Massena Farms: Business Model and Practices

This website is about scaling up natural and organic farms, ranches and gardens for retail sales in the Omaha Metropolitan Area. Starting on our Bennington farm, we will develop local grower/investor partnerships to finance expanded operations.

Next, we are proposing new employee-owned “ag service” cooperatives to improve the contract labor system in agriculture. The idea is to increase the number of well paid specialists in food production, processing and distribution.

We are planning community and neighborhood investor forums in Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa for both types of companies.

Simply eliminating chemicals and moving toward organic, Biodynamic and other “sustainable” methods is not enough for economic survival, primarily because the sales volume and prices paid by restaurant owners and farmers market patrons are not enough to build the economies of scale to compete with imported (non-local) organic and natural foods.

For example, Earth Bound Farms, Organic Valley and many others have the size and marketing power to dominate the retail space in the Omaha area. If we do not learn to compete for retail customers in our own trade area, we will never develop the economic strength to create living wage jobs and reclaim our soils, water and wildlife.

We are influenced by E.F. Shumacher, Wendell Berry, Woody Tasch and many others, including my late father, Bob Steffen.

 Bob Steffen, circa 1975

Dad was the farm manager for Father Flanagan at Boys Town for thirty years and a leader in developing large scale natural and organic farming methods for the Midwest. Our challenge now is to find the economies of scale that lie between Small is Beautiful and the realities of the established food system – all without ignoring the real needs of land, labor, capital and management.

Please contact me, Jim Steffen, at or 402-317-2639 to learn more about sustainable food systems.

Thank you.

Note: The pictures on this page are courtesy of the Boys Town Hall of History.

Updated 11/14/14, 01/12/15