Sheubrooks fam­ily to be rec­og­nized at county fair

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DONNA K. LANDIS-SMITH

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.”

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Sheubrooks will be hon­ored as the Farm Fam­ily of the Year at this year’s Queen Anne’s County Fair.

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