Off-Farm Income

Tiffany and her husband, Matt, both grew up in a city environment, St. Louis, Missouri, and did not have exposure to rural living or agriculture.  They were entrepreneurs, running an electrical contracting business for which Matt was the electrician, and they were busy!  So busy in fact that work and hustle were all that they knew.

A simpler life was calling to them however.  They started out just like so many people in the U.S.  They had a 3,000 square foot home, even though it was just the two of them.  While they were still there in the city they downsized to a home that was under 1,000 square feet.  This seemed like a radical move to friends and family, but really, for two adults it was very appropriate.

This simple living had sparked something in both of them, and there was a mutual thought that someday they would move out somewhere rural, live much more simply and even forget what day of the week it was.  Then, Tiffany was diagnosed with breast cancer.  This opened up a whole new perspective.  The thought that the opportunity to carry out your dreams may not be there tomorrow can be a strong motivator, and it was for Tiffany and Matt.  So, they made this vision a reality in short order and Wilderland LLC Glamping Cabins was born!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1269_Tiffany_Ursch-121621.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's show is a replay of a special interview I did on how we view life and what you choose to do in situations that don't make you happy. Learn how to find purpose in your work and having faith in yourself. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1268-Recap_Of_Episode_558-120721.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

For the past several years the issue of mental health in the agricultural community has become more and more mainstream with some of the stigma slipping away.  About the time this really started to take hold Madisen Jolliff was noticing that this existed all on her own.  At the same time she was just coming into the FFA and looking for a project for her SAE.  Ultimately she chose to speak with farmers about these issues and try to help people open up.  The results she received were very unexpected, even for Madisen.

Madisen has friends who feel an immense sense of pressure and stress because they have or will inherit land that has been in the family for generations, and they don't want to be the link in the chain where it all ends.  She also has friends that experience stress because they will not inherit land and they cannot find their pathway into farming and raising their own livestock.  She finds herself experiencing both of these as she will one day inherit part of her families farm, but that will not be for a long time.  So in the meantime she is trying to figure out how to get her own land to continue growing her herd of cattle.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1267_Madison_Jolliff-120721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you.  I've got a very chilly farm update for you in today's show.  Also, a true story about a strange Christmas Eve that sounds like (and should be) a commercial for our sponsor, Guardline Security!

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Direct download: OFI_1266_Tuesday_Episode_-_122721_6.10_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Fresh off of the high of the National FFA Convention I returned home to my studio and can you believe it, my very first interview with was with Tristan Wirkus, who had just one a National Proficiency Award!

There is literally so much good going on at the National Convention that I just cannot keep up.  My interview with Tristan has been on the calendar for weeks.  What great luck for me that he won the national proficiency in Environmental Science & Natural Resources Management.  Tristan has an absolute passion for the environment and the green spaces in his hometown of Stratford, Wisconsin.  This, in combination with the fact that his mother is an FFA advisor led him into this incubator that we call the FFA.

Since that initial participation in the 6th Grade Tristan's experience has grown and grown.  This ultimately led him to coordinating with dozens of stakeholders in Stratford to get trees planted throughout the city and along their Heritage Trail, and this ultimately led to the city receiving the designation of "Tree City USA".  If this were not enough, Tristan went to work testing water quality in a local pond so that changes could be made to make the pond conducive to a healthy fish population.  Once this was done the local police department started a "Cops And Bobbers" program to teach kids how to fish there.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1265_Tristan_Wirkus.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Merry Christmas everyone!  I always love creating and recording our Christmas episode for your each year.  However, this year is a little bit different.  This year I have a guest on the show for Christmas who is a person who has done something very compassionate for people who are unbelievably less fortunate than anyone born here in the United States Of America.

You may remember from our rural crime episode #1240 that the final story I covered was about a woman named Caroline Clarin in Fergus Falls, Minnesota who had been helping families to escape Afghanistan and come to the United States.  She has initially been introduced to these families through her work as an agricultural advisor, through the USDA, in Afghanistan.  And of course after being there, meeting these families and seeing the poverty, corruption and violence for herself she was compelled to help them leave.

After covering that first story, I decided to reach out to Caroline and see if she would do an interview to discuss the amazing humanitarian work she had done and was still doing as part of our Christmas episode.  It turned out that the original story I had read mis-represented what had actually happened a little bit.  Today, she is on our show to discuss some of what she learned in Afghanistan, how she helped to get families out, what it was like when she learned the U.S. was pulling out of Afghanistan in August of 2021 and what she is still striving to do.

I cannot imagine anything more Christmasy, regardless of your belief system, than what Caroline did between 2013 and 2021 in helping five families relocate to the U.S. from Afghanistan or what she is still striving to do.  So, Merry Christmas everyone, and her is a heart warming story to help you appreciate just how good we have it in the U.S.

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Direct download: Caroline_Clarin_Episode_1264_-_121521_2.52_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The Mackay High School FFA Chapter holds a "Christmas Bazaar" every year, right after the Thanksgiving break to bring the small and isolated community as well as people from the surrounding communities together.  The bazaar features some food, some singing and Christmas spirit, but the real emphasis is on community support.  This year 49 different small businesses were able to attend for $10 per table and sell their wares to the community.  On average each vendor made over $1,000 at the bazaar.

At the same time that the businesses were gaining exposure, selling products and meeting community members, people from the remote area had a place to get together with friends and neighbors and do their Christmas shopping all in one location.  It is no wonder that this event has been going up and growing in success for up to 25 years now. Tune in for this fun interview on how this all comes together. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1263-Mackay_FFA-121621.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Since Christmas is almost here, I think this interview is appropriate! Learn how one FFA member is making a difference to children by purchasing them Christmas presents from money raised by the Wilcox County High School FFA Chapter of Rachelle, Georgia. Listening to this interview will surely get you into the holiday spirit. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1262-Replay_Of_Episode_737-120421.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's interview is special.  I rarely get to interview a student, or any guest for that matter, face to face.  However, I had accidentally scheduled an interview with Luke Jennings for when he would be at the National FFA Convention and I would be traveling to the convention.  So, we decided to do the interview in person in Indianapolis.  My studio for this interview happened to be the press box way above the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, so it was quite a different experience for me.

Luke came up for the interview after walking across the big stage at the convention for the third time!  He and his team had just been recognized for the performance in the parliamentary procedure competition.  However, how I had first learned of Luke was due to his nomination for a national proficiency award. Learn more in today's episode.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1261_Luke_Jennings-113021.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Hi everyone, Merry Christmas and welcome to our Tuesday episode for the week of Christmas, 2021.  In today's episode I'll be talking about some career validation from law enforcement, making a slight revision to our previous rural crime episode and getting pumped for Montana State University being in the national championship game for the first time since 1984!

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Direct download: OFI_1260_Tuesday_Episode_-_122021_3.28_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The unbelievable stories that I am privileged to cover on this show just never stop!  Today I am talking with National Proficiency Finalist, Miles Lee.  Miles has an incredible story on many, many levels.

To begin, Miles grew up in the city but he and his family would vacation at his Great Uncle's farm in Alabama where they raised pigs and chickens.  At an early age this inspired Miles, and a love for farming and agriculture was set in motion.  However, there was more to it than just the livestock.  Miles found himself fascinated with the soil and the life within the soil.  He used to play soccer, and at slow moments in the game he would get scolded for digging in the dirt rather than focusing on the game!  That is not what the soccer coach wanted, but this agricultural podcaster couldn't be more thrilled!

As his love for the soil grew Miles noticed how often he smelled the bad odors coming from the landfill across the road from his house.  He told me that he thought to himself, "there's got to be a better way".  This led him to discover vermiculture and vermicomposting with help of a middle school science teacher.  Miles explored composting food waste in this type of system, but soon it was time for high school.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1259_Miles_Lee-112721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://www.ktvq.com/news/montana-ag-network/montana-livestock-brand-re-record-deadline-dec-31

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4U_0V1nLC8

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/people/eastbourne-police-say-dog-attacks-on-sheep-leave-scene-like-a-horror-story-3496680

https://bc.ctvnews.ca/2-arrested-after-attempted-theft-at-farm-on-flood-damaged-sumas-prairie-1.5710575

https://www.farmersjournal.ie/ford-tractor-stolen-in-kildare-668526

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://fremonttribune.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/fremont-man-found-guilty-in-connection-with-farm-burglary/article_dc500ea5-1195-5687-b3b7-225fcb04394c.html

https://thatsfarming.com/farming-news/teens-arrested-tractor/

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Direct download: OFI_1258_Rural_Crime_-_121721_2.29_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today, Tom Boyer of the American Goat Federation, joins me to talk about the demand for goats, long term trends and the challenges of having supply meet demand for goat in the U.S.  It is a great time to be a knowledgeable goat producer with the correct infrastructure in the U.S., but the allure of high prices can also be the catalyst to getting some people into goats before they are really ready.  Tom and I will talk all about this and more in this episode.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1257_Tom_Boyer-120421.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

In today's show, I feature a replay of an awesome interview with one FFA member who is making a goat business work. He is expanding and finding new ways to not only grow his goat herd, but also to grow his goat herd. Check out today's replay of episode 703.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1256-Replay_of_Episode_703-120421.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

One of the great things about hosting this podcast is that I get to speak with people in every stage of development in their agricultural journeys.  Today, I am proud to speak with Shayla Russell.  Shayla is just beginning her sophomore year of high school in a beautiful part of Montana, and she is just beginning the development of her own cattle herd. Tune in for more about Shayla in this episode. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1255_Shayla_Russell-112721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I just wrapped up my annual "creative retreat" where I get to focus on nothing but growing, improving and sustaining the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  This retreat traditionally happens in Ketchum, Idaho and this year there was no snow.  So, I spent a lot of time walking into and out of town.  These walks took me to parts of town that I do not normally travel in, including passing by the Post Office.  At the Post Office I noticed a big banner that said "Join Us" in an attempt to recruit new employees at the postal service, and it dawned on me how much times have changed.  For people starting their working careers in 2021-2022, jobs that used to be perceived as impossible to obtain are now ripe for the picking.  What a crazy turn around in our country.

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Direct download: OFI_1254_Tuesday_Episode_-_121321_7.40_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Back in 2018 I interviewed a high school sophomore named Kaelyn Sumner who was just starting her first agricultural business with honey bees called "K's Bees".  At the time she told me about her interest in insects, bees and doing research beyond her entrepreneurship SAE.  Fast forward to today, and Kaelyn is a freshman in college at Kansas State University and has followed through on all of those statements that she made.

Kaelyn is majoring in Agricultural Education with minors in entomology and food science.  She has already lined up work in the food production industry for her summers, and she intends on bring knowledge about food science back to the high school ag classroom as an ag teacher in a few short years.  In addition, she has competed in several research projects and seen a lot of success since we talked in 2018, including placing in two, national science contests.

Kaelyn is a great example of good goal setting and following through on what your vision is.  She has great advice for students in this episode!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1253_Kaelyn_Sumner-112621.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

As you know, I don't normally conduct interviews for our rural crime episode.  However, every now and then an article about rural crime will pop into my inbox and compel me to do just that.  This week I am featuring an interview with Dr. Diane Charlton, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Dr. Charlton and two of her colleagues collaborated on a study looking at the impact of migrant labor during peak work seasons to see whether or not crime rates increased.  Their results indicated that not only did crime rates not increase, they decreased when there was a large influx of migrant laborers and copious amounts of work to be done in agriculture.

In today's episode we will discuss her research and findings.

Direct download: Diane_Charlton_Episode_1252_-_12121_2.55_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Carol Herden is an incredible agricultural sculptor, and this has led her to a full-time career doing what she loves - sculpting farm animals.  It is fascinating to me anytime I see an artist develop their craft into a career, and even more so when they do it creating art that resembles agriculture.  However, in Carol's case, her journey might be even more fascinating than that. Tune in for her story. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1251_Carol_Herden-112621.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Re purposing vintage and scrap items is a growing hobby for many people today. Not only is today's guest using old farm materials that might otherwise be burned or go to a landfill, she is creating unique artwork. This interview is a replay showcasing Monica's ag background and how that led her to creating artwork using farm scrap materials

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1250-Recap_Of_Episode_417-Monica_Wagner-120421.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today knows the meaning of a legacy, the meaning of hard work and the reward of seeing your hard work turn into revenue.  Jill Uken is a 3rd generation FFA student whose grandfather's membership inspired her and her brothers to join.  Jill also witnessed the sweet potato business that her older brother started when he was in the FFA, and she decided to carry it forward.

Today, Jill is getting a lot of attention for her project, but it has not come without hard work from everybody in her family.  Whether it was the planting of the 500 sweet potato plants, the weed control or the harvesting everyone found out what farming was like prior to the use of mechanized equipment.  That is precisely because they don't have any!  Illinois is not a place where you would expect to find sweet potato farmers, so there is no harvesting or planting equipment available to rent or borrow.  Everything Jill and her family are doing, is done by hand! Learn more about Jill in today's show. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1249-Jill_Uken-112421.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Well, out here in the West we are in a familiar pattern, a pattern of less than optimal forecasts that offer a bit of precipitation and then fall part as they get closer to us.  Right now we are experiencing a "weird" La Niña and it is keeping everything dry and warm.

For those of us out here in the West we are the complete opposite of all of you who farm with rainfall.  We have to get all of our precipitation in the Winter, store it as snowpack, then store it in reservoirs as it runs off to be able to irrigate with it during the growing season.  If we don't get that Winter snowpack, some really hard decisions will have to be made for all of us.

I'm trying to stay optimistic, and certainly it is not time to ring the emergency bell yet, but I have seen this pattern before.  This really started for us last winter.  We started out really strong and had a good snowpack, but then the precipitation just shut off and we had one of our driest springs on record.  I didn't like the lack of weather activity in the spring, but I thought we were going to be okay because of the snowpack.  However, it turned out that the dry spring reduced our ability to store all of that spring runoff.  With the soil being so dry from a lack of spring precipitation a lot of that runoff went into the soil and not into the reservoirs.  So, we were forced to stop irrigating early this year.

I spent this weekend up in the Ketchum and Sun Valley area of Idaho with my family.  We traditionally go up to the Wood River Valley on this weekend to play in the snow and to elk hunt.  I am used to seeing a foot of snow on the valley floor up there in early December.  However, this year there is only snow on the tops of the very highest mountain peaks.  All of the hills and mountains around Ketchum are completely bare, and the world famous Sun Valley Ski Resort is operating on a very limited capacity with man made snow.  We can still catch up, but looking at this area that is normally buried in snow and seeing it bare starts to wear away at the optimism.

Last Spring when I bought my hay for this year, I offered to commit to the farmer to buy just as much from him this year.  However, he wouldn't do it. He just said, "we'll have to wait and see if we get any snow this winter".  In my area we are already dealing with a shortage of hay because so many hay fields have been taken out of production due to development.  If there is not enough water to get the maximum number of cuttings, that shortage is going to be even worse.  That is going to drive prices up, and in the long run there will be some people who just can't get hay.

I find myself trying to figure out how to mitigate what could be a crisis right now.  I have an idea that I am pursuing that might allow me to keep quite a bit of the hay that I purchased this spring.  With the warm temperatures we have been having and lack of snow, there are still some fields near by me with quite a bit of forage in them.  It makes sense for me to see if I can lease them and graze them off while I still have the chance rather than feed the hay I have out in my stack yard.  If that does not work, I am going to have to figure out how I am going to find hay for 2022.  And, I will be forced to raise prices on my customers as well.

So, this is farming.  Admittedly, because we irrigate from snow melt and generally have nothing but fair weather during our growing season we don't seem to deal with crisis caused by weather as much as the rest of you in other parts of the country do.  But, it does occasionally happen, and it looks like we will either have an incredible burst of precipitation in the beginning of 2022 to get us back to normal, or this will be one of those years for us.  Let's hope for the precipitation for everyone in the West!

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Direct download: OFI_1248_Tuesday_Episode_-_12621_7.16_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today, Avery Winters, is her FFA Chapter's President, raises pigs for her supervised agricultural experience and has been a Texas State Proficiency Finalist as well as a District Proficiency Winner in swine production - and she lives in a subdivision.  Across the nation we are seeing the enrollment in more and more high school FFA chapters coming from students who live in subdivisions.  This is due to two things - first, the outstanding success of the FFA as a program and the subsequent success of FFA students, and the fact that over time communities change and develop leading to the loss of farms and construction of homes.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1247-Avery_Winters-112321.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Pay extra attention to newly planted fruit trees?

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://www.alabamanews.net/2021/12/01/thieves-steal-farm-equipment-in-dallas-co/

https://wsbt.com/news/local/tractors-stolen-crashed-in-fulton-county

https://www.enewscourier.com/news/local_news/sheriffs-office-searching-for-stolen-farm-equipment/article_9af7e374-5202-11ec-b5e6-0f26cb659512.html

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-17/205-citrus-trees-stolen-from-south-australian-orchard/100624628

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/rural-crime/appeal-for-witnesses-in-suspected-arson-attack-on-farm-41102258.html

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://roanoke.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/jury-cellphone-evidence-convict-man-in-montgomery-county-hemp-theft/article_8ef1fae8-52fb-11ec-b9ee-0b37f6205770.html

https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-local-byo-212217.html

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Direct download: OFI_1246_Rural_Crime_-_12221_3.00_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

One of my favorite things about hosting this show is catching entrepreneurs and families at the beginning stages of their journeys and being able to see their vision with them.  That is certainly true of my interview with Marrianne and Greg Russell, the owners of Rock Bridge Farmstead in Kentucky. Listen in for their whole story. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1245-Greg__Marrianne_Russel-112321.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

In today's interview I get to connect with a listener of the show and talk about how he and his wife are making their farm dream come true.  I will be speaking with Justin Farrish from West Virginia.  Justin has a really interesting farm story.  This farm was started by his great-grandfather in the first half of the 20th Century.  West Virginia is rocky, mountainous and filled with trees, so there was lots of work to do.  Justin talks about his great-grandfather digging out stumps by hand to clear land for grazing.  It is really amazing.

Today Justin and his wife have been able to move their family to the farm and start putting it back into production.  They had to start with remodeling the existing home and making it livable.  After that it there is fencing and more clearing to do.  They have done a lot of work already and have a lot ahead, but they want to carry this legacy forward and are prepared for this.

In the interview we talk about all the challenges that come with a multi-generational farm, including the pressures of keeping it in the family line.  We also discuss what Justin does for his off-farm income, and the culture of the area that he and his wife have moved their family into.

Here are the show notes from Justin's first appearance on the show:

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1244-Recap_Of_Episode_896-120121.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Sometimes when I conduct an interview I can find myself talking for hours if I am not careful.  Usually this is because there are so many different aspects of the guest's story that I could investigate the time just seems to flow by.  That was definitely possible in today's interview with National Proficiency Finalist and Minnesota State Officer, Nicole Koziolek.

I did a decent job of adhering to my normal time constraints, but there is so much to Nicole's story that it was difficult to not spend 30 minutes on each aspect.  To begin, Nicole comes from a farming family and farming legacy.  And, she grew up with her two parents who were farming corn and soybeans in Minnesota.  Nicole is an only child, so she would go to the farm with them, which is about 30 miles from their home, because she did not want to be left home alone.  However, for many of those years Nicole would just ride along and visit.  She did not necessarily show any desire to learn about the farming itself.

Nicole really was not excited about being part of the FFA, but her parents both had been very involved and wanted that to happen.  Eventually, Nicole's mom talked her into attending one, exploratory, meeting just to see what it was all about.  Something special happened in that meeting.  Nicole was hooked.  So hooked, in fact, that she went out of her way to participate.  Nicole went to high school at Northfield High School in Northfield, Minnesota.  However, they did not have an FFA chapter.  The nearest chapter as at Randolph High School about 15 miles away.  So, Nicole drove every morning to Randolph and attended two ag classes so that she could participate in the Randolph FFA Chapter.  She would then drive back to Northfield High School for the rest of her classes.

When it was time for Nicole to start a supervised agricultural experience she was considering a placement SAE, working on her families farm.  However, her dad convinced her to take a little risk and try farming for herself with an entrepreneurship SAE.  She accepted the challenge but realized that all of those years in the cab of the tractor riding along could have been used to learn everything she now needed to know.  So, she started "learning to farm" at a rapid pace.

Five years after that initial meeting at the Randolph FFA Chapter, Nicole is now nominated for a national proficiency award.  She had progressed from renting 20 acres from her parents to owning 13% of the operation.  She is majoring in agricultural communications and marketing at the University Of Minnesota.  And, she is a state officer for Minnesota FFA.  It is a remarkable journey and the FFA was an incredible catalyst for this transformation and success story!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1243_Nicole_Koziolek-112021.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 9:21am MDT

How many of you find yourselves sitting in your home in the evening after being on your farm all day, tired from physical labor and thinking "this is exactly the life I want"?  I had that experience on Sunday night, and it came on the tail end of a lot of physical work.  This was just further proof to me that work is not the enemy, the wrong job is the enemy.

Sunday night was quite the opposite of the Sunday night's I used to experience.  I used to get what I referred to as the "Sunday Night Blues".  This was the depression and irritability that set in when I knew that once I went to bed, I would be waking up to go to a job that was the wrong fit.  That does not happen to me any longer, but sitting in my living room, looking at my family, feeling physically tired, watching the dog lay in front of the fire and having a feeling of elation come over me is a whole other level.  It is more than just the opposite of the "Sunday Night Blues", it is the next rung up the ladder.

When I first started this journey, I was just trying to get rid of the "Sunday Night Blues".  I never imagined it could reach this level.  Here is what my weekend looked like, and what led me to feeling so good on Sunday evening.

Friday - our kitchen sink had a catastrophic failure.  Outside of chores, plumbing was on the schedule for me this day.

Saturday - all day was spent cutting up downed trees in our creek area, splitting them and stacking the wood for heat.  Outside of our daily chores this took up our entire day.  However, when the day was done and every day since I have been able to look at those stacks of split wood and see the progress that we made.

Sunday - after chores Autumm, Hattie and I got busy removing nose guards from our calves and separating them from their mothers.  Then we started cleaning out a shed, purging things that we no longer need or use and storing some items in a storage shed on our new property.  We have been "slow to grow" on our farm since we bought it in 2011.  Instead of incurring debt for new outbuildings and storage to house our personal effects and the equipment we needed for our farm, we have dealt with the clutter of stuffing too many things into too little space.  This has included doing things like tarping our lawn equipment over the winter to protect it from the weather.

Our patience and frugality has paid off, and now we have expanded.  With the expansion came additional out buildings and a pre-existing pad that allowed us to put a shop up at minimal expense.  This has acted as a pressure release for the clutter and yesterday I was able to treat the gas in our lawn equipment, pull the batteries and put them to bed for the winter under a roof rather than a tarp.  It might seem like a small thing to say out loud, but for me it was a big step in the correct direction.

Just like nine years ago when started my very first business, I still have energy for days.  I realized then and still realize today that your body does not magically need to rest and reboot at the end of an 8 hour work day.  If you are doing something that you love, you can spend all your waking hours working and recharge on just your normal 7-8 hours of sleep.

Yesterday, even after the sun had gone down I was still working.  I had smaller, indoor projects that needed to get done and I was happy to do them.  By the time I put on my sweat pants, sat down in front of the fire and watched a little football we had cleaned out fallen timber in our creek, split cords  of wood, stacked split wood, finished weaning calves, purged clutter, put away equipment for the winter and repaired and replaced small equipment at our home.

As I sat there and looked at my family and my home I realized that this was all I needed for happiness.  I had not spent the weekend walking at a mall, entertaining Hattie at a theme park or taking in movie.  All of that is fine every now and then, but it was the accomplishment of worthwhile activities at home that I was getting my fulfillment from.  And it is this knowledge that gives me the peace and contentment that so many people cannot find.  If you can love your work, you will always have this state of mind available to you.

I hope that in some small way, we can help you get there by listening to this show!

Direct download: OFI_1242_Tuesday_Episode_-_112921_3.45_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Kendra Goplin is a freshman at South Dakota State University, studying ag education.  She is also a national proficiency finalist, which is the realization of a lifelong goal.  If you are just looking at the student who now will stand on the national stage and be recognized for her accomplishments, you will miss the story of the journey that brought her here.  With no disrespect to her accomplishments, that journey is a fascinating part of this story. Listen in to get the details. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1241-Kendra_Goplin-111721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Consider cameras at your honor system produce stand

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/communities/county/2021/11/25/roundup-fatality-near-punch-bowl-more-ventura-county-news/8760217002/

http://www.northescambia.com/2021/11/ecso-locates-suspects-caught-on-camera-stealing-from-local-farmer-corn-and-peanuts-recovered

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://www.southwestfarmer.co.uk/news/19741669.tree-surgery-kit-generators-taken-south-molton-farm/

https://www.liphookherald.com/article.cfm?id=141327&headline=Liss%20man%20caught%20red-handed%20by%20police%20drone%20after%20probe%20into%20horsebox%20thefts&sectionIs=news&searchyear=2021

https://www.countytimes.co.uk/news/19742096.appeal-25-sheep-stolen-powys-common-land/

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://www.policeprofessional.com/news/rural-crime-partnership-recognised-with-best-team-national-award/

https://www.wxow.com/news/minnesota-news/us-couple-helps-afghans-escape-build-life-in-rural-america/article_7ba3981f-f78c-5f36-90d9-a5bacb70f9b7.html

More Places You Can Listen to Off-Farm Income And Matt Brechwald:

 

Direct download: OFI_1240_Rural_Crime_-_112621_4.46_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If there is an opposite of being artistic, then I am that person.  Therefore, hosting the Off-Farm Income Podcast has allowed me to meet and interview many artistic people that I would otherwise never encounter.  It is fascinating to me the way that an artistic person sees the world and is able to craft that vision into something beautiful and pleasing to their fans.

On today's episode I am featuring once such artist who has taken his love of agriculture, his artistic ability and his skills in jewelry making and combined them all into a unique and exceptional line of agricultural jewelry.  Talk about a value added product!

Chris Chaney is the creator of "Agrijewelry", a line of jewelry that began with the creation of a piece that looks astonishingly like a cotton boll.  This is was requested by a customer, and Chris went on a pilgrimage to make it happen.  One thing led to another and today Chris offers jewelry that looks exactly like a multitude of crops from corn, to soybeans, to peanuts to almonds.  And, he has expanded into livestock, wildlife and exotics as well.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1239-Chris_Chaney_REVISED-112021.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I have a lot to be thankful for, and it starts with you!  I hope you enjoy the episode.

 
Direct download: OFI_1238_Thanksgiving_Episode_-_112421_8.21_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Kaylea Taylor first appeared on the show during her sophomore year of high school in episode #681.  She was just beginning her journey of putting on camps to teach 4H and FFA students better skills in exhibiting their goats.  Over time this became known as "Stepping Up Show Goat Camp" and her reputation has spread.

Today I am proud to have Kaylea back on the show as a national proficiency finalist.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1237-Kaylea_Taylor_REVISED-112021.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

As you all know I was invited to give a keynote speech at the Montana FFA Foundation's Ag Expo at Montana State University which took place two weeks ago.  After the keynote, Trent Petersen, the president of the Red Lodge FFA Chapter from Red Lodge, Montana joined me on stage for his and my first ever, live podcast recording.  It was a blast, and I am featuring it for you here today.

Trent is a very impressive young man with a dream of running his own cow/calf herd.  He is already building that herd, finding land anywhere he can in his area to put a few head of cattle, get his calves, retain his heifers and sell his steers.  He has a vision of returning to the classroom in the future as an FFA Advisor, and this is his chosen method of creating his off-farm income to support this cattle operation that he has envisioned.

Direct download: Trent_Peterson_Episode_1236_-_112221_11.52_AM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Every now and then in an interview there is so much information to cover that I find myself exceeding the normal length of an episode.  That was definitely the case in my interview with Jeremiah Geise.

I first learned about Jeremiah because he was a national proficiency finalist in the category of diversified livestock.  As they say, that was only the "tip of the iceberg".  Jeremiah is doing a lot more than raising multiple species of livestock, i.e. pigs, sheep and goat.  He is also using artificial insemination to breed as much as he can, and he has discovered multiple niche markets.  He also had set up contracts and direct marketing on all three species.  So, when he has an animal born on his farm, he already knows who the buyer is and that the buyer exists!  This is next level agricultural marketing!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1235_Jeremiah_Geise-REVISED-111921.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

There are multiple crime prevention tips in this article that I think are worth taking a look at:

https://www.djournal.com/monroe/news/property-owners-can-do-their-part-to-help-deter-theft/article_4307a11b-e9d4-52de-b952-2dbe75b84d87.html

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://salinapost.com/posts/dfe029e0-98d1-485b-9471-5283c0a5890f

https://www.wdam.com/2021/11/18/multiple-cows-shot-2-killed-simpson-county-cattle-farm/

https://www.blythewoodonline.com/2021/11/sheriff-seeks-leads-in-theft-of-tractor/

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk/news/crime/eagle-eyed-rural-volunteers-help-thwart-suspected-poachers-in-northumberland-3463955

https://www.producer.com/livestock/police-warn-producers-about-livestock-theft/

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://www.katc.com/news/lafayette-parish/lafayette-men-arrested-for-alleged-horse-thefts

https://www.texomashomepage.com/news/local-news/first-forever-horse-theft-defendant-pleads-guilty/

 
Direct download: OFI_1234_Rural_Crime_-_111921_4.33_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Writing, whether it be as a fiction author, a novelist or a freelancer is one of my favorite methods of off-farm income creation that I cover.  Maybe it is because when I first started this show I interviewed an author and it gave so much credibility to the concept that I was pursuing, or maybe it is because I admire people who can write for a living, but I am a fan.

On today's show Rachel Gabel joins us to talk writing, raising cattle and raising goats.  Rachel lives and ranches in Northeast Colorado, and she has been in that general vicinity all of her life.  Growing up there and ranching there has given her special credibility with the people who read her words, and it has allowed her to write about some topics that only a few people would be accepted discussing.  She primarily writes for The Fence Post Magazine, and she has been doing so since she was a young teenager.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1233-Rachel_Gabel-111321_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Jerry Apps is one of my favorite, all time, agricultural authors.  Tomorrow we are featuring an agricultural author whom I have just met that creates her families off-farm income through writing.  I thought this would be a great time to replay my second interview with Jerry.  I especially enjoy reading and listening to him around the Thanksgiving Holiday as his stories evoke those warm, family memories.

Below are the original show notes from episode #668.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1232-Recap_Of_Episode_668-111521.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Brandon Jakobi is a National Proficiency Finalist this year for his custom round bale business in Wisconsin.  He had several things come together at once that were the catalyst for him to achieve at this very high level.

Brandon joined the FFA in the 7th Grade.  It was something that he always knew that he wanted to do, and he made it happen at his first opportunity.  Brandon's father had been in the FFA and was part of the FFA Alumni Chapter in their area, so he knew the ropes.  Knowing that Brandon would need a good SAE, he suggested that Brandon purchase his round baler and start his own business baling hay and cornstalks, etc. for people in their community.  Brandon's dad also knew that Brandon had been inspired by another student from their area who had won a National Proficiency Award.  Brandon told me that the community really celebrated this accomplishment and that made him want to do the same thing.

Knowing that a national proficiency award was the goal, Brandon and his father thought this business could be the perfect fit to help him achieve this.  Brandon Jakobi's Round Baling was born.  Since that time Brandon has continued to build his client base by using such marketing methods as hanging fliers in stores and pulling his round baler through parades.  Today his business supports him financially, and when he is not baling hay he is working on his families farm or a neighboring dairy.  Brandon is still living in the surreal knowing that he is this close to accomplishing his goal and realizing just how far he has come.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1231-Brandon_Jakobi-111521.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I just returned from an incredible three days in Montana, the genesis of which was the greatest professional honor bestowed upon me in my life - presenting my very first keynote address at the college that I received my agriculture degree from to an audience of FFA students.  On Thursday I presented a keynote and did my first ever podcast interview in front of a live audience at Montana State University.  You all know how much I love my former university and the small city that adopted me for three years.  In today's episode I get to tell you all about it!

Direct download: OFI_1230_Tuesday_Episode_-_111521_7.34_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today has a really amazing story of growth and development.  To preface this, Case Edwards is one of four national proficiency finalists in the category of Ag Mechanics Repair And Maintenance.  But to hear him tell his story, when he was a sophomore in high school if you had shown him a spark plug, he would not have known what it was.

Case's story really starts with joining the FFA, but it takes a big turn during his sophomore year when his friend Terrence started small engine team in their chapter.  He talked Case into being part of it, and soon Case discovered an aptitude that he did not know that he had.  This led to the idea of fixing up old lawn mowers and flipping them, and things just kept snowballing

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income-Episode_1229_Case_Edwards-110821.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Listen to what I have been saying about catalytic convertors…

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://naturalresourcereport.com/2021/11/farmers-hit-hard-by-catalytic-converter-thefts/

https://www.wcbi.com/noxubee-county-deputies-need-help-finding-a-wanted-person/

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://krugersdorpnews.co.za/471236/man-arrested-for-transporting-25-stolen-goats-worth-r80k/

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://coosavalleynews.com/2021/11/rome-man-found-with-crime-tools-while-hiding-under-car/

https://www.wfxrtv.com/news/local-news/lynchburg-central-virginia-news/police-charge-28-year-old-man-in-connection-with-catalytic-converters-theft/

https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/news/news_article?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGZWJpenByZC5wb2xpY2UubnN3Lmdvdi5hdSUyRm1lZGlhJTJGOTg0NDUuaHRtbCZhbGw9MQ%3D%3D

 
Direct download: OFI_1228_Rural_Crime_-_111221_5.54_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The purpose of this show has always been to help you find ways to create the revenue that you need so that you can sustain you farming or ranching lifestyle.  I have always picked entrepreneurship as the way to do that because of the many benefits that come with it such as making good money where few jobs exist and being able to be on your farm when your livestock or crops need you to be there.

In today's episode we are profiling another such opportunity that accomplishes both of these goals.  I will be speaking with John Hansen, the landowner profitability manager for Land Trust, a business based in Bozeman, Montana.  Land Trust thinks of itself as the "airbnb of hunting, fishing and agri-tourism".  This service works like Airbnb in that it allows a land owner to sign up and then market their land to potential customers for the purposes the landowner is willing to allow.  This could be hunting, fishing, agri-tourism, bird watching or whatever!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1227_John_Hansen-103121.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is a replay of an interview I did on how one entrepreneur took his time in educating himself before he started his business. He had a passion for hunting and the outdoors and he combined it with his desire to want to improve farm ground all while building his business. Listen in the learn more about Al Wisnefske and his wildlife consulting company, Land and Legacy Group, LLC. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1226-Recap_Of_Episode_008-102821.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is very involved in her families dairy and dairy business, but it hasn't always been that way. Along the way to Maggie Mathew's nomination as a National Proficiency Finalist there were some bumps in the road. In some ways her childhood has been very similar to mine, starting with the divorce of her parents.  At that point she was exposed to agriculture and livestock, but at a smaller level.  However, after her mother remarried she was brought into a farming family and she took flight from there

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1225_Maggie_Mathews-110121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I am brining on a new advertiser on November 22nd of this month and am very excited about the new contacts in the industry, the affirmation of my show that they are giving me and the fact that the business is growing.  However, what has got me the most excited is the fact that I have stayed true to the advertising model that I committed to for this show, and it is working.

Today, I want to touch on my philosophy once more and get you all ready for what is coming.

Direct download: OFI_1224_Tuesday_Episode_-_11821_2.51_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The story of today's guest could be a recruiting poster for the FFA, if the FFA actually needed recruiting posters.  I found out about Francisco Rocha because he is a national proficiency finalist this year.  However, that is the current version of his story.  What is so compelling here is the "rest of the story", to quote Paul Harvey.

Francisco grew up in Heber, California, which is right next to the larger city of El Centro.  When he started high school he was placed in an introduction to science class, and this was taught through the agriculture department.  The next thing that Francisco knew, he was an FFA member, and he embraced the group.  He continued to get more involved, even though he had not grown up on a farm.

In Francisco's junior year of high school, he took a job with his father a produce packing business in El Centro.  There, he tagged boxes of produce grown in his area of California as well as produce that had been shipped over from Mexico.  After these boxes were tagged they were shipped all over the U.S. to grocery stores and restaurants for human consumption.  During this time he was learning about food safety, the supply chain and customer service.  At the same time, his FFA advisor encouraged him to make this job his supervised agricultural experience, and he took the advice.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1223-Francisco_Rocha-110121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Be careful with lock combinations

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://www.fox13now.com/news/local-news/horse-hair-thieves-continually-target-west-jordan-family

https://www.hawaiipolice.com/11-04-21-police-seek-information-regarding-theft-of-bee-hives

https://www.katc.com/community/crime-stoppers/vermilion-crime-stoppers-help-needed-locating-stolen-equipment

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://thatsfarming.com/farming-news/in-lamb-ewes-stolen/

https://www.farminguk.com/news/police-appeal-after-rustlers-steal-26-ewes-in-devon_59270.html

https://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/crime/appeal-after-classic-tractor-stolen-3445281

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://jacksonholeradio.com/2021/11/man-pleads-in-cattle-case/

https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/news/news?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGZWJpenByZC5wb2xpY2UubnN3Lmdvdi5hdSUyRm1lZGlhJTJGOTgzMTQuaHRtbCZhbGw9MQ%3D%3D

 
Direct download: OFI_1222_Rural_Crime_-_11521_12.01_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

All of the concepts that I teach and much of what I went through as I was transforming into an entrepreneur is covered in today's episode.  It is amazing to me how often I interview an entrepreneur who has made the same transition that I have, and when they tell their story there are so many common themes.

Julia (Julie) Jacobsen went to work in her local county office when she was 19 years old.  During that time she married a rancher, started having a family, and devoted nearly two decades to that position.  However, her presence was being demanded on their ranch more and more over time in addition to the demands that were being placed on her by having a toddler running around the house.  She knew it was time for a change, and she left her county job to be on the ranch with the kids full time.

Julie and her husband had budgeted for this, but with the loss of her off-farm income, the margins were extremely slim.  So, they knew that at some point Julie would have to start bringing in an income again.  Julie knew one thing for sure.  She wasn't going back to work for an employer again.  She had creativity and "outside the box" thinking boiling over in her soul, and her experience in the workplace was not one that embraced that part of her spirit.  It was one that attempted to smother it out!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1221_Julie_Jacobsen-102321.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is a special replay of a show featuring an interview I did with Andy Dyar, who followed his entrepreneurial dream and started a T-Shirt company. He did extensive research and learned that professionalism was key in building his business, Farm Heritage, Inc. 

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1220-Recap_Of_Episode_028-102721.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is just a junior in high school, but his achievements suggest someone who is well beyond high school.  Ethan Lulich is a National Proficiency Finalist already, for this his supervised agricultural experience restoring and selling antique tractors.  In addition to that he has two placement SAE's and another entrepreneurship SAE.  He is also serving as his chapter's president already.

Needless to say, Ethan is busy, and that means that he has to be well organized.  As I conducted this interview with Ethan one theme that kept coming up was goal setting.  He is achieving so much in such a short amount of time, there has to be a way that he is getting this done.  It turns out that Ethan is very good at setting significant goals and then sketching out a map to follow to help him get there.  Between his ability to set these goals and his discipline to follow the plan to achieve them he is seeing great results. Learn more by tuning into this podcast today. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1219_Ethan_Lulich-102321.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Last Saturday night at about 11pm my wife and I touched down at the airport, exhausted from an incredible but very active week in Indianapolis.  We had been at the National FFA Convention all week, walked dozens of miles and met hundreds of incredible people.  We had seen the future leaders of our country, with all of their hope and promise, talent and work ethic, on display for the whole world to see.  And then, just like that, it was over.

After the plane came to a stop at the gate we walked through the empty airport, retrieved our bags and found our car.  Driving through the night we found our way back to our farm, back to our normal life and the last little bit of travel adrenaline wore off.

Our daughter had flown to and from the convention with her FFA chapter, so she had beat us home.  She was already in bed, and there was no waking her.  My wife made her way to bed and to sleep as quickly as possible, but I wasn’t quite ready.

I had been gone for five days, and I missed the farm.  It was a beautiful night so I decided to take a walk and check a few things before heading to bed.  The chickens were all locked up, the pigs had feed and water and the cows and goats were bedded down where they should be.  Nothing was amiss, and from the perspective of our livestock it was like we had never left.

The night was quiet and clear, and I stood looking at the stars.  As I stood there thinking about the great week that we had just concluded I heard a train blow its horn as it approached town.  I couldn’t help but smile.  Just six hours earlier I had pulled off the side of Interstate 57 to take a picture in front of the Kankakee sign as we drove towards Chicago.

We had flown in and out of Chicago and rented a car so we could get a look at the “houses, farms and fields” of Illinois and Indiana on our way to and from the convention.  I had purposefully chosen this route on our way back so I could see this town with the funny sounding name that Steve Goodman wrote about and Willie Nelson sang about in the great song, “The City Of New Orleans”.

Coordinated Inspiration

As I stood there a thought entered my mind and my smile began to grow and grow.  At the same time that we had made our way back to our farm, tens of thousands of American youth were making their way back to theirs.  All across the country FFA students were making late night arrivals at their family farms, ranches and rural towns as they returned from this great convention.

I imagined these students looking up at the stars in their own hometowns, inspired by the time they had just spent in Indiana and dreaming of what their futures would be.  There is a big world out there and it is filled with opportunities.  However, if you are never exposed to those ideas or nobody ever tells you about them, you don’t even know they exist.

For the 55,000+ FFA students who were able to attend this great convention they couldn’t help but be excited.  This whole world of opportunity was brought to them and placed at their feet, all under one roof.  Whether their path is in the military, the trades, college, niche farming or production agriculture, everywhere they turned there was somebody who was eager to have them join them in their vocation and call to service.

I could not fathom how many thousands of students at that moment were telling themselves, “I didn’t know you could do that for a career” or who had received the spark necessary to light the fire in their souls that had just been waiting to burn.

If all the adults in the expo hall reaching out to these youth by metaphorically saying “follow me and serve your fellow man” weren’t enough, there were the general sessions.  The folks at the FFA are experts at creating an environment that first gets you very excited, followed by inspiration after inspiration in each of these general sessions.

No Excuses

The best thing this convention does, whether or not this is intentional, is that it removes all excuses.  In every session there are FFA students on the stage that are achieving at a very high level.  From the National Officers who run the show, to future professional musicians, to American Stars and Proficiency Finalists, you are shown the best of the best.  The stories of these students and how they made it to that stage are told to you, and every student sees what is possible.

For example, if a student had just found out about a dream career in the expo and told yourself, “that’s for other people, I could never do that”, in the general session they would get a metaphorical wake up call from the stories of the students on the stage that would leave them with only one answer - “If they did it, I can do it too, the only thing holding me back is me”.  That is a sobering thought, but it is also freeing and it is just what these students need to hear to be able to unleash their greatness.

Student after student walks across that stage.  Some receive the highest awards, others do not, but every nominee has achieved things that even adults only dream about.

Whether it is the agriscience research finalist whose research began during his freshman year of high school and has now taken him around the world.  Or the agribusiness finalist who saw a need at livestock shows that was not being filled and at 19 years of age flies all over the country fulfilling this need for his clients.  Or the agricultural placement finalist who had to find a way to fill a major void on his families farm and continue high school when Covid decimated their employee staff.  Or a star farmer candidate who started leasing land at an early age and building their own herd to now find themselves in a position to farm for their living.  Student after student and story after story erases excuse after excuse and replaces them with inspiration.

Neither a student nor an adult can leave a general session without a sense of inspiration and a renewed vigor that makes them believe they can go conquer the world!  Every student and every adult takes a lot more home with them from the convention than they brought.  I bring home so much energy and inspiration that I almost feel selfish.

Organizational Success

To go the FFA’s National Convention is to see unbelievable stories of individual success.  However, it is also to see an incredible example of organizational success.  The 2021 National FFA convention is the 94th iteration of this great event.  Since 1928 the National FFA has been chasing a vision of unity, fraternity, education and inclusion in agriculture.  The result has been unbelievable growth in the number of chapters and students who choose to be part of this organization.

In the midst of the activities, music, lights and competitions of the National FFA Convention one tends to see the individual achievement only.  However, if you sit down and watch students walk by, reading the names of the states that they are from on the back of their jackets you see how this kernel of an idea that sprouted almost 100 years ago has transformed agriculture and the lives of millions of American youth since that day.

There is no hall of fame for youth organizations or non-profit associations.  When one is finally created, the FFA will be a first ballot, charter member.  There is room in the FFA for everyone, whether you live in a neighborhood or on a farm.  The FFA will teach you the skills you need to succeed and expose you to a career or aptitude that will allow you to thrive.

Find your inspiration, find your purpose and find it in the FFA! 

Direct download: OFI_1218_Tuesday_Episode_-_11121_6.03_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

So, what's in the water in Slaton, Texas?  Is it some sort of magical elixir that produces national proficiency and American Star finalists?  This is a question that I am pondering more and more.

Today's show features a repeat guest, Rachyl Kitten.  Rachyl first appeared on the show just over a year ago on episode #895.  The way that I initially found out about Rachyl was that she was a national proficiency finalist in 2020.  Well....she is a national proficiency finalist again, this time for 2021!  She has great entrepreneurial instincts, a great business, and a great supporting cast at Slaton.

What is incredible about Slaton?  Tune into this podcast to find out!

Direct download: Rachyl_Kitten_Revised_Episode_-_102921_11.25_AM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

If you employ people, learn about threat assessment

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://www.agweek.com/news/crime-and-courts/7251594-Fired-employee-at-Nebraska-grain-elevator-kills-two

https://nypost.com/2021/10/23/catalytic-converter-theft-quadruples-in-one-year/

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/crime/farm-equipment-stolen-from-mulbarton-farm-8433596

https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/crime/warning-over-rogue-traders-in-suffolk-8436716

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://southyorks.police.uk/find-out/news-and-appeals/2021/october-2021/make-an-appointment-at-halfords-to-protect-against-catalytic-converter-theft/

https://krcrtv.com/news/local/shasta-county-man-leads-deputies-on-pursuit-in-stolen-atv-on-tuesday

Direct download: OFI_1216_Rural_Crime_-_102521_5.13_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

How great would it be to discover a niche in the marketplace that nobody had filled and everyone was waiting to be filled?  Well, our guest today, Korri Atkinson, the owner of The Ranch Signs & Company, can tell you because that is exactly what she has done.

Korri and her husband own a small farm just north of Boise, Idaho, right in my backyard actually.  Korri homeschools the kids and takes care of the animals during the day which keeps her plenty busy.  However, about seven years ago she got an itch to try out an idea.  The idea was to create and selling beautiful signs for the horse industry.  These were "stall signs" meant to be hung up in horse stalls at shows, events, etc. to identify horses, warn people to stay away, or even list out the allergies of the equine.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1215_Korrie_Atkinson-100821_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's podcast is a replay of an earlier show I did on why social media is important, especially if you own or manage a business. Whether you don't have social media accounts, are new to the world of social media, or need some further insight, be sure to tune into today's podcast. 

Original Show Notes:

For years I have been jealous of those of you who never opened a social media account.  By the time I developed that opinion I was well invested in social media for my business, and there was no changing that.  Then, I put out an ad for a full-time, podcast producer and started interviewing candidates.

This hiring process has clearly shown me one thing, and that is that all of you who are seeking a certain lifestyle should be posting content on social media.  Hang with me on this.  I know it can be a toxic environment, but there is a really good reason.  I delve deep into this in this episode, and I hope you will join me!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1214-_Recap_Of_Episode_926-100521_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Lashawna Vogel has so many positive attributes and has accomplished so much already that it is impracticable to try and list them all here.  With that said, the thing that stands out to me, so big, is that she grew up outside of agriculture.  One of her aunts encouraged her to take ag classes and join the FFA because she knew how positive it could be for Lashawna.  Lashawna gave it a shot, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Actually, it is not quite history yet.  Lashawna is still competing and accomplishing a lot in the FFA.  Right now she is serving as a state officer for the State Of Wisconsin.  And, she is one of just four national proficiency finalists in the category of Agricultural Communications!  She has been working as a "media intern" in the FFA since her 8th-grade year when she was awarded that position in her middle school chapter.  She continued that throughout high school and has grown her skill set more and more each year.

Now, that exposure, the training, and the challenges are all culminating in national recognition.  She is also pursuing a degree in agricultural marketing and communications and plans on advocating for agriculture through the medium in the future.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1213-Lashawna_Vogel-101821.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On the day this episode comes out I am heading to my 3rd National FFA Convention, but I won't be going alone.  Actually, Hattie is already there with her Conduct Of Chapter Meetings Team as well as 32 other members of her FFA chapter.  And, because Hattie is competing there Autumm took the time off of work and is traveling with me to Indianapolis as my assistant.  But of course we will both be covering the conduct of meetings competitions very closely and are looking forward to seeing Hattie and all of her teammates perform.

Even though this will be my 3rd National Convention, there will be a lot of firsts for me.  This is the first time that any of my family members are going.  This is the first time that I will be going as a member of the advisory council for Kuna FFA.  This will be the first time that Autumm and I have ever visited Chicago.  It is going to be a great trip, and I have all of you in the his audience to thank for this!

If it were not for you supporting this show, there is a good chance that Hattie would not be in the FFA, I would not be on the advisory council and I would have long since abandoned the podcast and never gone to that very first National Convention!  Thank you!

Direct download: OFI_1212_Tuesday_Episode_-_102521_11.52_AM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Behind every successful person, there was somebody who was pushing them or encouraging them, and today's interview is absolute proof of that.

Kami Holt is a National Proficiency Finalist this year in Ag Sales Entrepreneurship, but her journey didn't just start yesterday.  Growing up on her family's century farm in Southern Utah, Kami has been exposed to agriculture her entire life.  However, it was her older brother's membership in the FFA that sparked this interest and ultimately led her to join.  However, joining was enough for Kami, and when she was asked if she was going to compete for a leadership role she said "no".

Kami's grandmother and brother would not take "no" for an answer and really pushed or, as Kami put it, "coerced" her into filling out the application to join the officer team.  Ultimately she was selected, spend three years as an officer, and found that to be a very rewarding experience.  During this time Kami took over her brother's SAE project, selling corn stalks and straw bales, and continued to grow the business.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1211-Kami_Holt-101821.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

The truth is always a good way to go….

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://www.facebook.com/76886619686/posts/10159418781439687/?d=n

https://www.newser.com/story/312440/farm-owner-hit-with-animal-cruelty-charges-over-md-zebras.html

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://www.dorsetview.co.uk/dorset-police-launches-rural-podcast-to-tackle-crime/#.YXMnnS-B2-o

https://theprestonhub.co.uk/2021/10/20/100-pieces-of-farm-equipment-marked-during-roadshow/

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://www.ksn.com/news/crime/man-pleads-guilty-to-shutting-down-rural-kansas-water-system/

https://www.monroenews.com/story/news/crime/2021/10/21/woman-admits-damaging-soybean-field-no-charges-sought/853235000

Direct download: OFI_1210_Rural_Crime_-_102221_3.58_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is Britin Wardlaw.  Britin grew up on a citrus farm and raising cattle and married another farmer.  One of the permanent crops that they grow are persimmons, which is a bit of a niche crop and they tend to be aesthetically pleasing and associated with the fall and winter.  Britin noticed that before all of the persimmons could be harvested, many, perfectly good fruit fell off of the trees, rendering them no longer suitable for human consumption.  This waste bothered her, and it also gave her an idea.

Britin has an eye for decorating and styling the front porches of people's homes.  What is better, is that she has a deep desire to do this in such a way that reflects the agricultural industry and heritage of the surrounding area.  So, she came up with an idea for a business, The Western Loom, in which she would get paid to decorate people's homes in her area of the San Joaquin Valley of California.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1209-Britin_Wardlaw-100121.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

is interview is so good, it is worth another play.

Hannah was originally on our show on episode #410 talking all about how she combines an eye for art with her knowledge of agriculture.  I am proud to say that her talents took her all the way to becoming an American Star Finalist in 2020, and it was my pleasure to profile her again.  Below are the show notes from the first time she was on the show.

Original Show Notes:

Have you ever heard of a starving artist?  Of course, you have.  How about that old cliche about the artist that created a solid business plan, developed a targeted market that would pay for their art, and designed a solid business?  Right.....that cliche is not as common.

Our guest today is that second kind of artist.  Hannah York has an eye for art.  Specifically, she crafts her vision into artistic holiday creations for businesses around Princeton, Kentucky.  She has one, VERY busy season where she must completely prioritize her business.  As her reputation grows, so does the demand for this service that she provides.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1208-Recap_Of_Episode_925-100521.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Kayla Rossi is a National Proficiency Finalist in the category of diversified livestock production this year.  And to look at what she is currently doing and what she has already accomplished might make you think that it has been easy.  If that is the case, it is only because she makes it look that way.

Kayla raises her livestock on her family's ranch in the high country of Northwest Colorado.  This brings challenges that many of the rest of us never have to deal with including harsh winters, drought, and predators.  In 2019, as Kayla was really getting ready to hit her stride in her herd of cattle, a herd of goats, and a flock of sheep she had a major predator loss.  That year her profit, or lack thereof, on her lambs was negative $29.

She did not allow this to stop or discourage her, however.  She made adjustments and persisted.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1207-Kayla_Rossi-101421_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I ran across a very interesting story about pigs being used to solve a safety problem near an airport in Amsterdam.  After seeing the creative way that the pigs were used, it got me thinking about the way we view livestock in the United States.  There is a mantra in the West among those who support grazing cattle in national forest lands that goes "log it, graze it or watch it burn".  

As I thought about this it occurred to me that there is a group of very vocal Americans who are against grazing cattle in national forest lands.  However, they will support the use of goat and sheep for certain prescribed grazing in the name of fire suppression.  As I considered this I wondered if the way cattle were viewed by certain individuals could be shifted from a symbol of wealth and power to a defender of the beautiful forest lands if that would create on consensus on grazing national forest lands once again.  

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-58928677

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sully_Sullenberger

Direct download: OFI_1206_Tuesday_Episode_-_10_18_21_7.33_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

As you all know this show is all about entrepreneurship in agriculture.  So, I almost never interview FFA students with placement SAE's except for American Star Finalists.  Guests like Duncan Patton definitely make me rethink this strategy.

It seems like I run into this same puzzle each time it is American Star Interview Season.  I come across a student who has risen to the top in agricultural placement, and I can see the extreme wisdom in what they have done.  Duncan Patton definitely has this wisdom.

Duncan has been working on his family's farm since he was five years old, and that is right where he wants to be. However, he has also worked for a number of neighboring ranches and farms, learning a myriad of other skills.  After high school, Duncan moved all the way to Ohio to study diesel technology, and while he was there he worked for a very large farming operation and learned about chickens and the different ways that farming gets done there.

During the interview, Duncan talked about these experiences.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1205_Duncan_Patton-101321.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

New methods of generating farm revenue can generate new types of problems

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://www.newsweek.com/woman-complains-after-pumpkin-farm-kicks-her-out-bringing-giant-snake-1639462

https://roanoke.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/bond-denied-again-for-man-accused-of-stealing-plants-worth-330-000-from-hemp-farm/article_06ff2f3a-1a4c-11ec-9d48-7330114f4686.html

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://www.southwestfarmer.co.uk/news/19635998.organised-crime-gangs-stealing-gps-equipment/

https://www.berwick-advertiser.co.uk/news/politics/council/police-call-on-rural-residents-to-be-on-their-guard-as-dark-nights-draw-in-3412659

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://www.krqe.com/news/crime/thieves-targeting-farm-equipment-in-hagerman/

https://www.mypanhandle.com/news/crime/washington-county-woman-arrested-on-drug-theft-stolen-property-charges/

 
Direct download: OFI_1204_Rural_Crime_-_101521_6.01_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Marie Canon and her husband, Mark, have been married and operating their dairy in Western Pennsylvania for 31 years.  However, the legacy of this farm goes back much further than that, all the way to the Revolutionary War.  Over time there have been different business models on the farm, and it has been some time since any direct marketing was done, such as the milk route that Mark's grandfather once had with the milk produced on the dairy.

About two years ago, Marie and Mark's daughter, Josie, told them that she wanted to come home and work on the farm, but she did not want to be involved in the day to day of milking and raising crops.  The dairy was already supporting Mark's parents, Mark and Marie, and their son, Trent's, family.  There simply was not enough pie left to cut out another slice.  So, what do we do?

It was decided that they would begin direct marketing and selling products directly from their farm.  They would also start creating value-added products to have something to sell.  Some capital was put aside to make all of this happen, and "Canon Creamery" was born.  There were a lot of unknowns going into this, such as how to market, would customers come to their farm, and when to be open.  However, those fears were overcome and the business was started.  This was not without difficulties, however.  Covid definitely slowed down the development and delayed the ability to start recapturing some of the capital that had been outlaid.  However, a spontaneous grand opening that was caused by the perishability of milk proved the concept, and now they are off and running!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1203_Marie_Cannon-100121.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Not much has changed when it comes to using the term "value-added" since the first time I aired this interview with Logan Schlauch who is benefitting from the trend in adding something a little extra or giving the consumer a little more while, in this case, a dairy producer can add to his bottom line. Here is the story of one small dairy operation that got creative and created a value-added product in order not only to help with profit margins but to also appease customer demand for greek style yogurts. Additionally, this project has served as an FFA learning experience for Logan Schlauch.

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1202-Recap_Of_Episode_821-100521.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Interviewing FFA students I find myself constantly asking "what was I doing during high school?".  I think I was a pretty typical high school student way back in the 1900s.  I played sports, got decent grades, had a job, and focused on menial things outside of that.  I also wasn't in the FFA, and interviewing these students from all over the country makes me realize that there is a whole other level of achievement possible in high school.

To say that there is a whole other level of achievement seems like an understatement when describing today's guest.  Josh Heupel is an American Star Farmer Finalist, and his resume is unbelievable.  As a junior in college, majoring in agricultural business and political science, Josh has already accomplished a lifetime of achievements.  He is leasing and farming 97 acres of walnuts and 84 acres of almonds.  He has designed and patented a piece of equipment to improve nut farmers' harvests and encourage the use of cover crops in orchards.  He owns and operates his own custom spreading business.  And, he is soon to graduate from college and take up a role advocating for agriculture in the Central Valley of California that I think is going to be unprecedented in its effectiveness.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1201_Josh_Heupel-100721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is a big day on our farm in Kuna, Idaho.  Our daughter, Hattie, has completed driver's training and been awarded her driving permit.  She is going to start driving with us and fulfilling the requisite hours to make her eligible for her full driver's license.  We are going to go through the motions and do everything we need to do to comply with the requirements of the state for this to happen.  However, she has been driving for years now.  She drove the pickup while I fed hay off the back, then she started driving up the driveway when we got home, then I let her drive out in the desert and finally we cheated and let her drive on the farm roads by our house.

This got me thinking about my own experience as a teenager.  I drove a lot before I ever even got my permit.  Sometimes this was with my parent's permission and sometimes this was not.  But growing up in a very rural area, I got behind the wheel a bunch to the extent that driver's training was really just a formality.  My question today, is should we return to a time in which farm kids are treated differently when it comes to licensing?

Direct download: OFI_1200_Rural_Crime_-_101121_5.16_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is an American Star Finalist in the category of Agricultural Placement, and there is an incredible story that comes along with this nomination.

Caleb Peckham has grown up on his family's small dairy farm in eastern Connecticut.  In the latter half of the 2010s, low milk prices were harming dairies all over the United States, but smaller dairies in Connecticut seemed to be getting hit extra hard because they were so much more sensitive to the margins they were operating on.  As a response to these prices, Caleb's parents knew that something had to be done so that their family farm could survive.  The decision to start direct marketing products through a farm store they called Farm To Table Market in 2018.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1199_Caleb_Peckham-100121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Don’t mix business with personal relationships

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/news/crime/it-becomes-way-too-tempting-620k-taken-from-fresno-county-farm-sheriffs-office-says/

https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/crime/louisiana-man-threatens-workers-opens-fire-after-denying-them-water/289-01fc0da0-b31a-4de2-ba8b-c4a2478c8d73

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/police-believe-dog-owner-moved-21789133

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/19628343.hunt-meat-fly-tipper-remains-found-dumped-sussex/

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://tscra.org/arizona-man-behind-bars-in-west-texas-cattle-theft-case/?fbclid=IwAR11xWIzLPEacKrI0iogbKdf4-OULlKtCD7jvh_X-8HvMwgDvQxJZIGXqMM

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/19632345.merthyr-tydfil-burglar-jailed-abergavenny-cardiff-raids/

https://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/Zapata-County-man-accused-of-stealing-multiple-16517215.php

https://cortlandvoice.com/2021/10/06/cortland-county-man-sentenced-to-five-years-in-prison-for-burglary-charge/

 
Direct download: OFI_1198_Rural_Crime_-_10821_1.33_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

90% of farmers in the U.S., large and small, rely on off-farm income to run their households because the farm revenue just won't.  In a larger percentage of these instances that revenue comes from a working spouse.  In today's episode, I get to interview Rosie Bosse, who is and was that working spouse and she has an amazing story of entrepreneurship, creativity, and hard work that spans 42 years.

Rosie and her husband farm and raise cattle in Northeast Kansas.  Over their 42 year marriage, they have raised four children, who are all out of the house.  They continue to farm and raise cattle to this day.  In our interview, Rosie stated that the farm paid for itself, but it didn't produce enough income to support the household. Therefore, her role, in addition to the parent, was to come up with a way to create that income to run the home.  Tune into this podcast to find out she did that. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1197_Rosie_Bosse-100121.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's Friday episode I am profiling a woman who supported her families farming lifestyle for 30 years selling Tupperware, driving all over Kansas and Nebraska and working six nights per week.  I like my re-cap episodes to flow into my Friday episodes, and I thought this previous interview with Elisabeth Watkins would be perfect.  Elisabeth turned something that we all have to do, cooking, into an art form and then into a regular television appearance in Sacramento, California.  And, she did this all while she was in the FFA at Central Catholic High School in Modesto, California.

Both of these women took tasks that had to be done everyday in their homes and saw the possibility to take it further.  This shows that entrepreneurship does not have to be inventing a new software program.  All it takes is a will to make it and a creative outlook.

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1196-Recap_Of_Episode_452-100521.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

One of the things that I love about interviewing FFA students is coming across individuals that don't care what age they are and who will not take "no" for an answer.  Never has that been more true than in my interview with Mackenzie Camacho today.

Mackenzie is now a sophomore at Purdue University, where she is studying civil engineering.  She has been nominated an American Star Finalist in the category of agriscience research, and it has not been easy.  Mackenzie grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California around many different tree crops, and something about them and research took hold when she joined the FFA.

Mackenzie started studying different parasitic pathogens in tree crops and how they could be controlled either through specific management practices or by altering traditional management practices.  However, she was doing really advanced work while still in high school.  As a result, some of the researchers she took her findings to dismissed her without really hearing her out.  However, she didn't give up and continued talking to researchers about what she had found and what her conclusions were until she found somebody who would listen.  As a result, she has now presented to farmers all across the West, and she found partners to help her further her research.

Mackenzie now wants to focus on building infrastructure, like dams, that can help California agriculture.  I am very excited to see where she takes all of this!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1195_Mackenzie_Camacho-100121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30pm MDT

My agricultural life is kind of split into two phases by my law enforcement career.  The first phase is growing up rural and then getting introduced to working with cattle by my step-father and step-grandfather.  The next phase is meeting and becoming family with my father-in-law, Terry White, who showed me an even bigger vision with cattle than I had myself.  Terry and his wife, Wanda, also got Autumm and I started with our first four heifers and one bull when we first bought our farm.

As a serial entrepreneur, Terry was always a cheerleader for me with my different business ideas.  He was a person I would turn to that I always knew would shine a light on the positive things that I was achieving with my entrepreneurial endeavors.

Terry passed away last week, and in today's Tuesday episode I want to pay tribute to him.

Direct download: OFI_1194_Tuesday_Episode_-_10421_2.41_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I don't even know where to begin in describing today's guest or her accomplishments.  Emily Acevedo is a bundle of energy, confidence, and personality.  And with her combining a love for research with such incredible people skills, she is really going to climb to heights that maybe even she is not imagining right now.

At the age of 20, Emily is a hardened veteran in the world of agriscience research.  After all, she reluctantly joined the FFA in the 6th Grade and found herself on stage later that year as a state proficiency finalist!  And after an unexpected kidding incident at the fairgrounds, with no parents around when she was young, she has been obsessed with reproduction in goats ever since.  That has driven her research, and that is what will take her to Indianapolis later this month to go on the big stage as an American Star Finalist in Agriscience Research.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1193_Emily_Acevedo-092821.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

If you are new to the area, get to know your neighbors.

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://www.agweek.com/news/crime-and-courts/7214378-Northwest-Minnesota-farmer-charged-with-crop-insurance-fraud

https://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/33726-madera-county-sheriff-s-office-requests-public-s-assistance-in-locating-a-horse-pony-and-horse-trailer-stolen-on-friday-september-24-2021

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/appeal-launched-after-sheep-dies-21698698

https://www.fortmcmurraytoday.com/news/communities-work-together-to-reduce-property-crime

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2021/09/28/two-rising-sun-men-charged-in-tractor-thefts/

https://www.azfamily.com/news/camp-verde-man-damage-hauser-farms/article_68f6bd50-208e-11ec-9421-13fd09eaa101.html

https://www.hawaiipolice.com/9-24-21-kona-crime-prevention-committee-honors-officer-dustin-medeiros-for-lifesaving-actions

 
Direct download: OFI_1192_Rural_Crime_-_92921_4.05_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Have you ever heard of a business and thought, "why didn't I think of that?"  Well, that is the case in today's episode.  I think the most brilliant people are those who can see what is right in front of all of us, when none of the rest of us cannot see it.

Today, Lisa Lupton and Martyn Jones, the founders of Seeds With Love Cards join me to talk about their greeting card business.  The two of them have a brilliant business that combines selling products with advocating for agriculture.  They are based in the U.K., so they have some unique perspectives on business challenges that we don't see in the U.S.

Seeds With Love Cards are greeting cards that come with a packet of seeds.  The idea is brilliant.  One card might come with a recipe for a cocktail, and that recipe includes the herbs that can be grown with the included seeds.  Another card, for Christmas as an example, will come with a packet of seeds that can be planted at Christmas time.  There are myriads of possibilities here, and Marty and Lisa are 18 months into tapping into this niche

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1191_Seeds_With_Love_Cards-092821.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On Today's show, I replay a fun and entertaining interview on how two FFA members teamed up to craft a unique FFA SAE. It is not just about the finished art products, it is also about unique marketing and forming a partnership using specific skillsets with a common interest in woodwork and art. More about how this idea for a "board art" SAE came about coming up in today's show. (Replay of Episode #316)

 

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1190_Recap_Of_Episode_316-091121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On multiple occasions, after interviewing FFA students who have started lawn care businesses, I have referred to this particular type of business as a "future millionaire maker".  It seems as though every single year there is an FFA student who is a finalist for the American Star in Agribusiness that is the owner of a lawn care company, and that is because this is such a strong and great business to have.

In today's episode, I get to interview Matt Rowlette, the owner, and creator of Rowlettes Lawn Care.  This company actually officially began when Matt was eight years old, and he was hired to trim weeds along his uncle's fence, bordering 150 acres.  His parents purchased his first mower and trimmer for him, and he has those still today.  However, he has been steadily reinvesting into his business and growing it since that time.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1189_Matt_Rowlette-090721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Last night was our annual scholarship auction at the Kuna FFA Chapter.  It is always a very well attended and very successful event.  This year was a new record, as it seems to be every year.  

This year was the 10th year in a row at this auction for us.  A lot has changed in that time.  The first time we went Hattie was five years old. Now she is 15, in her second year of FFA and on her way to the National Convention to compete in Conduct Of Chapter Meetings in just a few weeks.  Instead of being the new person in town, hoping to meet people, now I host an agricultural podcast and interview FFA students every week.  And, I am one of the advisory board members for our chapter.  They are huge changes and differences, but every moment is thrilling.  

Direct download: OFI_1188_Tuesday_Episode_-_92721_4.48_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's guest, Chase Krug, first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in episode #203 when he was a freshman in high school in 2016.  Back then he was already doing research and had been awarded an SAE Grant to study the Colorado Potato Beetle as well as blight in potatoes.  Over the past five years he has continued his passion for both research and plant breeding, and has added 13 more research projects for a total of 15 (he had one before the potatoes).

If you are wondering, this is not the norm, this is exceptional.  So exceptional in fact that right after Chase graduated from high school he was sent to India, by himself, to work on plant breeding and research new varieties of mung beans through an internship he had been granted.  Chase has continued to be recognized and be awarded internships and jobs such as working for the the USDA - ERS and publishing recommendations for countries like Egypt.  And now, he has been nominated as an American Star Finalist in the category of Agriscience Research.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1187-Chase_Krug-090621_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Call police immediately, don’t delay wondering whether or not to make the call.

Rural Crime In The U.S.

https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/man-shot-death-boy-bow-and-arrow-jefferson-county/63-a96c6e25-cc8b-4aa9-8b34-d31a661dead7

https://www.masslive.com/boston/2021/09/apple-theft-is-a-crime-group-accused-of-trying-to-steal-hundreds-of-dollars-of-apples-from-new-england-orchard.html

https://www.facebook.com/76886619686/posts/10159348849789687/?d=n

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

https://www.southwestfarmer.co.uk/news/19597946.tractor-gps-systems-stolen-farm-near-bradford-peverell/

https://mypolice.qld.gov.au/news/2021/09/22/update-unlawful-killing-of-livestock-horses-longreach-2/

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

https://www.yourcentralvalley.com/news/crime/brothers-admit-to-stealing-chainsaws-from-farming-shed-they-broke-into-deputies-say/

https://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/7442226/police-recover-over-60-kilos-of-wool-allegedly-shorn-from-stolen-sheep/

Direct download: OFI_1186_Rural_Crime_-_92321_6.42_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's ag business interview has it all for you.  As a matter of fact, I have never seen the concepts that we talk about on the Off-Farm Income Podcast come together quite so well as they have for today's guests.

Dexter and Kayla Dedora are cattle ranchers in Alberta, Canada.  They both grew up around cattle and agriculture and were determined to have this same life for themselves and their kids.  Of course, being determined and getting it done are two different things, and that is why this show exists.  At this point, the Dedora's are well on their way to the life that they have been seeking.  However, they have been "lucky".  When I say lucky, what I mean is that they have worked hard, hustled and they were ready when an opportunity presented itself.

Dexter and Kayla are purchasing the ranch and operation of a retiring ranch couple.  They are doing this through a gradual transition process, just the same way that we have talked about on the show so many times.  This began with them leasing land from the ranch owners and purchasing their Longhorn Cattle herd.  The relationship has built over time, and now they have an agreement and are slowly moving it into their possession.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1185_Longhorns__Leather-082821.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If you are a loyal listener, then you will recall my guest Nick McCormack as he appeared on the show in Episode #327. During our discussion, he outlined how he started his ranch from the ground up, literally. It wasn't easy and he had to develop his leathercraft skills in order to generate some cash to make it work. Tune in and find out how Nick and his wife got their ranch started along with their off-farm income business. 


Big happenings (possibly) on our farm, and proof of concept during an interview!

Direct download: OFI_1182_Tuesday_Episode_-_92021_4.37_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Ethan Buck is a finalist for the American Star in Agricultural Placement this year.  And, this did not just happen overnight.  Actually, it all started during the Great Depression.  During that difficult time in American History, Ethan's great-grandfather moved from Illinois to Indiana and started the farming operation that Ethan has been so heavily involved in.  Fifty years later, during another difficult time for farmers in the U.S., Ethan's grandfather added a 4,500 head, wean to finish hog operation as a hedge against low commodity prices.  Today, Ethan works on this farm with his grandparents and parents.

Ethan is an American Star Finalist, a college student studying agribusiness and the future of this farming legacy that was started during the Great Depression.  After graduation, Ethan will go into the world and be off of the farm for some time, but when his grandparents (who are in their 80's) decide to take a step back, he will be coming home to take his place on this multi-generational farm.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1183_Ethan_Buck-090221.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I interview a lot of high school students on this show with great businesses.  Even with these fantastic businesses already started, many of them tell me that they do not plan on continuing as a business owner or they are going to go to college after high school and possibly continue the business on the side in the future.  For some reason, even though they have seen success as business owners during their time in the FFA they don't see it as a possibility as a future career.

Our guest today, Tyler Ertzberger, is not one of those students.  And, what has it led to?  He is an American Star Finalist in Agribusiness.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1181_Tyler_Ertizberger-090221.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A few weeks ago my tip of the week was to use a forensic marking technology, such as Smart Water, to identify your property and to prevent the thefts in the first place.  However, this wasn't actually my tip.  This was a recommendation that a constable in the U.K. had made when he was interviewed about preventing sheep thefts in that country.

As I looked into what this technology was, I became very intrigued.  Going down this rabbit hole ultimately led me to Randy Butschillinger, who is our expert guest on today's show.  As you will find out in today's interview, this technology is actually very old and trusted, and it is being used in more places than you might think already.  The applications for this seem endless, and the crime prevention possibilities make me very optimistic!

Direct download: Randy_Butschillinger_Episode_1180_-_9_14_21_11.58_AM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Through the past seven years of hosting the Off-Farm Income Podcast I have made the claim on numerous occasions that you can find a niche in agriculture, become the expert in that niche and turn that into a business that will produce your off-farm income.  Today, I offer proof of this concept one more time, and oh my goodness, is this proof!

Lisa Steele, the creator of "Fresh Eggs Daily", the author of six books, television host and frequent television guest is joining us on the show to talk about the development of her brand and business that is all about raising chickens, geese and ducks!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1179_Lisa_Steele-082421.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is an oldie but goodie in terms of podcast episodes. I reach back into the archives to bring you this interview featuring Freelance Writer and Agricultural Communications Specialist, Heather Smith Thomas. 

Here are the notes from the original Episode:

                                        KEY IDEAS


ADVICE FROM HEATHER:

PERSISTENCE: Heather urges you not to give up, even after several editors have rejected your idea.  She states that just because an editor has rejected your idea does not mean that it is without value.

KNOW YOUR SUBJECT: Heather states that if you are going to write professionally about a topic you become more successful and credible if it is something you are familiar with.  So, pick something that you are interested in and know about.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1178_Recap_Of_Episode_009-090921.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

There is something very special about being able to interview all of the American Star Award Finalists every year.  It is definitely a time of year that is inspirational to me and that gives me the motivation to continue my quest into entrepreneurship.  And the only thing that can make that even more special is when one of those finalists has been a guest on the show before.

After 7 years of interviewing FFA students, and increasing the number of FFA students that I interview from 52 to 104 per year, that has been happening more frequently, and that is happening today!

Raegan Klaassen is an American Star Farmer Finalist, and she first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in February of 2017 on episode #251 when she was just a freshman.  I don't think I had enough experience to predict that she would have this level of success way back then, but looking back on what I wrote in the show notes for her episode I should have seen it coming.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1177_Raegan_Klaassen.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

As it turned out, our good snow pack from last winter was largely diminished by the dry spring that we had.  The ground in the mountains was so dry from lack of rainfall in the spring that when the snow started to run off they absorbed a large percentage of the water that would normally end up in our reservoirs.  Therefore, my irrigation water shuts off tomorrow, about 30 days earlier than normal.  I am done with irrigation early this year, but it is not a happy surprise.  I will have less pasture than normal, which means I will be feeding livestock sooner than normal.  With hay at a premium, that causes its own problems.

My problems pale in comparison to those of the production agriculture farmers in our area whose yields are going to be reduced because their crops are going to stop or significantly slow down on growth when the last of their soil moisture disappears.  Out here in the West we are going to need a very wet winter followed by a wet spring to get us back to or towards normal and to help us avoid a crisis.  We hope you will keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Direct download: OFI_1176_Tuesday_Episode_-_91321_4.28_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I try to interview every American Star Finalist, every year at this time.  To me, getting to spend 20-30 minutes asking these FFA members about their journeys is what it would be like for other people to get to interview a star athlete for that amount of time.  These students have risen to the top of an organization with a lot of talent.  When these students are finally named as an American Star Finalist they have overcome the odds and been selected as one of four students in their category out of a total population of students of over 700,000.  That puts them in the top .0005% of all FFA students.  Those are more difficult odds than making it to the major leagues, NBA, or the NFL!

Today's episode is another example of the talent level that the FFA holds.  Our guest, Wyatt Harlan, knew at an early age that other extracurricular activities like sports or drama were not going to be for him.  So, he chose the FFA based on his agricultural roots and lifestyle, and he poured himself into it.  Six years after joining he had found himself as a Texas State FFA Vice-President, a business owner, and now an American Star Finalist in Agribusiness

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1175_Wyatt_Harlan-082921.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

It's been 20 years since Autumm and I received a telephone call first thing in the morning telling us that the Twin Towers in New York City were on fire.  Different then our normal morning routine, we headed out to the living room and turned the television on to witness the towers falling just a short time later.  We were forever changed just as everyone else was on that day.

In today's episode I'd like to spend some time remember that day and discussing it from an agricultural perspective.

Here are links to three stories that I covered in the episode today:

Ohio Man Creates 9/11 Tribute Mural On Farmland

Farmers See 9/11 Impacts Each Day

John Ogonowski

Direct download: OFI_1174_Rural_Crime_-_91021_4.43_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is my second time featuring Ally Spears on the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  She first appeared on the show in December of 2020 on episode #945.  She and her mother co-own a business called Junk & Disorderly, and it supports the farm and farming lifestyle in the Bay Area of California.  Ally does not live in California however.  She lives in Texas and works for Texas A&M as a program director.  She definitely has the entrepreneurial spirit, which is easily recognized by all of the different ventures she finds herself in.

On today's show Ally and I will be talking about her journey in agriculture and entrepreneurship.  We will also be discussing some of the issues faced and progress made by women in farming and ranching.  These are the kinds of topics that Ally discusses on her podcast, Ag Chicks, and we are lucky to have her first hand with us on the show today!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1173-Ally_Spears-081821.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's episode I am having Ally Spears back on the show to talk about some of her other entrepreneurial endeavors in agriculture.  It was a fun interview, talking about ag and life in general.  I thought recapping the episode she did with her mother, Robyn, from the National Finals Rodeo in 2020 would be a great choice for this week's re-cap episode to get us ready for Friday's agribusiness show with Ally.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1172-Recap_Of_Episode_945-090821.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On today's show, we are featuring an American Star Finalist in agricultural placement.  These are always great interviews because the students that make it to this level are so dedicated to whomever they are working for, family or otherwise, their talents and work ethic shine through.  That is definitely true with Jakob Weinheimer.

Jakob has grown up in Claude, Texas working on his family's farm.  In their portion of Texas, they are growing cotton, corn, wheat, and milo.  Some of this is done on the irrigated ground and some on dry ground.  Each poses its own challenges.  

Jakob is a pivotal part of this operation, and he has progressively been given more and more responsibility every growing season as he has got older.  Being recognized as an American Star Finalist is not the first recognition that Jakob has received.  In 2019 he was a national proficiency winner in grain production, so he has been to the big stage once already.  Interestingly he did this with a different chapter at Claude High School.  However, since graduation from high, he switched chapters to continue pursuing achievements in the FFA.  Jakob's sister is in the FFA through the Pan Handle Chapter, so he switched over to that chapter to make keeping up his record book seamless.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1171_Jakob_Weinheimer-082421.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Autumm, Hattie and I spent Labor Day Weekend in San Francisco.  In today's episode I'll tell you why you should plan a visit if you've always wanted to go there but the news about the homeless problem has scared you away.  Also, my cousin and his family are carrying on a great farming tradition in California, and I'm excited about it!

Direct download: OFI_1170_Tuesday_Episode_-_9621_10.06_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT