Where does sugar come from? Did you first consider a farmer? Did you say Louisiana? Did you know these farmers make more than one harvest each year? These are just a few of the things 6th generation sugar cane farmer Wilson Judice will share with us today. He is definitely proud to be a part of Agriculture and does a great job telling about it. It’s the next part in my month-long series featuring the diversity in Agriculture. Why are YOU Agriculture Proud?
Why I am Proud to be a part of Agriculture?
When I was five years old my mom and I were at the grocery store. I was helping her bag groceries. A friend of the family passed by and asked me “Wilson, are you going to be a bag boy when you grow up?” I promptly replied “Don’t you know I am already a farmer?”
I guess that really tells how I have always felt about farming. It is something that has been a part of me for all of my life. I am a sixth generation sugarcane farmer from south Louisiana.
The family tradition aspect of our farm is very important to me. I am proud to earn my living and provide for my family in the same way my father and both of my grandfathers did. All three of these men were very influential in me wanting to continue the family farm. They instilled a work ethic in me through example and by demanding that I give one hundred and ten percent in all I do that has served me well in all of my life’s ventures.
Tradition is not the only reason I am proud to be a farmer. I feel there are few professions as noble as feeding people. I have an extreme sense of pride when I see someone enjoying a product I grew, whether it is pure Louisiana Cane Sugar or simply vegetables harvested from our garden. I know the blood, sweat, and tears that went into producing that delicious product.
I take a special pride in being a sugarcane farmer. It is not that I do not appreciate other types of farming or ranching; it is just that sugarcane is such a unique crop. Sugarcane is a perennial crop, meaning we make several yearly harvests from one planting. Instead of seeds we plant the stalks of cane and each internode – or joint – of a cane stalk is capable of producing several new stalks. When we harvest, the entire plant is pulled into the harvester. Only the shucks are left in the field. A single acre of sugarcane can produce 40 – 50 tons of bio mass making sugarcane and our harvesting system an ideal candidate for the production of ethanol once cellulosic technology becomes affordable.
I love to tell people about my farm. One of my favorite things to do is cut a couple stalks of cane and peel it for people to chew. I am willing to bring anyone on a tour of our farm.
The thing I am most proud of is when I see my children expressing interest in our farm or getting involved in the garden. There is nothing like the feeling that I may be positively influencing the next generation of farmers. Even if all I do is instill some of the work ethic that my father and grandfathers instilled in me then I will have done my part.