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Troy Thibodeaux

Troy Thibodaux Marie and Gary ThibodauxGrower Profile
Troy Thibodeaux

Grower Troy Thibodeaux of Labadieville is constantly thinking of ways to make his sugarcane farming business more efficient.

His innovations have helped to make his 3000-acre farm more profitable. He conceived and built multiple 30-foot five-row cultivators.

"When I’m driving the tractor, I’m constantly looking at the way the cultivator hits the dirt and my mind starts thinking about better ways to do it. With a three-row cultivator you can do about 60 acres a day,” he said. "Now we can do 120-acres a day, but that is maxed out.”

Troy also likes multi-tasking and has modified his tractors to do several jobs at the same time.

"I install a control center in my tractors,” Troy said. "On one pass they can cultivate and put down a fertilizer or pesticide at the same time.”

No doubt his equipment improvements have helped Thibodeaux Brothers succeed in the farming world, but south Louisiana cane farming always seems to come down to family.

Troy and his brothers, Corey and Lance make up Thibodeaux Brothers and grow cane and soybeans on parts of the old Goldmine and Melodia Plantations in Assumption and Lafourche parishes. Step-son Seth Wood runs the trucking end of the farm while Troy’s wife Christy does the bookkeeping.

Thibodaux BrothersTroy will be celebrating 31 years in agriculture this upcoming season but a large part of his longevity is due to the firm family foundation laid down by his parents, Marie and Gary Thibodeaux, and those family members who came before.

Troy’s grandfather, Gilbert, and Gilbert’s five brothers, farmed much of the same land that Thibodeaux Brothers is working today.

"One uncle had cattle. Another had hogs. And another one raised chickens,” Troy said. "They all helped out each other.”

Troy also knows it pays to be talented in a number of fields to ensure success in the stressful world of production agriculture.

Troy’s father, Gary, lists the various trades one must be proficient in to have a shot at a profit.

"You’ve got to be a banker,” Gary said. "You’ve got to self-finance. You got to be a welder…you got to be a mechanic…if you don’t have a shop you might has well shut the doors right now.”

After 46 years of driving tractors across south Louisiana’s gumbo dirt, Gary retired from farming in 1996. He’s 75. He lives in a modest home with Marie on the banks of Bayou Lafourche on Hwy. 308. Troy’s shop is across the highway.

Ironically, Gary didn’t want Troy to enter into farming.

"I was going to buy out one of my uncles,” Troy said. "My daddy was against it, but he saw that I was determined.”

Troy learned the value of a dollar, hard work and fair treatment early on in life. His parents provided for the boys, not with money, but the means by which their sons could earn cash through work — hard work.

"We planted field peas so the boys could make some extra money,” Marie said. "They would go in the field when it was time to harvest.”

The boys learned valuable lessons as they picked peas. "I used to complain because we’d give our customers a hamper and a half,” Troy said. "My grandfather would say ‘Boy, you don’t understand. You’re going to get that business back the following years and then some.’ And he was right because word of mouth spread. We never had any trouble getting rid of our peas.”

And when Troy’s not thinking about efficiencies, he’s thinking about his non-farming neighbors.

Troy is one of a group of young farmers who wanted to create a public awareness of the sugarcane farmer and his work. He helped to create the sugarcane industry’s popular "portable billboard” campaign.

Thibodaux billboardThe portable billboards were displayed along high traffic farm roads in sugarcane fields and shop yards. The message to the public was simple – "We’re harvesting. Give us a brake.”

"I’ve been preaching about it for years,” Troy said. "I think we should keep the message going throughout the year.

"The general public can get upset with the farmer. We have to farm smart to get the public to stay behind us. There are just so many new housing developments. At the same time, there are fewer farmers but bigger farmers. We get on the highway with a slow-moving tractor and all we’re trying to do is get from point A to point B. A car driver gets behind us and they start getting angry. We’re a small minority producing sugar and we’ve got to make the public aware of what we’re doing.”

Family commitment...innovation...talent — those are just pieces of farming success. But Troy’s a firm believer in farming for the love of it because he knows the truly successful farmer loves farming.

"It’s hard sometimes, but we’ve been blessed,” he said.



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