Small-Business Success Story: Profiting on the Family Dairy Farm

A former real estate portfolio manager joins her sisters to make artisanal cheeses.

Kiplinger's spoke with Diana Giacomini Hagan, 50, of Marin County, Calif., about why she decided to ditch her job in corporate America to join the family business. Here are excerpts from our interview:

You grew up on the farm? My parents bought the dairy in 1959, and my three sisters and I grew up here. Our mother, who had been a teacher, sent us away to get a good education—we all went to college and majored in business—and my father brought us back.

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Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.