Off-Farm Income


Jason Tatge describes the device that he has created as the "Fitbit for farm equipment".  I don't think there could be any more apt description.  Jason is the creator of Farmobile which is a device and data capture system that solves many problems that people practicing precision farming in the past faced, such as how to get the data out of their tractor and how to make it all work together so it becomes information.

Through the solving of these problems and the creation of this new interface, Jason has unearthed a revenue source for farmers that nobody ever knew existed - data.  With Farmobile, farmers are now able to collect data in real-time that they can combine with weather conditions, planting dates, etc. to make crucial decisions in the field.

This information has value to other professionals in the farming world as well, and Jason believes there is a market for it.  What Jason has done has created a way for farmers to sell another product that they were already harvesting but did not know there was a value for.

I wanted to bring you this episode because we are always looking for ways that farmers can enhance their revenues to make their business more sustainable.


Website: LINK

Facebook: LINK

Twitter: LINK

Linkedin: LINK


Cleary my favorite aspect of the FFA is that it exposes students to entrepreneurship.  I have a lot of favorite aspects, but it was entrepreneurship that introduced me to the FFA, and that is the aspect that I have been profiling for six years now.

I like this aspect so much because a lot of students may have never been exposed to the concept of working for themselves.  If they are like me, they knew entrepreneurs and understood that some people were self-employed, but nobody ever told them that was an option for them.  With that being the case, there are lots of potential entrepreneurs sitting in classrooms across America that will never try out that path because they are unaware of it as a viable option for them.

Today's episode highlights how the FFA can put another tool, the tool of entrepreneurship, in a student's arsenal.  Elyce Burzlaff is mid-way through her sophomore year of high school.  Last May a guest speaker came to her school and spoke with the FFA students.  During that discussion, Elyce and her classmates were challenged to come up with an entrepreneurial idea.  This led Elyce down a path of thinking of ways she could create revenue and determining what resources were at her disposal.  Then she remembered that her mom had some equipment that could be used for making shirts.

"Elyce B's Tees" was born at that moment.  Elyce started creating shirts and selling them at her local farmer's market.  She started seeing good results and kept doing this until the market closed for the season.  When the market closed she started developing her Facebook Page, Instagram Page, and her own website,

Elyce is certainly on the way with her business now and is learning all about entrepreneurship.  She has another two and a half years in high school to hone her craft and learn about business, and we will see where this takes her!

Direct download: OFI_954__The_Emphasis_On_Common_Sense_And_Trying_Until_You_Succeed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The FFA Creed talks about a faith born of deeds.  This amazing organization has found a way to coordinate thousands of chapters and hundreds of thousands of members throughout the United States into a cohesive unit that operates the same way, in the furtherance of agriculture.

One of the key aspects of what is done in the FFA is service to one's community.  Over the past six years of interviews, I have been lucky enough to profile multiple examples of service through the FFA.  Today's episode is another excellent example of that principle of service.

Jaidyen Wommack and Caitlyn Gloe respectively are the president and vice-president of their FFA chapter at Louisiana High School in Louisiana, Missouri.  This past fall they led an effort to help feed those in need, in their community.  There is always a need, in every community, for help in one form or another.  Of course, this year, in the midst of Covid 19 that has been exacerbated.

With the encouragement of their FFA advisor, Jaidyen and Caitlyn applied for and received a $300 grant to help their community this fall.  With the money they received, they and the rest of their chapter voted to purchase produce to donate to the local food bank.  But they did not stop there.  Then they started a canned food drive to acquire even more food for their community, and they even brought their newly formed middle school chapter into the competition.

Ultimately, through Jaidyen and Caitlyn's leadership, the Louisiana High School FFA Chapter was able to donate a significant amount of food to their local food bank and make a difference in their community during the holidays.  Both of them join me on the show today to tell the story of how this came about, and how they executed their plan.


SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Agriculture Education & Agricultural Communications

HIGH SCHOOL: Louisiana High School in Louisiana, Missouri

MASCOT: Bulldogs

FFA ADVISOR: Lindsey O'Hara


Click on the picture below to be taken to the Louisiana High School Website:

 FFA Advisor's Email Address:

Louisiana High School Telephone Number:  573-754-4261

Direct download: OFI_952__Cyber_Security_For_Farmers_-_For_The_First_Time_Ever.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: OFI_951__Merry_Christmas_From_Our_Farm_To_Yours.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Merry Christmas to all of you!  Thank you so much for making it possible for me to do this for the past three years (already)!  I have a favorite memory of my time growing up in Valley Home, California that happened 40 years ago on Christmas Eve.  I wanted to share this with you for my Christmas episode this year.

I could try and type out this story here for you to read, but I'm going to make you listen to it.  I grew up in a very special place; a town that was dying out.  We were there in what really were its last, best years and I've got a lot of fond memories from my childhood.  This story is just one of them.

Here are some photographs to help show you what I am talking about when I describe Valley Home and the alley where this took place.

This is what Wikipedia says about Valley Home today and the triangular shape of the town:

Here is a satellite image of Valley Home.  I lived in the bottom right of the triangle:

[caption id="attachment_4289" align="alignnone" width="510"] The purple pin is where the Valley Home Store is located.[/caption]

Here is a close up of where my house and the Rinna's are located:

[caption id="attachment_4290" align="alignnone" width="510"] Karen's house in the center and mine is the brown, "L" shaped roof. The "incident" took place in the alley between our houses.[/caption]

This is the front of my home, the window I was pressed against and the door that Santa left out of:

[caption id="attachment_4285" align="alignnone" width="508"] The kitchen door of the house I grew up in.[/caption]

Here is the fence that caused all the trouble:

[caption id="attachment_4287" align="alignnone" width="510"] The short fence that caused all the problems....the shop was not there then.[/caption]

A couple of photographs of the Valley Home Store:

[caption id="attachment_4281" align="alignnone" width="510"] The Valley Home Store today.[/caption][caption id="attachment_4282" align="alignnone" width="510"] The gas pumps are gone and the post office is not longer being used.[/caption]

Merry Christmas everyone!

I am a huge fan of two things relevant to agriculture: value-added products and wool.  And, that is why I was so excited for this interview, it combines both.

Kyra Uphoff has been working with "fiber arts" since she first started 4H, years ago.  She concentrated on two things through 4H - public speaking and fiber arts.  During this time she began learning to make felt, combine felt with silk, and create products and art projects with this skill.  She also honed her public speaking abilities and developed a passion for talking with people.

When it was time for high school Kyra joined the FFA because it would continue to give her the opportunity to speak publicly.  She has been pursuing this for the entire four years of high school so far.  For her supervised agricultural experience, she has continued to refine her craft with fiber arts.  Today she has her own business, "KS Uphoff Fiber Arts".  She makes felt and silk into products like scarves and she also uses these raw materials to make art.  Kyra likes to take pictures with felt, and she also makes "3D Creatures".

She clearly has a passion for working with these materials and an artistic eye for creation.  She has been showing her products at craft shows, selling products, and developing her reputation.  Now that Covid has hit she is developing a website and social media presence to help her do the same.

As a funny side note, both of her parents are huge fans of Kansas State University.  So both Kyra and her brother have the initials "KSU".  Luckily for her parents, their last name started with a "U".  It made it easy to pay homage to their university that way!

The FFA is all about opportunity.  From learning about different careers, learning vocational skills, public speaking to doing research the FFA offers abundant opportunities.

At what point do these opportunities end?  Is it during your senior year of high school, just after graduation, or sometime during your freshman year of college?  In today’s episode, we will be speaking with a student who is mid-way through his first year of college and is just seeing all the different FFA opportunities open up in front of him.

Creed Ammons is the 2020 National Proficiency winner in agricultural processing.  In addition to that, he is serving as the state president for the State Of West Virginia and studying agricultural education at West Virginia University. 

Even though Creed is already in college, his opportunities in the FFA are just getting started.  He still has the chance to become a national officer as well as an American Star winner, and he will be receiving his American Degree in the future. Creed is studying agricultural education and is looking at becoming an ag teacher like his parents, but he is also keeping the possibility open of working in agricultural policy either at the state or national level. 

I was very excited to learn during this interview that Creed had received a $1,000 scholarship from our great sponsor, Lacrosse Footwear, last spring.  The serendipity of having him on the show and him winning a scholarship from those great folks is almost too much to believe!

Interviews like Creed’s are very exciting to record because you can see all the possibilities for his future laid out in front of him. 

How To Contact Ammons' Farm Fresh Turkeys:

Facebook: LINK

Phone: (304) 771-9022


The Rural Crime Edition of the Off-Farm Income Podcast gives crime prevention tips on rural crime and updates you with the latest rural crime stories from the U.S. as well as the U.K., Canada and Australia. 



Do you dream of farming and being able to stay on your farm full time?  Do you love to share agriculture and what you love about it with other people?  Do you enjoy livestock and love to brag about the meat you produce in your own place?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then selling retail cuts of your own meat at a farmer's market or on your own place might just be the answer you are looking for.

Let's face it, my show is all about using entrepreneurship to support your farming endeavors.  Even though this is what I do and what I teach, it does not mean that it is the ultimate goal.  Ultimately, all of us would like to do nothing but farm.  We would like to be that person who wakes up with the chickens, beds down the cows, and only leaves the farm because we want to in between.

Our guest today, David Hancock, has a recipe for doing just that.  No two farms or farmers are alike, and you may have more or fewer challenges than David has had to overcome.  But one thing is for certain, he loves farming and needed to figure out a niche to achieve his dream of farming full time.  He did that by selling individual cuts of meat.

David shares a wealth of information in this interview.  It is practically a blue print for anyone who wants to find a way to farm full time.



Facebook: LINK

Website: LINK

Telephone: 301-752-2353


Direct download: OFI_942__The_World_Is_Changing_And_You_Had_Better_Take_Notice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT



Today's episode is very exciting.  I am interviewing Michael Bair, the 2020 National Proficiency Winner in poultry production.  Michael is also the 2020 state proficiency winner from Ohio in this very same category.

Michael's awards and recognition are exciting enough, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Michael lives and works on his family's organic dairy that has been in existence for generations.  They switched to organic production for better prices some years ago, but that has not made them immune from the ups and downs of milk and input prices.

When Michael began in the FFA and needed a project for his supervised agricultural experience he decided to try something that was unique to him.  So, he started raising and marketing pastured poultry.  Over the years this business has really grown into a substantial revenue source for him and his family's farm.

Michael plans on returning to and taking over the family farm in the future, and like any wise business person, he is looking for additional revenue sources to hedge against low commodity prices.  Michael believes that he has discovered this in the form of pastured poultry.  He plans to continue to raise and direct market pastured poultry in the future when he is managing the farm.

Michael is currently studying entrepreneurship at Edison State Community College.  When I asked him how he had chosen this major I saw where his wisdom came from.  Michael said that his parents wanted him to go to college to learn about business.  They know that he has a lot of knowledge about cattle and farming already, but the business of organic dairy farming is complex, so they want him to be prepared on that end as well.


As you all know from listening to the show, I have a very positive outlook on the world of farming and rural living.  I believe that those of us who value this way of life has a lot going for us, and we are very fortunate that our values lie in living this way.  With this in mind, I tend to look at this lifestyle through rose-colored glasses.

Alas, the episodes I produce about rural crime definitely demonstrate to me that not all farmers are looking out for other farmers. Interviews with folks like Jason Medows of the Ag State Of Mind Podcast show me that not everyone on farming operations is living in a state of bliss, overwhelmed by the grandeur of this lifestyle.

Since I have to admit that there are challenges in this lifestyle, the next logical question is what do we do when we need help with these unique questions?  Who out there has the knowledge and understanding to address the specific life and family challenges of farmers and people living in rural communities?

That question led me to today's guest, Elaine Froese.  Elaine is a "farm family coach".  She lives just inside of Canada, above the State Of North Dakota.  Elaine and her husband have been farming for over 40 years, and she has gone through the process of farm transition three separate times during their marriage.

Elaine is possibly the only expert in North America dealing with the familial issues involved in the rural and agricultural lifestyle.  And, she understands it from multiple different perspectives - the son who wants to farm, the daughter in law who married the farmer not the farm, the sibling who doesn't want to farm but feels entitled to part of the parent's legacy, and the retiring farmer.

Throughout the interview with Elaine, two things became apparent to me.  First, she is a considerable expert and extremely valuable to people in this lifestyle.  Second, there are myriad issues in farm families that never really get talked about publicly.  These need to be addressed.  With a rise in farm divorces and suicides, they really need to be discussed.

Thank goodness for Elaine, her expertise, and the books that she has written to help people enjoy this great lifestyle, in spite of the many challenges that can develop.



Website: LINK

Blog: LINK

Facebook: LINK

Twitter: LINK

LinkedIn: LINK

YouTube: LINK





Roy Jackson has the title "Master Hatter", but I would call him an artist.  About three years ago my brother-in-law returned from a work trip to Salmon, Idaho.  He told me that I needed to look into "this guy up there that makes hats".  That is how I got introduced to Roy Jackson.

About a year after that I was watching "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance".  At the very beginning of the show Jimmy Stewart gets off of the train in Shinbone wearing a large brimmed, straw hat.  I wanted that hat and called Roy.  He did not know the hat, and without seeing it he could not make it.  He did not own a copy of the movie either.

I searched the internet and found plenty of photos from that movie, but I could not find a photo of Jimmy Stewart wearing that hat.  I decided to go low-tech.  I sat down to watch the movie and paused it on the opening scene.  Then I took a photo of the hat from the screen of my television and emailed it to Roy.

About one week later a perfect replica of that hat showed up at my house.  Unbelievable!

I need a new straw hat for this summer.  I saw a picture of a hat I liked the other day and did the same thing.  Once again Roy had a perfect replica of what I was looking for at my house in about a week.  I knew I had to have Roy on the show right at that point!


Make Up Your Mind: When I asked Roy when he knew he was going to make it in this business his answer was "when I decided to be a hat maker."  He believes strongly in making a decision and then making sure you achieve that.

Right Person: If you are going to apprentice with someone to learn to make hats, take your time and find the right person to fit the vision you have in mind.

By Hand: In addition to the equipment you will learn to use, learn to make a hat by hand.  This way you can get started with almost no investment, and you will always be able to produce a hat.


Stick With Your Product: If you are going to be a hat maker, then be a hat maker.  Master your craft.  Don't get distracted by other product ideas until you have mastered what you started out to master.


Roy gets to his shop early, every day.  He loves what he does, and it drives him to succeed.


The Hatter's Guide, or Scientific Instructor; is the book that got Roy started.  When it comes to a hat making business, this is the book to get you going.



Facebook Page: LINK

Website: LINK

Telephone: 208.756.6444

Direct download: 12-10-20_Bonus_Episode_-_Roy_Jackson_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT


Today's episode features one of the most unique and interesting, and possibly most dangerous, supervised agricultural experiences we have ever profiled on the Off-Farm Income Podcast.

Andrew Mehus is the former chapter president of the Cochrane-Fountain City FFA Chapter.  He is now studying wildlife ecology at the University Of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.  He is also the 2020 National Proficiency Winner in specialty animal production.  All of this stems from his SAE.

Andrew works at Neitzel's Village Elk Farm near him home in Fountain City, Wisconsin.  He started working there early in high school and has steadily gained more and more responsibility over time.  On the farm they raise elk for the harvesting of antlers.  I learned something very interesting in my interview with Andrew.  Elk do not have nerve endings in their antlers.  Andrew stated that sometimes when they are sawing them off the bull will just stand there as if nothing is happening.

They will leave the antlers on a few of their most impressive bulls to demonstrate the quality of their genetics to other people.  And, a few cull bulls and cows will be harvested for meat.  But, by in large, the elk herd represents a sustainable and renewable source of a rich mineral.

Andrew has not learned just about the husbandry of elk.  He also has learned more about the business side of elk production.  The antlers are used for the production of medicines and supplements all around the world, and it is a very niche market.  Because of the unique shape of elk horns the owner of the farm developed special machinery to help catch and secure the elk when they do have to remove horns or do other work with them.

This experience has really shaped Andrew and has motivated in the college major that he chose.  The State Of Wisconsin has reintroduced elk in the northern part of the state, and Andrew is shooting for a future in which he works for the state department of wildlife managing that herd.



One of things I love about hosting the Off-Farm Income Podcast is being up to date on the latest in technology and what people are doing to advance their businesses.  Never has that been more true than today’s Episode.

My guest today, Luke Falkenstien, just won the National Proficiency Award for Goat Production.  It is easy to see what made his application and interview stand out.  He and his family are breeding goats for the show world, and they are using embryo transfer technology to do this. 

I have profiled many students and farmers who are using embryo transfer technology with cattle, and I have even done it myself.  However, I never spoke with anyone who is using it for goat production. 

As Luke will talk about in the episode, there is still a lot to learn using this technology with goats.  And, this leads to a boom and bust cycle with some years working out great and others not working out at all. 

Luke is now studying Animal Science at Texas Tech. University, which is quite a way from his farm in Kansas.  His answer to why he chose to go to school at TTU was interesting.  The campus is just 2 hours away from two of the best goat breeders in the U.S.  Going to school there not only allows him to receive his education, but it allows him to network with the breeders that he strives to emulate!

Follow Luke and His Family Here:  WEBSITE or  FACEBOOK


It is always very interesting to interview students in the early part of the FFA journey.  So many students start out small on their projects or in their competitions, and then they grow into more sophisticated projects and supervised agricultural experiences.

Each of these students go through a transitional period as they progress in their FFA experience.  In today's episode I get to catch one of these students right in the midst of her transition.  Becca Lehman has started transitioning from simply showing market animals at her county's fair to breeding livestock and selling market animals to 4H and FFA students who want to show.

It is a very interesting conversation about what motivated her to do this, and how she is approaching this change.  Becca has raised market steers, hogs and goats throughout her experience already.  Now, she is starting her own herd of goats to breed them for other exhibitors.  In addition to this, Becca works at her families two feed stores as a cashier, and his learning the business of retail at the same time.


Direct download: OFI_935_-_Becca_Lehman_mixdown2.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 1:13am MDT

Direct download: The_Fit_Stock_Show_Mom__Farm_Fitness___Dolly_Denson___Bonus_Episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: OFI_934__America_And_Innovating_Through_Problems.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: Thanksgiving_Proclamation_3_October_1789___Thanksgiving_Episode_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On this day in 1936 Life Magazine released its first ever magazine.  The photo on the cover was of the spillway of the Fort Peck Dam in Fort Peck, Montana.  Some 58 years later I would find myself spending Thanksgiving on a ranch just 48 miles down the Missouri River from that historic spot, and I would find myself learning a lot about the realities of ranching and how agricultural binds communities together.

In today's episode we kick off Thanksgiving week, and I re-hash this experience with you.  It is amazing the things that stick with you and things that don't.  Let's remember some of them together in this episode!

Direct download: OFI_930_Tuesday_Edition_-_112320_4.13_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT


One of the greatest things about interview FFA students is hearing the “unbridled” enthusiasm that the students have for their projects, farming and agriculture.  In today’s interview I am interviewing an student who is the third generation of farmer on his families farm.

Conner Grant’s grandfather started their farm from scratch in the 1970’s.  Today this farming legacy has been built large enough that Conner hopes to return to it when he done with college and make this his full time career. 

In this episode we find out that the land that Conner is farming for himself, he is leasing from his grandparents.  I asked Conner the same question I ask any student who is leasing land from family, and I get the same answer.  It is amazing to me just how much wisdom there is in farm families across the board in the U.S. 

A funny surprise in this episode is just how good a voice that Conner has.  I joke with him about becoming an agricultural broadcaster.  I think after you listen, you will agree. 

Enjoy this interview with Conner Grant. 


HIGH SCHOOL: Taylorville High School; Taylorville, Illinois

MASCOT: Tornado

FFA ADVISOR: Sue Schafer


Click on the picture below to be taken to the Taylorville High School website:

Conner's FFA Advisors' Email Address: 

Taylorville High School's Telephone Number: 217-824-4951


National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.


  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

Where Off-Farm Income And Matt Brechwald Can Be Heard:


Member Of The National Association Of Farm Broadcasters

Direct download: OFI_929_-_Conner_Grant_Audition_mixdown.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30pm MDT

Direct download: What_Does_A_Burglary_Of_Marijuana_Look_Like___Rural_Crime_Bonus_Episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: OFI_926__Why_You_Need_To_Start_Using_Social_Media.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: OFI_922__When_You_Want_To_Sell_The_Farm_And_Live_On_The_Beach.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: Dealing_With_Slow_And__No__Paying_Customers___Bonus_Episode.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_918__Innovating_Through_Difficulty_And_Self-Watering_Soil.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_906__What_It_Really_Takes_To_Be_The_Best.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_902__On_A_Quest_For_Moose_In_Yellowstone.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_898__Are_You_Trading_Happiness_For_Materials_And_Appearances_.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_896__A_West_Virginia_Farming_Story___Justin_Farrish.mp3
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Direct download: Using_Craigslist_To_Market_Your_Business___Bonus_Episode.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_894__Starting_Your_Direct_To_Consumer_Meat_Business.mp3
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Direct download: What_In_The_World_Is__Hare_Coursing_____Rural_Crime_Bonus_Episode.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_888__Western_Wildfires_And_An_Urgent_Request_For_Help.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:22pm MDT