Harn grew up spending his summers working on the family’s farms in Emmetsburg, Iowa. At that time, farming was a 24/7 job feeding livestock, cultivating crops, walking beans and fixing things that broke. “While my career has taken many different paths, my reverence for farmers, farming and Iowa left an indelible mark on me, one I would come back to 40 years later.”
After receiving an undergraduate degree in music at Colorado College, the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York and music graduate studies at the University of Iowa, Harn moved to California and began his career writing and producing music. His music credits include film scores, radio and TV commercials, a production music library, children’s music and an opera. He has worked with artists such as George Winston, Will Ackerman, Mimi Feriña and many others.
From music, Harn went into broadcast technology doing user interface design, business and product development in digital audio and video. He has worked as sales and marketing director and VP for companies like Autocue, Avid, Harris and Pinnacle in markets around the world. He holds patents and copyrights in user interface design and music.
After the sale of his last technology company, he returned to his Iowa roots and went into his family’s farming business with the intent to transition the farms from conventional genetically modified corn and soybean farming to organics. Soper Farms now farms organic row crops that include a rotation of corn, alfalfa and oats, as well as GMO corn & soybeans. It is a unique perspective that has enabled Harn to understand the challenges inherent in both farming models and to craft a path from conventional farming to organic. He currently has started a private equity group, Sustainable Farm Partners, LLP, funding the conversion of conventional farmland to sustainable organic farmland, a process that connects the investment community with like-minded organic farmers.
Harn sits on the boards of the Organic Farm Research Foundation
and Vida Verde
, and works with food industry leaders to address the supply issues for non-GMO grains in the food supply chain.
“How, where and what we farm today impacts every level of our society, economy and environment. As a global community, we have to get this right and rebuild a secure and healthy food system.”
February 20, 2015
Harn Soper, Founder & General Partner of Sustainable Farm Partners, talks about the three legs of sustainable farming - social, economic, environmental - and the growing demand for organic food.