Greater Allegheny students produce business plan for 'Farm Kings'

Joe King, eldest child and patriarch of the King family, made famous by their television show, "Farm Kings," visited the Penn State Greater Allegheny campus April 30.

King came to the campus not as a celebrity, but as a co-owner and partner of Freedom Farms, the business enterprise upon which "Farm Kings" is based. The students of BA 422W, Strategic Business Planning, have spent the semester performing an in-depth study of the business strategies of Freedom Farms, including Freedom Farms Café and Carryout, Boldy’s Bakery, the farm markets and the farm itself. 

"We always try new things," Joe King said. "They don’t always work, but they are all successful because even if they don’t work out, you learn something.”

Strategic Business Planning is the capstone course of the bachelor of science in business program. It’s taught by Michelle Hough, associate professor of business. Hough is a regular customer of Freedom Farms Café and Carryout. She approached King about working with her students earlier this year. “The students enjoy working with real businesses in a service-learning context. I thought Freedom Farms would be perfect for our class to study,” she said. “It’s a local business doing a lot of great things, including launching a popular television show. The Kings have been amazing in opening their business to us and giving us an unprecedented view into the strategic management of this ever-growing diversified business.”

On Tuesday, the students presented their findings to King, along with suggestions on how to improve the growing family business. They offered suggestions such as a new vision statement, new mission statement, ways to grow the company and suggestions for customer retention. One suggestion was that the Kings bring together all of their business into one place, creating a one-stop shop. Other ideas included offering catering, holding events to attract new customers and showcasing their all-natural foods. One of the students’ most valuable contributions was to make an organizational chart to better divide responsibilities among the key areas of the business.

Freedom Farms is already a successful business, but King is always looking for ways to improve.  He said, "We always try new things. They don’t always work, but they are all successful because even if they don’t work out, you learn something.”

The students presented King with a 65-page business plan. King said, “I want to thank you for all of your work. These suggestions will certainly help me in my effort to be an educated farmer.” 

"Farm Kings" follows the King family as they battle the elements — and each other — to provide the Pittsburgh region with fresh, high-quality produce and meats. According to the Great American Country TV website, “Joe, the oldest of the 10 King kids, manages brothers Tim, the head of produce, Pete, the ‘Human Harvester,’ Dan, the passionate wannabe-partner, and mom Lisa, to make sure the work gets done on a daily basis.”

“I am so proud of the students, who embraced this project, working on every aspect of business strategy. They logged more than 600 hours of work,” said Hough, noting that the students are all graduating seniors.
 

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Last Updated April 30, 2013