Rooted in Resilience: Kevin Lussier, YF&R Class President

January 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Kevin Lussier and his wife, Shelby, are young entrepreneurs who are creating their own niche for artesian cheese in Eastern Alachua County. Kevin was born and raised on his family’s dairy farm, Lussier Dairy, in Hawthorne, where hard work and a love for agriculture was instilled in him from a young age.

Kevin was elected to serve as the 2021-2023 Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Group Class President in December 2021. He and Shelby are the recipients of Florida Farm Bureau’s 2021 Achievement in Agriculture Award and went on to earn top ten honors in the American Farm Bureau’s national completion this January.

Shelby and Kevin met while attending college at Jacksonville University where Kevin played football and majored in business and Shelby majored in marketing. Upon graduating in 2016, the couple decided to move back to Kevin’s hometown of Hawthorne, a far stretch from Shelby’s hometown of Peachtree City, Ga., a suburb of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.

The couple married in 2018 and quickly became involved in the family business. In January of 2020, just two months prior to the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak in the United States, the Lussiers embarked on a new adventure when they became the owners of Hawthorne Creek Creamery, located just a few miles from Lussier Dairy. The creamery specializes in artesian cheese made from fresh, locally produced milk.

You can find Hawthorne Creek Creamery Gouda, Havarti and Tomme in 245 Publix stores and 28 Winn Dixie grocery stores throughout the state.

Hawthorne Creek Creamery is one of the only artesian creameries that is 100% made in Florida. Every part of the cheese making process is done right at their facility. “We are local, we want to support our local businesses and our community,” Kevin said. “Being local is a huge selling point for us.”

Kevin is also a member of Farm Bureau’s Dairy Advisory Committee and sits as a member of the Hawthorne Chamber of Commerce. “Farm Bureau is dedicated to helping farmers and ranchers operate successfully in our great country,” he said.

“Having the opportunity to serve our industry and help Farm Bureau succeed in its mission has become a passion of mine. I was able to work alongside my family in agriculture because of the hard work and dedication of leaders in Farm Bureau and I hope to give the same opportunity for generations to follow.”

Kevin said that it is important as a young farmer to be adaptable to changing markets. “When we began our cheese operation, I had a five-year plan that I was certain was going to make us successful,” he said. “That five-year plan changed drastically in month three when a pandemic shifted our markets. We had to adapt quickly and we are proud that we were able to navigate those waters.”

Florida farm Bureau’s annual theme for 2022 is “Rooted in Resilience”. As we celebrate 80 years as an organization, we honor our members who have been faithful to Florida agriculture and their calling. “I don’t believe there are too many other groups as resilient as farmers,” Kevin said.

“Growing up on my family dairy farm I have been “rooted” in Florida agriculture my entire life. It has been a great honor to be involved in agriculture and I look forward to many more years of helping to feed families across Florida.”