Adlar Stelly named Rotary Club of Abbeville Farmer of the Year
Rotarian Mark Shirley (left) and Rotary Club President Chris Dardeau (right) present Adlar Stelly with the Farmer of the Year award.
Adlar Stelly is not averse to hard work.
As a farmer it’s how Stelly, as he puts it, “survives.”
For anyone who puts in a hard day, whether he or she is looking for it, a little recognition is a good feeling.
Stelly, 35, received some well-deserved attention this week from the Rotary Club of Abbeville. The group has named Stelly the 2016 Rotary Farmer of the Year.
Members presented Stelly with the honor Wednesday afternoon. Stelly thought he was there to take part in the annual agriculture report.
“I had no clue,” Stelly said. “It’s a nice feeling.”
The son of Sandrus and Delores, Stelly is no stranger to farming. His father and uncles all farmed. Stelly went full time into the industry after graduating from Kaplan High School in 1999. Through the ups and downs of the work, Stelly appreciates the importance of what he does.
“Everyone has to eat,” Stelly said. “You can live without a lot of things, but everyone has got to eat.”
As a young farmer, Stelly recognizes changes in the industry and how important it is to shift focus.
“It’s surviving is all we’re trying to do,” Stelly said. “It’s a struggle sometimes. That is why I am trying to diversify myself as much as possible. If one thing is slow, at least I will have something else to fall back on.
“At the same time, I am trying to improve everything.”
Along with rice, Stelly farms crawfish on about 2,000 acres. The crawfish aspect ramped up in 2010, when the family opened Stelly’s Boiling Point on the By-pass in Abbeville. Stelly expanded the crawfish wholesaling business his parents started. He buys and sells 15,000 pounds per day, on average. Stelly said he is looking to expand the crawfish wholesaling to out-of-state outlets.
In ‘15, Stelly purchased 15 heifers from his uncle, Ravis Stelly, and stepped into the cattle industry in Pecan Island. He has plans for more growth there, too.
“The rapid expansion of his farming operations is testament of Adlar’s ability to
recognize opportunity and his courage to make it a reality,” Rotarian Mark Shirley said prior to presenting Adlar with the award.
While embracing new ways of doing things, Stelly will never turn his back on the things he learned from his father.
“It’s all still there,” Stelly said proudly. “We are actually going back to some old ways of doing things.”
Stelly serves the industry beyond his own farm. He has worked in leadership roles through the Vermilion Parish Farm Bureau. He is chairman of the Young Farmer and Rancher Committee and Co-Chair of the Crawfish Committee. Stelly represents the parish at annual state conventions. He was recently a finalist for the Young Farmer and Ranchers Achievement Award. He is a member of the Vermilion and Louisiana Rice Grower Association. Stelly wants to learn something from being a part of the various groups.
“No one knows everything,” Stelly said of his desire to learn. “It’s always good to have an open mind if someone else has a better idea.”
The idea of doing something else with his life does not ever cross Stelly’s mind.
“I love what I do,” Stelly said.
While he’s certainly happy to receive an honor for what he does, he’s quick to point out that there are many other farmers out there deserving of equal recognition.
“They are out there working 365 days a year,” Stelly said. “We all work hard. There’s no one who’s a farmer, at least not a successful one, who doesn’t work hard.
“I appreciate the Rotary Club giving some attention to farmers each year.”