About The Lent Burden Farming, Inc. Team
Lent Burden Farming Company (LBFC) was formed in 1993. Gordon Lent had recently retired from Pacific Coast Farms where he was responsible for managing the agricultural portfolio for Hancock Insurance Company. Lent approached Mike Burden, owner of Burden Farming Company, to form Lent Burden Farming Company geared toward the development of land to permanent crops. At the time, Burden was farming over 500 acres and had developed several hundred acres of vineyards and orchards for clients, including Hancock.
Between 1993 and 1999, LBFC developed over 5,000 acres into almond orchards, walnut orchards and wine grape vineyards. LBFC also managed the farming operations on a continuing basis after development. In 1999, LBFC developed its first multi-investor partnership in the form of a 400 acre almond orchard, Sandy Hills Ranch, LLC. Dennis Wittchow, recently retired after selling his interest in a large vegetable dehydration company, became the major investor and president of the LLC. Wittchow also invested in the next two partnerships formed by LBFC in 2000 and 2002.
In 2003, Lent Burden Farming, Inc. (LBFI), was formed when Wittchow was invited to be a partner. In 2015, LBFI and LBFC merged with LBFI as the surviving entity. Mr. Lent passed away in 2015. LBFI is currently owned by Mike Burden and Dennis Wittchow. Brock Boysen was promoted from Director of Operations to President in 2016.
Michael R. Burden
Mr. Burden is a co-founder of Lent Burden Farming with Gordon Lent. Born and raised on a walnut ranch, Burden has been active in production agriculture his entire life.
As co-owner and partner, Burden serves primarily in an advisory capacity to Boysen and Wittchow. Mike is also owner of Burden Farming Company which provides grape harvesting services for all vineyards managed by LBFI. A graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, with a Bachelor of Science in Fruit Science, Burden also studied Pomology at University of California, Davis.
Mr. Wittchow is CEO/Managing Partner of Lent Burden Farming, Inc. having joined LBFI in 2003. Born and raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, Wittchow graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a Bachelor of Business Administration. His service in the US Army Transportation Corps. from 1965-1967 included one year as a Company Commander (1LT.) in Vietnam.
Prior to joining LBFI, Wittchow worked over 22 years in the dehydrated vegetable business serving the last nine years as CEO of Basic Vegetable Products. During his tenure, he was involved in all facets of a vertically integrated agribusiness. Activities included seed variety development, fresh produce production and sales, dehydration/processing and sales/marketing of the finished product to the worldwide food ingredient industry.
Relying on President Brock Boysen for management of farming activities, Wittchow’s primary focus is on managing the non-farming activities of LBFI. He is directly involved in land acquisition, investor relations, banking relationships and financial management, as well as oversight of administrative functions. Wittchow is also a licensed real estate agent.
Brock was born and raised near Linden, CA, a small farming community 10 miles east of Stockton. During high school and one year at Delta Junior College, he worked in orchards and vineyards for his brother-in-law. After Delta, he headed south to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he studied Fruit Science with a concentration in Vineyard and Orchard Management and achieved a BS degree. During college, Brock worked on his family’s Sycamore Canyon Dairy near San Luis Obispo.
After graduation in 1999, Brock was hired by Lent Burden Farming to work for its client, VA Rodden Inc. He worked under the direct supervision of Mike Burden but also worked closely with the owners at VAR. Soon Brock was promoted to Farm Manager and worked in that position for more than 12 years with steadily increasing responsibilities. He was promoted to Director of Operations in 2015 and to President in 2016.
Brock is responsible for all farming operations on over five thousand acres of orchards and vineyards managed by Lent Burden Farming, Inc.