Off-Farm Income

Our guest today was a National Proficiency Finalist in the category of Fruit Production in 2021.  Jacob Hinton has a deep farming and FFA legacy in his family.  However, his parents did not start the farm that he has been growing up on until 2006.  They had a vision, and Jacob has been able to grow up working on that farm and helping that vision to come to fruition (pun intended).

Hinton's Orchard is where Jacob calls home.  And on this farm he tends to flower gardens, fruit trees, a corn maze and a pumpkin patch.  He also gives hay rides, and manages much of the agritoursim and apple sales that take place in the fall.  Jacob is learning a ton at his own home.  Everything from crop production, pest control and customer service are available for him to learn.  And, this cornucopia of experience led him to Indianapolis last October as a National Proficiency Finalist.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1295_JacobHinton_REVISED-BREAK_AT_7_13-012522.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Watch Pig on Amazon Prime or Hulu:

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above


Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

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Direct download: OFI_1294_Rural_Crime_Episode_-_12822_3.46_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I really enjoy profiling photographers on this show.  Whether they are photographing landscapes, making stock images, shooting livestock photos or capturing people it is a fascinating business that can be done from anywhere.

Our guest today, Pam Shrewsbury, happens to be a photographer that specializes in capturing people.  Pam grew up in the city, coming out to the rural community that she now calls home as a teenager to visit cousin.  It was through these relatives that she met her now husband, Scott, who is a lifelong farmer growing corn and beans and doing some custom feeding of hogs and cattle.

One of the parts of Pam's story that really stood out to me was as she recalled her childhood taking trips to Canada with her family and going fishing with her father.  She said that she always had a camera in her hand.  I like that image.  That is the image of a person with a passion, a natural talent that is just sitting there, waiting to be turned into a business.  Not all of us, me included, have that kind of passion or natural talent, but when I get to speak with somebody who does it is always a thrill.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1293-Pam_Shrewsbury-COMM_BREAK_12_53_TO_12_54.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If you need some tips on taking your photography skills and turning them into a business, then this show if for you. Learn about how to find your place in the industry and other tips to make you successful in starting and running a photography business in today's show replay with Todd Klassy

 Connor Pence won the National Proficiency Award in Goat Production in 2021, and I could have easily titled this episode "how to win a national proficiency in goat production".  However, when I really reflected on this interview, Connor is teaching everyone how to win a national proficiency in any category.

Yes, Connor's area of focus is goats, but it is what he has done with this focus area that is instructive to the rest of us.  He doesn't just raise and sell a few goats.  He has taken a very deep dive into this species, the markets for this animal and the management of this animal.  I raise goats, and I found myself learning a ton from Connor during the interview, including information that I had never heard of before. Listen to this episode to get the full story. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1291_Connor_Pence-121921.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today, I look back at Benjamin Franklin's Thirteen Virtues and talk about why not being able to perfect any one of them is alright.  Plus, how do they relate to farming and life choices?

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Direct download: OFI_1290_Tuesday_Episode_-_12422_5.06_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Addy Stuever Battel is the 2021 National Proficiency Winner in the category of "Service Learning".  After hearing her story there is no question why she won this award.  With that said, there is a lot more to her story that makes this such a valuable interview.  Addy was a homeschooled student who was able to participate in the FFA.  I know from receiving emails from people around the country that not every school district allows students who are home schooled to participate in things like the FFA.  In this episode with Addy, she will explain what the rules in her school district were and how she was able to do this.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1289_Addy_Stuever_Battel-121921.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Does your saddle have a serial number?  If it does, write it down.

Rural Crime In The U.S.

BOL Story -

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

BOL Story -

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

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Direct download: OFI_1288_Rural_Crime_-_12122_1.14_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

How about sub-contracting as a corporate pilot as your form of off-farm income?  Seem impossible?  I would have thought it was unrealistic until I interviewed today's guest, Andrew Ambrose.

Andrew owns his own business, Fly Twins LLC, and he farms 750 acres in Southeast Missouri in addition to that.  If that is not enough, he also owns his own excavating company.  As Andrew put it, it would not be uncommon to see him flying a corporate customer across the country in the morning and driving a combine that evening.  This is an interesting way to producing off-farm income. Tune to hear more about Andrew's story. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1287_Andrew_Ambrose-011022_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today we bring you a show that we aired previously on this remarkable young man and his journey through FFA -  Raising, Showing And Selling Pigs as his SAE - into achieving his dream of being a an agricultural pilot. 

Benjamin Olander won a National Proficiency Award at the National FFA Convention in October of 2021, and I was lucky enough to be back stage and to interview him as what had just happened sank in for him.  I knew as we conducted that interview that I'd like to have him on the show for a full interview, so we set it up and get to feature him today.

Ben has grown up around agriculture.  His parents moved to their 500 acre farm in Minnesota right around the time he was born, and he has been driving tractors since he was 5 years old.  Joining the FFA was a natural transition for Ben, and he started participating as soon as he was eligible.  In addition to the FFA, his responsibilities on the farm had been growing over the years, and his natural talents started to emerge.  For example, early on, while still in middle school, Ben developed an affinity for finance.  His parents helped him pursue this by getting him started in some beef projects, and a seed of talent had been planted.

As Ben entered high school he was able to obtain a job working in a business that fabricated custom parts and equipment for agriculture.  This led to Ben learning how to weld and run a CNC machine.  Soon, Ben was fabricating parts all on his own and welding pieces of equipment together from those parts.  He continued with this all through high school and kept documenting this as his supervised agricultural experience, leading to his national proficiency award.  Ben is also an excellent communicator, and this led him to become the Minnesota State FFA President during his freshman year of college.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1285_Ben_Olander-121821.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I believe that self-sufficiency or independence is one of the main reasons that we love the agricultural lifestyle.  I was reminded of that this morning with something as simple and mundane as making my own candles.  In today's episode I want to discuss this with you and why in the world I am making my own candles!

Alex Wild's Youtube Channel About Bushcraft:

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Direct download: OFI_1284_Tuesday_Episode_-_11722_11.27_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Mackenzie Henning is a natural born seed breeder.  You might not think such a person exists, but I am here to tell you that they do.  Mackenzie grew up around agriculture and farming in typical, Upper Mid-West crop rotation of corn, wheat and soybeans.  However, about five years ago her parents made a change and started growing seed corn.  This led Mackenzie into a summer job de-tasseling corn stalks and it introduced her to the genetics of developing varieties of corn.  In her sophomore year of high school Mackenzie took a biology class and started learning about genetics and the science of plant breeding and her purpose appeared before her.

Since that time Mackenzie has been on a one-way road that is leading to a career in seed breeding.  She has advanced higher and higher in the company that she began with all those year ago as just a summer job, and her responsibilities increased each summer as well.  Now she is studying biotechnology and agricultural science at South Dakota State University, and she knows that she will be heading into graduate school after her bachelor's degree.  She has her eyes fixed on being a seed breeder.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1283_Mackenzie_Henning-121821.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 10:23am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Reinforce the values of honesty.  There is too much dishonesty in the world today, i.e. politicians, phone solicitors, emails, social media, etc.

Rural Crime In The U.S.   (1st Story is from 100 years ago and interesting)  (Roseburg, Medford & Grants Pass)

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above  (Bermuda (In The Pond!) - 955 miles due east of Savannah, Georgia)

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

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Direct download: OFI_1282_Rural_Crime_Episode_-_11422_3.37_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is a 4th generation farmer, and he is trying to reclaim a farming operation that was lost in his family so that the operation can go into the 5th and 6th generations and beyond.

Corey Strothman has an interesting story of growing up on his families farm and then his father having to stop farming independently and lease out their ground when Corey was ten years of age.  For about 22 years Corey's father actually farmed the family ground for another farmer who was leasing it from them.  Then, around the time that Corey was in his early 30's the opportunity arose for he and father to partner and start farming independently again.

This was not as simple as it sounds.  The land was there, but the equipment was not.  So, a lot of outside income was going to be required to get things up and running and return the operation to the productivity that it once had.  This required Corey to produce off-farm income.  Today, Corey's wife works in town, he is a John Deere mechanic full-time, and he is an independent distributor of agricultural and automotive products for a company called Conklin Co.

Conklin sells products that people in agriculture can use, and that Corey uses himself.  This gives him the confidence to market these products and to stand behind them.  Conklin also operates as a multi-level marketing firm in their business model.  It has been this model that has allowed Corey to produce enough income to increase his percentage stake in the partnership with his father on the farm.  And it is this model that Corey states has saved other people in the U.S. from losing their farms.

In today's episode Corey will talk about the business model, how he got involved and we will even address some of the stigma associated with multi-level marketing.

Contact Information For Corey:

Telephone: (319) 931-6338

Facebook: LINK

Instagram: LINK

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1281_Cory_Strothman-010722.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 11:54am MDT

Tomorrow we are profiling an agricultural entrepreneur using multi-level marketing to leverage his knowledge of farming to create his off-farm income.  I thought that my interview with Megan Dwyer from 2018 when we talked about all the different entrepreneurial endeavors she and her husband were involved in to support their farm would be a great tie in.  The original show notes are below.



Our guest today is from a serious, farm family.  Megan Dwyer and her husband, Todd, are determined to make it in farming.  They both farm with their parents.  Her with hers, his with his and vice-versa.  They have their own farm as well and are striving to build a life in which farming is their primary occupation and it can be passed along to their children.

To support their farming endeavors, Megan and Todd have started a number of farming related businesses.  This brings in supplemental income from off the farm.  It also gives them multiple streams of revenue so they do not become overly reliant on the farm in the case that commodity prices sink or input prices skyrocket.

The services they provide through Ag Authority include:

  • Providing 360YieldCenter
  • SureFire Ag Systems
  • Precision Planting product lines
  • Wyffels Seed
  • VR recs
  • Tile repair and fabrication
They serve Northwest Illinois and are building great reputations in the agricultural community.  Megan is also a certified crop advisor, giving her the knowledge and credibility she needs to serve their clients well.


TRUST YOUR TEAM: You need somebody to partner with that you can trust.

STRENGTHS: Focus on your strengths.  Too often we give our attention to our weaknesses and only bring them up to mediocre.  Why not give attention to your strengths and make them even stronger.

SMALL: Start small and grow slowly.  It you go too fast or try to do it all at once, you increase risk the possibility of business failure.


MENTAL REHEARSAL: Megan does something that is very useful for all of us, in or out of agriculture.  Before talking to a customer she mentally rehearses how she will handle different situations if they come up.  This is something that I used to do as a police officer, and I was impressed that this is something that Megan does in her business as well.


BE THE EXPERT: "If you're not their #1, be their #2".  This was a profound statement.  You cannot win every time. When you don't, make sure you keep your position as #2 in the case that something ever changes with their #1.


Ag Authority's Facebook Page: LINK

Megan's Email:

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1280-Recap_of_Episode_402-011222.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 9:50am MDT

Today's guest has experienced all aspect of the business cycle, and he did it all in high school!  Ayden Gartenlaub was encouraged by his father to get involved in the agriculture program and FFA at Highland High School when he was a freshman.  His father had grown up in agriculture and knew the benefits it would provide to Ayden.  So, Ayden reluctantly joined, and the rest as they say is.....history.

Like so many other students Ayden found out that he needed a supervised agricultural experience, looked around his home and found a project.  For Ayden it was chickens.  His dad and sister had purchased 15 layers for their back yard, and he thought that is where he could satisfy this requirement.  Soon, Ayden found himself selling eggs and his interest in the project began to blossom. Tune in for the rest of the story. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1279_Ayden_Gartenlaub-121721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Hi everyone.  Today is a true farm update on what we are doing on our place in Kuna, Idaho;

  • Hauling Livestock
  • Outgrowing Our Trailer
  • Getting Deposits From Customers
  • Our Ongoing Fox Problem
  • Learning To Weld


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Direct download: OFI_1278_Tuesday_Episode_-_11022_2.36_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

andon Bazemore was a National Proficiency Finalist in 2021.  He worked his way through multiple steps of a process of applications, interviews, section wins, state wins and more interviews to finally reach the stage in Indianapolis.  This is definitely a demonstration of hard work, dedication and participation in the FFA but, as Landon would tell you, it wasn't always this way.

Landon has been part of the FFA since middle school.  He was encouraged to join by the Ag teacher at his middle school as well as his father, and his step-brother was very involved in his FFA chapter and encouraged him as well.  So, Landon joined and wore the jacket and kept his membership up.  However, he did not attend many meetings and did not get involved much past what was minimally required of him.

During this entire time Landon had been working with his father in his father's business.  They install landscaping in new construction, and the nearest area to them with much residential development was Savannah, Georgia, two hours away.  So, there were a lot of trips to the city to grade yards away from homes, trench in sprinklers, lay sod and plant bushes.  During this time Landon did some work with his dad and some unsupervised.  The combination of the two caused him to learn a lot about this business.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1277-LandonBazemore-121121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:00pm MDT

Tip Of The Week

Reinforce your roadside fences with hotwire

Rural Crime In The U.S.


Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

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


Direct download: OFI_1276_Rural_Crime_Episode_-_1722_4.19_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Some time during high school I was exposed to the concept of vertical integration.  Even though I did not have any aspirations of running my own business at that time, I was able fascinated with the concept and admired the people who do this.  That is still true today.

My guest today, Cinde Moore, is just one of those people.  She and her husband Mark started raising livestock and purchased their very first farm after they turned 50 years of age.  However, they have a very farmer like philosophy which is that they will indulge their love of livestock and fascination with animals as long as every animal on the farm actually makes money for them.  And, if you have been following me for any length of time, you know I like this because they are doing something that benefits them at least twice.

In their search for the right livestock animal to do this with, they eventually came across Angora Goats and the unbelievable fiber that they produce.  They started their herd of these goats with the intention of producing and selling yarn.  Everything was going just as planned until they figured out that they did not enjoy the marketing and selling of what essentially was a commodity.  They wanted more control in their pricing and freedom in the marketing.  Convinced that the Angora Goats were the correct animal, it was back the drawing board of how they would market their fiber.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1275_Cinde_Moore-121721.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's show is a replay of a person who deserves our admiration. After the passing of her husband, she is not only running her farm alone, but is finding new and creative ways to diversify and offer quality, hand spun wool to her customers.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1274-Recap_Of_Episode_153-010322.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Molly McClure is a fierce competitor in the FFA, but she is also a fierce competitor in sports.  At Hugoton High School she ran cross country, played point guard and ran track.  For several year the National FFA Convention fell on the same weekend as the state cross country meets, so she never went.  However, that was all supposed to change in 2020, right up until Covid canceled the National FFA Convention.

Molly's disappointment did not need to last for long however.  The convention was back in 2021, and so was she!  Molly had submitted proficiency applications for her diversified livestock projects and aced her interviews.  She ran her projects completely independently of her parents, and she credits that with helping her to do very well on her interviews.  Since she had been making all of the decisions, the answers to the interview questions came very easy to her.

Ultimately the judges at the National FFA selected Molly as one of four National Proficiency Finalists in the category of Diversified Livestock Production.  Since she was now in college at Kansas State University and no longer running cross country, this meant that Molly was finally going to be able to go to the National Convention.  However, it also meant that if the size and scope of this great convention was not a enough to overwhelm her, she was also going to be going up on the big stage in the big stadium in front of thousands of people as a national proficiency finalist almost immediately upon her arrival.  Molly said that it was fast and mostly a blur, and she was happy that she made it across the stage without tripping.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1273_Molly_McLure-121121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Let's talk 2022 goals, how to change your perspective on your job and all about the positive impacts of the wind!

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Direct download: OFI_1272_Tuesday_Episode_-_1322_4.19_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

 I met Cassie Carter at the 2021 National FFA Convention.  I was in a room interviewing National Proficiency Winners, and she had just won a national proficiency award in the category of Agricultural Services.  Cassie had been working in her families taxidermy business, Trophy Taker Taxidermy, since she was about six years old, and this seemed like a perfect fit for her SAE.  Well, that turned out to be correct as she had just come off stage with a very prestigious award.

My wife, Autumm, was helping me that day and she was speaking with Cassie while they waited for me to be ready.  I then did a brief interview with Cassie and asked her if she would like to schedule a time to do a full interview on the show.  She said yes, we shook hands and she walked away.  Then Autumm told me that Cassie had been telling her all about going to college at Emory in Georgia and that she was a pre-med student and how challenging it already was.

Today was the day for Cassie and I to complete the full interview, and I dug a little deeper into her story and why she wants to be a doctor.  She told me that she has actually decided to pursue being a trauma surgeon in Downtown Atlanta, and she is hoping to really make a difference this way.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1271_Cassie_Carter-120921.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 3:25pm MDT

Happy New Year everyone!  And here is a to a great 2022!  Below are some of the most notable moments of 2021 as well as our most downloaded episodes of 2021!

Most Downloaded of 2021

Rural Crime 970    
FFA 973    
Friday Show 969    
Tuesday Episode 966    
Re-Cap Episode 1004    

Notable 2021 Moments

  • All of us having Covid
  • Hattie’s conduct team winning state
  • Hattie’s conduct team taking 5th in the nation
  • Meeting so many students who have been on the show in Indianapolis
  • Stopping in Kankakee, Illinois
  • Purchasing neighbor’s farm
  • Seeing Hattie in her FFA jacket for the first time
  • Adding Guardline
  • Keynote in Montana
  • MSU going to national championship
  • Hattie getting her permit
  • New record FFA auction
  • One millionth download
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Direct download: OFI_1270_Tuesday_Episode_-_123121_5.37_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT