(01/10/20) Baton Rouge, LA — The children of Charles E. and Rose Ashy Broussard, of Vermilion Parish, have created an endowment to support an internship. The internship has been supported widely through contributions and funding by many friends and business associates of the Broussard family, for which the family is grateful.
The endowment sponsors, Yvonne Simon and her brothers, Richard, Alan and Hal Broussard, each have their personal memories of great moments in their father’s life.
Charles E. Broussard attended both LSU and Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette). After college, Broussard spent some time in various successful business ventures before turning to his true passion for the remainder of his adult life — owning and operating Flying J Ranch.
Broussard’s life revolved around the ranch in Vermilion Parish, where he raised registered Charolais, Brahman and Charbray cattle as well as some crossbred cattle. Broussard was also successful growing rice, which eventually was transferred to his daughter, Yvonne Simon, and her husband, Conrad Simon.
Yvonne Simon is now general manager of the Flying J Ranch.
Richard, Alan and Hal Broussard left the ranch for other occupations. Alan, now retired, embarked on a successful worldwide career in the energy industry ascending to become a drilling superintendent for a major oil and gas company. Richard Broussard and Hal Broussard both have successful legal careers in the Lafayette area.
The three brothers also serve as officers and on the board of directors of the ranch corporation.
Richard Broussard, the oldest of the children, said their father was a ninth-generation cattleman, descending from the original Acadian Broussard immigrant, Joseph Beausoleil Broussard. Charles Broussard continued his family heritage when he acquired Flying J Ranch from his father, at first partnering with his brother William, and eventually acquiring total ownership.
The ranch was originally mostly marshland that was acquired in the late 1920s by Charles Broussard’s father and over time was converted to productive farmland and rich pastures for cattle grazing through a drainage and levee network the founding Broussard established in the ranch’s early years.
This heritage was the catalyst for Charles Broussard to not only become the rancher and cattleman for which he was well recognized in Vermilion Parish, but also to assume leadership positions in agricultural related organizations from the mid-1950s through the turn of the century.
The siblings recalled their father was president of a number of organizations, including the Vermilion Parish Cattlemen’s Association, the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association, the Louisiana Beef Industry Council and a number of others. Charles Broussard was also the president and founder of the National Rice Growers Association.
The siblings best summed up their father’s lifetime of work by reflecting on Charles Broussard’s often-used words: “If you can find something in life to do that you enjoy doing, then you’ll never work a day in your life.”
In addition to his primary occupational interest, the siblings also are proud of their father’s role in conservation.
Alan Broussard noted his father was president of the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Seaway Association, which he would describe as running from Jacksonville, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas, and Yvonne Simon added their father was also interested in conservation efforts, especially coastal preservation.
Charles Broussard was a central figure in the push for recognition of the need for coastal zone management, which includes the area where Flying J Ranch is situated in south Vermilion Parish.
Consistent with these outside interests focused on conservation and public service though leadership in organizations, Richard Broussard emphasized his father had a strong interest in politics, hunting and fishing and was an avid supporter of the sports programs at ULL and at LSU.
Against this backdrop of appreciation Charles Broussard’s children have for their father and his heritage, one can easily understand the family interest in establishing this endowment.
“Our father worked on projects at the research station in Crowley until the hurricanes in 2005 and was also involved in the LSU feedlot trials in Alexandria during the 1960s and 70s,” said Alan Broussard.
The endowment will provide an internship for students in agriculture, who will work at one of these LSU AgCenter research stations, Hal Broussard said.
Yvonne Simon added the endowment expresses a preference that students from the Vermilion Parish area will have priority in receiving an internship, but the internship will be available to any student working at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station, Iberia Research Station or the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center.
“Most kids still going to college in agriculture come from agriculture families, and helping them grow in knowledge of agriculture — either in production, research or promotion — will be great for the industry,” she said.
The siblings sponsored this endowment not only for their father, but also for their mother, Rose Ashy Broussard. All of the siblings emphasized that Rose Broussard fully supported all of their father’s efforts and had many of her own that paralleled his work. She independently supported a broad range of causes, including the founding of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Rose Broussard was very active in the Cowbelles organization for women who supported the cattle industry.
“Mom started the Ag in the Classroom program in Vermilion Parish and made sure that there was a proclamation signed every June for Beef Month,” Yvonne Simon said.
“Mom also promoted a Beef for Father’s Day program,” she added. “And during the month of March for six or seven years, Mom would travel with Dad all over the state with the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Queen promoting the beef industry.”
“The endowment is designed to make the AgCenter research facilities a way for young people to get involved and to enhance their interest in agriculture-related things that were important to Daddy,” Hal Broussard said.
The siblings agreed during their lifetime, at least once a week, if not more often than that, somebody in the Vermilion Parish area would approach father for help on some matter related to agriculture. And their father always was willing to provide his assistance.
They view the endowment as a way for their father and mother to provide assistance to persons wishing to engage in agriculture that will continue in perpetuity.
Charles and Rose Broussard. Photo provided