Off-Farm Income

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.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

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

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

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

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


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: Wyatt_Harlan_Episode_1175_Commercials_Removed_-_101822_7.44_AM.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

Every year I am so fortunate to interview the sixteen students who are finalists for American Star Awards.  This year we are kicking it off with Grady Johnson.  Grady previously appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in episode #482 back in 2018.  It is always a significant thrill for me when a student who I have previously profiled comes back onto the show because they are accomplishing so much, like Grady is.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1169_Grady_Johnson-081021.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Consider tech like Smart Water CSI to protect your valuable equipment:

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys



Direct download: OFI_1168_Rural_Crime_-_9221_7.25_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's episode is the epitome of the type of business that this show was designed to profile.  Our guest, Roc Rutledge, farms with his father and brother in northeast Colorado.  Long ago, Roc's father told them that they would need to create some sort of business to help support them if they were going to come home and farm.  Roc has done that a couple of times over, and on today's show we are talking all about his newest business, Ace Composting.

Roc has been unbelievably innovative and courageous in the creation of this business.  And, just like always happens, now that he has put himself out there, other business opportunities are emerging as a result of what he has done.  Roc is being paid to dispose of dead pigs by a large scale pork producer in his area, and this was the first problem he solved.  He came up with a way to dispose of these pigs in close proximity to where they were being produced while insuring biosecurity for his customer.  On the other end of his innovation he has compost that he is using to improve his pastures and farm ground.  And, he is now getting interest from others to consult for them as they develop the same type of system that he has created.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1167_Roc_Rutledge-REVISED-081921.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

oday's show is a reply of an interview featuring Aaron Juergons who had the idea to inject manure into the soil in an effort to mitigate Clean Air Act air emissions reporting requirements. In addition to his manure spreading business, he owns a hog feeder and finisher business with his brother and they are both employed by Juergens Produce and Feed Co., which was started by their grandfather, Vernis Juergens, in 1945.

Additionally, Juergens Produce and Feed Co. has partnered with researcher and inventor, Gary Rapp, to market a liquid manure emissions neutralizer system through a company called Juergens Environmental Control, based in Carroll County Iowa.

Finding ways to be innovative with ag bi-products and being mindful of the environment while also helping farmers build soil for crop production is also a goal for Roc Rutledge. He will be my guest tomorrow, talking about his swine mortality composting business in Northeast Colorado.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1166-Recap_Of_Episode_40-081621_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

After 1,100+ interviews and 800+ interviews with FFA students you would think that I have seen it all, or at least most of it.  So, when I am surprised I am thrilled.  That is exactly what happened to me in today's interview with Annie Boomsma.

Annie is just entering her senior year of high school as her chapter's president.  She, her brother and her father run their families 3rd generation cattle ranch in Wessington, South Dakota where they raise commercial cattle.

Annie has her own project though, and it is impressive.  Annie currently owns 18 dairy cows that she purchased as either culls or springers.  She purchased all of them for their milk production and so that they could be "nurse cows".  Annie also owns 75 calves that she purchased to be raised by these nurse cows.  Every morning before school and every evening after, she heads out to the barn, brings the cows in, puts between 4 and 7 calves on them to nurse, and then turns them all back out.

Annie has found a niche in the market with calves that are sold early and dairy cattle that are culled because they don't produce enough for the dairy but still produce plenty to raise several calves.  This is a brilliant method of making money with cattle, and I have never profiled it even once in seven years of conducting interviews with farmers and FFA students.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1165_Annie_Boomsma-082421.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT