The Business of Farming

August 31st, 2012

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Many of us have an almost idyllic picture of family farms that seems to come from a Norman Rockwell painting. That time is long past, as today, family farms are a business. The same savvy that successful entrepreneurs and small business CEOs employ are part of family farm life. Much of the diversity of farm life has also been left behind. Most farmers no longer have vegetable patches or small numbers of livestock. They are instead focused on their chosen area of farming.

We explore the world of conventional and organic family farming today with farmers whose families have been at it for over 100 years. We also look at the trends in grain farming and the good news for future food supplies. Finally, we talk with the CEO of the largest organic dairy coop in the country.

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Enhanced by ZemantaGuests
Elaine Kub

The path from a childhood on a cow-calf operation in South Dakota, to engineering student, to MBA graduate, and finally to market analyst, grain trader, futures broker and farmer has made Elaine eager to communicate her observations through a column, speaking engagements, and television and radio appearances. She is the author of Mastering the Grain Markets, How Profits are Really Made.

Daryl Aspenson

Daryl’s family has been conventional farmers in Mt. Sterling WI for over 100 years.

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George Siemon, CEIEIO CROPP (Organic Valley)

In 1988, George joined a group of family farmers in Wisconsin to found the Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP). More commonly known by its brands Organic Valley and Organic Prairie, CROPP has grown to become the largest organic farming cooperative in North America while still remaining true to its local roots. The cooperative focuses on regional production and distribution, contracting with local production plants rather than building their own, in order to invest in local communities and farmers instead of “bricks and mortar.” Organic Valley producers promote sustainability by farming without antibiotics, synthetic hormones, or pesticides. Their livestock herds feed on pasture, preserving landscapes and biodiversity for future generations.

Carl Volden

Carl and his brother work the organic farm that has been the focus of their family for over 100 years

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