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First:

Ben

Last:

Lahr

Co-Applicant / Spouse:

Jamie Lahr

Phone:

(813) 716-9754

Email:

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Past and present farming experience:

Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates 6/1/09 – Present Tampa, Florida
Production Specialist – Grower Liaison – Crop Production Specialist II
I had been responsible for forecasting all berries; Blackberry, Raspberry, Blueberry and Strawberry in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey and Michigan. I have traveled to each area and worked with growers to communicate continuously with sales the daily, weekly and extended forecasts for the season. Each area presents different challenges and opportunities which creates a different working environment for each area. As each berry and berry grower is different, I must be able take on any challenges that arise at any time and see them through to completion. I have dealt with logistics, fruit QA, packaging, sales, food safety and production management in all regions and work very closely with my team in other departments as well. I have built, set and monitored traps for SWD and then updated and recommended actions to growers regarding SWD in fields. I oversee weekly meetings with growers and sales and try to resolve any issues that either party may have such as payments to growers, price of fruit, truck scheduling to pesticide use forms. I have also been able to travel outside of my specific regions to interact with Driscoll’s Growers on the West Coast from Canada to Mexico. I spend most of my time with growers in the field or generating reports for weekly meeting updates. In addition to field work, I am responsible for grower information to be collected and entered and distributed as necessary to various departments. I participate in industry events throughout the year. I served as the President of the Eastern Region Sustainability Team for Driscoll’s from September 2011-2012. At the end of the 2014-2015 strawberry season I worked with my colleagues to successfully set up a process deal for both juice and frozen strawberries in FL.

Diageo Chateau and Estate Wines 6/30/07- 4/30/09 Hollister, California
Assistant Grower Relations
I was responsible for covering various grape growing districts in California, which have included Districts 7, 8, 11, 13, and 17. My primary duties involved developing and continuing relationships with growers for the benefit of Diageo’s Supply and Demand needs. I assisted Supply and Demand with the execution of their project strategies by acquiring and/or selling grapes at the highest value to Diageo. As part of this task, I worked with growers to develop farming plans to increase grape quality and maintain communication with growers and winemaking for quick conflict resolution. I also worked to ensure that grapes are harvested at optimum quality as determined by vine health, weather conditions, juice chemistry, flavor profiles, and winery capacity. This involves working closely with growers, winemakers, the Senior Grower Relations Manager, and Diageo harvest schedulers. I was also involved with the hiring, training, and management of seasonal vineyard samplers. I coordinated and participated in wine/juice tastings and vineyard visits with both growers and winemakers. I initiated the implementation and maintenance of GPS units for Grower Relations and Winemaking along with maintaining map books, thereby increasing the efficiency of time spent in the field. I also participated in at least 40 hours of industry and symposia-related education each year to increase my knowledge of industry competitors, market conditions, vineyard practices, and other industry criteria.

Meridian Winery 11/21/05 – 6/20/07 Paso Robles, California
Enologist
Daily activities included previous responsibilities as a Seasonal Enologist as well as wine and juice tasting, competitor awareness, assisting with quality control inventories at outside storage facilities, and researching new developments in winemaking. Further education includes an “Introduction to Sensory Evaluation of Wine” course at UC Davis, as well as the Unified Grape Symposium in Sacramento. Computer programs used are TankNet, Impromptu, and Monarch. Special projects include the coordination of safety tours at E&J Gallo winery in Livingston for several Fosters Wine Estates America wineries. I also worked on creating a truck rinse station for Meridian and served as the Zero Harm Committee representative for Winemaking, Tracking/Compliance, Wine Information, and Grower Relations. Additional qualifications include training in the Lab, Cellar, and Barrel Room for several months and licensure as temporary Weighmaster during the 2006 harvest. In addition to standard safety training, I also completed my forklift and respirator use certification courses.

Meridian Winery 9/6/05 - 11/20/05 Paso Robles, California
Seasonal Enologist
Primary duties included data entry, work order generation, and processing. Aspects involved with daily activities were AS 400, Watchlog, Daily Plan, Lab Analysis Sheets, Kronos, and Excel. I was responsible for tank board updates and assignment of tank moves and racks. I also assisted Tracking with shipping. Other work included tank fermentation progress checks and resolving troubled fermentations by communicating with cellar crews.

E&J Gallo Winery 7/6/04 - 10/14/04 Livingston, California
Grower Relations Internship
Main responsibilities for the Livingston Winery included work at the test stand as a Grape Inspector where I determined fruit quality and program categorization. I also interfaced regularly with growers during vineyard data collection used to determine harvest dates. This data collection included pest monitoring, brixing, berry sensory, and canopy assessment. Additionally, I was invited to assist with the Pilot Winery in Livingston and then the Research Winery as well as the Chemistry Lab in Modesto.

Gallo of Sonoma 6/25/03 - 12/12/03 Healdsburg, California
Research and Development in Viticulture Internship
This internship was spent familiarizing myself with vineyard operations in a variety of ways, including field as well as office work. During this time, I performed my own research projects and assisted others with ongoing projects. Some of these projects involved the management of interns during data collection at my experiment blocks. My participation in individual and ongoing data collection included bunch/shoot counts, thinning, berry sampling, brixing, harvesting, seed extraction, and pruning. Additional internship duties included courier, irrigation injections, soil sampling, shoot lengths, pressure bombing, and the supervision of Spanish-speaking field crews. In the office, I was proficient on programs such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Access, GPS Pathfinder Office 2.90, and ArcView GIS 3.2a.
I enjoy the outdoors and frequently spend weekends hunting, fishing, or backpacking. I was a certified Wilderness EMT at Allan Hancock College. I grew up on my family’s cattle ranch in Los Alamos, California helping with operations.

2001 - 2005 California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, CA
B.S. in Agricultural Systems Management.
B.S. in Wine and Viticulture with a Wine Business concentration.
Agricultural Business Minor.

2000 - 2001 University of Montana Missoula, MT
Wildlife Biology concentrating on Environmental Law
My goal was to help mitigate endangered species problems in California, particularly in regards to the development of vineyards on my family’s property. After realizing that the problems regarding vineyard development were not biological, I decided to change my field of study.
1999 - 2000 Allan Hancock College Santa Maria, CA
General Education
I was published for one of several essays regarding the endangered California Tiger Salamander and its impact on local agriculture.

Counties being considered:
  • Androscoggin County
  • Aroostook County
  • Cumberland County
  • Franklin County
  • Hancock County
  • Kennebec County
  • Knox County
  • Lincoln County
  • Oxford County
  • Penobscot County
  • Piscataquis County
  • Sagadahoc County
  • Somerset County
  • Waldo County
  • Washington County
  • York County

Types of enterprises considered:
  • Apple/Fruit
  • Beef
  • Berries
  • Christmas Trees
  • Flowers
  • Goats
  • Greenhouse
  • Herbs
  • Horses
  • Livestock
  • Nursery
  • Ornamentals
  • Poultry
  • Sugaring
  • Vegetables

Total Acres Desired:

Any

Tillable Acres:

Any

Wooded acres:

Any

Acres in Pasture:

Any

Acres in Pasture:

Any

Acres in Orchard/Fruit/Perennials:

Any

Organic:
  • Yes
  • No
  • Doesn't matter

Arrangement(s) considered
  • Work to Own (Gradual Transfer of Responsibility & Farm Assests)
  • Partnership
  • Joint Venture with eventual sale
  • Farm Manager
  • Apprentice with a Farm Owner for a year or more

I am interested in farms with Conservation Easements:
  • Yes
  • No

Here is a summary of the vision for my farming future and/or business plan:

Learn operations from existing grower or farmer. Start / continue operations into the future as the leading partner.