Marshall Farms has been in operation since 1973 when James Marshall began growing peanuts, soybeans and corn in Santa Rosa County. Since then, he has transitioned to growing peanuts and cotton with his son, Nick, in Okaloosa County.
Together, James and Nick farm on 2,500 acres and implement a conservation program that is not only extensive but highly effective. Through implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) on each parcel of land they accomplish their goals of reducing water, nutrient and chemical use, improving water quality and protecting surrounding wildlife habitats.
Some of their most effective BMPs have included using the Mobile Irrigation Lab service to install low flow nozzles on their center pivot irrigation systems and using GPS and variable rate technologies to precisely apply nutrients. Additionally, by incorporating John Deere’s Exact Apply sprayer, they use 10% less pesticides and eliminate drift over to neighboring crops or properties. The Marshall’s plant cover crops such as radishes, wheat, and oats and use strip tillage, which all work together to improve soil health, reduce erosion and improve water quality. Around the perimeter of their property they maintain field borders to protect local wildlife habitats and provide natural wind breaks.
Over the years, both James and Nick have been involved in growing programs to test new varieties of peanuts and cotton in order to produce a more sustainable product. When farmers and ranchers are intentional about natural resource protection and lead the industry in practices and advancements, the industry as a whole benefits long- term. Since 2009, both James and Nick have been two of only two hundred farmers in the country who were selected to participate in cotton variety evaluations. By growing new varieties and reporting results, they have helped advance the cotton industry forward.
In regards to leadership, James has served as the Director of Farm Credit and on the Farm Service Agency and Florida Peanut Producers Boards. Nick continues to serve on Boards such as the Okaloosa County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, Florida Farm Bureau Federation’s Peanut & Cotton Advisory Committee, and as a Florida delegate on the National Cotton Council.
When they aren’t dedicating themselves to their livelihoods, James and Nick enjoy spending time with their families both in church and on the ball field. Florida Farm Bureau Federation is proud to award a 2018 CARES designation and sign to James and Nick Marshall for their dedication in being outstanding environmental stewards.