Centennial Farm Continuing Tradition

Statesboro, GA |

The story of L&M Farms is one of dedication, and a commitment to nurturing both the land and community. The farmhouse, a charming relic from the early 1900s, bears witness to generations of the Lee family’s labor of love. Majestic Sycamore trees planted just after the farmhouse’s construction, still shade the property, providing a living connection to the farm’s roots. Patricia Morton and her husband Randy, now the proud owners, ensuring that the story of L&M Farms continues to be written with the same dedication and love that has characterized it for over a century. Patricia, also wanting to carry forward the legacy established by her father, Lannie Lee.

“It’s really cool. A hundred years and I guess if I had a regret, it was that I didn’t do it while daddy was here because he would’ve been so proud, and Mama; mama died in ninety-two, and that’s when daddy was a bit lost, but he decided after a couple of years that, ‘I think I’d like to try to get all this going again. I’d like to do the syrup,'” says Patricia.

Lannie Lee; a true legend in the vibrant and extensive history of Georgia Farm Bureau. As Vice President and later, President of the Bulloch County Farm Bureau, he gained the respect and admiration of the local folks until he passed away in 2017 at the impressive age of ninety-six. For Patricia and Randy, continuing his legacy is more than just a responsibility, it’s a genuine passion. The farm, now producing and distributing Lee’s Sugarcane Syrup, serving as a living connection to the dedication and hard work that Lannie put forth every day of his life.¬†

“He believed so much in agriculture, in farming, and he spread that everywhere he went. And the love of farming,” says Patricia.

“I grew up on a farm, but when I left the farm, I had never intended to ever go back to being a farmer. So, after forty five years in the media business, that took me even further away from that, I met a young lady that I married and who had a heritage of that. Actually that became more of an important thing for me to see if I could bring back some of that. So when we started getting involved with the sugar cane, it was a different kind of a crop. We have, in my opinion, a better syrup because of three things; one is the variety of the mix of cane that we have here. Second is the land. This land seems to be ideally suited for sugar cane for some reason. The third one is the cook, and that’s her. She spent eight or ten years learning how to cook from her dad. The techniques, the principles I would say are the same,” says Randy.

Yes, Patricia and Randy have found true happiness in nurturing their sugarcane fields and producing syrup. Together, they have a burning desire that embodies the spirit of resilience and defines what a Centennial Farm should be. However, the award holds more than just personal significance for Patricia; it also serves as a reminder of the broader challenges facing agricultural heritage. The shifting landscape of Bulloch County, once a quiet rural setting, now facing the encroachment of urban sprawl. And like so many, Patricia can’t help but wonder if someday the Centennial Farm Award will become even more significant and cherished, as more and more families sell off their farms.

“I hope we’ll try to hold on to it. Our children, they know how to process the syrup, they know the sugar cane process. Our grandson comes and helps each year. So, that part I feel pretty secure about, but who knows some of the trials and tribulations that are coming up; the taxes and all of that, it’s gonna be very tempting,” says Patricia.

“You’re not gonna get rich doing this. At least that’s our experience. Maybe someone can help us with that or show us how we can change that¬†and we’d be really interested in figuring out how to do that to make sure that happens,” says Randy.

By: Ray D’Alessio