Today’s guest is Bill Carriere of Carriere Family Farms in California. Bill is a fourth-generation farmer who grew up on the family farm in Glenn California, which is located in the Sacramento Valley. The family business is over 125 years old, with ten family members currently involved. Carriere Farm grows walnuts, almonds, rice, and oil olives. They also operate two walnut hauling and drying facilities, a custom farming operation, and a walnut processing plant, which processes and markets walnuts for 85 local growers, as well as their own. They also distribute around the world.
Bill’s background includes a degree from the University of California Davis. After earning a BS in agricultural economics, he returned to work on the family farm, working his way up from farm laborer to ranch manager, controller, and finally to president and CEO of the business. In this capacity, he’s focused on growing and diversifying the family business.
Bill is also a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program, a Glenn County Planning Commissioner, a member of the California Walnut Board, and is the Secretary of the Enloe Hospital Board of Trustees. With all of that going on, he does have some time to enjoy hunting, golf, baseball, and spending time with his family. In this episode, we talk to Bill about the dynamics of family enterprises and how these are playing out between the different generations in the Carriere line as they steer the ship of the business together. Tune in to get it all!
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
- An introduction to the rich history of Bill’s family and their connection to farming.
- How Carriere farms grew, involved other family members, and became vertically integrated.
- Why California is a good climate for growing walnuts and how big the US contribution is.
- How Bill has gotten through the many droughts in California and secured enough water for farming.
- The story behind how Bill ended up getting pulled into the family business.
- Discussing the dynamics of family enterprises and how these played out between the generations.
- Whether Bill feels pressure to succeed in the business and how he deals with this.
- How Bill is sharing the responsibility and involving his cousins in the business.
- Different strategies that were experimented with for how to run the business as a large family team.
- Events and functions that the family holds to get everybody together and continue the tradition.
- Whether the Carriers are a family who owns a business, or a business that benefits the family.
- What conversations the family is having around the next generation stepping into leadership roles.
- How Bill handles the trade-off between training family members elsewhere and the risk of them not coming back.
- Final words of wisdom from Bill for people who are scaling family businesses.