Judge exchanges robe for jeans when on his farm
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:00 AM
Throughout the year, Judge Steve Cumberland hears cases ranging from DUIs to traffic violations. However, when he is not dealing with the justice system, Cumberland exchanges his robe for a pair of jeans and takes on the persona of a farmer.
Agriculture has played a major role in the life of Judge Steve Cumberland who owns a cattle and poultry farm in the Bond community. Cumberland is a justice and municipal court judge.
A municipal and justice court judge, Cumberland was born and raised on his farm in the Bond community where his family grew cotton and corn and raised cattle.
Agriculture has played a major role in the judge's life, starting about the time his parents bought him and his siblings their very own cow.
When the cow was fattened and sold, his parents placed the money in a savings account for their children.
"One thing that sticks out in my mind, was that Daddy worked at night," Cumberland said of his youth. "So we [he and his siblings] had to get up on Saturday morning and work on the farm. But in the middle of the afternoon, we quit. Daddy knew we had stuff we wanted to do. We would take that time to go swimming in a pond or relax."
The Cumberlands raise cattle and operate six poultry houses. When his father died in 1991, Cumberland got more involved in the cattle business. His first three chicken houses were built in 1989.
"Cattle doesn't take near as much work as the chicken houses, but it doesn't make as much money," he said. "Chicken houses, though, have a bigger expense than the cattle business."
The poultry houses are somewhat of a family affair for the Cumberlands.
"My wife [Elsie] has always helped me in the chicken houses," he said. "We started taking our daughter when she was young to the chicken houses. She didn't really do any work, but she was there. Now, I can still call on my daughter anytime to help me out."
Cumberland recalled the time when the family dog was trapped in one of the chicken houses.
"One Sunday morning, we were working in the chicken houses," he said. "We had a Dalmatian named Dot that would always go with us to the chicken houses.
"When we got home from church, the dog would always meet us."
When the dog wasn't there, fearful, they went immediately to the poultry houses.
"I looked and at the number three house, she was standing on the ledge and looking at us," he said. "From then on, when we were at the door, she was at the door."
Judge Cumberland and his wife Elsie have been married for 38 years. She works at the Neshoba County Extension Service. They have one daughter and one granddaughter.
When not in court or in the poultry houses, Cumberland can usually be found bush-hogging a field or working on something around his place.
He enjoys life on the farm just as it is.
"I wouldn't change lives," he said.
"If I were a millionaire, I would still be doing what I am doing because it is something that I enjoy."