Larry was raised on a family-owned dairy farm in Wisconsin — so you’d think farming would have been a natural career choice for Larry. In fact, it wasn’t. After completing college he set off on his own and became a CPA.
A series of life-changing events in 1981 brought Larry back to agriculture and into a partnership in a small produce business (Alsum Produce) that repackaged potatoes and onions. By 1989 he was in a joint-venture farming deal for 3 years, and then in 1992 he started the 750-acre Alsum Farms, Inc. Today, Alsum Farms & Produce, Inc is packing and marketing over 1.8 million cwt of potatoes. The farming operation has expanded to 1,900 acres of fresh market potatoes including russets, reds, golds, whites, and fingerlings.
Alsum Farms is very involved in Wisconsin’s Potato Sustainability program, “Healthy Grown®”. Larry says it isn’t always easy, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. “As we became more involved in farming, I realized that the decisions we made as farmers were intricately linked to the environment beyond our farms,” he explained. “It’s a great learning opportunity. Being part of Healthy Grown® has really helped me understand what I’m doing as a farmer, why I’m doing what I’m doing, and the impact my decisions have on the environment and people who work with me.”
Larry and his wife, Paula, have been married for 37 years. They have five children: Timothy, Heidi, Wendy, Chad and Noah. They also have six grandchildren. Four of the children work in the business as IT manager, marketing manager, financial analyst, and in the packing shed. The youngest is still in grade school, but enjoys the trips to the farm to help. Farming and the produce industry offers lots of challenges and opportunities and it is exciting to have our family involved in so many aspects of the farm and business.