Director Profile: J.P. LaBrucherie, LaBrucherie Produce, El Centro, CA
By Tim Linden
It was in 1911 that Jean Pierre LaBrucherie emigrated from France and came to California’s Imperial Valley. He started a dairy farm and grew alfalfa and other forage crops. His son, Matthew, added a vegetable operation in the 1950s, raised cattle and started a hay export company. The next generation was led by Tim, who expanded their vegetable presence, and continued to build the produce operation on what was then called LaBrucherie Ranch.
Though highly educated with a degree in accounting from the University of Southern California and a law degree from Notre Dame University, J.P. LaBrucherie, who shares his great grandfather’s name, had no doubt at an early age that he was going to follow the lead of three generations before him and become a farmer. He went straight from USC to Notre Dame and then worked at the multinational professional service firm Deloitte to achieve his CPA hours. Along the way, he passed the California Bar Exam and then came back to the farm to work. The path he took was very similar to that of his father, who also earned an accounting degree and a law degree, at USC and Stanford, respectively.
J.P. started full time in 2003, with vegetable production being his main area of concern. He and his father have further emphasized production agriculture, creating LaBrucherie Produce LLC, as the company’s moniker in 2011. They have grown many different crops over the years, with lettuces, baby leaf items, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, corn, carrots and melons being the core items. Of late, more focus and acreage has been placed growing all these crops organically. J.P. said the company has always focused its energies on the growing end of the business, leaving the marketing and sales to its shipper partners. LaBrucherie Produce’s website touts its standing as a contract grower working with many different clients producing the top-quality vegetables that fit best into the shipper’s program, noting that each client has “unique opportunities and challenges in the marketplace.”
When interviewed by Western Grower & Shipper seven years ago, J.P. was involved in the decision-making process, but he was sure that his father would follow in the footsteps of the two generations that preceded him. “The way we have operated is that each generation works until they die and then the next generation takes over,” he joked at that time.
Today, J.P. is the president and runs the operation, while Tim still maintains an important role as CFO and is still quite involved at 74. J.P. emphasized that each generation has grown the business, and he is doing the same. He is hopeful that one of his three children will follow the farming path, but he will not pressure them into the business. He added that farming is a great occupation, but you must truly love it to do it right.
The LaBrucherie operation has been a member of Western Growers for 65 years, with the membership coinciding with the advent of its vegetable operation in the 1950s. Matt LaBrucherie served as a member of the Western Growers Board of Directors for three different terms in the 1960s and ’70s.
The Short & Sweet
Name: J.P. LaBrucherie
Title: President of LaBrucherie Produce
Namesake: Great Grandfather Jean Pierre LaBrucherie started the El Centro farm in 1911
Family: J.P. and his wife, Stephanie, have three children: Ashley, 16; Timothy, 14; and Matthew, 11.
College Rivalry: J.P. earned his undergraduate degree at USC and his law degree from Notre Dame. “I love both schools and I win each time they play.”
Proud Accomplishment: “I am an Eagle Scout and attended the 17th World Scout Jamboree in South Korea in 1991.”
Great Trips: “I love to travel. My favorite trip was to India. I went there in 1997 and 2001.”
Relaxation Time: “I binge watch television most nights. Yellowstone is a show I like a lot.”
Hobby: “I like to jog and spend time with the family.”
Fun Fact: “I met and fell in love with my wife in the accounting school at USC. And then we both went to Notre Dame as I earned my law degree and she earned an MBA.” They have been married 18 years.