David L. Brunner earned his MBA
from Stanford GSB in 1981.
Do you make money from the farm in
ways other than agriculture? We have
around 1,000 acres of sustainably managed
forests. That’s a contributor in years when
we harvest logs and firewood. We also
have a couple of long-term rental properties
on the farm and a short-term farm-stay
program that brings visitors who stay for
anywhere from a weekend to several weeks.
Finally, we make long-term investments
in agriculture, renewable energy projects,
and new regional businesses.
Does that put you in the marketing
business as well? Part of our mission is to
restore the connection bet ween people and
their food, and you do have to pay attention
to customer development, service, and
logistics. Social media helps with getting our
message out. We also host events, including
five this summer that brought more than
4,000 visitors to Asgaard. That develops our
customer base and fulfills our mission. It all
helps. Profit margins are very thin,
so you have to be the best operator you can.
Any ancillary benefits for your family?
You have to be joking. Last night, Rhonda
and I were deciding whether to have
dinner or just graze. We stopped by the
garden and got a couple of ears of corn and
some lettuce, then stopped by the freezer
room and picked out steaks, grabbed some
cheese from the cooler, and came back and
ate. Now if that’s not wealth, I don’t know
Any regrets? I guess we don’t go on as
many vacations as most people. But to be
honest, I like being here. I like the intellectual
challenge and the daily work.
Any lessons from Stanford that have
proved especially helpful? I had an
organizational behavior class where
a visiting professor from Brigham Young
passed along the strong message that you
have to rely on yourself to figure out
what to do. And above all, be passionate
about what you’re doing. Δ
DAVID L. BRUNNER
“Our motivation was