By Andrew Jenner on August 29, 2014 in Modern Farmer
In 2010, a young man on a quest for enlightenment walked into the office of Jerry Hatfield, director of the USDA’s National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa. His name was John Kempf, and he was eager to learn more about Hatfield’s plant physiology work, which deals with the complicated interactions of plants, soils and the atmosphere.
The two talked agronomy for several hours before Hatfield sent Kempf on his way with a stack of literature to devour. The visit was just one of many steps on Kempf’s journey, which had begun six years earlier in a blighted cantaloupe patch. Desperate to rescue his family farm from worsening disease and pest problems, Kempf dove into deep-end science, looking for solutions he couldn’t find in the conventional farming playbook.
In the process, Kempf became a staple on the alternative-ag lecture circuit and the CEO of a rapidly growing consulting firm that his followers hail as the next best thing in sustainable, profitable agriculture. The most hopeful even say that he and his company offer a glimpse of a better farming future, uniting the best that our various schools of agricultural thought have to offer.
Kempf is just 26 years old. He is also Amish, and has only an eighth grade education. Read more >>>>>