NEW IBERIA, LA. (KLFY) – The 217-year-old sugar cane industry still brings thousands of jobs and billions of dollars into the state of Louisiana.
That’s why generations of sugar cane farms have decided it’s time to preserve the past to pave way for the future.
“What we’re trying to preserve is the sugar industry where it started, where we are today, and we are looking into the future,” says Lane Blanchard, who’s a member of the Teche Growers.
The Teche Growers are an association made up of generations of family farmers and they are currently working on restoring tractors and other farming equipment.
“You have antique car people that have their fantasies with antique cars, and as a farmer, it’s what we’re about. It’s where we grew up, it is where we started and it’s a reminder of history,” says Errol Domingues, a local farmer.
As technology evolves, younger generations are moving the sugar industry into a more tech-savvy future.
“We are starting to pick up and it’s making our lives a lot easier. They have new programs on the computer where you don’t have to go home every night and sit there with a digital calculator and out of every field. I have computer programs where you go on there and you tell it what to do and it gives your number back,” says Taylor Blanchard, a local farmer who works alongside his father.
Older farmers may not understand new technology, but they understand its importance.
“The future is automation and we also have to evolve into that if we are going to keep our industry viable,” says Domingues.