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Brannen family named 2006 Farm Family of the Year
Farm Family photo

Farm Family

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The Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee  chose a Register family with a history that goes back to the early 1800's as the 2006 Farm Family of the Year.
    The John Emery Brannen family was honored Tuesday morning during the Chamber's Annual Cotton Auction and Farm City Breakfast held at 7:30 a.m.  at the Bulloch County Center for Agriculture on Langston Chapel Road.
     The selection is based on their dedication to agriculture and community service.
    Brannen and his wife, Robin, have three sons: Speer, 20; Jeb, 18 , and Chase, 13. They all help operate the 2,000 acres of farmland in the Register area, Brannen said.
    "The boys are the fifth generation, and they work," Robin Brannen said.
    Relaxing Tuesday afternoon in their home in the heart of Register, the Brannens proudly displayed a fall cornucopia centerpiece and plaque awarded to them earlier in the day. John Emery Brannen stopped in the middle of some paperwork to talk about his farm's history.
    It all began with his grandparents, he said. J. L. Johnson purchased most of the  farm property for his turpentine business in Register. Edmund Alexander Brannen was a farmer, "row crops, mules and plows," he said.
    The farm life was handed down through the generations."I reckon I got started with Dad (John Ed Brannen) when I got out of college in the 80's," he said.
    He started farming row crops and raising pigs, but later on the hogs gave way to cattle - now a herd of up to 1,200 of Black Angus and crosses. As the years went by and farming offered different challenges, the Brannen family ventured into chickens  —  six broiler houses for Claxton Poultry — and a sand mine as well as continued row crops and timber.
    "As things changed, we had to change," he said.
    With the three boys, Robin, his father and a scramble of Border Collies and Australian Blue Heelers, Brannen operates his farm with one full-time employee, Odell Jones. They sell the cattle through tele-auctions and ship them by the trailer load out west to feed lots, he said.
Challenges of farming
   The challenge of farming is part of why he loves being a farmer, he admitted. "Each year is different. The heat is different, the rain is different. I like that challenge."
    Robin Brannen said she never knows what the day will entail. In between being a mother and housewife, she is a true farmer's wife as well.
    "I'll get a call saying 'hey, we gotta move some cows, come block a road,'  or 'pick up a part for a tractor,'" she said. "I'm always on call."
    Brannen obtained a degree in Animal Science at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Robin obtained a B.S. in home economics at Georgia Southern University. Both of them put the degrees to use on a daily basis, she said.
    "We use them every day in some form or fashion," she said.  
    "She worked five years until we had kids,  then she worked as a wife and mother. Every now and then she runs a tractor for me," Brannen said.
    The family has a love for basketball, which "is our other passion," Chase Brannen said.
    The Brannens attend Gracewood Baptist Church and attribute their success to their faith.
    "Our faith in Christ has always kept us with the right attitude and opportunities," Brannen said.
Breakfast speaker, cotton auction
     Bulloch County native Christy Seyfert was featured speaker for the Farm City Breakfast. Seyfert is Senior Professional Staff on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry for Chairman Saxby Chambliss. She serves as lead staffer on issues involving commodity programs and crop insurance.
    In addition to the breakfast honoring the Brannens, the Chamber also held the annual cotton auction, which provides a scholarship for a Bulloch County student pursuing an education in agriculture.
    Tillman and Deal Farm Supply purchased the cotton bale for $3.00 per pound.
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