LA Young Farmer and Rancher Finalists: The Lucketts

LA Young Farmer and Rancher Finalists: The Lucketts

June 3, 2016

This week we continue our series profiling the finalists for the 2016 Louisiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award. The winner will be announced during the 94th Annual Louisiana Farm Bureau Convention held in New Orleans. Here's an inside look.

Kacie Luckett tells the story of the birth of the farm. “Derek came home and decided that he wanted to plow up our backyard two acres.”

Derek Luckett said, “We started off small planting a few tomatoes, bell peppers, and snap beans — maybe about a half of an acre. I went back to school to try to learn some more and this is kinda where we are now.”

Growing this 32-acre farm has not been easy for the Luckett's. It's taken some trial and error to discover just the right ingredients to make this farm work.

“You know we started with pretty much nothing. We would borrow a tractor from a friend, or somebody would come bring their tractor,” explains Derek. “I didn’t have any labor. It was just my wife, kids, and I. The income to buy the land and the sticks for the tomatoes and peppers — to buy the seed — everything was a battle.”

Added to these challenges was the year-round schedule of vegetable production.

“There are no off days. There are wet days and there are dry days, and that is it. There’s always a different type of vegetable you can grow throughout the whole year.  You’re always planting. You’re always picking. You’re always looking at the crops to make sure you’re not getting eaten up by insects,” says Derek.

Thanks to hard work, determination, and faith, the Lucketts have overcome these challenges.

Kacie says, “You definitely have to have faith to be a farmer. To put that seed in the ground — you can do everything that’s right and have all the right elements, or you can have all the wrong elements, and its still either gonna make a crop or not. We were both just so driven to make this dream a reality that it didn’t matter what stood in our way. We just made it happen. If somebody tells you that you can’t do something and if you want it bad enough, I can promise you can do it. I mean a lot of its luck; a lot of its hard work. But you have to want to make it work. And if people see you work hard, they will help you.”

With that drive to be successful, Derek and Kacie grew the farm with the help of a community supported agriculture program.

“We started our CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] to make an income so we could support our farm. They pay up front for their season and then they get a box of vegetables every week,” explains Kacie. Today, Kacie brings the farm to the consumer's doorstep. Each week, she delivers vegetables to a few hundred CSA members. “My favorite thing about it is getting to connect with the consumer, the people that consume our vegetables. Seeing their reward in it is rewarding to us.”

If you ask Derek, his reward grows in these rows. “I can’t get away from it. I love to do it. You know everybody said if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m just addicted to doing this. I love it. I love it. I love it.”

The Lucketts plan is to host more groups out on the farm soon. They recently received their agritourism license, and look forward to having families, school groups, and CSA Members out to the farm for more tours, a pumpkin patch, and hopefully a corn maze. The winner of the Louisiana Farm Bureau YF&R Achievement Award will receive a $40,000 credit toward the purchase of the GM vehicle of their choice. They will also go on to compete at the American Farm Bureau Convention this January in Phoenix, AZ.

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