Hello from The Lazy Acres Family Farm! Ryan, Kelly, Garrett, Dylan and Nathan make their home on The Lazy Acres Family Farm. Farmland that was homesteaded by Kelly’s great, great granddad, Benjamin Harrison Neel in 1854. The land has been farmed by five succeeding generations for nearly 170 years.
Kelly’s grandfather, William H. Neel, II took over the farm in 1928, the year his father passed away. He harvested his first peanut crop that year at only eight years of age! William Jr. always wanted to raise cows – in fact when he mustered out of the army; he said he wanted to raise kids and cows. He started out with scrub cows and a pure bred bull. Later he sold all these and bought Black Angus. In 1947, he married Olivia Bradley and together they established and named the farm, The Lazy Acres. They had two children; Bill and June Neel. In 1986, Bill III, was invited to join the other farmers in the state whose land had been a farming operation for at least 100 years. The commissioner of agriculture, Doyle Conner, presented him a plaque for owning a Pioneer Century Farm. William II, was a cattleman and farmer until his death in 1987.
In 2009, Kelly and Ryan bought six Rhode Island Red chickens from Town and Country Feed and Seed in Marianna. They built a large chicken coop that would have been all the rage on Pinterest, except that Pinterest had yet to be invented. It was a nice chicken coop!
As it turned out, one of those chickens was a rooster and we named him Fog-Horn Leg-Horn. Without doubt, he was the meanest rooster that ever lived. He would chase Ryan, Kelly, the boys, the dog, the truck…he was beautiful but beware, he was aggressive. We have lots of fun stories and learned many lessons from those earliest days of our Homestead Farm.
One lesson we learned from raising those chickens is that we could raise (and grow) some of our own food – perhaps not all of it, but we could grow good food for our family. I guess you could say that those first six chickens were our ‘gateway’ animals on the farm!
A decade later, we’ve expanded our operation considerably. We have raised and processed thousands of meat chickens, hundreds of pigs, many cows and we’ve built a ‘one-of-a-kind’ Farm Store and gift shop on the farm! Our farm store offers fresh beef, pork, poultry and goat meat; along with some T-shirts, ball caps, candles, soaps and other unique items.
For many, many years tobacco, peanuts, corn, soybeans, watermelons, and cotton were grown. Today, the farm offers educational agriculture-based field trips, a fall maze and weekly appearances at a few different farmers’ markets.