True Leaders and Visionaries of Organic Farming: Bill Niman and Steve Clausen of BN Ranch, Willie Benedetti aka The Willie Bird and Jason Diestel aka Diestel Turkey Ranch.

Farming, like most businesses is competitive. With fewer than 1% of the population buying REAL food, the opportunity is in educating the other 99%. Those companies that lead an industry, that has little to no real market penetration, welcome the “competition”. They understand the dollars spent in marketing to the 99%, whether it is their own company or a competitor, benefits them directly. In the beginning of an emerging market it pays to have as much marketing/education dollars out there as possible. It turns the tides. In the case of REAL food marketing it drives up the demand for REAL food, bringing more opportunity for more farmers to be successful and eventually brings down the costs of doing farming which brings down the cost of product as competition truly increases (for any of you economic majors, if I screwed that up, keep it to yourself, you get the point). My point, was actually not to talk economics but to honor 3 of those Visionaries/Leaders in the REAL food market place. Here is the story…
We placed our order for day-old turkeys last October. At the end of June we were sent 100 with the promise of the 350 coming the following week. They didn't show. After calling 17 hatcheries and no luck I was told that disease at many of the hatcheries had caused a low hatching rate and only the large orders were filled, not the little guys' orders like mine. Now I am not a victim. I slept on it for 2 weeks and trusted something would show up. 3am (when I get most of my ideas) I woke up and had a potential solution. I would call my competition. I would ask them to sell me 6 to 7 week old birds. Now the problem with this is that the hardest part of turkey raising is the first month. After that it is all turkiness in the pasture and easy. So this was a long shot. But I have no fear (that is how I ended up farming in the first place) and I would help out a struggling new farmer so… I made the calls, 3 of them - left messages then sent e-mails. The communication was short and specific and well, yes, I begged. Within 10 minutes I had 3 answers. For all of you that know me I sat in front of my computer reading the e-mails as they came in one after the other and cried. All three were short and concise “Happy to help.” I went with the first one to respond, Bill Niman and Steve Clausen, because that seemed like the right thing to do. Someone else might have tried to negotiate between them but to me a gift is to be accepted with grace and gratitude…(I offered marriage when I spoke to Bill the first time even though my husband and Bill's beautiful wife, Nicolette would probably have rolled their eyes…I was so happy. He graciously declined by the way).
I am proud to be part of an industry that takes care of its junior partners and I will be honored to do the same in the future hoping to live up to their easy way of showing Leadership and Vision…Happy to Help! We now have 350 seven week old turkeys lazing in the field enjoying the sun. Come visit and don't forget to place your order for turkey!
Your Farmer,
Tara Smith