Marion J. Sanders was born in Goshen and grew up working on family farms there and near Andalusia. After finishing high school, he began farming with his father on a two-mule farm near Andalusia. In 1949, he left the farm to join the Army as a private, and he retired from the U.S. Army Reserves at the rank of Major.
After World War II, Mr. Sanders returned to the same farm that his great grandfather had homesteaded in 1837. From meager beginnings, he advanced from mule power to tractor power and built the farm into one of the states finest. Peanuts have long been the staple crop of the Sanders farming operation, but diversification has been responsible for much of its growth. He and sons, Carl and Kenny, farm well over 1,000 acres of peanuts, cotton, grain crops, and cattle.
Early in his farming career, Mr. Sanders understood the importance of being a good steward of the land. He put in the first underground tile drainage system in Alabama and one of the first in the country in the early 1970s. Throughout his farming career, he has been active in the Coffee County and statewide soil and water conservation programs. He has won numerous awards for his environmental leadership, including a special services award from the National Association of Conservation Districts and the prestigious W. Kelly Mosely Award for environmental excellence.
Mr. Sanders married Virginia Jernigan in 1946, and they are still married today. They have two sons, Kenny and Carl, a daughter Kathy Haynes, 13 grandchildren and one great grandchild.