Lawson is 2019 ‘Farmer of the Year’
The International Rice Festival will recognize Alan Lawson as the 2019 Farmer of the Year chosen by the LSU AgCenter.
Born and raised 2 miles north of Crowley on his family farm, Lawson is the oldest child of Larry and Marilyn Rodgers Lawson and has two sisters, Christine Lawson Gill and Elizabeth Lawson Monk. His parents met while his father was serving in the U.S. Navy in Scotland.
He is married to Carey David Lawson from New Roads and they have two children, Colin (13) and Lillian (9).
Carey Lawson works as executive director of LSU at Eunice Foundation in Eunice.
A graduate of Crowley High School, Lawson attended LSUE before transferring to LSU in Baton Rouge, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Business.
After graduation he returned to the farm to join his father in the farming operation, becoming the third generation in his family to farm.
Losing his father at a young age, Lawson’s grandfather grew up in Hammond. His uncle, Will Lawson, was a Crowley businessman and was instrumental in helping Alan’s grandfather earn a degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University.
After college, he was able to purchase a farm in Crowley and moved there in the late 1930s to begin growing rice. Alan’s grandfather bought one of the first combines in the area and built his own farm drying and storage facility.
The facility has been added onto many times through the years and has grown from the original 3,600 barrels to over 50,000 barrels today as the farm size has continued to grow.
A&L Lawson’s operation currently consists of 1,100 acres of rice, 1,100 acres of crawfish with a small number of acres of soybeans and a small herd of cattle. The rice acres are primarily long grain with a few acres of medium grain when the opportunity presents itself to plant a few acres. Currently, he has CL111, CL153, CLXL729, CLXL745, Mermentau and Provisia varieties planted.
Conserving natural resources is a high priority and his preferred method of planting is to no till into a stale seedbed.
This year’s Farmer of the Year has recently partnered with two other crawfish producers and constructed a crawfish peeling and packaging business, Bocage Crawfish. This operation allows Lawson to market 100 percent of the farm’s crawfish production whether it is live sales to restaurants or peeled and frozen tail meat.
The operation also buys crawfish from other local farmers and employs over 50 people. The Lawsons have had the opportunity to purchase 250 acres of farm land since he started farming and also own rental property.
Lawson dedicates his time to various organizations that help to promote the rice industry. He is the past treasurer and the current president of the Acadia Rice Growers Association. He serves on the Rice Research Board and was recently elected to serve as vice president of the Louisiana Rice Growers Association.
He is a graduate of the LSU Agricultural Leadership Program and currently serves on their board of directors. Lawson is a graduate of the USA Rice Leadership Program and the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Excel Program.
He was selected to receive the Farm Credit Leadership Award and currently serves on their Young Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee. He is a 4-H volunteer and helps with the shooting sports program.
Lawson is a member of First Baptist Church in Crowley.
His farming partnership has allowed him to not only be his own boss, but also make a good living feeding the world. He is extremely grateful for the opportunity to do what he loves every day.
His success is possible due to the wise stewardship of the generations who farmed before him, great landlords, and the great team working along-side him today. Hopefully farming is a viable option for generations to come if one of his children chooses to become a fourth generation farmer.