Ten Acre Marketing's Leah Halverson Details Company's Start and Produce Marketing's Future
GRAND FORKS, ND - For many years, Leah Halverson has advocated for fresh marketing. Constantly inspired by the unique ways that produce and ag are talked about, she knew that her true calling lay in helping companies elevate their brand messaging and take their operations to the next level. The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ten Acre Marketing has learned a lot over the years, and I was eager to dig into her story.
“Like many in ag and produce, my career started when I was a kid. My family grows potatoes, so my first job was on the grading line, mowing ditches and weighing trucks. Fast forward to post-college, I started working at an ag-based ad agency. My initial intent was to get out of agriculture and find something bigger and better—but this industry kept pulling me back in, and I realized there really wasn’t anything bigger and better,” Leah told me.
While at the agency, Leah gained experience across multiple aspects of the industry, and her family farm, Black Gold Farms, became a client. As the company began to take marketing more seriously, Leah stepped into a full-time role at Black Gold Farms to manage it.
“I spent the next several years working on the farm brand, sales, business development, and really digging into the produce side of the industry,” she explained. “I was able to attend all of the events, participate in committees, and develop a network of amazing people. I loved seeing Black Gold Farms evolve and grow into new markets and elevate the brand and story.”
As her 40th birthday closed in, Leah took a hard look at what she wanted the trajectory of her career to look like and knew that starting her own marketing agency was her calling.
“That was in the winter of 2019, and now we’re 10 people strong,” she said with pride.
With Ten Acre’s growth on the rise, I asked Leah how the company continues to position itself as a partner for suppliers—and why produce marketing is so essential to the industry.
“Our number-one objective is to position brands to advance agriculture. It’s no longer about the bare minimum—we have to communicate innovation and sustainability to create excitement and to talk about farming in a completely different way that resonates with an audience who cares,” she noted. “The future is digital, the future is experience, and the future is doing the right thing. For farmers and produce, it’s no longer good enough to just get the produce to the right place at the right time. There needs to be a trail, there needs to be a reason and someone behind it.”
This speaks to a trend that Leah continues to see: the importance of where food comes from to those purchasing it.
“Farmers need to tell that story—for several reasons. First, consumers care. They are purpose-driven and want to do the right thing for their community and the environment. So, when a produce brand can tell that story, they have an advantage,” Leah emphasized. “The other reason is that customers, like retailers, processors, and foodservice, are being very selective on their vendors because they have stakeholders to be accountable to with respect to who they are sourcing from. That story matters.”
In essence, marketing—sharing that compelling story—will not only add value to your product, but connect you to similarly valued employees, a network, vendors, and other partners that will help elevate your business.
“Marketers are listening more closely to what consumers want instead of just pushing what they have. The health message will never go away, but that’s no longer super interesting. Now it’s about flavor, the experience, and the lifestyle,” Leah remarked.
We’ll continue to keep our fingers on the pulse of produce marketing, and we’re happy to have Leah there to guide us.