Baugher Ranch Organics

Helping Second Generation Ownership Define Their Mission

Baugher Ranch Organics is the largest handler and processor of organic almonds in the United States, but it wasn’t always that way. The company got its start when the extended family divided a larger family operation, leaving Chris and Marcie Baugher with 130 acres of conventional almonds. Moved by a strong and persistent commitment to growing by sustainable and healthy practices, they decided to transition their acreage to organic in 1984.

Many warned that organic almonds would not be viable in the marketplace. The Baughers not only survived but thrived and long ago began encouraging other growers to consider organic production.  Today the company handles, processes, and markets organic almonds produced by growers throughout California’s almond growing regions and pasteurizes, roasts, dices, and slices organic almonds for ingredient buyers around the globe. With Chris and Marcie now retired, the company has transitioned successfully to the next generation of family ownership. 

Baugher Ranch Organics has experienced not only significant and rapid market expansion and sales growth but a transition in leadership and management. With many moving parts, the company wished to ensure that its ownership and key managers were aligned on the business’ purpose, ideals, and goals for both the near and long term. Toward that end, they reached out to Morrison & Company to facilitate a process to achieve this alignment and to create a new mission statement to convey their vision for the next chapter of Baugher Ranch Organics.

Morrison & Company served as facilitators and advisors in guiding the Baugher team to a unified outlook. The process began with individual interviews of each owner and key managers in all business functions including operations, sales and marketing, quality assurance, human resources, warehousing, and finance. The information from the interviews was “themed” (which involves identifying, recording, and assessing patterns or “themes” in data) to identify commonalities and differences and serve as a basis for discussion. The all-day group session that followed gave the new generation of ownership and management an opportunity to come to a mutual understanding of their goals and values, and to agree on principles to guide the business going forward.  

The Baugher team found that they had much in common in their aspirations for the company. The themed data from the interviews helped identify those commonalities as well as differences and the best paths to mutual agreement. By the end of the session, ownership and management had agreed on the key values that would guide them and developed a mission statement to encompass that vision. 

A properly designed mission statement is not a slogan or advertising tactic; it is a simple statement of principles that can be used to guide a company’s actions and decisions. The statement developed by the Baugher team, “To provide quality, organic almonds for the benefit of growers, customers, and employees while maintaining long-term business viability,” can be viewed as three simple questions that can be applied to almost any decision: 1) Does it help provide quality, organic almonds? 2) Does it benefit growers, customers, and employees? 3) Does it help maintain long-term business viability?  These ideals can be applied to decisions ranging from hiring, purchasing equipment, adding products and processes, recruiting new growers, or even things as simple as choosing a vendor of office supplies.  Most importantly, it conveys the essence of the company’s unified purpose.