Joe Brady of Patriot; Silver Star winner

297

For as long as he can remember, Joe Brady has been farming.

Born in Kentucky, Joe and his family moved to Switzerland County when he was a freshman in high school after his father purchased a farm here, sight unseen.

He still lives on that same farm today.

“I’ve farmed all my life,” Joe Brady said. “I worked on the North Farm for years. Farming has always been a part of me.”

It’s that dedication to farming that has the Switzerland County Soil and Water Conservation District honoring Joe Brady with its “Silver Star” award for a lifetime of service to the agriculture industry.

When people talk about a “family farm”, that describes the Bradys.

Joe and his wife, Donna, along with daughters Linda, Brenda, Sue and Patti; all pitched in to do what was needed around the farm, tasks that involved everyone while Joe also worked for the State Highway Department for 26 years.

“I did the farming while he was working,” Donna Brady laughed.

“We couldn’t have accomplished this without her and the girls,” Joe Brady says. “My girls worked like men, all four of them did.”

Joe and Donna Brady bought their first farm when they purchased 209 acres on Searcy Ridge that belonged to Lucian Smith. They farmed that property for seven years until Joe’s father passed away; and at that time the Bradys moved back to the family farm, taking over the 108 acres.

They’ve been there ever since.

Through his farming career, Joe Brady raised beef cattle; and also milked 32 cows while they farmed on Searcy Ridge. He also remembers milking cows for his dad while in high school.

“I milked 17 cows by hand before I caught the school bus every morning,” Joe Brady says with a grin.

The Bradys also raised 20 acres of tobacco until the government buy out was put in place.

“I’m glad I did,” Joe Brady said of the tobacco buy out. “People are having a hard time getting it sold now.”

As for changes in farming over his career, Joe Brady points to the mechanization of the industry as the big thing.

“We used to do all of our farming with mules,” he says. “We still used the mules when we got married. My dad was never much on modern equipment. I still like to do it that way. I’ve still got a pair of horses and I like to work them, but you can’t get nothing done. I don’t see how they ever did.”

Joe Brady also had a very successful career with pulling horses. He reports that he and Bobby Bovard shared a pair of pulling ponies – a pair that won 17 straight pulls at one point.

Joe Brady said that he worked through the Soil and Water Conservation District throughout his farming career, using the program to develop a spring and built a lake and pond. He also worked with the program to build a lot of fencing.

So now retired, Joe Brady still gets up everyday at daybreak; and uses his time tending to his large garden and working to preserve the family farm for his daughters and future generations.

“Now I mostly stay here and hunt and do a little fishing and farm,” Joe Brady says. “We’re enjoying our lives.”