- Category: News
- Published: Tuesday, 23 April 2019 19:34
- Written by Jack Wilbur
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Sixth generation farmer takes 150 year old farm in new direction
Kara Lewis of Glen Ray’s Corn Maze, a Utah’s Own member company in Spanish Fork, won the business pitch grant competition at the 4th Annual Women’s Entrepreneurial Conference (WEC) Held April 17, 2019 in Holladay, Utah.
"The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is committed to supporting our producers and industry partners. This grant will be put to good use by Kara Lewis and I am looking forward to seeing the growth in her business in the coming year," said Kerry Gibson, Commissioner, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
“Winning a $5,000 WEC grant will help our family business expand into more seasons and allow us to continue to share more than one hundred years of farming with families in the community for generations to come,” said Lewis. “Helping to preserve agriculture in our area has become a passion of mine and this grant will allow us to create an outdoor interactive classroom that families and school groups can visit to learn about agriculture and where their food comes.”
Lewis’ father, Rex Larsen, runs the farming operation, while Lewis, her husband and their four children run the agri-tourism side. Lewis is the 6th generation of the family to farm in the same location. Along with the corn maze and pumpkin patch, the family grows certified seed barley, certified weed-free alfalfa, and corn for grain. They also raise beef cattle.
In 2017 Lewis and her family moved back to the family farm. She said she has seen several farms in the area sell out to development.
“It is a difficult time to be a farmer right now as prices of crops and livestock are depressed while expenses continue to rise. I could see that the thought of having to sell the family farm to development was causing a considerable amount of stress to my father,” Lewis said.
It was at that point they started the corn maze and pumpkin patch to earn additional money and make it worth keeping the land in farming. The family farms about 300 acres and uses about 20 acres for the tourism business. Learn more about the family farm and business at https://glenrayscornmaze.com/about/
The Women’s Entrepreneurial Conference, co-presented by Women’s Business Center of Utah (https://wbcutah.org/), Utah Women’s Networking Group (https://www.utwng.com/) and Utah’s Own (https://www.utahsown.org/), is a one-day educational conference for women business owners which provides an opportunity to gather, develop entrepreneurial skills, access resources and build relationships in order to run more profitable and scalable businesses. The conference is a fundraiser for an annual grant competition which wraps up at the conference where attendees get to hear competition finalists pitch live for the top grants awards.
Pitches were focused on their opportunities, how they would spend a $5,000 grant and what the potential for growth could be. Two pitch rounds were held leading up to the conference and six finalists pitched live at the last session of the conference.