A day in the life of a sugar cane farmer

One local sugar cane farmer’s daily schedule

Eddie Lewis

What’s it like to live a day in the shoes of a sugar cane farmer during the busiest seasons of their lives? We talked to Eddie Lewis III owner, operator of Eddie Lewis Cane Farms, LLC to find out!

Planting Season

Early Morning: Starting at somewhere around five o’clock in the morning, Eddie starts his day by getting out of bed. He makes a cup of coffee first, sweetening it with …you guess it… sugar. He checks the weather to make sure Louisiana’s skies will cooperate for the day, making sure the weather is right for planting. Soon after he leaves for the farm.

Lunch: He arrives at work in the morning to check on his crew, making sure each member of his team is taken care of. There’s no doubt that the crew makes the farm, and each farm must cultivate the most outstanding cane each year. Meetings are attended to hash out the days for the upcoming harvest. For the men, who Eddie says are usually members of his own community, they find themselves treated to a lunch cooked by a local Auntie or a plate lunch from a restaurant.

Afternoon: The goal of the day is 40 acres planted per day. For Eddie, optimism plays a key part to planting season. With each seed planted the future lies for him and his family. Planting season is a special time for the Lewis farm, a time to envision the coming harvest and prepare for 80 - 90 days of cutting and transporting the cane.

Evening: With the day ending, so does the work. Lewis works hard to play hard each and every day, so after that long day a reward is in need. Maybe an appetizer and drinks at a nearby restaurant with his girlfriend just to celebrate.

Harvest Season

Morning: Weather permitting, the men receive their harvesting duties from Eddie at the beginning of each morning. Then his work of being the problem solver of the farm begins. Several problems can come up each hour leading to time spent on repairs rather than in harvest or transport. Problems are dealt with as soon as possible to get every last equipment back to work. The animals of the farm are also given their breakfast these mornings, though sugar cane farms don’t always have animals, Eddie loves taking care of the livestock.

Lunch: With the cane starting to be cut, it’s time to deal with the cost of the farm. With cash flowing in, bills are paid and the cane is taken to the mill for processing. Two to three combines of cane end up at the mill each day from the Lewis farm, which comes out to 30 to 40 loads of the plant. Though Eddie says it’s never quite the right weather for harvesting, the workers cut even through the heat, or fall chill to make sure the cane is delivered and ready for processing.

Afternoon: Both Eddie and his guys cut, load and transport each season like clock work. Their afternoons are spent just as lunchtime, making sure progress is made and the cane is ready for transport. Repairs eventually come up, as does planning for the next year, but the main goal remains a good harvest.

Evening: Grateful for the rest, Eddie says harvest evenings are spent with his kids. Instead of leaving the homestead he might put a steak on the grill. For evenings when the farmer needs a change of venue Sugar Mill Pond isn’t far away, and it's the perfect family getaway after a long day on the farm.

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