Sergio Campana, an Italian agricultural entrepreneur from Campogalliano, in the province of Modena, runs Tenute Campana, a company farming over 200 hectares of vines and cereals. Born and raised in Emilia-Romagna – a region known as both Motor Valley and Food Valley, due to its motorsport heritage, and famous gastronomic delicacies – Sergio and his family have found their home a constant source of inspiration.
Even as a child, I took part in kart races. But I have also always been fascinated by country life.Sergio Campana
“We have always been attracted to the world of motorsport. My father first, then me,” Sergio says. “I started competing in karting as a child and soon won my first regional and national competitions. But in the summer and in my spare time, I helped with the family agricultural business founded by my grandfather. The countryside has always fascinated me.”
Two worlds in balance
Sergio has had to strike a balance between his studies in accountancy, economics, commerce, and agriculture, and his successful motor-racing career, where he finished third in a world go-karting championship, raced in Formula 3 and became Italian champion in 2011. He was a test driver with Ferrari in both Formulas 1 and 2, raced in Formula 2, won third place in the Auto GP World Series F3000 championship, and competed in the European Le Mans Series.
“To become a driver, I made many sacrifices,” says Sergio. “But I love that moment when you cross the finish line. First, there is the challenge, the psychological struggle. Then, the feeling of victory on the podium, and your country’s anthem in the background. Those moments are priceless.” But after each race, he always returns to the farm. “The two worlds provide balance. Competition fills you with adrenalin, but in the field, you can rediscover calm, simplicity, and serenity.”
Technology as a strength
Today, Sergio still spends time training, testing, racing, and advising car manufacturers. But mainly, he works in the countryside, assisted – in busy periods – by a few seasonal workers. The estate grows soybeans, maize, wheat, alfalfa, rapeseed, sugar beet and thanks to the 28 hectares of vineyard provides, wine grapes like Chardonnay, Pignoletto and Lambrusco. “Last season we produced 350 tonnes of wheat, delivering it into industrial chains like McDonald’s,” explains Sergio. “But 90% of our grape production – which totalled 600t – was sold into a local social wine cellar. And with what’s left, we produce our own wine, which has already won several international competitions.”
On the farm, they follow integrated pest management protocols and have a four hectare lake for irrigation, as well as a 220kWp photovoltaic plant. What fascinates Sergio about today’s agriculture is the technological evolution that characterises it, which can also be seen on his farm. “We’ve invested heavily in Agriculture 4.0 (the fourth agricultural revolution) and today we boast state-of-the-art machinery and innovative tractors with satellite guidance, including John Deere, a brand we are particularly attached to,” Sergio says. “They allow us to carry out geo-referenced mapping for dedicated work, precision fertilisation, smart irrigation, leaf colour analysis electrical conductivity, and the monitoring of vegetation and soil condition.
“So, what do I see in the future?” says Sergio. “We aim to diversify into vacations on farm, buy more land, and expand further.”