To kick off our new year, the MidSouth chapter hit the road for an Ag Tour. On September 25, we boarded a bus heading East into the beautiful rolling countryside of western Tennessee. Our destination – John & Debra Bradley’s heritage Spring Valley Farms. Along with his lovely wife, our very own John Bradley, formerly of Monsanto and FBSciences, played host to the group.
John and Debra have both “retired” to a more than full time job running John’s family farm. It has been designated as a Century Farm as it has stayed in his family for over 100 years. They manage 150 head in a cow/calf operation. The beef they produce is sold custom and direct to customers. They raise natural beef because they believe in the quality it gives their customers. John is proud of their herd health program and believes it keeps them from having to use as many antibiotics (part of their natural beef pledge). As if this wasn’t enough, Debra has 40 bee hives which she manages. She has a waiting list for the honey that these hives produce. John and Debra have equal roles in all of their operations and it keeps them going 24/7. They look forward to taking on some help so that maybe they can slow down in their “retirement”.
The NAMA bus arrived mid-morning at the Bradley’s house which was stunning in every aspect. The group was able to hear the history of the farms and what they currently do while hamburgers cooked outside on the grill. After a wonderful lunch, featuring Debra’s homemade fixings, we boarded the bus to see more of the farms. It was like a walk back through John’s childhood as he showed us where he grew up and the houses his family owned. The tour was complete with an up-close look at the 100+ year old barn built by his grandfather. Hand hewn lumber, no nails or hinges. It was a masterpiece. It was a great day for the MidSouth chapter. Full of learning, friends, and good food!