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Royal couple honored for farming operationOriginally Published June 23, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated June 21, 2013 at 11:33 a.m.
Marty and Sherial Bradley did not start farming until four years ago. Now they don’t know what they would do without it.
“We enjoy it,” Marty said. “We wanted to buy a farm to enjoy and supplement our future retirement.”
“We were looking for some place out, some place of our own,” Sherial said. “Our daughter had graduated from college and left home.”
Their daughter, Shawntree’ Birrer, who is a graduate of Lake Hamilton High School and Ouachita Baptist University, is married to Air Force Capt. Bob Birrer. They are assigned to the Pentagon and live in Arlington, Va.
The Bradleys have been named the 2013 Garland County Farm Family of the Year.
“We feel honored to participate in the Farm Family of the Year Program,” Marty said. “Since we purchased the farm four years ago, we have met many wonderful people and learned a great deal. May God continue to bless the farm families of this great land.”
The Bradleys own M&S Bradley Farms LLC and farm 210 acres, raising beef cattle and poultry. They have 32 momma cows and calves, which they sell at the local livestock auction. Their poultry operation includes two chicken houses and is under contract with England Farms of Rison. The Bradleys expect a flock of 28,000 chickens in October. They keep the chickens for 10 months, then are “off” for two or three months.
“We’ll get 23,000 to 24,000 eggs on a good day,” Marty said, adding that they have hired a family that gathers the eggs.
Marty said their goal for the farm “is to get all the infrastructure in place so that when we retire, everything will be ready. Everything we make from the farm goes back into it.”
The Bradleys have worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to improve their farm and have completed Beef IQ classes through the Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
Marty is the son of Charles Bradley and the late Glenna Bradley of Royal. Marty’s father farms on land right across the road from Marty and Sherial.
Marty said being named this year’s Farm Family of the Year is “pretty neat.”
“My parents received that honor in 1974,” Marty said. And Sherial’s grandparents were Farm Family of the Year in Desha County years ago.
Sherial helps Marty with the farm.
“She bush hogs. She gets the cab tractor, and I don’t,” Marty said. “She helped this year raking hay. There is no cab on that tractor.
“She informed me there would be a cab tractor for hay next year,” he said with a laugh.
Marty, 54, and Sherial, 51, dated all through high school. They have been married for 34 years.
Marty graduated from Lake Hamilton High School in 1977. Sherial, the daughter of Elton and Virginia Robbins of Royal, graduated in 1979.
Both Marty and Sherial work off the farm. Marty has owned and operated Bradley Welding for 35 years. Sherial has worked for the Area Agency on Aging of Western Central Arkansas for 33 years.
The Bradleys attend Hot Springs Baptist Church and participate in many activities, including Seasoned With Grace Meals for homebound seniors, Mission Hot Springs and the annual fall festival. Both are members of the Garland County Cattlemen’s Association.