Off-Farm Income

I woke up this morning and was immediately inspired by a YouTube clip profiling many of the motivational things that Joe Rogan has said on his podcast.  You can watch the clip here.

This took me down a path of thinking and really got me thinking about the deeper meaning of what we are trying to do by searching for this elusive, rural and agricultural lifestyle.  So, today I went down the philosophical path (as much as I am capable of doing that).

Here are my notes from this morning:

  • Thoreau - Walden
  • Hunting camp - save up vacation time to go live like native Americans did for a one week period
  • Clip from Joe Rogan (put link in post)
  • Easier to take chances when you are young
  • Harder when you are older with more responsibility.
  • Story about not being able to leave his job because of lifestyle
  • My story about taking one risk and having one shot because of my age and responsibility.
  • Do the math on investing early (use the investment calculator)
  • Joe Rogan quote about planting the seed of an idea and nurturing it until it turns into something.
  • The rut of traffic, followed by a soul sucking job followed by traffic followed by escaping into the television.  Followed by overbuying to self medicate and being pushed harder into the rut.
  • One of my favorite streams of revenue is selling eggs and I literally make no money.

Direct download: OFI_1164_Tuesday_Episode_-_83021_12.46_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I have been having a thought about a pathway to purchasing a farm for quite a while that involves four years of hard work, investing, starting young and being very motivated.  I finally decided to put these thoughts out and hopefully help somebody with them.  This is not a regular episode, so I decided to just release it as a bonus episode.  I hope it can help some young dreamer come up with a strategy that will get them to the life they are dreaming about sooner rather than later.

Direct download: Bonus_Episode_Early_Investing_-_83021_12.30_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:44pm MDT

Today's interview is packed with interesting facts about our guest and tips from her.  There is almost too much to fit in to a just a couple of paragraphs of show notes, but as a professional podcaster I will get it done!

Way back in the 5th Grade, Kaylee Bosma discovered an interest in chickens and approached her parents with a request to obtain some to show through the 4H.  Although hesitant, 30 chickens were purchased, and a new project was begun.  Kaylee's parents had no way to know where it was going to be taking their aspirational daughter.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1163_Kaylee_Bosma-082321.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A few weeks ago while reading articles for our rural crime episode I saw a quote from a police officer in the U.K. who was being interviewed about the thefts of sheep.  He was clearly frustrated with the fact that so many sheep are stolen in the U.K. and the cases go largely unsolved.  In the quote he recommended that sheep owners use some sort of marking technology on their lambs such as "TecTRACER".  I had never heard of such a thing so I looked up what it was and was intrigued as to how it works.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1162_John_Minary-082521.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A few weeks ago I published an interview with an FFA student who told me that she was going to be seeking a career as a livestock chiropractor.  Until that very interview, that was a career that I had never heard of.  So, the team started trying to find somebody who did this for a living to come on the show and talk about the career field.  We were very fortunate to find Dr. Renold Bleem and Melanie Bleem from Havana, Illinois.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1161_Dr_Bleem-072821_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

More and more livestock owners are learning the value of massage therapy for their animals. Not only is the use of livestock massage therapy growing, but so is the number of people getting certified to practice. Today, I feature Gail Rose, a Livestock Message Therapist who talks more about her business and the growth of this industry in one of the first episodes of this podcast.


Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1160_Recap_Of_Episode_005-081421_2.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing a fantastic achiever in the FFA, Baylee Brown, the president of the Mulhall-Orlando FFA Chapter at Mulhall-Orlando High School in Orlando, Oklahoma.  Baylee has her hands in a lot of projects.  So many in fact that it was difficult to talk about all of them in the interview.  She is just starting her second term as her chapter's president, she won a state proficiency for her pig business last year, just was awarded gold status for her national proficiency application and is also doing an agriscience research project.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1159_Baylee_Brown-081921.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I owe all of you a huge "thank you" as I have recently surpassed one million downloads on Off-Farm Income!  When you start talking about seven figures, the scope of that number really hits you.  I hoped for but never allowed myself to imaging hitting a number of downloads like this when I first began.

In today's episode I wanted to make sure and talk about the milestone.  Since this is a business podcast all about teaching others how to create off-farm income through entrepreneurship, I thought I would take advantage of the occasion to tell you how I did it.  If you want to replicate this, you absolutely can.  And today, more than ever, this type of business is a realistic model for you to support your farming dreams.


Direct download: OFI_1158_Tuesday_Episode_-_82321_6.04_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The title of today's episode is probably the most serious title of an episode that I have ever written, but it is true.  Our guest, Austin Archer, started off the interview by declaring that he doesn't like school.  When I asked him why he joined the FFA, that was his answer.  Even as an incoming freshman he knew that if he did not have classes that allowed him to learn by doing, rather than reading, that he would fail.  So, he joined the FFA and never looked back.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1157_Austin_Archer-081721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Consider using an alarm system with video incorporated to get a faster response from law enforcement.

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1156_Rural_Crime_-_82021_5.28_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If you are seeking an agricultural/farming lifestyle, and you know it from a young age what is the best way to go about achieving it?  One school of thought would suggest that you take a job, save your money and buy your farm when it is economically feasible for you to do so.  This is what I did.  I knew that I wanted to have my own farm when I was about 18 years old, and twenty years later my wife and I finally bought one.

There is the other school of thought however, and that way of thinking about it says to get started right now and build slowly over time.  My guest today, Mara Fielder, and her husband Brandon are subscribing to that school of thought, and they are thinking outside of the box to get this done.

Mara and Brandon are currently leasing sixteen acres from Mara's grandparents where they had been raising bees, boarding horses and providing riding lessons.  However, a series of unexpected events derailed that process.  Mara's step-father is allergic to bees, and this led to some conflict in the family and the loss of the bee hives.  Then Covid struck, and Mara lost her clients who were concerned about their horses being infected because she was still working in the community as a teacher.  This kind of left Mara and Brandon back at square one, wondering how they would move to the next step.

They didn't allow this to get them down however.  They are young, have energy and ideas and they are pushing forward.  Currently they are living in town, looking for land that they can buy.  In the meantime they have come up with an idea of a series of books for children that highlights the careers that a traditionally dominated by men but that women have found success in.  The series is called "Girls Can Too" and they are in the process of being published right now.  This original idea inspired a follow up idea of a book series profiling career choices normally dominated by women that men can succeed in.

In this interview Mara and I speak about their goals, the setbacks they have already encountered and she and Brandon's vision for the future.  It is great to see the journey from this perspective and understand how they are planning to make this come true!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1155_Mara_Fielder-071721.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today I am proud to replay episode #071 which featured Audrey Levantino, who authored a book called Woman-Powered Farm: Manual for a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle from Homestead to Field.  This is a book that I was intrigued by when I first heard of it, and I knew that I would want to have Audrey on the show, and definitely worth a replay of the show. If you missed it the first time, you don't want to miss it this time!


Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1154-Recap_Of_Episode_071-081321.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I am very excited about today's guest.  Matt Klingele has already had an incredible entrepreneurial journey.  He has learned about working with steel and how to make knifes, started going custom work for customers and making products that he keeps in inventory for later sales.  This, by itself, led him to win an Illinois State Proficiency Award in 2021 and become a silver award winner at the national level.  But, he is not stopping there. Tune into learn more!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1153_Matt_Klingele-081621.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

In today's episode I tell the whole story about the path we took, the luck we encountered and the decisions we made that led us to the rural, farming lifestyle that we have today.  

Direct download: OFI_1152_Tuesday_Episode_-_81621_6.40_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

What is it in people that makes them look at something and say "I'd like to try that?"  I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know that I don't have it!  Our guest today, Toby Barringer, does.  At a farm sale Toby and his father saw an old coal fired, blacksmithing furnace and decided to try it out.  Today, Toby has a blacksmithing business called Brother Bear Blacksmithing Shop, and he is selling products all over the United States as well as doing custom work for customers.  This all started with a natural curiosity, which Toby encourages you all to follow.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1151_Toby_Berringer-072621.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 4:30pm MDT

Tip Of The Week

Consider used storage containers as a means of rural crime prevention:

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1150_Rural_Crime_-_81321_12.18_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Whenever I am just about to begin an interview I ask the guest if they have any questions about what we are doing or how I do it.  Normally there aren't too many questions, but people frequently want to know what questions I am going to ask them.  I provide folks with a template, but I always tell them that I want the conversation to go in a natural direction, so I may stray from that template.  Well, in today's interview I definitely strayed!

Sharon Kauffman and her husband, Dan, have been farming in Morgan County, Colorado since the late 1970's.  They both grew up there, and Dan is a 3rd generation farmer on their land.  About ten years ago Dan got the idea to try making his own wine, and he sequestered a bathroom in the house to do so.  One thing led to another, and he and Sharon ended up planing vines in an unirrigated corner of one of their pivot fields in 2018.  In 2019 they got licensed to sell wine, and just one week prior to recording this interview they had their grand opening on their winery and tasting facility called Country Road Wines.

Sharon stated that this is a hobby, but is also a form of diversification to protect their farm and family tradition from the ups and downs of farming.  She and Dan were just getting their start in farming during the 1980's and managed to survive it, and that lesson has stayed in the forefront of their minds.  However, Sharon stated that their biggest motivation to put in the winery and create a tasting room was to provide people in their community a place to go and something to do.  They've lived there all their lives, and they are invested in the success of their community.  This was a way to keep it vibrant and attractive for 30 and 40 year olds that had previously left but who might consider moving back as they start families.  Sharon says that is happening.

As Sharon and I continued speaking our conversation really turned towards the issue of rural communities and how you attract people to live there without ruining what the community is all about in the first place.  Fort Morgan appears to have different dynamics than my community of Kuna, Idaho.  In Kuna we are seeing massive price increases on farm ground and farmers selling out to developers who are putting subdivisions on top of that ground.  There is housing pressure in Fort Morgan as well, but farmers are resisting development, causing companies like Cargill to bus in employees.

If you have an interest in seeing rural communities thrive while not losing their identities, this interview is for you

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1149_Sharon_Kauffman-071421.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today I am proud to replay episode #018 which featured Pake McNally, who was just going into blacksmithing at that point.  I found this to be a very inspirational interview, and watching what Pake has done with his life since this has also been interesting.  Enjoy!

Direct download: OFI_1148_Re-Cap_Episode_-_81221_1.47_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 1:52pm MDT

Today's guest is Hannah Auer from Weld Central High School in Colorado.  There was a lot to talk about with Hannah in her interview, but one theme kept repeating itself, and that was how Hannah is looking forward, setting goals for herself and planning her future.  They say that you cannot get anywhere if you don't know where you are going, and that is not a problem for Hannah.  Even having just finished her freshman year of high school, she has a firm grasp on creating a road map to her future.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1147-Hannah_Auar-072621_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Cattle producers are one of the targets of environmental groups that are concerned about global warming.  The contention is that cattle production is one of the most harmful practices in agriculture or in any industry for global warming because cattle expect methane which is 28 times more efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Those of us who enjoy raising cattle or other ruminants need to be concerned about this contention for a couple of reasons.  First, if it is true then we need to innovate solutions to this problem very soon lest we have other people, from outside of our industry, legislate what they think will be appropriate solutions.  Second, if it is not true but groups continue to spread this information as true and create anti-cattle production sentiment it will harm our industry without merit.  If that is the case we need to educate ourselves to fight back against this.

Therefore, I have been concerned about this issue because it has looked like a no-win situation for cattle producers.  Today, as I record this episode there are articles out talking about the United Nation's "Code Red" warning for the world regarding global warming.  Seeing all these headlines got me researching this issue.  I came across an interesting article from November of 2020 dealing with methane emissions from cattle, and I wanted to share it with you on this episode to help arm you with the correct information.

Direct download: OFI_1146_Tuesday_Episode_-_8921_5.37_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Abby Mitchell first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in March of this year.  At that point in time she was just in the brainstorming phase of the business she was developing for her supervised agricultural experience - "Goat To Be Kidding".  Today she is back on the show with an update!  She put herself out there again, and has been recognized again.  And, her business is progressing forward quickly.  I'm excited to have her back on the show.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1145_Abigail_Mitchell-072221.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Guard your equipment that contains copper.  There is a copper shortage coming which will drive the price up, and this will lead to more theft:

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1144_Rural_Crime_-_8621_3.26_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

In today's episode I learned a new term - "compassion fatigue".  This is a term that I had never heard before, but the moment that I did I knew exactly what it meant.

Our guest, Doctor Erin Masur DVM, introduced me to this term when describing her short, but eventful journey in veterinary medicine so far.  After completing veterinary school and starting her own practice in New Jersey she felt herself experience "compassion fatigue", and that began a string of events that led to her selling her practice, moving to Connecticut, limiting her work hours and developing some side projects.  As a police officer I definitely experienced compassion fatigue, and I watched many other officers, social workers, nurses, etc. do the same.  So, I was right on the same page with Erin when it came to this.

One of Erin's side projects is a product that she is developing and selling called Early Bird, which is an herbal remedy for the parasite commonly known as the Barber Pole Worm.  Ever since Erin completed veterinary school and started working with livestock, she has been battling this parasite and the resistance it has to conventional parasite treatments.  Ultimately a colleague introduced her to an herbal remedy for this parasite, and she decided to try it.  The results she saw were enough for her to put her name behind it, seeing mortality in flocks and herds go from 10-20% from Barber Pole to 0%.

This led Erin to do research and trials with this remedy, and to start recommending it to other veterinarians with a lot of resistance so far.  She is about to have a peer reviewed paper about her findings released, and she is using this remedy in conjunction with pharmaceutical remedies for Barber Pole and other parasites.

In today's episode Erin will discuss her journey, her farm (Fork You Farms) and of course Early Bird Parasite Solutions.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1143_Erin_Masur-071621.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:00pm MDT

Some interviews leave you with a smile on your face for for the rest of the day.  This interview left me with a smile for the rest of the week.  The interview I did in episode #015 with A.W. Erwin was a lot of fun.  But, it was also the epitome of what I was trying to demonstrate with the podcast - there is a way to do what you love in agriculture and make a living with it!  A.W. demonstrates this better than anyone, and I am thrilled to feature his episode on the show again today in this re-cap episode.


Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1142_Recap_of_Episode_15-080321.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today just graduated high school, and she has accomplished a lot.  She lives and works on her families cattle ranch in Montana which gives her a lot of responsibilities.  She is already certified to artificially inseminate cattle, and she helps her parents get their females bred every year.  She also runs a "heifer improvement program" for the family which takes up a lot of her time.  In addition to all of this, she has been involved in the FFA for four years, serving as historian, secretary and finally, chapter president.

What is amazing about Reace Lannen's story is that right in the middle of her journey through the FFA she developed an unknown problem that kept her from walking, let alone working on the ranch and participating in the FFA.  After a trip to the Seattle Children's Hospital she found out what the problem was - juvenile arthritis.

After a diagnosis was reached, a treatment was prescribed - a shot of chemo therapy to be given to her once she got back to Montana.  However, the shot caused her to have a severe, anaphylactic allergic reaction, so that was no longer an option.  Then, through the FFA, she met an advisor at an FFA event, whose wife had rheumatoid arthritis.  Information was shared, and Reace found a medication that continues to work very well for her to this day.

Once Reace did not have to focus so much on treating her arthritis so much, and she returned to what life was like prior to her first inflammation, she started reflecting on what she had gone through.  One of the worst parts of the ordeal was the six months in which she could not live her normal life.  She was unable to help out on the ranch or be around the livestock that she loves so much.

This reflection inspired an idea.  So today, Reace has purchased to miniature horses and a small, Corriente calf that she is training to be therapy animals.  Reace is actually in the process of becoming certified to do this right now.  She now has a mission of helping people who feel disconnected from the farm life and livestock that they love because of a medical connection, to be able to be around livestock again.  She knows just what it is like to smell a horse or a cow after you haven't been able to for a long time.  For somebody who loves livestock she believes there is healing in that, and she wants to help other people heal.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1141_Reace_Lannen-071521.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On today's show I wanted to address a social media post that I saw that was castigating the 4H and FFA for selling livestock for slaughter at county and state fairs.  When something like this comes up it is all of our responsibility to address this, not only because it is our way of life but because it is untrue.  I like to be on the side of truth, and I won't allow someone to make a bunch of emotional statements that paint an untrue statement and just let that go.

Direct download: OFI_1140_Tuesday_Episode_-_8221_3.21_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Kirsten Wood grew up on her families cattle ranch in Weldona, Colorado.  As she described the ranch to me, she talked about a lot of different niches that her family has explored to diversify their operation and keep it sustainable for a future in ranching.  These new ways of doing business include selling boxed beef to folks living in the urban areas along the Rocky Mountain front from Denver up through Boulder and beyond in Central Colorado.  It also includes partnering with some other companies to sell spices, sea salt and other products that compliment the beef that they sell.

The operation involves raising cattle on pasture, finishing cattle in a feed lot and growing the crops needed to feed those cattle.  And, in the scope of the operation some calves become orphans for one reason or another.  Either their dam dies or possibly rejects the calf, and the calf then needs special care to survive.

This is where Kirsten found her niche, within her families niche ranch.  Kirsten started purchasing these orphan calves from her families ranch and bottle feeding them.  She would raise them on a bottle and introduce them to feed as they grew.  Then, when they were ready to be weaned she would transition them to the feedlot, and pay her family for the space and feed that was required to keep them.  Ultimately they were finished and sold, and this was Kirsten's business.

In addition to this Kirsten has a love of horses that was developed by growing up around them on the working ranch.  Throughout her FFA career she has been raising and showing horses, and this led her to a proficiency award in equine science.

All of this has inspired her to pursue a future in agricultural business.  When we conducted this interview she had just graduated with an associates degree in Ag Business, and she was just preparing to start her final two years of college at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas.  Kirsten hopes to come home to the ranch one day, but she has been told to go out and make it on her own first.  Right now she is looking into an agriculture finance career with the hopes of coming back to the lifestyle that she loves in the future.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1139_Kristen_Wood-071521.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT