Outstanding Young Farm Family – Hay and Forages Division
For over 70 years, Brad Bradley’s family has worked the land at their Jefferson County farm.Today, Brad and his wife, Jennifer, continue that tradition. Brad is a partner with his father in the family farm, which includes 130 head of beef cattle and more than 1,200 acres of hay fields–much of which lies within the loop of Interstate 459.When asked why he farms, Brad responded, “Is there any other way? The values of life, respect for others, and work ethic that were instilled in me are seldom found in today’s workplace. They cannot be found any other way than being raised on a farm. The rewards I receive after a day of hard work bring me peace and fulfillment.”The Bradleys’ operation produced primarily feed hay until the last couple of years. Now, the family markets most of its hay for erosion-control practices. “It’s wonderful because we get to bale hay 12 months out of the year, and it doesn’t matter, rain or shine,” said Brad.Brad maintains conventional tractors and equipment, and has only experimented with new machinery. “We have found that effective planning, a solid work force and God’s will are a lot more productive than innovative machines,” he said.Jennifer considers herself the “typical city girl who married the country cowboy.” Although she did not grow up on a farm, Jennifer says she enjoys the farming life. “It’s almost surreal to be able to look out my window and not see into my next-door neighbor’s house,” she said.Brad and Jennifer hope to continue the family tradition of farming by raising their one-year-old son, Carson, on the farm–despite their proximity to the Birmingham metropolitan area. “I feel blessed that we’ll be able to carry on this Southern tradition to have a farm life and the respect that it teaches you for the earth and for family, as well as the values and discipline,” Jennifer said.