On occasion, most of us have encountered someone who has an ongoing love affair with what might charitably be called “business semantics.”

For some of us, it’s a daily occurrence, and the label we use to describe such utterances has the same initials, but a totally different meaning.

Phrases like, “cascading relevant data system-wide” (talking to each other), or “rightsizing overall human resources” (layoffs), or “leveraging best-of-breed practices” (doing things right) are not only annoying as heck but generally serve to obfuscate, rather than illuminate, our conversational interactions.

See what I did there?

Along those lines, here’s a tale that reads in part like California Cool meets Millennial Mogul — but with a positive message, and a happy ending.

Consider a few excerpts from the story, as published in the Point Reyes Light, a weekly newspaper in Marin County north of San Francisco:

“While honeymooning in Switzerland last summer, Claire Herminjard and David Evans found themselves bombarded with messages about their respective meat businesses back home,” the article began. “Ms. Herminjard, CEO of Mindful Meats, and Mr. Evans, CEO of Marin Sun Farms, then had a lightbulb moment.”

Not that a lightbulb literally flashed in front of them, but you get the idea.

“When the newlyweds returned from their honeymoon, they began ‘grilling each other’ on what a merger would look like.”

At least the writer had the good graces to put that bad pun in quotes.

A Mindful Merger
Fast forward to January this year, and the couple not only “merged” their private lives, but their business operations, as well. Herminjard became co-executive of Marin Sun Farms, which Evans, a fourth-generation rancher, founded in 1999 and built into a successful regional meat company that owns and operates an organic packing plant in Petaluma, Calif.

Herminjard, meanwhile, had established Mindful Meats in 2013 “with the intent of providing organic and hormone- and GMO-free beef” sourced from half a dozen small producers in the area. As the article stated, the “critical component” in the merger (that “lightbulb moment”) was access to Marin Sun Farm’s packing plant, which will allow Mindful Meats to continue as a separate brand but gain access to Marin Sun Farms’ distribution fleet.

Standard stuff for most business mergers, right?

Now for the interesting part.

Evans said he is going to follow his wife’s lead in committing to the “dual purposing of animals,” according to the article.

What does that mean in English?

Harvesting dairy cows.

“Essentially, these types of livestock are older in age and have traditionally been looked at as not as good as animals who have been raised specially (sic) as younger, single-purpose meat animals,” Herminjard told the reporter. “We are upcycling these dual-purpose animals, showing that there is a lot of value in them as good food produced by our community for our community.”

You gotta love it. When was the last time anyone in animal agriculture talked about “upcycling” their “dual-purpose animals?”

Look, I wish the newlyweds well with their lightbulb-inspired merger; the industry needs more entrepreneurs like them.

And I can’t wait for the next news story about how they’re “right-sizing” their dual-purpose herds while prioritizing implementation of “best of breed” management tactics.

Something for their customers to ponder as they pay for that package of hamburger.


The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, a veteran journalist and commentator