Christine Su - The Business of Healthy Grasslands - Mountain & Prairie Podcast
Christine Su is an entrepreneur and CEO of PastureMap, a Silicon Valley startup that creates cutting-edge ranch management software. PastureMap helps ranchers plan grazing, track forage, monitor herd performance, manage record keeping, and much more, all with the goal of saving ranchers time and making their operations more profitable. In the business of ranching—one that has not changed much in the past 100 years—PastureMap is a true breakthrough, and Christine’s innovative mindset and infectious enthusiasm are two of the root drivers of the company’s success.
Christine grew up in an entrepreneurial family, and she has had a lifelong curiosity about agriculture and the importance of food production. After building an impressive resume that includes undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford, a stint at McKinsey & Company, and experience in private equity, Christine combined her business expertise with her passion for agriculture to form PastureMap. PastureMap makes active or holistic management a more realistic option for ranchers, creating ripple effects far beyond the ranchers’ bottom lines—healthier grass, increased biodiversity, stronger communities, and continued viable domestic food production.
As you’ll hear in our conversation, Christine is a truly dynamic person whose passion for agriculture is matched by her intellect and entrepreneurial acumen. We cover all the details of PastureMap and how she built the business from a simple idea to a successful enterprise. We discuss her personal background and why she initially became so curious about agriculture around the world. We also chat about the ins and outs of active ranch management, and how a holistic approach to grazing can have far-reaching benefits beyond agriculture. As you’d expect, Christine also has plenty of excellent book recommendations related to agriculture, which I know you will enjoy.
For all of you ranchers out there, Christine is offering a 10% off coupon for a year’s subscription to PastureMap, and you can claim it by using the code “PRAIRIE” on the PastureMap website. Check out the episode notes for all the details. But whether you’re a rancher or not, I hope you’ll enjoy this episode. Christine is a perfect example of someone who has merged her passion and expertise into a financially successful business that is making the world a better place. Enjoy!
2:55 - Christine gives an overview of PastureMap
5:10 - How Christine came up with the idea for PastureMap
7:10 - Decision to take a break from business to work on a farm
9:45 - The importance of working ranches for healthy grasslands and a healthy planet
12:50 - Explaining grazing to environmentalists
15:30 - Impactful books about grazing
17:30 - Helping ranchers to see the value of PastureMap
20:20 - PastureMaps success stories
24:00 - How Christine expects PastureMap to evolve in the coming years
28:35 - Christine’s childhood and father’s entrepreneurial ventures
30:20 - Goals when entering Stanford
32:10 - Biggest surprise of entreprenuership
34:45 - Of all sectors, why Christine focused her start up on agriculture
37:55 - Heroes and mentors in the ag world
39:50 - Heroes of the business world
42:10 - Life lessons learned from working with agricultural producers
45:15 - Favorite books
46:15 - Favorite films
47:35 - Christine’s hobbies, including jumping in cold water
50:00 - Most powerful experience in the outdoors
52:10 - Favorite place in the West
52:50 - Best advice she’s ever received
53:20 - Request of the listeners
54:08 - Connect with Christine and PastureMap