Cisco co-founder now talks, lives, breathes turkey

Entrepreneur Sandy Lerner looks at world through her organic Ayrshire Farm

No one would ever accuse Sandy Lerner of standing still too long and not trying new things. The co-founder of Cisco and founder of a major cosmetics company is now running a large organic turkey farm from her 3,000 acre spread in Virginia.

Her Ayrshire Farm actually specializes in what's known as heritage breed livestock and poultry but features turkeys at this time of year. According to the farm's Web site:  "Ayrshire was not only the first Virginia farm to be certified both organic and humane, but also the first farm in the nation to generate certified humane veal calves.  All crops and livestock contribute to the overall vitality of the farm by means of sustainable farming methods, including rotational grazing, extensive composting, and humane husbandry practices."

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A Washington Post article on the farm said it had become a $7 million-a-year business that includes 3,000 certified organic heritage-breed turkeys that can cost $230 (for a 22lb bird) each.

From the Washington Post article: "Lerner's love of animals and farming goes back to her days living with relatives on a farm in the foothills of California. She was a nine-year 4-H all-star, owned a Welsh cob horse named Blackjack and raised her own herd of cattle.  She sold her herd in stages to pay her tuition at California State University at Chico, where the future capitalist studied comparative communist theory with a minor in Marxist economics.  She earned a master's degree in econometrics at Claremont Graduate School, followed by a joint master's degree in computer science and statistics from Stanford University. "

Cisco was founded by husband-and-wife team Len Bosack and Lerner in 1984.  Says the Cisco Web site: "Husband and wife Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner, both working for Stanford University, wanted to e-mail each other from their respective offices located in different buildings but were unable to due to technological shortcomings. A technology had to be invented to deal with disparate local area protocols; and as a result of solving their challenge - the multi-protocol router was born."

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