Uncommon Business
Uncommon Business
Raising Soil with Cory Carman
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Raising Soil with Cory Carman

A conversation with rancher and entrepreneur Cory Carman, CEO of Carman Ranch

Hey everyone -

Peter here with Episode 2 of Uncommon Business, our show about unique businesses and leaders who do things differently. 

Today our podcast guest is Cory Carman. Cory is a rancher, entrepreneur, innovator, parent, and the CEO of Carman Ranch, a regenerative cattle and meat company in Eastern Oregon.

You can listen to the episode right here in Substack, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or in the podcast player of your choice.

Photo from Cory’s LinkedIn page

Cory is a female leader in a historically male-dominated industry (however, as Cory points out in the episode, there are and historically have been more women in ranching than one might assume). What’s actually even more trailblazing about Carman Ranch is Cory’s holistic approach to running a truly regenerative company.

Cory says that she is in the business of raising soil, not just cattle. Soil health underlies everything - from the resilience of our ecosystem to the nutritional density of the food we consume, and Carman Ranch operates with that in mind.

One reason we are excited to have Cory on the show is because she does things differently, which is the theme of this show. Cory doesn’t care about conventional thinking and is more than happy to spend her time working toward a future that she sees as common sense but others see as risky or naive. She is also comfortable holding unpopular opinions, not because she is a contrarian, but because she thinks for herself.

This conversation gets into the weeds! Cory gets specific on how she runs her business, the ranching industry, the impact of our food choices, how she capitalized her business, what she is working on as a leader, and much much more.

As you'll see in this episode, Cory is a nuanced thinker. She doesn't think in black-and-white terms, which makes her refreshing to listen to.

Cory joined me from her office on the ranch. Notice the bridles in the background.

TOPICS WE DISCUSSED:

  • [00:00] Introduction

  • [02:43] Cory's Spotted Owl Paper at Stanford

  • [05:51] Unconventional thinking and staying focused on her mission

  • [7:50] Cory's life and work on the ranch and background on the business

  • [11:00] What Cory learned from her grandmother Ruth

  • [13:20] Women in ranching 

  • [16:48] Carman Ranch’s competitive advantage

  • [18:00] Factory farming and commodity beef vs. other approaches

  • [23:00] Policy and Regulatory landscape

  • [28:00] Can you buy good meat at Whole Foods + general discussion about the impact of our food choices

  • [30:00] Is vegetarianism/veganism in the name of climate change misguided?

  • [35:12] “Raising Soil” - Using cattle for ecological health and regenerative agriculture.

  • [37:45] What is regenerative agriculture anyway?

  • [39:00] The nutritional and taste differences of grass-fed vs grain-fed beef

  • [46:00] Slaughter and processing overview

  • [49:17] Complexity and challenges in the processing industry

  • [52:00] Carman Ranch’s business model

  • [53:25] Carman’s ranch’s partnerships with other producers

  • [56:20] Financing Carman Ranch with mission-aligned investments and the structure and terms of those investments

  • [1:02:00] Carman Ranch’s financial performance

  • [1:03:40] Challenges that Carman Ranch is dealing with right now

  • [1:08:00] What Cory cooks with her ground beef

  • [1:08:50] Carman Ranch’s direct-to-consumer business

  • [1:10:40] What Cory is working on as a leader

  • [1:13:00] Cory’s role models/inspirations

  • [1:14:00] Cory’s parenting style and philosophy

  • [1:17:50] Should we rethink child labor laws?

  • [1:20:25] Rural values

  • [1:22:00] Book recommendations

  • [1:23:15] Cory’s favorite vacation spots + Eastern Oregon recommendations

  • [1:25:45] Cory’s favorite dinners

  • [1:27:00] Where to buy Carman Ranch’s products

  • [1:28:00] Post-interview debrief with Peter and Keeley

ABOUT CORY CARMAN:


Please help this interview reach more people by rating it on Spotify and Apple or by sharing it with others.

We would love your feedback, comments, and questions. Please leave a comment directly on the post or email us at hello@lumogroup.co.

Thank you!

Peter & Keeley
Partners, Lumo Group

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