A huge part of my life has been devoted to ag-related business and consulting services because, like most people, I am passionate about food and where it comes from. Growing up as a 5th generation family farmer in the Midwest, I gained valuable experiences in farming, business, and family relationships.
Seeking international experience after college, I headed to London in financial services, selling Midwestern growth stocks to institutional investors. My next endeavor was as a part of Boston Consulting Group in London, helping U.S. companies grow in Europe.
My life came full circle as I returned to my roots in the U.S. and to my passion for producing nutritious food. My family formed a company called Wanda’s Nature Farm Foods, named for my Mom and aimed at a niche market for gourmet organic baking mixes. Our family business grew some of the organic ingredients on our own farm and made it possible for families around the country to enjoy truly nutritious and delicious products baked right in their own kitchens. In my role as co-owner and a member of the executive leadership team, I led the company’s sales and marketing efforts. I was living my dream, but eventually my parents’ desire to slow down and my choice to spend more time at home with my own young children led us to sell the company. I followed other career paths in business consulting roles for several years, but that deep passion for food and farming remained.
During this chapter of my career, I founded a company called Cambium Strategies LLC, devoted to helping food and agriculture companies successfully grow and navigate the rapid changes in our food system. I had the privilege of working with many innovative mid-size companies, as well as large global organizations. For example, I assisted AgTech and sustainable food production companies with issues such as their market positioning, acquisitions, and overall growth strategies.
A Passion for Keeping Families on the Farm
Most recently, my experiences and relationships connected me to Family Farms, LLC, a peer-to-peer family farm network passionate about family, sustainability and legacy. I was recently named CEO of Family Farms, LLC. Some of you may not be familiar with this organization, so let me introduce you. Family Farms, LLC delivers business solutions for agricultural producers to help them thrive and preserve their legacy for future generations. Family Farms, LLC, established in 2006 and headquartered near St. Louis, MO, is owned by its members and provides services to farmers who work more than 1.7 million acres of row crop production throughout North America. Its vision is to compete through collective access to enough acres, capital, global markets, and innovation to “keep families on the farm.”
I believe Family Farms, LLC is poised at the forefront in shaping the future of our food system. In my experiences on the farm, with food companies, and in agribusiness, I know how important the connection is between food and farming. I am passionate about the Family Farms mission to help family farms succeed. Values of family, teamwork, integrity, innovation, and system sustainability drive everything the company does. We are eager to partner across the food system to create shared value, strengthen family farming, and put healthy food on tables across North America and around the world.
Please join me on this adventure as I blog about food and family farms, creating value for family farmers and thoughts on how we can weather the trends, volatility, misperceptions about ag, and industry-wide consolidation that are threatening the existence of family farms across the U.S. Stay tuned for my next blog on 4 vital areas where farm families should concentrate in their fight to remain viable and successful.
At FamilyFarms Group we provide medium and large producers with comprehensive management advice to help keep family farms alive and thriving into the future. Click here to browse through several case studies illustrating how we've helped farm operators like you.