Off-Farm Income

Today's guest, Tristan Miller, is the second FFA student who is a fifth-generation farmer to appear on the show in a row.  Tristan currently works and lives on his family's farm north of Sacramento, California that has been part of his legacy since just after the Civil War.  During that time, the farm has seen a lot of changes.  For example, they used to raise cattle in addition to crops until drought made that unprofitable.  Also, their farm and farms in their area used to be dominated by rice, but now almonds are taking over.

Tristan takes all of this in stride and loves the farm work and responsibility he has on the home place.  When I asked him what his day-to-day work looks like, his answer was simple and to the point - "whatever grandpa tells me to do!".

Tristan has plans to return to the farm at some point, but he has some other interests that are enticing to him right now.  He is heading off to college to study agricultural business next year.  He also wants to get certified to drive large equipment so that he can operate large earthmovers for Cal Fire during wildfire season.  If that weren't enough, he would like to start his own business cutting and bailing hay for farmers.

Tristan is definitely motivated, and it is going to be exciting to see where he takes this journey.

Direct download: OFI_1085_-_Tristan_Miller__Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

We talk about it all the time on this show - how can you get to the life in which all you have to do is farm or ranch?  What if you already had an enterprise that would allow you to quit that job in town and farm or ranch full-time, but you just didn't know it?

On today's show, we will speak with Dallas Mount.  Dallas has a history of advising and teaching folks in agriculture, and now he is the owner of Ranch Management Consultants and their key course, Ranching For Profit, in Wheatland, Wyoming.  Dallas will be talking with us about how he and his people help to identify areas within people's ranching and farming enterprises that are going underutilized or are acting as a drag on their profits.  He will talk about strategies for improving an operation, increasing productivity, and enhancing profits.  He will also talk about the challenges to implementing those strategies when there are other stakeholders involved in the operation.

Dallas accurately points out that formal, agricultural education really emphasizes production when it comes to teaching ag students.  Therefore, there are a lot of ranchers out there with a large amount of knowledge and skill when it comes to production, but who still need to learn how to look at their enterprise from the perspective of a business person.

Direct download: OFI_1083_-_Dallas_Mount_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

You may wonder why I have a video of the Oprah Winfrey Show with Jim Carrey at the top of a post about farming and entrepreneurship.  The reason that I did this is that today's guest, Tyler Hendrickson, said something that really made me think about this story from Jim Carrey.

If you watch the video clip you will see that Jim Carrey visualized himself as an actor long before he was successful.  He then wrote a check to himself for $10 million for "acting services rendered".  Ultimately what he visualized he was ultimately able to make happen.

Tyler does not yet have a farm.  However, he named his diesel tuning business "Hendrickson Farms LLC". Tyler knows what he wants to do, and he has visualized it.  He wants to farm, and he has chosen entrepreneurship as the pathway to achieving that.  So, even though he does not have the farm yet, he has the business.....Hendrickson Farms LLC.  He knows that someday in the future he will be selling crops and livestock under that name, and he has chosen entrepreneurship to make that happen.


LISTEN: Listen to everyone intently for information that will make it easier for you to succeed as you move forward.

RELATIONSHIPS: Find a way to continually be developing relationships with people as you grow.  These people will help you succeed in your chosen business either by being mentors or customers.


DON'T QUIT: Tyler doesn't do this.  He sees every job through to its completion, no matter what it takes to get it finished.


"If you shoot for the moon and fall short you will still be among the stars"...or something very close to that.  Tyler's grandfather, through his words and example, showed Tyler that you need to set your goals high.  That way even if you fall short you have still accomplished something significant.

Direct download: OFI_1082_-_Replay_Hendrickson_Farms_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is a 5th generation farmer from Tennessee.  Campbell Baker and his father are jointly raising cattle on land outside of Carthage, Tennessee, which has been in the family since the late 1800s.  Where they are located is just about 50 miles to the east of Nashville.  With all of the growth in and immigration to Tennessee and Nashville right now, Campbell sees many changes that he never expected.

As more and more beautiful farms are turned into subdivisions, Campbell has realized that when he takes over this farming enterprise, he will face challenges unlike any faced by his ancestors in the past.  The growth, loss of farms, and diminishing open spaces can certainly be considered negative.  However, Campbell chooses to put a positive spin on things.

Campbell and his father have recognized that the influx of people also means potential new markets and new customers for directly marketed beef.  Therefore, they have been learning about new grazing techniques, new breeds of cattle, and how to market to folks in the city.  They are prepping for the future and looking at how their farming operation can be sustainable through the future and possibly even more productive and profitable.

Campbell definitely has a passion for what he is doing.  He understands all the different forages available on their farm, grazing techniques, and why a smaller breed of cattle might serve them better.  He also is preparing to go to college to learn about agricultural business and marketing to put himself into a position to grow this operation in the future.

Direct download: OFI_1081_-_Campbell_Baker_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: OFI_1080__Inspired_To_Farm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is a sophomore in high school, and she is already figuring out how to farm.  Lily Noel is the owner of Hilltop Pumpkins, and she is well on her way to developing a successful pumpkin farming business.

Growing up on her family's farm, Lily found an extra acre of ground where she could start growing pumpkins.  Then she started figuring out how to market her crop.  Then she started figuring out how to extend her sales and marketing season by adding in different varieties of pumpkins.  Soon, she found herself selling pumpkins at three different locations in her county.

What stood out to me about this interview with Lily was how she recognized that her pumpkins were not going to be the main priority on the family farm.  This meant that she had to work around the other farming operations.  They were not going to work around her.  So, when Lily is doing things such as planning out locations to grown more pumpkins in the future, she has to cognizant of their proximity to other crops, and if those crops might need to be sprayed with chemicals during the growing season that could harm her pumpkins.

It seems simple enough, "Just grow some pumpkins and sell them in the fall".  But nothing is ever as simple as you think it will be.  Lily is finding that out and doing an excellent job adapting to those complexities.

Direct download: OFI_1079_-_Lily_Noel__Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: OFI_1078__A_Cattle_Related_Murder_Mystery_Solved___Rural_Crime_Edition.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I have a lot of authors reach out to me, requesting that they be guests on the show.  I almost never say yes, but today that is very different.  Today, I am very excited to have Shannon Hayes on the show.  Shannon has a great story of shifting mindsets, pursuing a rural and agricultural lifestyle, and making it work.  And, she has written a fantastic book called Redefining Rich chronicling all of it and the lessons that she has learned along the way.

The title of this book really stood out to me when I first saw the proposal.  I talk about redefining retirement on the show all the time.  It seemed to be such a natural corollary to redefine what it means to be rich as well.  So much of Shannon has experienced and talks about in this book is exactly what I have gone through since the time that I chose lifestyle and fulfillment over dollars and cents.

The journey that you want to take, to the lifestyle that you want to have is going to force you to change your mindset in multiple different ways.  If you try to stay in the mindset of the full-time employee, ultra-consumption lifestyle while pursuing your dream, you will never make the sacrifices or adjust your priorities in a way that will lead to success.

Shannon's book is an excellent template for how to change that mindset and find true happiness.  I talk about how lucky those of us with rural values who want to live in rural areas are, all the time.  However, this makes no difference if you can't look around you and see yourself as rich because of the way in which you get to live.  Shannon's book will absolutely help you see it and make that change.  We will start you off with this great interview.

Direct download: OFI_1077_-_Shannon_Hayes_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today has a story that is very similar to mine in that he has a heart for service and this manifested itself first in the military, later in local law enforcement and finally in his very own service business, Leedy Farm and Property Services.

Chuck Leedy moved away from his home in Dryden, Virginia a couple of times during his life.  But ultimately, after having children, he decided he wanted to return home and farm.  The challenge for him in doing that was what would he do to produce the income he would need for household expenses not covered by farm revenue.

Chuck decided upon entrepreneurship, but his did not happen suddenly.  He was working as a maintenance technician for McDonald's at four different restaurants and building his business on the side.  As he continued to build his business he discovered that the reputation he had built for himself in the community from serving as a law enforcement officer was helping him to get business.  This was only natural as people inherently trusted him to be on their property.

Chuck went through the "crazy time" like so many entrepreneurs do when they are trying to transition from their full-time job to full-time self-employment.  Finally, after working many hours per week between the business and the job he was able to break away and become a full-time entrepreneur.  Once this happened he was able to focus more on his business and his farm.  Now he is on a great trajectory to live the life for himself and his family that he has envisioned.


COMMUNICATE: Chuck and I both learned through our careers in law enforcement that communication with customers is key.  When he gets busy, something goes wrong or the farm demands his attention he can maintain positive relationships with customers through good communication.

REPUTATION: Chuck has a great reputation in his community, and he does not take that lightly.  That is something that needs to be protected.

RELIABLE: Customers want somebody that they can depend on.  You need to be reliable for them to truly trust that they can rely on you.


ORGANIZED DRIVE: Chuck has a drive that helps him finish what needs to get done.  And he compliments his time in the military for making him organized to get all the different things finished that he has on his schedule.


This advice was given to Chuck by his grandfather: "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing it right the first time".


Chuck's Email Address:

Direct download: OFI_1076_-_Replay_Chuck_Leedy_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Have you ever heard the saying that "you will know it when you see it?"  If you were to ask me how I can tell who will make it as an entrepreneur, that is probably the answer that I would receive.  Sometimes you know what you know.

In the case of our guest today, Anna Collins, this is a young lady who will make it as an entrepreneur if she chooses to be one.  How do I know this?  It is all about looking at the actions that she has already taken and realizing that people who are not serious about an enterprise do not do what she has.

Anna loves horses, and she is determined to have her own business teaching others to ride and training.  That sentence is not unique to Anna.  You could make the same statement about many people who love horses and want to turn it into a full-time living.  However, you could find countless people who have given up on that dream because they didn't have a farm or facilities or because there was too much liability.  None of this has stopped Anna.

In high school, Anna is already teaching people to ride and training horses, and she is doing it on another family's farm and in their facilities.  I could not interview them about why they allow Anna to do this, but I think it is highly likely that they saw the same drive and dedication in Anna that I did, and they wanted to help her achieve her dream.  So, even though Anna did not have a proper facility, she did not allow that to stop her, and she is underway.

Putting other people's children on horseback and teaching them to ride is filled with potential liability.  This is the type of issue in which you would expect a parent to step in and slow a high school student down to keep them from getting themselves or the property owners into hot water in a business like this.  However, as I interviewed Anna, she had the correct answer to everything regarding civil liability.  She is knowledgeable about business structures, waivers, insurance, etc.  It is the fact that she has done the research, learned all about the business, and made the arrangements to shield everyone from liability that shows show clearly how devoted she is.

People who are just talking don't go to the headache of learning what an LLC is. They don't scour the internet, finding the correct liability waiver for their particular business, but Anna did.

Direct download: OFI_10975_-_Anna_Collins_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: OFI_1074__Getting_Behind_On_The_Farm_Covid_Style.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today we get to profile a very interesting family business from the Central Valley of California.  Moreila Vieyra Santana lives on her families 20 acre horse property in Madera.  They have a large barn for boarding horses, and they put on equestrian events that draw people in from all over the Valley.  They are definitely helping to keep the horse culture of California alive.

Moreila and her brother and sister work in the family business.  On a daily basis, Moreila is cleaning out stalls, combing horses, and providing lessons.  When it is time to host an event she is busy doing whatever needs to be done to make sure that the customer and all of the spectators and contestants are having a great time and are satisfied.  In this manner, Moreila does not get to enjoy the event like everyone else, but she learns a lot about business.

Moreila speaks fondly of her family's business as well as the leadership skills she is gaining in the FFA.  It is obvious that she is not afraid to step up and lead.  One of the things that she cites about her family's business is that she sees areas for improvement.  From the perspective of a sophomore in high school, she sees other things and events that they could be providing that would be good for the community as well as the business.  And, she is not afraid to approach this with her parents.

This is one of the parts of interviewing FFA students that I enjoy so much.  They are encouraged to try their ideas and voice their opinions about how things can be improved.  In addition to preserving a rich culture in her part of California, Moreila is not shy about suggesting improvements, and this is going to serve her well going forward.

Direct download: OFI_1073_-_Moreila_Vieyra_Santana_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On today's rural crime episode, Matt talks to Captian Greg Whitehead with the Tennessee Ag Crime Investigation Unit about protecting farmers from being victims of rural crime. They discuss what kinds of crimes the unit investigates, how prolific is the theft of timber, and what can people do to protect themselves from this happening.

Is there a black market for stolen timber or is there just no way for legitimate sellers to know any difference?

Direct download: OFI_1072_-_Greg_Whitehead_TN_Ag_Crime_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Farmers typically have a reputation for being strong, stoic, silent types who can handle anything that comes their way. While I believe this is 100% true, I have to ask if this stigma prevents farmers and ranchers from asking for help regarding mental health?  In today's episode, Matt pulls himself out of bed while battling the coronavirus to talk to Dr. Tina Christine L. Chasek about the importance of mental health in agriculture.

Dr. Christine L. Chasek is a Mental Health Counselor in Kearney, NE, with special training and skill in working with individuals, groups, and communities to improve mental health dysfunctions by discussing emotions and experiences, then prescribing custom holistic solutions. As a Mental Health Counselor, Christine L. Chasek, LMHP, LPC performs assessments and diagnostics, psychotherapy, treatment planning, and crisis management. Mental Health Counseling is flexible, consumer-driven therapy that combines psychotherapy with practical, problem resolution strategies.

Direct download: OFI_1071__-_Dr._Christine_Chasek_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

To make money in the cattle industry, you need to be creative.  Today's guest, Cody Voss, has found his creative niche.  Along with his father, they have figured out how to buy bred cows that have missed calving season for one reason or another.  They take the cattle home and sell them back about a month after they calve.  The trick here is picking a cow that will act reasonably after having her calf.

Cody and his dad have a circuit of about five auctions they go to looking for these cows.  The auctioneers know them and know what they are looking for and can steer them in the right direction.  They have figured out who the breeders are that are selling the cows at auction, and they know whose cows are good but just missed a heat cycle and are being sold because they are outside of the calving season.  I really like this business model.

In addition to all of this Cody raises sheep and goats.  Plus he and his family custom raise hogs in Iowa.  This has led Cody to many proficiency applications and Stars Over Iowa.

Direct download: OFI_1070_-_Replay_with_Cody_Voss_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

It is always amazing to me what a student in high school is capable of when they get fired up about agriculture.  Our guest in today's episode is just beginning high school, and she already has so much going for her in addition to having her future well mapped out.

Cameron Shelton is a freshman at Monache High School in Porterville, California.  She has been involved in the 4H for six years and is just completing her first year of FFA.  She has been showing goats for several years, and currently keeps a herd of 15 wethers at her home about 20 minutes away from Porterville.

Cameron's sister preceded her in the FFA, and she is now living and working in Texas, still involved with goats.  This has exposed both Cameron and her sister to opportunities in the goat business, and they have taken full advantage.  Cameron and her sister are now co-owners in goats from sea to shining sea, including California, Texas, and Delaware!  It is really amazing how deep into the industry Cameron has got herself before she has even finished her freshman year of high school.

If that weren't enough, Cameron knows that she wants to be a veterinarian.  As such, she has already identified the top three schools that she would like to attend to propel her into this career: Texas A&M, Tarleton State University, and Colorado State University.  It is really exciting to see a student get this fired up about their future!

Direct download: OFI_1069_-_Cameron_Shelton_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: OFI_1068__A_Farm_And_Health_Update.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If you have been listening to the Off-Farm Income Podcast for long, you know the question I always asking young men and women who are paying rent to a relative to be able to farm some of their ground.  I always want to know why the relative has them pay rent if they want them to succeed.  And the answer is always some form of how that relative is passing down wisdom and teaching the student work ethic and how things work in the real world.

Today's interview is a great example of this exact thing.  Kidridge Griffin has been farming since he was twelve years old, and his father and his grandfather have always made him cover his own end.  This has turned out very well for Kidridge as he has just graduated from high school but he is already leasing over 100 acres of farm ground and has built up a herd of 70+ mother cows.

Kidridge has been given a lot of wisdom over the years, and it is obvious that he has listened.  One of the ways that I could tell was by the fact that he is able to defer pleasure.  He works full-time on his family's farm, but he doesn't receive any pay.  Instead, he receives feed in the winter for his calves, and he receives the use of the family's farming equipment.  This has allowed Kidridge to farm on his own and ever start doing paid farming jobs for other people in the community.

Most 18-year-olds, me included, would want to be paid right now for our work so I could go spend the money on something.  However, Kidridge is different.  He is completely willing to forgo the cash to reinvest back in his farming enterprise because he has his eyes on something bigger in the future!

Direct download: OFI_1067_-_Kidridge_Griffin_Mixdown_2.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On today's show, we have a special Friday edition for you.  Our guest is Elliot Prestwich, the producer of the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  The stars definitely aligned to bring Elliot to his role on the show.   Today we will introduce you to him, his role at Off-Farm Income, and talk about what is next to come! Elliot has an extensive background in audio production coming from the live entertainment and recording industry. He is an expert in brand management and marketing. Elliot is currently producing Off-Farm Income and the D&B Supply Show Podcasts.

He even wrote his own bumper music for his special episode, lets us know what you think!

Direct download: OFI_1065_-_Elliot_Prestwich_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

This was a very interesting interview.  I did not get to any of my normal business questions because I was so fascinated by learning about how Joseph Carter catches, trains, and hunts with mink to get to them.

One of our great listeners, Dave Lehman, recommended Joseph as a guest to me.  What is ironic about this and also demonstrates the power of social media is that Joseph and I live relatively close to each other.  However, Dave lives on the other side of the country.  But he was very familiar with Joseph while I was not.

What Joseph does with mink is awesome from a business standpoint.  He can find and flush rats and muskrats.  Based on my previous business of gopher extermination I am very curious to see if mink can hunt rock chucks (marmots).  In the area of Idaho that I live in, if an effective solution for rock chucks could be found, that could be a very good business.


TIME: You had better devote the time needed to train your mink.  If you don't you will assume, like so many before you, that they are untrainable.


I will have to get to these on a follow-up interview with Joseph as I took way too much time discussing how mink hunt and hearing his story to get to them in this episode.


YouTube Channel: LINK

Facebook Page: LINK


Direct download: OFI_1064_-_Replay_with_Joseph_Carter_Mixdown_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Each and every one of us has an obstacle that we will have to overcome if we are going to find success and happiness.  And, it is a natural tendency to believe that we are the only ones facing hardship when we are in the midst of going through something.  But the truth is, if you had access to every person's personal information, that you would realize that life is hard for everyone, and everybody is overcoming something.

Today's episode is a reminder of this and a beautiful example of what is possible when we are determined to now allow anything to stand in our way.  Our guest, Halle Miller, has both a before and after picture to this story.  Looking at this story today you are seeing the results of a lot of work and determination, and as most talented people do, Halle makes it look easy.  Halle is a talented public speaker and entrepreneur, and she is excelling in both categories through her work with Ohio Ag Net and her own business breeding and selling Bordoole puppies.

Her before pictures looks much different.  As a young girl, she was extremely shy.  She also had a traumatic incident involving a dog that took years of determination and therapy to overcome.  However, Halle refuses to let anything stand in her way.  So, over the years she has gone from shy and terrified of dogs to becoming a premier breeder of Bordooles and a reporter.

It is these transitions that make interviewing FFA students so special, and I am pleased to share this story with you today.

Direct download: OFI_1063_-_Halle_Miller_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: OFI_1062__What_In_The_World_Is_A_Haboob_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If you have something you want to do or a job you want to take, and you want to make sure that you wind up in a place that suits you very well, how do you find the right fit?  Let's take college as an example.  Let's say that you want to find a college atmosphere that will offer you what you are looking for academically and also be a place that will help you to thrive.  There are 5,300 colleges in the United States.  How in the world do you figure out which one of these places will do that?

Our guest today, Sydney Alsip, offers some good advice on this process.  Sydney is just getting ready to graduate high school, and her dream is to travel and judge sheep shows.  She knows that she wants to go to a college with an excellent livestock judging program, but she also wants the college to be a good fit for her personality type.

Most colleges with the best livestock judging programs are two-year schools.  However, the colleges you hear the most about are the higher profile, four-year universities.  So, if they are getting all the press, how do you find that school that fits you and isn't getting any press?

Sydney did this by putting herself around people who were having success in college judging livestock.  This is an important lesson.  She wanted to do this and to find the right place, so she gravitated to people who were doing what she wanted to do.  By listening to their conversations, asking good questions, and following their example she identified the right college for her.

What is so impressive about what Sydney did is that she found the right fit at the College of Northern Oklahoma, even though she is from Kentucky.  Talk about a diamond in the rough!  But, she did it, and this is possible for anyone else.  If you know what you want to do but don't know how to start, put yourself in the company of those people who are doing what you want to do.  The rest will take care of itself.

Direct download: OFI_1061_-_Sydney_Alsip__Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Direct download: OFI_1060__Every_Type_Of_Rural_Crime_Is_Spreading_All_Over_The_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT