Family Life for the Lasseters at Triple L Farms
Elijah Lasseter was seven years old when he announced to his parents one evening, “I’m going to get a diesel when I turn 16.” Amused, his dad Ron told him he better find a job. Elijah paused, but only briefly. “If I buy a calf now and flip it, and keep doing that, then buy two, and then three, I will have enough money for a diesel [truck] and a trailer when I’m 16,” he said.
Today at age nine, going on 10, he’s part owner of Triple L Farms in Lakeland, a family business. Ron usually does the jobs that require muscle, like pen building, catching cows, opening the gates and bringing each animal to its stall. His wife Sara does paperwork, planning, and researching; she weighs and measures the feed for each heifer and cow. Elijah feeds and bathes the cows, works them, and cleans their stalls. He also came up with the company name, to put on a farm hat.
Ron and Sara own Maid in the USA, a Lakeland residential cleaning company opened in 2005. Sara also works with her family’s company, Corporate Cleaning Resolutions of Lakeland. Although they hadn’t contemplated farming, they always had horses. Sara was raised on a farm and Ron spent lots of time on his grandparents’ farm in Plant City. “We did not plan to become a farm. Although Sara and I have always had a love and passion for agriculture, we never saw ourselves actually doing it,” Ron says.
“I would not have guessed five years ago that ranching was in my future, but I consider it a gift from God that we get to do it,” Sara says. “I hope it will be a little nest egg for Elijah’s future and our retirement.”
So Triple L. Farms was born in 2012, after Elijah sold his first steer at the Polk County Youth Fair. It operates on 15 acres of land in Lakeland near their home. “We focus primarily on breeding show quality Brangus calves and a touch of commercial Brahman-influenced calves,” Ron says.
“We all work very hard together as a family, though Ron gets the brunt of the heavy stuff! We love doing this, because it’s our passion and we get to enjoy it together,” Sara adds. There is always work to be done, from repairing fences, to mowing or fertilizing pastures, to building or repairing stalls. “Once chores have the appearance of being completed, we move to the cattle. I give most of our vaccinations and vitamin supplements—and pull blood samples after a heifer has been AI’ed (Artificially Inseminated),” Ron says. “Fortunately this is seasonal because I have never been a fan of needles.”
In general, the family loves the outdoors—everything from hunting to fishing and gardening. Their lifestyle is distinctive. “Our dinner conversations consist of topics on bull semen, 17 to 21 day heifer cycles, cow anatomy, and . . . poop (Elijah’s favorite topic),” Ron says.
The family has forsaken more traditional pastimes like movies and date nights. “If we shop, it’s at the feed store,” Sara says. “What you will see is Elijah sitting on top of the pens and Ron and I standing by talking about how excited we are about calving season. Or you will find us all three working on new stalls or pens together.”
“Truthfully” she continues, “my idea of a great date night is just that—us standing around our livestock talking about our plans and dreams for what we are building.” Despite the hard work, Elijah is enjoying the family farm. He likes showing and fence work the best. He’s also made many friends, many of them older, who are eager to encourage and teach him. In the meantime, Elijah is being homeschooled. Sara prepares lessons.
“To say our schedule keeps us busy would be an understatement—to say the least. Funny though, we can’t see life [being] any different,” says Ron, who sings with Crossfire Quartet, a Lakeland-based southern gospel group. “Most weekends we spend on a 40-foot tour bus with Crossfire traveling to different churches and events. Fortunately, we are a family ministry, so we are seldom separated from each other.”
Although their original plan was to raise money for Elijah’s college expenses, and maybe buy that truck, Ron concedes they didn’t realize the farm’s true potential. “I didn’t realize the change in my family that it would produce. When you are given the opportunity to build something from the ground up and you get to share it with the ones you cherish most in this life, it changes your perspective,” Ron says. “I feel privileged to stand along side my partner, Sara, and be able to teach our child to not just live off the land, but thrive off it.” The experience is humbling. “There will always be experiences that Elijah will look back on, life’s lessons about old stubborn stumps or crazy heifers that will mold him into the man he becomes,” he adds.
And so, Ron and Sara are leaving a legacy for Elijah, a legacy rooted in love. “I hope we plant a passion for God, family, and agriculture [in him],” Sara says. “I hope he always loves the livestock, the peace and quiet of the pasture, the feel of dirt in his hands, and eating something he grew or raised.”
by CHERYL ROGERS