Statement of Purpose:
Sustainable Farm Partners, LLP practices sustainable, organic farming. We are about stewardship. We focus on environmentally sound farm investments that provide strong long-term financial returns for both our operators and investors while strengthening our rural communities.
SFP, Sustainable Farm Partners LLP is a private equity partnership focused on acquiring high-quality conventional farmland and converting it to a sustainable organic status. Our program is designed to deliver a stable income to our investment partners in the fastest growing segment of the food industry, organic foods. In addition, farmland has also shown dramatic increases in value over the past 10 years.
To be successful at all levels of sustainability we work to simultaneously succeed in all three areas of triple-net investing: support of the Environment. Through our sustainable farming practices, investing in local rural communities to build a strong and vibrant Society and at all times, create growth and stability for our investors, farm operators and our Economy.
Sustainable Farm Partners, LLP offers our investors the security of having ownership in a most fundamental expression of Primary Wealth, farmland ownership. Ask yourself: “Where does everything we depend on in our lives come from?”
You are standing on the answer. The Earth. From below the soil comes the natural resources we depend on. From above the soil comes the food and shelter that we depend on to live. In farming terms, a farmer can work hard to raise a crop but if the land is deficient in essential nutrients and dependent on non-renewable resources to grow his crop, he is poor … hence the term “dirt poor”. If however, his land is rich in organic matter and his farming practice is sustainable and renews his soil, he is “soil rich”. This is the difference between soil and dirt. An unintended consequence of modern-day industrial farming practices is the tendency to turn what was once soil into dirt. SFP seeks higher, sustainable financial returns with a focus on purchasing quality farm ground and returning it to organically rich, productive soil.
Meet the Team
Our management team has a combined seven decades of organic, agricultural, business, entrepreneurial and investing experience. In addition to possessing unique skills, members on our team are organic practitioners with experience in all aspects of sustainable farming.
Founder & CEO, Director of Farm Management, General Partner
Harn is past president and current board member of Soper Farms Inc. Soper Farms is a 900-acre family century farm in northwest Iowa. Under his guidance, Soper Farms has transitioned their farms from conventional GM-based chemical farming to organic specializing in row crops. This perspective gives Harn a unique side-by-side understanding of multiple farming systems, their advantages and disadvantages.
Seeking further farm efficiencies, Harn was instrumental in conducting on-farm energy research including grants from the University of Northern Iowa Farm Energy Working Group. Teaming with Rich Schuler, MS Physics, and lecturer at the Iowa State University, they developed a prototype small-scale energy extracting system from an integrated aerobic and anaerobic compost system.
Harn graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music. As an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, his career covered music production and composing working with world-renowned musicians such as George Winston and Will Ackerman. As an early adopter in digital recording he expanded his focus towards digital audio/video technology and Internet asset security with Pinnacle Systems, Avid Technology, Harris Broadcast and numerous broadcasters worldwide including US broadcast and cable companies NBC, ABC, CNN and international media companies including TVB Hong Kong, the Australia Broadcast Corporation and the BBC and ITN in the United Kingdom.
Upon leaving the technology field Harn returned to the fields of Iowa focusing on his family farms and starting Sustainable Farm Partners. He now serves on the board of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and, through Green America, works with industry groups developing solutions to increase the availability of non-GMO and organic grains across the supply chain.
Fred Richardson, AAMS®, CRPC®
Director of Investors Relations, General Partner
Fred has had many titles and roles in his 35 years’ experience in business. After successfully becoming an electrical engineer from Santa Monica College he got involved in the development of computer storage devices and the early days of personal computers. As he moved up the corporate latter he then got involved in turning around companies like Wangtek and Cipher Data, positioning companies like Avail Systems for acquisition and founded his own consulting business that helped Digital Equipment and Quantum develop the marketing strategy that took the DLT computer tape backup technology from less than 100 million a year in sales to over one billion in five years making it the most successful computer tape technology in the world. During this time Fred traveled all over the world, being the chief spokesperson for DLT technology.
Fred then became a licensed Financial Advisor and Investment Advisor Representative. Currently holds the following licenses, Series 7, Series 66 and Series 24. In addition, he has the following designations from the College of Financial Planning of CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) and AAMS (Accredited Asset Management Specialist).
In 2016 Fred sold his financial services business and with his extensive background in finances and business development has now joined SFP to help them position SFP as the premiere sustainable farming LLP in the world.
Craig Brownlee is the principal in Brownlee Farm Management in Emmetsburg, Iowa with over 20,000 acres under his management. As a member of SFP’s management team, Craig He has over 35 years of farming and farm management experience in both industrial and organic agriculture. Brownlee also manages his family farms of 2,500 acres, and as a community leader, serves on numerous boards including Iowa Trust & Savings Bank and POET (producers of corn and cellulosic ethanol). Mr. Brownlee and Mr. Soper have worked together in farming for over 30 years.
The Partnership has established a Board of Advisors, which includes highly qualified business and industry professionals. The Board of Advisors will advise the Management team in making appropriate decisions and taking effective action. However, the Board of Advisors will not be responsible for Management decisions and has no legal or fiduciary responsibility to the Partnership. Currently there are three members on the Board of Advisors:
Jeff Moyer (Executive Director at Rodale Institute): Jeff is an expert in organic crop production systems including weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modifications and use, and he facilitates designs. He has helped countless farmers make the transition from conventional, chemical-based farming to organic and sustainable methods.
Jeff brings a farmer’s perspective and approach to issues in organic agriculture. He is a past Chair of the National Organic Standards Board, which assists the USDA and the Secretary of Agriculture in developing standards for materials to be used in organic production as well as advising on other aspects of implementing the National Organic Program. He is a member of the Leonardo Academy’s committee on sustainability, former board member of Organic Farming Research Foundation and a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic. Jeff’s work is featured in many articles including:
Dr. David C. Johnson (soil biologist): David has his PhD in Molecular Biology from New Mexico State University and consults on Molecular and Microbiology, specializing in soil system dynamics and the relationship between soil and plant physiology. Currently, David is conducting metagenomics analysis on soil microbial community structures for the development of agricultural management systems that improve soil fertility, mitigate atmospheric CO2 and reduce pollution resulting from conventional agriculture practices. He is featured in Kristin Ohlson’s book, The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet. He speaks internationally and has co-authored numerous scientific papers on subjects including composting and bio-hydrogen production.