Hanna Gamble named Tree Farmer of Year by LFA
Hanna Gamble from left, the 2017 Outstanding Louisiana Tree Farmer,
stands at the entrance of St. Lucia Plantation with her forestry advisers,
Jason Muslow and Steve Lenox of Muslow Forestry Inc.

• New Orleans

Hanna Gamble, a third-generation forest landowner from DeSoto Parish, has been named 2017 Louisiana Outstanding Tree Farmer. The award was presented Wednesday, Aug. 30 at the 70th annual convention of the Louisiana Forestry Association held in New Orleans.

Gamble, 28, oversees the day-to-day operation of St. Lucia Plantation, a 1,833-acre farm nestled in the piney woods between the hamlets of Logansport and Longstreet. Overall management, however, is done in tandem with her mother, Carol, who divides her time between New Orleans and DeSoto Parish.

The St. Lucia Plantation, named for the Italian martyr, includes a portion of property first owned by Hanna's great-grandmother Lucia McMichael Parry in 1893, but it was her grandfather, Jack Gamble Sr., who started the tree farm when he first purchased a nearby 160-acre plot in 1939.

That land also included a livestock farm and camp. When Hanna's father, Mansfield oil and gas attorney Jack Gamble Jr., took over management he began adding to the family's land holdings. In 2008, he won a 10-year legal battle to add the original Parry land as part of the plantation, which included the Parry's farm house. Hanna Gamble says she learned much from her father, who made her a lifetime member of the Louisiana Forestry Association in 1997, when she was only 9.

"My dad did a lot of molding," Gamble said. "He said, You are going to be a tree farmer.' " The forested property includes two ponds, where many of the Gamble family's youngsters have caught their first fish. It produces hay and Gamble has recently added horse corrals at St. Lucia Plantation, so she can meld her passions of land management and horseback riding. She splits time between the tree farm and Eightfold Farms, a 173-acre farm she owns in Benton in Bossier Parish, where she trains horses and teaches recreational and therapeutic riding.

Gamble, who earned a business degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, began managing St. Lucia Plantation in 2010. In 2013, she took the reins without the help of Jack Jr., who died that year. But she remembers much of the passion and instruction from her father. "A life lesson I have learned from management is the value of family, friendship and teamwork," Gamble said. Gamble was honored as the 2017 Outstanding Tree Farmer during a luncheon Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.