Woolf Farming Company, a privately owned family farm in California’s Central Valley, found their business threatened by a lack of water pumps brought by a combination of drought, poor quality well water and surface water due to non-availability of government-imposed restrictions. Woolf had crops for more than 30 years, but this was the first time she suffered a water shortage so severe that plants had to be abandoned on the field. Even if it short-term relief in … Read more »

Woolf Farming Company, a privately owned family farm in California’s Central Valley, found their business threatened by a lack of water pumps brought by a combination of drought, poor quality well water and surface water due to non-availability of government-imposed restrictions. Woolf had crops for more than 30 years, but this was the first time she suffered a water shortage so severe that plants had to be abandoned on the field. Even if it short-term relief in the form of an increased allocation of water from the government, Woolf was concerned about water reliability and the need for additional infrastructure to offer-term security of water supply in the region. If convinced that the water problem would be solved, then Woolf should move quickly to more land, which is currently available for purchase from distressed prices available. But some board members questioned the logic of the additional investment in the region whose resources were so unsure and wondered if it was wiser to pursue growth elsewhere. At the same time some Woolf owners began to believe that more resources of the company for dividends and other distributions should be prioritized to receive pure growth. What, if anything, Woolf and other farmers could do to affect the outcome?
«Hide

from
David E. Bell
Laura Winig,
Mary Shelman
Source: Harvard Business School
31 pages.
Release Date: 8 December 2009. Prod #: 510033-PDF-ENG
Woolf farming and processing HBR case solution