Sheubrooks family to be recognized at county fair
CENTREVILLE — What a long standing heritage of farming the Sheubrooks family has had since the 1920s. Both Larry and Judy Sheubrooks both have deep seeded agricultural roots in Queen Anne’s County.
The Sheubrooks family started farming in the Ruthsburg and Centreville areas with Larry’s grandparents leasing the farm where the lived when they were married in 1928. The family milked cows and had a swine operation. One evening in 1930, after being away for a night out, they returned home to find a terrible fire had destroyed their home.
They had to live in the chicken house until new logs were cut to rebuild their house. Larry’s father owned a farm with his brother outside of Centreville, and he also rented other land before purchasing the home farm in 1975 where Larry and Judy live today.
Raising feeder pigs and selling them in Pennsylvania at the age of 15 gave him the opportunity to start his own farming enterprise. Larry’s family milked cows until 1969, and in the same year Larry purchased his first tractor at the age of 18. Larry and his father raised 70 sows to sell and butcher for local families. He and his dad had a partnership for 20 years.
Almost 100 years ago, Judy’s grandparents, the Legg family, lived on a farm they owned on Kent Island, which is now the location of Terrapin Park, located near the Bay Bridge on the Chesapeake Bay. Judy’s dad, uncle and grandfather were partners in the farming operation and tilled the area where Castle Marina is located.
The Legg family also milked cows. Judy’s dad was a county commissioner for eight years and worked at a local gas station in the evenings in order to make a good living for his family. The Legg family sold the farm in 1969, and in that same year Judy met Larry.
Larry knew of Judy and met her on Kent Island and they began to date. “It was on and off because he wouldn’t behave,” Judy added with a grin.
Judy worked in Annapolis for the Department of Natural Resources for a few years and opened the Centreville DNR office. In 1972 after Larry “finally” settled down they got married. Judy decided to quit working for DNR and start driving tractors on the farm. Four wonderful years later, their son Jason arrived.
Jason knew at a very young age that farming was what he wanted to do when he grew up. He remembers moving to the farm where his parents still live, when he was 8 years old. His farm chores included mowing grass, driving tractors and at the tender age of 11 running the combine.
He started tilling a few farms himself at the age of 17 and was very proud he had his own piece of the farming operation. He graduated from high school in 1995 and met his wife Jessica. They got married in 1999. In a very short time Jessica found how hard working and trusting the Sheubrooks were.
“They put me on a tractor right away and trusted me to do the work needed. I knew then I was marrying into a wonderful family, Jessica said.
Their son Wyatt arrived after seven years of marriage, and two years later their second son Sawyer came along. In 2012, it was announced that Jessica was having twin girls, Willow and Summer.
Jason and Jessica also raise poultry on their farm, having 120,000 chickens on the ground at one time. The boys have their fair share of responsibilities on the farm besides working in the chicken houses.
Wyatt drives the tractors ripping, driving the grain cart, planting soybeans and cutting grass. This year, at the young age of 8, along with mowing grass, Sawyer has started driving the grain cart.
The boys have other interests outside of farming with their dad and grandfather. Wyatt is a travel baseball player and Sawyer takes great pride in “his” garden. Sawyer grows tomatoes, string beans, pole beans, squash and peppers for his family.
This year will be Sawyer’s first year in 4-H, and he is looking forward to entering his vegetables in the fair.
The twin girls love to play together and hang out with their mom helping her around the house.
When asking the Sheubrooks family what has been their biggest challenge over the years, they all agreed that inconsistent prices from year to year is very difficult to deal with.
Larry mentioned “a basic combine with no heads is around $500,000 and you have five years to pay for it. How do you plan for five years out when you don’t know how much income to plan on?”
Because of the limited availability of farms renting additional ones has also become quite a challenge. Tilling approximately 2,350 acres of land and raising 600,000 chickens a year has been difficult at times but yet very rewarding.
Larry and Judy both said, “seeing your children grow up on the farm and then to have your grandchildren come along and express an interest in continuing the family farm is what you work for your whole life. There is nothing that makes us happier than seeing our family working together as a unit.”
As Jessica grinned, she said, “When I was growing up my twin sisters went to school with Jason. I remember my dad telling Larry that one day Jason would be working for him. Little did my dad know that I would be working for the Sheubrooks.”
The Sheubrooks will be honored as the Farm Family of the Year at this year’s Queen Anne’s County Fair.