Brant and Jason Lamm

Crawfish Time
Acadia Parish, LA

Brant and Jason Lamm

Crawfish Time

Acadia Parish, LA

Type of Operation: Crawfish and restaurants

Size of Operation: 1,200 acres

Years in Business: 16

Farm Credit Partner: Louisiana Land Bank 

Years Working with Farm Credit: 9

In Louisiana’s Cajun heartland, brothers Brant and Jason Lamm have grown a successful, vertically integrated business, taking crawfish from the pond to the plate.

Just out of college, Brant joined with a friend to open a small drive-through location selling boiled crawfish. "I had worked in my uncle’s crawfish operation during college, and had learned a lot about the business," Brant says. A few years later, when Jason graduated college and the original partner moved on, the brothers joined forces to grow and market their catch.

They kept the operation small at first, renting 121 acres of their uncle’s rice land, crawfishing behind his rice crop and selling live crawfish. Over time they added more rental acreage, and in 2003, they approached Louisiana Land Bank about a loan to buy their uncle’s property. Making those kinds of deliberate and calculated business decisions has been one key to their success. Over time, they steadily added ponds, and today they farm 1,200 total acres — 400 owned and the remainder operated on either a cash-rent or a percentage basis. To handle their average daily catch of 250 sacks of crawfish — some 8,750 pounds — they bought nine crawfish boats. In 1997, the brothers launched Crawfish Time, a drive-through and take-out location just down the road from their ponds. They opened a sit-down restaurant in 2006 and today have 50 employees between the farming and restaurant businesses.

Harvest is a hectic time that demands the help of nine field hands, who each maneuver boats across 200 acres daily, checking some 2,000 traps a day. By midday, truck beds full of the bagged catch begin arriving at the Lamms’ processing facility, where an automated processor enables a team of four to six workers to clean, cull and sort the crawfish by size — a system few area crawfish farmers employ.

The Lamms sell the smallest crawfish to peeling plants for use in processed foods. "The medium, we sell live by the sack, or sell to Shreveport buyers," says Brant. "For the restaurants, we serve the biggest crawfish possible." The larger size and the cleanliness of their catch are two reasons, he believes, why the business has received numerous awards. It may also be part of the reason people sometimes happily wait an hour or longer for a table.

 

Photo by Phillip Gould

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