Vise Farm I and Vise Farm II in Decatur County have been designated as Tennessee Century Farms. The Century Farms Program recognizes the contributions of Tennessee residents who have owned and kept family land in continuous production for at least 100 years.
Two Century Farms originated with the couple George Malachi “Mall” and wife Sarah Tennessee “Tennie” Smith Vise when they established a farm of 220 acres of farm land southeast of Decaturville in 1909. The couple had seven children and raised mules, horses, and hogs while growing corn, sorghum, and vegetables. In addition to faming, the family ran a store named Mal Vise and Sons. Mal died in 1926 and left the farm to his son, John Wesley Vise.
The same year John inherited the family farm, his first wife died leaving him with eight young children. Tennie, his mother, stayed with him and helped raise the children. Like his father, he operated the store while also adding cotton, peanuts, hay, sheep, and cattle to the crops and livestock grown on the farm. Two of the Vise boys, Earnest “Roach” and James Landon “Pig” Vise, remained on the farm and worked it with their father. They also purchased land of their own which surrounded the existing farm acreage.
In 1977, Roach acquired 108 acres and Pig acquired 112 acres of the family farm. Both grew corn, soybeans, hay, wheat, milo, cotton and raised pigs, cattle, sheep, and timber. Roach married Billie Burton McCurry and had one daughter, Sarah Ann. Pig married Emily Ann Jennings and they had three children – James Douglas, Ronnie Frank, and Joy Elizabeth Vise. The Vise brothers and their family, though owning separate land parcels, worked together and were very involved in their community’s agricultural programs like FFA, 4-H, the Farm Bureau, and livestock organizations.
The next generation to assume management and ownership of their parents’ individual farms were Sarah Ann Vise and her cousin James Douglas Vise. James married Hilda Jane White and had three children – Tracy, Veronica, and Stacy. Sarah Ann, who retired after forty years of teaching, rents her land to Stacy, her second cousin, who also owns the Vise Farm 2 along with his father. Though he grows many of the same crops as previous generations, Stacy uses modern technology to plant 30,000 seeds per acre. “We now use self-propelled sprayers with GPS systems, grid soil sampling, special spreading trucks, and self-propelled combines.” Stacy, who holds a degree in animal science from MTSU, is an award-winning farmer. He and his wife, Tara Lenay Turnbo, have two children who participate in 4-H. The Vise family combines 20th century history and buildings, including the 1910 farmhouse, with twenty-first century farming methods.