, the late M.G. Sumners, grew row crops, raised beef cattle, sheep and turkeys. M.G.’s old home place is incorporated into parts of Andy’s and Stanley’s property.
They have 140 acres where 75 mama cows graze and this season gave birth to 60 calves. The Sumners also have two layer hen houses and, as of early August, two broiler houses. Gardening comes with the territory.
Stanley’s wife, Helen, is part of the team. Andy’s wife, Misty, a special ed teacher at Boaz Intermediate School, helps as she can. So do their two young children. Likewise for Andy’s sister, Tisha, who has her own career, and her family.
“We’ve had public jobs,” as Andy calls them, “but we always farmed. It’s a way of life. It’s bred into me.”
Their “Sumners Farm” sign could just as well read “Sumners’ Way of Life.”
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