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Ripe for Change: How a Half-Acre Farm Built on Lean Principles May Be Sowing Seeds of Disruption

by Ben Hartman
October 31, 2018

Ripe for Change: How a Half-Acre Farm Built on Lean Principles May Be Sowing Seeds of Disruption

by Ben Hartman
October 31, 2018 | Comments (1)

Ben Hartman grew up on a 500-acre corn and soybean farm where success meant getting bigger every year – buy a bigger tractor, rent more land, build another grain bin. He started his own farm with the same get-bigger mentality until one day he got a wake-up “thud.” In a wind storm, his new greenhouse, built in a rush to expand, went airborne and crash-landed on the barn roof.

Today, Ben, author of The Lean Farm, and his wife, Rachel, own and operate the five-acre Clay Bottom Farm, which has about one-half acre cultivated but is more productive and profitable than their old five-acre spread. They rely on lean principles rather than computerized tractors, genetically modified crops, or GPS-guided herbicide sprayers that are the mainstays of U.S. farms.

Listen to Ben’s fascinating and insightful explanation of why corporate farming and our overall food system just may be ripe for disruption. You’ll learn why lean management principles:

  • Upend the mass production farming model of endlessly pushing corn, soybeans, and a few other products with almost no regard for what customers actually want -- or what's healthy for them.
  • Make small-scale farming practical and profitable for young people and agro-entrepreneurs wanting to farm.
  • Require half the tools and far less work to be more and more profitable.
  • Let Clay Bottom farm move from the country to inside city limits, within a mile of the consumers and restaurants they serve.
  • Give Clay Bottom the flexibility to change what it grows every few months to produce the crops customers want -- in the amounts they want to buy them.
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1 Comment | Post a Comment
MPG November 12, 2018

While I applaud the use of lean techniques in farming, this has been overshadowed in this case by the extreme anti-agribusiness viewpoint of the specific farmer.  This book and the LEI promotion of it, (I saw the podcast live at this years' Nashville conference) borders on proposing a political agenda.  That turns me off to this author (and possibly LEI for promoting this).

 

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