Sea Changes on the Farm: Al Tank on the New Order of Ag

Interview by Jamie Hardy

We recently caught up with farm visionary Al Tank to talk about how the pandemic brought the industry to its knees, where he thinks we’re headed, and how data & technology play into its new trajectory. Al is an entrepreneur with a wide and varied career spanning agriculture, energy, and sustainability, all related to food. He grew up on a no-till farm in eastern Iowa that he still works today with his brother. He’s also an investor, strategic advisor, and board member at several global ag companies. In the past, he traded corn and soybeans as a hedge broker in the commodities market and worked in Washington DC as a lobbyist. He headed international trade for the National Pork Producers Council where after rising to CEO, he played a major role with the successful “Pork, the Other White Meat” marketing campaign, an accomplishment that’s earned him rockstar status in some circles. With his own company, Revolution Energy Solutions, he created renewable energy programs including an early swine waste-to-energy project in North Carolina that’s still in operation. We spoke in May, 2020, right when the pandemic hit and started to wreak havoc on agricultural supply chains.

Soybeans at blossom stage in midsummer 2019 at the Tank family farm. (courtesy Al Tank)
Planting no-till soybeans into last year’s corn stubble with cover crop. (courtesy Al Tank)
Restored native Iowa prairie. (courtesy Al Tank)
Al (right) with his brother Jeff and the new generation on the family farm in Iowa during corn harvest, 2019. (courtesy Al Tank)

Natural Resource Management

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