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Key Idea: See the Good

Bob Sakata depends upon optimism to guide him through difficult situations.   More...

Key Question:


We owners don't have a boss and we make up the rules as we go along. This can be dangerous because we can become lethargic if we don't have good habits.

Q:  What motivates Bob?

One thing that motivates Bob is that he sees the beauty in his work. He sees beauty in a straight furrow, in the corn stalks waving in the wind, in the raw taste of the corn picked and eaten in the field.

He sees himself as a co-creator with God. He is grateful that he spends most of his time in the fresh air where he can observe and participate with nature. When you see beauty, your soul is fed and work is not work. Perhaps most people see it all as hard work; Bob sees and participates in the true joys of life.

Bob lived through the terror of being placed in Japanese camps during World War II and then a horrific explosion nearly burned him to death and left him crippled. When he looks at his life today, he is grateful, not bitter. He is happy that he has been able to create hundreds of jobs and most delicious corn in the world.

Think about it

What are the lemons you are dealing with in your life right now? How can you turn them into lemonade?

Clip from: Sakata Farms

Brighton, Colorado: In this episode of our show, we return to the farm to meet an inventor and one of America's biggest vegetable growers. His name is Bob Sakata and his life's journey, his cause, has been to lighten the load of the farm worker.  He is driven because he does not forget all the back-breaking work he did as a child. Here is a man with a deep affection for life. He is naturally gracious and has a generous spirit.  His goal is to make work easier for the people he loves, and he has.

Since his earliest days on the farm back in the 1940, Bob Sakata has invented many labor saving devices; many of which you will see in this episode.  Bob is an activist;  he loves farming.  On his 3200+ acres grows some of the the sweetest corn on earth because of Bob's seed cultivations.

Bob lobbied for the repeal of the death tax; and in June 2003, the farmers of America won their day on Capitol Hill. Yet, in a very real way, we all won. Keeping open space, seeking alternatives to urban sprawl, requires us all to embrace the source of our food,  the farmlands. 

We call small business owners New American Heroes because they are innovators, risk takers, and job generators.

A servant within his industry, Bob Sakata has been the President of the National Onion Association, the president of the National Sugarbeet Growers Association, a celebrated member of the Cooperative Extension Advisory Board at Colorado State University, a director or president of one of several irrigation ditch companies, a director of the Adams County Economic Development Board, a member of Colorado Food Safety Task Force, a local School Board president, an adviser to the USDA, and so much more.

Quite deservedly, he and his wife, Joanna, were inducted into the Agriculture Hall of Fame in 1999.  Now, meet Bob Sakata, an American icon, the farmer.

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Hattie's blog about Sakata Farms

Sakata Farms

Bob Sakata, founder, owner

South 4th and Bromley Lane
PO Box 508
Brighton, Colorado 80601, CO 80601

Visit our web site: ../../page2463.html

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1948

See the Good

HATTIE (Voiceover): Bob's life hasn't been easy. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Bob was 15 and was placed in a relocation camp in Colorado.

BOB: On December the 7th, 1941, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt had the great description, `The Day of Infamy,' when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, that was an embarrassing time for all of us.

Because of public pressure and, at that time, because of the safety of our welfare is what the government said, they put us all into what they called relocation camps. But it was not a relocation camp. It was a concentration camp, with four sentries standing on the corner. I was able to get a citizen's endorsement and I left early. But my family stayed in the camp till the camp closed in 1945. And I went to school here in Brighton and graduated from Brighton High School in 1943.

But looking at the history of what we went through, much could be said about it. But my father told us, that, `You behave and you do what the government tells you to do and you prove that you could be worthy of being an American citizen.' And I thought that was a great wisdom. So today I would describe that total experience as a blessing in disguise because from every hardship, you learn, from every challenge, you learn, you know?

HATTIE: You had a couple of other huge challenges, crises, that were defining moments.

BOB: Oh, yes.

HATTIE: What happened with your leg?

BOB: Right here in this big barn, that was my shop, and I worked in there till past midnight and I wanted to get the job done early. And I got in there about 5:30 in the morning and no sooner than I lit the acetylene torch, we had an explosion. There was an empty gas barrel close by that took all the explosive fumes when I was working the night before. And 66 percent of my body was burned third degree. They had covered me with a white sheet when I got to the hospital.

HATTIE: Because they thought you were dead?

BOB: Yes. Until my family doctor came there and he just chewed everybody out and said, `You don't know this guy and to take him to surgery quick.' I remember going to surgery and the doctors all said, `This guy can't feel a thing. We don't have to put him to sleep.' And they were tearing my coveralls off and pruning out all the burnt skin. And one of the nurses said, `He's feeling everything you're doing.' And the doctor asked her, `How do you know?' I was holding her hand and she said, `He's about ready to break my wrist.' But that's when I learned that there is an Almighty.

HATTIE: So you were in the hospital a year?

BOB: Yes. A little over a year. And they were sure that I would never walk again. And so I thanked them for that and I thanked them for their work, but I told the doctors, I said, `Why don't you let me and my God figure out whether I can walk again, but you do what you can.' And here I am.

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