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S & J Emmick Farms: A Family Tradition in Agriculture

Meet Shelby and Jesse Emmick, the owners of S&J Emmick farms in Lewisport Kentucky. Their family has owned Emmick farms for four generations, and it has been run by Shelby and Jesse for 6 years; although they have been helping on the farm for a majority of their lives. Other than farming, Shelby and Jesse are both married with a family.

Shelby enjoys skiing and pontooning with his wife and their five kids ranging from ages 10-23. Jesse and his wife have one kid, and he enjoys hunting (more specifically bird hunting) and was even featured on an episode of KET Network’s Kentucky Afield.

The Emmick family originated from Parkersburg, West Virginia. Until their relatives, Nicholas and George, landed in Lewisport in 1809 as loggers. Logging timber was a great way to not only provide family income, but also clear the land to acquire more productive crop ground. Logging is what got them started, but they had bigger plans for the future.

In 1820, Stephen Powers Emmick, got a land grant from President Monroe for a majority of their acreage. On this land, they were more of a diversified
operation growing and raising: quail, hogs, cattle, tobacco, soy beans, corn, and wheat.  Although the Emmicks made lots of progress, life took a turn when WW2 broke out.

War sent the U.S. into a frenzy and put everything into relief efforts. The war made it almost impossible for them to get materials to finish building their house. The family made their own bricks to try and finish what they started. Eventually, They went to Frankfort and were given permission from the Governor of Kentucky to finish their build.

In the 1940’s no house on River Road had electricity, but the Emmicks did by running electricity from a generator. Electricity was a huge asset to have during those days for work and providing comfort for their family. This farm was then passed onto Stephen “Powers” Emmick II,  who won the
progressive farmer award in 1950.

Powers’ ran the farm with his two sons, John and Jesse Emmick and named their farm Powers Emmick & Sons. Once Powers’ passed the
farm down in 1980, John and Jesse Stephen named their farm “J&J Emmick farms”.

The brothers ran the farm together up until John Emmick died in 1981.

J. Stephen Emmick then ran the farm with the help of his sons and renamed the farm to “J. Stephen Emmick & Sons.” Stephen and his sons, Shelby and Jesse,  worked together for many years but as Jesse got older he started to let them gradually take control. It wasn’t until 2017 when Shelby and Jesse officially called the farm their own. They named their farm to S&J Emmick Farms, and are still farming today.

For the most part, the running of the farm is still the same. The brothers are currently farming about 5,300 acres of land. The Emmicks have upgraded equipment with a lot of impact, like tractors, combines and sprayers with computers to help monitor yield production, chemical output and quality.

Today, the Emmicks grow crops such as: corn, wheat, milo, soybeans, canola, and tobacco but raise no livestock other than game birds. The Emmicks have always been well known for their ambitious farming techniques, dating all the way back to the 1980’s when Stephen Emmick went to England several different times to observe their high producing wheat yields.

More recently, in 2022, S&J Emmick Farms was identified as the Kentucky Wheat Yield Contest Winners, harvesting 132.68 bushels per acre. All year, farmers like the Emmicks, take pride in their hard work as production agriculturalists taking care of their crops by protecting them from disease, weeds, drought, and weather. Currently they are preparing for another good year of planting and harvesting.

Written by, HCHS Agriculture Communications Class

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