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July 17, 2014 40 Under Forty 2014

Erin Pirro

Age: 35

Title at work/what I do: As a farm business consultant for Farm Credit East, I've been helping farmers and agriculturists, large and small, make their businesses run better since 2001. With a background in agricultural economics, my focus has been on benchmarking and profitability improvement because sustainability means economics, too! Good management is about choices, prioritization, and decisions. It's my job to give them the focus they need to prepare and manage with a plan, make informed management decisions with confidence, and achieve the goals they've set for their operation.  

I lead Farm Credit East's Agricultural Retail Benchmarks program. I work with a group of 50 progressive agriculturists to analyze financial and operational metrics to set industry standards, and use that information to focus my clients' strategic business planning. At home, my family raises and markets Connecticut grown lamb and wool products. Each spring, we provide shearing services for sheep, llamas, and alpacas.

Town where I work: Enfield

Town where I live: West Granby

College I attended: University of Connecticut

My passion, hobby or special talent: I'm probably the only sheep shearer you'll meet today!

Twitter handle: @clementine43

No. of LinkedIn connections: 287

Favorite place to network: Behind-the-scenes tours

Favorite drink at a networking event: Good local wine

How do I create connections in my professional life?

I get out there and get to know people. I ask questions, and pay attention to the answers. I become involved. I serve locally on the Granby Agricultural Commission, on the Connecticut Farm Bureau Board of Directors, and nationally as the chief financial officer for the American Society of Agricultural Consultants. I row for fun with the folks at Riverfront Recapture in Hartford, help run Open Farm Day in Granby, and coordinate Connecticut's Outstanding Young Farmer program.

What's been my biggest challenge professionally?

There's nothing like working with small family businesses, including your own! It's not uncommon to have six people around the table—and seven or eight directions in which they want to take the business. That's a challenge every day when you work with people who are as passionate about what they do as I am! I wouldn't trade it for anything.

What is the best advice I received?

In the agricultural field, we often hear “If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself.” One of my mentors stopped me in my tracks one day when he said, “That's absolutely true. But there will be times when you're training someone new, and they can only handle 20 percent of what you need them to do. Just remember, that's 20 percent more than you would have been able to accomplish on your own.” Training is short-term pain for long-term gain. If we make the time for it.

What do I want my legacy to be?

Agriculture is the oldest model of sustainability we have. A lot has changed in past 10 years. So we need to change with the world around us, and remember that sustainability means economics too. If my clients are successful at what they do – and they are still doing it in 20 years, then I will have done my part.

Check out the other 40 Under Forty for 2014 winners

Garrett Kenny

Vincenzo M. Landino

Heather Loranger

Ashley M. Maagero

Kim Margolis

Lindsey Mathieu

Tracy I. McKaveney

Ryan McKeen

Adam McLaughlin

H. Scott Miller

Alison Morris

Peter J. Murphy

Kristina Newman-Scott

Brandon Ojakian

Michelle M. Pandolfi

Ken Procino

Steven Raider-Ginsburg

Brian Rich

Matthew Ritter

Robert Ruffolo

Lindsay Ryan Jensen

Zachary Schwartz

Jarrett Solomon

Erica Ann Thompson

Jason J. Warnke

Tim Yergeau

Jennifer Young

Christopher R. Zito

McKinley Albert

Keshia Ashe

Dr. Jill Buban

Stephen Carrabba

Leticia Colon de Mejias

Erin M. Concepción

Molly Devanney

Jennifer R. Fiereck

Betsey Castle Gainey

Martin Gugliotti

Bryan Hall, II

Benjamin Howarth

Ashley (AJ) Johnson

Check out the Digital Edition of this year's 40 Under Forty.

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