Off-Farm Income (FFA )

Jackson Lohr is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Poultry Production and a former state officer for the Virginia State FFA.  Jackson has known that he wanted to be a state officer since the 6th Grade when a Virginia State Officer took the time to speak with him at the state convention.  Only one problem, Jackson considered himself to be introverted, so how would he get out of his comfort zone?  Ultimately, Jackson found that focusing on the priorities of the FFA allowed him to ignore his fears and get the job done.  And the payoff has been huge.

Not only did Jackson eventually become a state officer, but he also excelled in his supervised agriculture experience and won a National Proficiency Award.  Jackson has grown up on a chicken farm in Western Virginia, and he has been working in some capacity on the farm since he could walk.  He loves this lifestyle and this level of agricultural production.  He is currently completing a two year agricultural management program at Virginia Tech., and then he will be right back to the farm to carry on this legacy!

Direct download: Jackson_Lohr_Episode_1607_-_1523_2.53_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Connor Pence is a 2022 National Proficiency Award Winner in the category of Diversified Livestock Production.  In and of itself, this is a phenomenal accomplishment, but wait.....there's more.  Connor is also a 2021 National Proficiency Winner in the category of goat production.

Connor first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast one year ago exactly when I given the opportunity to interview him about his Goat Production Proficiency Award.  As a goat raiser myself, I found myself learning a lot from Connor.  I titled that episode "How To Win A National Proficiency Award" because as we did the interview, it became apparent to me that the benefit of the interview with Connor exceeded goat production.  He was giving students a template of what to do if they wanted to reach these prestigious heights.

Now, Connor has done this twice.  Naturally, the title of this episode is "How To Win Two National Proficiency Awards".  Connor is breathing "rare air" with this accomplishment, and it is to our benefit to have him back on the show to share how he did this.

 

Direct download: Connor_Pence_Episode_1603_-_122222_10.42_AM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Jared Weigandt is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Landscape Management.  He and his twin brother, Jordan, are poised to one day take over the family business, Sidney Landscape Services and become the 4th Generation of their family to own this business.  They are also the 6th generation in their family to work in the landscape business, and what was apparent from this interview was that their deep family roots in this business are not taken for granted.

Jared is currently attending college at the University Of Northwestern Ohio and studying diesel technology.  Jared works a lot on equipment repair and maintenance in his families business and is expanding his skills through this program.  He is already applying what he has learned on the job.

 

Direct download: Jared_Weigandt_Episode_1601_-_1323_2.18_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am speaking a marketing prodigy who has come into her own marketing Dorper Sheep as well as educational materials regarding how to farm and raise sheep.  This made me think of my interview with Jeremiah Geise who first appeared on the show in 2021 and talked about niche marketing for three different species of livestock.  So, I decided to bring this episode back for you to compliment tomorrow's show.

Direct download: OFI_1598_Replay_Of_1235_-_11823_2.02_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Lizzie Schafer is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Beef Placement.  Lizzie and her brother have been showing cattle nationally for their family farm for several years now, both from a competitive standpoint and in an effort to market their genetics.  Over the years, Lizzie has taken on more and more of the responsibility of the cattle side of their families farm, including become the herd manager and making many of the major decisions about their cattle business.

Lizzie was recruited by several colleges for livestock judging during high school.  Ultimately, she chose to being her college career at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kanas.  Lizzie told me that livestock judging is the #1 sport on that campus, and they take care of their livestock judging students very well.  She is studying agricultural communications and hopes to be standing outside of the show arena waiting to interview the winners and tell their stories at some point in the future.  

Direct download: Lizzie_Schafer_Episode_1597_-_122122_1.53_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Carrie Rhoades is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Dairy Production.  Carrie grew up on a dairy farm in Ohio, and has been part of the FFA since her 8th Grade year.  During that time she has been trading labor with her family in exchange for feed, space, veterinary treatment and everything else that comes with raising a show string of dairy cattle.

Early on Carrie's parents let her know that she was welcome to pursue a college education wherever she wanted, but she was going to have to find a way to pay for it herself.  She decided that she did not want to go into debt to get her education, so she had to find a way to afford the costs.  Also, she decided that college was going to be her best opportunity to live somewhere else and have a different experience than what she had always known in Ohio.  It was not that she didn't like Ohio.  Actually, she knew that she was going to spend her life in Ohio, but she thought it would be good to have one different experience during her life, and the best opportunity would be during college.  However, this created the challenge of non-resident tuition.

Knowing this was coming, Carrie got busy during high school.  She took as many dual credit courses as she could, all for free. When she graduated she had 30 credits, or her entire freshman year, completed.  At the beginning of her senior year of high school she began looking for scholarships.  She did not allow herself to indulge in imposter syndrome.  She applied for everything, even the scholarships that she thought she might not be qualified for.....and she received several.

Mostly coming from her local community, Carrie set off to Oklahoma State University late in the summer of 2022 with one year of college already completed and scholarships that would pay for the next three semesters.  That left Carrie with only three semesters to pay for.  She is already on the hunt for more scholarships to get her the rest of the way, and she is going to live in school housing on the school farm for a very reasonable rate to take care of that expense.  It can be done everyone!

 

Direct download: Carrie_Rhoades_Episode_1595_-_121522_3.37_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Ethan Meissner is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Agricultural Processing.  Since his 8th grade year Ethan has been working at a local meat locker near Marshfield, Wisconsin.  He started out doing carry outs, cleaning coolers and any other small jobs that needed to be done.  But over time the business and Ethan both evolved and changed.  Today, the locker specializes in making sausages and hot dogs, pretty much anything that is ground and then stuffed into a casing.  Ethan has become much more proficient and knowledgeable in running machinery and really the whole operation.  This ultimately led his boss to trust him enough to take a day off on the weekends and leave Ethan in charge.  

Today Ethan is studying agricultural engineering at the University Of Wisconsin at River Falls.  He actually started out at another university studying just mechanical engineering.  However, he missed agriculture and transferred so that Ag could be part of the emphasis of his major.  On the weekends and during breaks from school Ethan returns home and works at the meat locker.  For the summer he has his eye on some internships so that he can explore this career field even further.  

 

Direct download: Ethan_Meissner_Episode_1591_-_121422_1.46_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Trenton Jones is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Diversified Horticulture.  He is also a former chapter, regional and state officer in Missouri.  Trenton is currently in his junior year of college at Northwest Missouri State University where he is majoring in Agricultural Media, and he says that he finds himself leaning towards broadcast media at the moment.

Trenton's supervised agricultural experience and business began when he and a friend decided they would raise some plants and sell to friends and family.  Eventually, they went down divergent paths.  Trenton decided that he wanted to grow the business and get more serious about it, and the friend kind of faded out of it.  This led to Trenton taking a job in the industry so he could learn more about the business.  This eventually led to business opportunities for Trenton, filling opportunities that the business he was working for did not fill.  This led to Trenton's business, "Trent's Tropicals", which he closed down last January because of how busy he had become as a state officer.  However, Trenton says that "Trent's Tropicals" might make a comeback.  He is finishing college for now, but that idea is still within the realm of possibilities.  

Direct download: Trenton_Jones_Episode_1589_-_121322_1.44_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Jay McClure is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Forage Production.  This is the result of Jay's efforts on his families farm taking over responsibility for hay production under several center pivots.  Jay is now a full-time farmer and has chosen this path as his career for the rest of his life.  

Jay is faced with a unique problem.  The family farm has been in the family for over 100 years, and during that time it has grown more and more reliant on irrigation.  Jay and his family pump water from the Ogallala Aquifer, which is running out of water.  Jay believes that the farm will not run out of water before his father retires, however he does believe that the aquifer will be exhausted before he is ready to retire.  So, in addition to the everyday challenges of production agriculture, Jay is faced with what to do when the time comes and how to continue an over 100 year tradition in face of losing a precious resource.  

Direct download: Jay_McClure_Episode_1585_-_12822_8.25_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Will Sherman is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of Ag Processing.  He has been cutting meat at Mound City Butcher Block in LaCygne, Kansas since he was 14 years of age.  At age 18, just months after graduating high school he is already managing the shop.  Will takes a lot of satisfaction from cutting meat.  He sees it as a way to serve his community by preparing their meat for them, whether it be livestock or wild game.  

Will is still deciding whether or not college serves his purposes, but he is sure that butchering is part of his future.  He wants to eventually own his own shop, whether that means purchasing Mound City Butcher Block or starting from scratch.  If he does attend college, his education will be geared towards making him a better business manager and butcher in his chosen profession.  

Direct download: Will_Sherman_Episode_1583_-_12722_4.02_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hattie Brechwald is a chapter sentinel at Kuna High School, has just started her own herd of goats, is a district winner in two welding methods and is my daughter.  Traditionally, Autumm, Hattie and I record a year end episode for New Years.  However, this year Autumm is sick and is in no shape to be a guest on the show, so it is just Hattie and I.  I have been waiting for Hattie to get far enough along in her FFA journey to be a guest on the show, so I can profile her FFA accomplishments for all of you.  About three months ago I realized that she had reached that point.  Since then, I have been looking for the right time.

Well, it turns out that this year's New Years Episode is exactly the right time.  I completely caught Hattie off guard with this.  She was working this afternoon and then went to visit her grandparents.  When she walked in the door, I told her that tonight was the night.  So, her interview is totally extemporaneous.  We literally recorded it about five minutes after she found that we would be featuring her.  I think she knocked it out of the park, and I am proud she did so well with no time to prepare and no advantages just because her dad is the host!

Direct download: Hattie_Brechwald_Episode_1582_-_123022_9.58_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Ty Steffen is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Diversified Crop Production.  On his families property and on leased property in his hometown of Newark, Illinois he grows 4 acres of pumpkins, a 1/2 acre of broom corn and gourds as well as a large vegetable garden.  Using honor system stands Ty markets his broom corn, gourds and pumpkins as decorative produce every fall.  

There is an interesting twist to Ty's story.  During his 9th Grade year he noticed some city land adjacent to a park that was going unused.  Ty actually went to a board meeting for his village and requested to lease that ground to farm on.  That lease was approved, and he obtained two acres, right in town to grow his crops.  Ty is interested in continuing his business and remaining an entrepreneur after high school and college.  

Direct download: Ty_Steffen_Episode_1579_-_12622_4.52_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hanna Schmidt is a junior at Mullhall-Orlando High School and the secretary of her FFA Chapter.  She also has a business removing invasive cedar trees from the pastures and fields of the people in her community.  In today's episode Hanna explains that the research she has done has indicated that cedar trees rob a lot of soil moisture from the grasslands, and their removal can result in higher carrying capacities for the property owners that she serves.

 

Direct download: Hanna_Schmidt_Episode_1577_-_12622_4.18_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Doland FFA

Avery Miles - Chapter President of the Doland FFA Chapter in Doland, South Dakota

Starting this year the Doland FFA Chapter decorated the town's park on Main Street for Christmas.  The emphasis is on lights, but there is also a beautifully lit up FFA logo at the front of the display tying the community, Christmas and the local chapter all together.  This project began with a $500 grant that was received from the South Dakota FFA Association, and it was quickly matched the Doland FFA Alumi Association.  This is Avery's final year at Doland High School, but she believes that this will be come a tradition and will continue to grow in size and scope.

 

Southern Guilford FFA

Hannah Barnes - Chapter President of the Southern Guilford FFA Chapter in Greensboro, North Carolina

For the past four years the Southern Guilford FFA Chapter has been conducting a toy drive, beginning in mid-November, to collect toys for children in their community that can be given to them as gifts on Christmas Day.  The effort is now split into a whole chapter drive and an additional drive involving the just the officer team.  The chapter is partnered with the U.S. Marine Corps through their Toys For Tots program, and all of the toys are handed over to them for distribution.

In this interview Hannah highlights one of her fellow chapter members that, in spite of the $5 spending limit, donated over $250 worth of toys to the event.  The generosity of this student and the entire chapter is very heart warming.

 

Raft River FFA

Jessi Knudsen - Vice President of the Raft River FFA Chapter in Malta, Idaho

What began with a canned food drive has now grown into a full blown gift giving extravaganza for the community in and around Malta, Idaho.  As the Raft River FFA Chapter has continued to give to their community during Christmas anonymous donors from the community have joined in, giving money to the cause so that more can be bought and the joy of the season can be spread to even more people.

 

Sleepy Eye FFA

Adam Johnson - Chapter President of the Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota

The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter participates in a backpack food program, and this year for Christmas they are putting together "Holiday Boxes" for folks needing some help in their community.  They are making "tie blankets" as a chapter and giving those away in addition some food, an ornament and personal care items.

 

Lumberton FFA

Kamryn McInnis - Chapter President of the Lumberton FFA Chapter in Lumberton, North Carolina

"Share The Warmth" Project - the chapter used the proceeds from their poinsettia sale to purchase coats for kids identified by social services in their county.  52 coats were purchased and donated to children in the area.

 

 

Ripley FFA

Riley Knotts - Chapter Vice-President Of The Ripley FFA Chapter in Ripley, West Virginia

Riley and his fellow chapters members are supporting the "Jackson County Hunting Heroes" program by butchering deer for the veterans who have gone out on the hunts and filled their tags.  The Ripley FFA Chapter has been participating in this program for quite some time, and their involvement continues to develop.  In this interview Riley talks about the veterans and holds in the high regard that they deserve.

 

 

 

 

Direct download: OFI_1576_2022_Christmas_Episode_-_121922_1.38_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Dresen Ferschweiler is a really incredible entrepreneur and has what I call "The Entrepreneur's Attribute.  She was first on the show in 2021 talking about how she recognized shortcomings in sheep halters and decided to do something about it, very early on in high school.  I have since met her, her family and her fellow chapter members at the National FFA Convention.  Dresen is the epitome of an entrepreneur, and she is a great compliment to the guest I have coming on the show tomorrow.  So, Dresen's episode was perfect for today's re-cap show.

Direct download: OFI_1574_Replay_Of_973_-_121922_2.30_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Blake Moore is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of Agricultural Mechanics and Repair.  Starting on his uncle's farm somewhere around 6th grade Blake quickly found his curiosity piqued when he was in the shop around the tractors, feed trucks and pickups.  Soon, he was working on engines and demonstrating aptitude.

6th Grade was also the very first year of his school's middle school FFA chapter.  Always seeing his father's blue jacket hanging in the closet, Blake knew he wanted one of those.  So, he signed up for the FFA and became very active, only to have his activity level wane just a bit going into his 8th and 9th grade years.  However, one of Blake's advisors saw what he was doing mechanically and how much talent he had there, and encouraged him to start filling out paperwork for a regional proficiency award.  One thing led to another, and Blake just kept winning!  This propelled him all the way to the big stage this year as a National Proficiency Finalist!

Direct download: Blake_Moore_Episode_1575_-_12122_3.00_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Halle Miller is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Small Animal Production & Care.  She is also a junior at the University Of Akron in Ohio studying marketing and sales.  Halle was previously a guest on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2021 on episode #1063 as she was preparing to graduate high school.  At that point in time she was planning on becoming a nurse, but during that very spring her participation on the sales and marketing team through the FFA lit her fire for this industry, and she is pursuing this at college now.

Thanks to a strong work ethic and dual credit classes Halle is already classified as a junior in college, despite this just being her third semester since graduating.  During high school she was able to complete 46 college credits that she took with her to Akron.  Today she is still operating her dog breeding business, Borders Of Eby Eden with help from her entire family.  And of course, her overcoming a dog phobia that began at age 6 remains a large part of her story.

Direct download: Halle_Miller_Episode_1571_-_113022_1.48_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Arturo Madriz is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of Agricultural Mechanics and Repair.  He is also a senior at Madera South High School in California, and has a big time job in his father's trucking company.  Just this year Arturo started going out on his own to repair damaged or broken down semis from the families business.  He has driven up to 3 hours to take care of a truck that was broke down on the side of the road.  

Madera sits right on California State Highway 99, which has more north/south truck traffic than any roadway, including interstates, in the United States.  It is narrow and busy with vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed.  Arturo had to replace two trailer tires on this roadway this summer.  This is dangerous and stressful work.  And, he doesn't just switch out wheels.  He breaks the bead off of the damaged tire and re-seats a new tire on to the existing wheel.  

To further help the family business, which his father started years ago after emigrating from Mexico, Arturo is planning on going to a diesel mechanic program after high school.  One of the biggest expenses the business has is paying for expert diesel mechanic work, and Arturo plans to learn what he needs so that they can reduce that expense.  

Direct download: Arturo_Madriz_Episode_1567_-_111722_3.40_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Willie Schoonover is a junior at Mulhall-Orlando High School in Orlando, Oklahoma and he is the treasurer in their FFA Chapter.  He is also the son of two veterinarians and moving quickly towards that same career pathway.  Willie and his younger brother raise goats, cattle, pigs and sheep on their Oklahoma farm, and this is giving them great experience for their futures, as Willie told me that his brother is also interested in veterinary work.

Willie currently has his sights set on Oklahoma State University in two years, after he graduates high school.  However, he has a dream of doing veterinary work with buffalo in Montana, outside of Yellowstone National Park.  Maybe he can be persuaded to seek his bachelor's degree in Bozeman and hang a blue Montana State University flag up as well.

Direct download: Willie_Schoonover_Episode_1565_-_111722_2.13_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Peyton Parks is a junior at Topsail High School in Hampstead, North Carolina.  She is also a third year member in the Topsail FFA Chapter and she has an eye for entrepreneurship.  Peyton has been riding and caring for horses for several years.  She has been pet sitting for neighbors for about three years now, including people with horses, and she finds herself very attracted to entrepreneurship.  

This has led Peyton to make efforts to grow her business through postings on neighborhood apps that she knows people in her community use.  She has found ways to make her self standout on those apps, and she is seeing results in calls for service.  In her free time Peyton has her business on her mind, and this has led her to explore many of the different pet sitting apps that already exist.  Peyton believes that she can build a better pet sitting app, and she outlines what she believes should be part of the app in this episode.

Direct download: Peyton_Parks_Episode_1561_-_111622_3.26_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Levi Smuin is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of Ag Mechanics Repair & Maintenance, and is also from my home state of Idaho!  Levi began his journey in the FFA during his sophomore year in high school.  About one year prior to that he had started working for Rounds Farms & Trucking in Rigby, Idaho.  This has led to a progression of responsibility on the farm and in the trucking business, and it was a natural fit for his placement SAE.

During our interview Levi talked about how important writing the narratives on his proficiency applications were.  When I asked him more about that he talked about the method he used, which was a peer review type method with his fellow FFA students.  He would write something, and then he would have his writing assessed by his classmates.  When they finished preparing the narrative his advisors would look it over and possibly make suggestions.  Then the process would start over again.  I really liked this approach, as you can see that every member in that chapter has a little part in Levi becoming a National Proficiency Finalist!

Direct download: Levi_Smuin_Episode_1559_-_111522_1.32_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's show we are getting an education on grain marketing.  The first thing I thought of when considering a re-cap episode was this interview with Jake Fanning.  He was well ahead of his age when it came to hedging through the commodities market, and today I want to bring this back to you.

Direct download: OFI_1556_Replay_of_356_-_112822_1.31_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Lila Wantland is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist, a former chapter and area officer and a second time guest on the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  Lisa first appeared on the show in episode #1393 in May of 2022, and little did either of us know at that point that she would become a National Proficiency Finalist this year.  On today's show Lila joins us from her dorm room at Oklahoma State University, where she is studying animal science.  I wanted to have her back on the show to congratulate her on the incredible accomplishment.

Direct download: Lila_Wantland_Episode_1555_-_111022_3.18_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Will Harman is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of Beef Production.  Will farms with his family in Northwest Indiana where they grow corn and soybeans as well as raise cattle.  The families cattle herd began with show animals for 4H, but as time went on and Will and his brother Ben were showing less, it turned into a direct marketing beef business.  

Will's older brother Ben was a guest on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2018 in episode #518.  Today he is a senior in college, and Will is in his first semester of college.  Will is studying agricultural business with a minor in animal science at Purdue.  He is looking forward to a future of returning to the family farm, if that is possible.  He joked in the interview that if he does that he will have to learn to drive a semi and become a "super trucker".  Ben is also interested in becoming a butcher, and he is currently doing everything he can to get exposure to that profession.  

 

Direct download: Will_Harman_Episode_1553_-_11922_1.44_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Justin Duenke is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Diversified Agriculture.  Growing up farming on a row crop operation, his family decided to add cattle to the farm when he was 9 years old.  During a bad drought and seeing very poor corn out in the field, Justin's father made the decision to chop the corn for silage rather than try to sell it, and to feed it to their cattle.  The only problem was that they did not have cattle, but they remedied that by purchase approximately 100 bred heifers.

Since that time they have stuck with the cattle, partially as a continuing hedge against a situation like this in the future and partially because Justin and his brother found their farming passion came from working with the livestock.  Today they raise horses and cattle, grow soybeans and corn and are now experimenting with forage sorghum and rye as cover crops.

Justin is currently a sophomore at State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Missouri.  He is studying agricultural science but which eventually focus on nutrition.  Justin wants to have the knowledge that will allow him to bring nutritional expertise back to the farm and to develop rations and methods to better feed their cattle.

 

Direct download: Justin_Duenke_Episode_1549_-_11822_6.37_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Annamarie Stone is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of diversified livestock production.  She is also a Missouri State Officer and three time guest on the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  On today's episode Annamarie comes back on the show so I can property congratulate her on being a national proficiency finalist and being a state officer.  All of us here at the Off-Farm Income Podcast are very proud of what Annamarie has been doing.

Direct download: Annamarie_Stone_Episode_1547_-_11322_2.36_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Ross Cady was first a guest on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2017 on Episode #027.  He is appearing on the show again on tomorrow's Ag Business Episode, seven years later.  He is now a college graduate and has just started his career as a territory sales manager for Pioneer in Southern Minnesota.  I could not be more excited for him or proud to feature him on the show again.  To give you an accurate before and after picture, we will replay his original episode today.

 

Direct download: OFI_1544_Re-Cap_Episode_-_111622_3.57_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Evan Mogler is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of Diversified Agricultural Production.  He is also a senior in high school and a fantastic mechanic with plans to develop a myriad of mechanical skills from service to software, exclusively on John Deere Tractors.  Currently Evan farms with his family on their 3rd generation farm in Inwood, Iowa.  Evan assists the family and 40-50 farm employees with their 4,800 sows and 100,000 annual market hogs, the 6,000 head of cattle they run through their feedlot and the row crop operation that fills the 2.5 million bushels of grain storage they have on the farm.

Evan's plan after high school is study for two years, to develop his expertise on John Deere Equipment, which is exclusively what is used on the family farm.  He then hopes to go to work for the John Deere Dealership his family does business with as a mechanic until the time is right for him to take over the mechanic role on the farm.

Direct download: Evan_Mogler_Episode_1543_-_11222_7.11_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Morayah Cupp is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of  e Services.  She is also an Agricultural Education student at Oklahoma State University and the owner of Mo's Mobile Coops, an innovative chicken rental business outside of Imperial, Nebraska.  Morayah first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2020 on episode #815.  Today she is back to discuss her selection as a National Proficiency Finalist and the experience she just completed at the 95th National FFA Convention.

Direct download: Morayah_Cupp_Episode_1541_-_11122_4.27_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Cydney Stables is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of Agricultural Sales Entrepreneurship.  She achieved this by starting a floral business her junior year of high school that she calls "Flowers By Cydney".  Cydney states that this was during the Covid Pandemic, and 80% of the reason she started this business was that she wanted to make people feel a bit better during very tough times.  

Cydney is currently a sophomore at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa where she plays guard on the basketball team and is also a scholarship athlete on the golf team.  Cydney played basketball all through high school, which led to her being recruited by Graceland Univeristy, but she did not start golfing until her senior year of high school.  However, she picked up the sport so fast that she made it to state that year and Graceland also asked her to play golf for them.  

Direct download: Cydney_Stables_Episode_1537_-_102022_3.21_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Trentin Doss is the owner of Doss Repairs and a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of Agricultural Mechanics Repair & Maintenance.  He is a senior at East Buchanan High School in Gower, Missouri.  Trentin will be heading to the National FFA Convention for the very first time this year to find out if he becomes the National Proficiency Winner.  Trentin has been repairing other people's engines since he was 11 years old, and over time he has progressed into larger equipment and more sophisticated repair techniques.  When Trentin finishes high school in 2023 he has his sights set on becoming an mechanical engineer and building large tractors for companies like John Deere or New Holland, etc.

 

Direct download: Trentin_Doss_Episode_1535_-_101922_6.16_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Gracie Minyard is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in the category of agricultural sales & entrepreneurship, the 2022 Georgia State Star in Agribusiness, a national delegate to the National FFA Convention and she is on the livestock judging team at Blinn College in Denham, Texas.  Gracie is also an entrepreneur and the owner of Gracie's Market, which she started the summer between her 8th and 9th Grade years.  Today, Gracie has two produce stands, has just started selling her own value added products and has visions of more locations and a larger business after she finishes her Agriculture Business degree in college.

Direct download: Gracie_Minyard_Episode_1531_-_101822_4.21_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

We are back to the farm and the simplicity of the farm life, but for three days last week my world was a whirlwind!  A greater professional honor has never been bestowed upon me, and there are so many people to thank.  In today's episode I want to re-cap the experience for you.

 

Direct download: OFI_1530_Tuesday_Episode_-_103122_3.59_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Laura Wuebker is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Agricultural Communications, a former Ohio State FFA Officer, former farm news director, college student at Oklahoma State University and current farm broadcaster.  She began her broadcasting career during high school doing the farm report for a local radio station that hires high school students for agricultural segments.  This led to her discovering a passion for agricultural communications and ultimately a job with Ohio Ag Net creating pre-recorded segments.  It also led Laura to a double major of agricultural communications and agricultural business.

 

Direct download: Laura_Wuebker_Episode_1529_-_101222_5.47_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Megan Clark is a 2022 National Proficiency Finalist in Agricultural Communications.  She is also competing at the National Convention in extemporaneous speaking.  Her pursuit of a National Proficiency Award will be the final act in her illustrious career as part of the CAC Media Group in Iowa, and she is currently pursuing a degree in agricultural communications at Iowa State University.

Megan first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2021 at the recommendation of her advisor, and she was certainly a polished speaker then.  She has never slowed down and continues to advance her speaking and communications ability.

Direct download: Megan_Clark_Episode_1525_-_10522_3.41_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

The whole family is headed to Indianapolis this week, and on Friday at 8am EST I will be part of the FFA National Convention Session and be receiving my Honorary American Degree.  I cannot tell you how much this means to me, but in today's episode I try.  I also have some thanks to give out on today's show!

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

 

 

Direct download: OFI_1524_Tuesday_Episode_-_102422_4.28_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Kaitlyn Hart is a 2022 American Star Finalist in the category of Agribusiness.  She is also a senior at the University Of Georgia, an ambassador for the University Of Georgia College Of Agriculture and the owner of a flower business called Kait's Blossoms.  Kait has been part of the FFA since her sophomore year, and she will be graduating from college with a degree in Hospitality Management in May of 2023.

Direct download: Kaitlyn_Hart_Episode_1523_-_101322_1.40_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Cameron Pokorny is the 2022 Wisconsin State Star in Agribusiness, valedictorian of his class, a Presidential Scholar, A Coca Cola Scholar and is beginning his post-high school education at the University Of Wisconsin, Platteville as a sophomore in college because of all the dual credit courses he took in high school.  Cameron is also the owner of Cam's Coop, a poultry business producing eggs and meat that donates 95% of what it produces to charity.  In addition to business owner, Cameron was also his FFA Chapter's President and a seven year FFA student.

Cameron joins me on today's show for the second time since I first found out about his business and supervised agricultural experience in 2019.  A lot has changed since then, and he will catch us up on all of it today.

Direct download: Cameron_Pokorney_Episode_1519_-_10422_4.44_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

As an agricultural broadcasters I can't say that it is not intimidating to interview a student who has risen to the level of being a national proficiency finalist in ag communications, but that is just what I did in today's interview with Jordan Howell.  However, I found out something during the interview that compounded this original factor.

Jordan Howell is just completing her first semester at Iowa State University.  All throughout high school she had been working at a radio station and learning the ins and out of the radio business, including the market reports for agriculture.  She was able to compile this into a great supervised agricultural experience and record book, and ultimately this has culminated in her being selected as a national proficiency finalist this year!

With me being a self-trained, amateur agricultural broadcaster, that was intimidating enough.  However, I am also a self-trained, amateur meteorologist, and during our interview I found out that Jordan had chosen to go to college in Iowa because she is pursuing a degree in meteorology, and she though Iowa State Univeristy's program was exceptional.

I have looked into meteorology programs several time and decided that I did not have the mathematical aptitude to complete one.  However, that did not stop me from asking Jordan a lot of questions about meteorology and having a very interesting conversation about....you guessed it, the weather!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Ag Communications

HIGH SCHOOL: Howells-Dodge High School; Howells, Nebraska

MASCOT: Jaguars

FFA ADVISOR: Hannah Groth

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR JORDAN HOWELL:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Howells-Dodge High School Website:

Jordan's FFA Advisor's Email Address: hgroth@hdcjags.org 

Howells-Dodge High School Telephone Number: 402-693-2207

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Jordan_Howell_Undetermined_Episode_-_92222_4.08_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Being a small farmer and constantly needing to fix things and problem solve for equipment that I need but that is not manufactured, I find myself really jealous of those people with great mechanical aptitude.  Today's guest is not only one of those people, but he is also the 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Ag Mechanics Design & Fabrication.

Levi Marlatt has been working out in his dad's shop ever since he can remember, and at some point he realized just how much he enjoyed machining parts and equipment.  He started doing this more and more out of his own curiosity and to help his father with his high performance diesel business.  When Levi wasn't out helping to raise corn and soybeans on the families Indiana farm, he found himself solving problems and discovering a very mechanical aptitude.

About the time that Levi began in the FFA and realized that he needed an SAE, his father started referring his diesel customers to Levi to machine parts for them and to reverse engineer parts that failed and improve them.  Levin took to this with zeal, and through word of mouth he has created a client list of customers in 8 different states.

Today, Levi is the owner of Marlatt Machine, and he is attending college to perfect his welding skills, learn to read blueprints and get an associates degree in machining.  Everything that Levi is studying is immediately applicable in the shop and in his business, and he loves it.  He has a long term goal to create lightweight chassis for pulling tractors and to sell them all over the nation.  Something tells me that this will happen, and this won't be the last product that Levi creates and sells.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Marlatt Machining

HIGH SCHOOL: Rushville Consolidated High School, Rushville, Indiana

MASCOT: Lions

FFA ADVISOR: Blaire Orme

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR LEVI MARLATT:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Rushville Consolidated High School website:

Levi's FFA Advisors' Email Address: ormeb@rushville.k12.in.us

Rushville Consolidated High School's Telephone Number: 765-932-4051

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.
REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and ensure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers, and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

"Because American farmers are able to provide for so many of us, they give more and more of us the freedom to pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing the food we need to survive."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack 

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

 

 

Direct download: Levi_Marlatt_Episode_Undetermined_-_92822_5.50_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

How would you like to launch your career as a film maker in high school?  Well, that is what today's guest has done, and of course there is an FFA component to his journey that has propelled him to this place as well as to being a National Proficiency Finalist!

Hayden Endicott graduated high school last spring, and he has launched directly into his chosen career as a film maker.  Since the age of 10 Hayden has been making films and learning to use a camera.  Over that time he has developed great skill behind the lens, directing people and seeing ideas come to fruition.  This has led to his company, "Criminal Productions".

Hayden's three older brother's preceded him in the FFA and inspired him to be a member.  Since that time, he has made several films for the Riverton FFA chapter and even made small, fictional films outside of his SAE.  You may remember Hayden's brother, Hunter Endicott, as a guest on our show in episode #397.

One of the things that I found so compelling about Hayden's journey and his maturity is the research that he did into college and film school.  His research indicated that there was nothing he would learn in college that he could not learn on his own with the availability of resources on the internet today.  So, he chose not to attend college, put the tuition money into his business and spend this time developing his business and creating content.

Hayden currently has a 40 minute, agricultural movie in production and he already has a commitment from one theater to show it.  He is learning not only film making but also the business of selling films, and he is trying to create a project that is profitable so he can use that to show investors that his business is worth investing in.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Criminal Productions

HIGH SCHOOL: Riverton High School FFA; Riverton, Kansas

MASCOT: Rams

FFA ADVISOR: Jacob Larison

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR HAYDEN ENDICOTT:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Riverton High School website:

Hayden's FFA Advisors' Email Addresses: jlarison@usd404.org

Riverton High School's Telephone Number: 620-848-3386

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Hayden_Endicott_Undetermined_Episode_-_92122_5.00_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

In today's episode, I finally get to the other half of the story.  In my previous interviews with Case Edwards, who is an American Star Finalist this year, he has always given all the credit for his accomplishments to a classmate of his named Terrance Crayton.  When Case was a sophomore and Terrance was a junior, Terrance approached his FFA advisor and suggested that their chapter have a small engine team.  His advisor said, "sounds good, you put it together, teach it and run it" and Terrance did.  At Terrance's suggestion this is where Case got his first exposure to small engine repair, and it has now propelled him all the way to being an American Star Finalist in the category of placement.

In and of itself, that is an amazing story, but of course there is more.  Terrance is also an American Star Finalist.  That is right, both he and Case, will share the stage as American Star Finalists this year at the National FFA Convention.  Terrance's category is agribusiness.  Since he was in the 9th grade Terrance has been repairing people's equipment and small engines for them.  At first he relied on his grandfather to drive him from place to place, but eventually he saved enough of his money to purchase his own pickup which he turned into a service truck for small engine repair. 

Terrance's business grew and grew with the help of word of mouth advertising as well as Facebook Marketplace.  Today he is studying Ag Education at Auburn University, and this time next year he should be employed as an FFA Advisor.  Terrance gives credit to his grandfather's ability to teach mechanics to him for giving him the interest in small engines.  He gives credit to a typo on a class schedule that put him in an "Ag" class rather than the "Art" class that he wanted.  And he gives credit to his ag teacher who kept nudging him into FFA activities until he finally totally committed and his accomplishments in the FFA really took off.  

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Agribusiness

HIGH SCHOOL: Wetumpka High School, Wetumpka, Alabama

MASCOT: Indians

FFA ADVISOR: William Norris

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR TERRANCE CRAYTON:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Wetumpka High School website:

Terrance's FFA Advisors' Email Address: william.norris@elmoreco.com

Wetumpka High School's Telephone Number: 334-567-1178

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and ensure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers, and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

"Because American farmers are able to provide for so many of us, they give more and more of us the freedom to pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing the food we need to survive."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack 

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

 

 

Direct download: Terrance_Crayton_Episode_1507_-_92922_5.13_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Agriculture is a large umbrella, and below that umbrella there are divisions.  The fact that there are divisions does not mean that this is contentious, but it does mean that everyone in agriculture generally leans one of two ways and then gets more specialized from there.  I happen to lean towards animal agriculture, and that is fueled by my passion for cattle.  Today's guest leans towards crops, and he has a passion for cotton!

Peter Bliss has been farming for several years now.  Starting out 30 acres of inherited ground, he has built his farming enterprise into hundreds of acres of owned and leased farm ground.  He is growing cotton, wheat and almonds.  Even though taking care of cotton is much more complicated than the almonds that he grows with less potential profit, that is where is passion lies.  

It is so interesting to me to know that the way I feel about raising cattle and watching them graze in the field is the way that Peter feels about seeing cotton plants come up and eventually display their snowy white fiber.  Really, after spending 30 minutes speaking with Peter about his farming endeavors, there is no question as to why he has been  nominated as an American Star Farmer Finalist this year!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Cotton, Almond & Wheat Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Golden Valley High School, Merced, California

MASCOT: Cougars

FFA ADVISOR: Cody Jacobsen

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR PETER BLISS:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Golden Valley High School Website:

Peter's FFA Advisor's Email Address: cjacobsen@muhsd.org

Golden Valley High School Telephone Number: 209-325-2011

FFA LINKS

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and ensure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers, and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

"Because American farmers are able to provide for so many of us, they give more and more of us the freedom to pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing the food we need to survive."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack 

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

 

Direct download: Peter_Bliss_Episode_1505_-_92822_4.47_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today's guest is the epitome of the reason that interviewing FFA students, and specifically, American Star Finalists is so rewarding.  The level of knowledge, skill and ability that these students have is always amazing.  What is even more amazing is the way in which the FFA can bring it out and help them achieve new heights of achievement.  

This is definitely true for Cory Yarbrough who is an American Star Finalist in the category of Ag Placement this year.  Cory has grown up on a farm in northeast Georgia, and he is an expert in the broiler chicken industry already!  At the age of 21 Cory has immense experience in working in his families four broiler houses, doing hatchery management at the University of Georgia and even consulting for chicken producers when he did an internship in the poultry industry.  Birds are definitely the backbone of what drives Cory in agriculture.  

In addition to all of his work with chickens, Cory raises cattle for his family and manages market hogs for his uncle.  There is no question why diversified livestock is the title of his placement SAE.  Cory will be graduating with a degree in poultry science this December, and then it is on to post-graduate studies to get his PhD in poultry science.  He will be focusing his career on solving problems for poultry producers, like his family, through research and education.  And, he will be the third generation of poultry science graduate from the University of Georgia in his family, and the third generation a post-graduate degree in poultry science in his family as well.  

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Diversified Livestock Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Madison County High School, Danielsville, Georgia

MASCOT: Red Raiders

FFA ADVISOR: Katherine Bell

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR CORY YARBROUGH:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Madison County High School website:


Madison County High School's Telephone Number: 706-795-2197

Cory's FFA Advisors' Email Addresses: kbell@madison.k12.ga.us

Support FFA

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and ensure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers, and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

"Because American farmers are able to provide for so many of us, they give more and more of us the freedom to pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing the food we need to survive."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack 

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

 

 

Direct download: Cory_Yarbrough_Episode_1501_-_92222_3.13_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

When Terrance Crayton of the Wetumpka FFA Chapter started the small engines team as a student at the school, he just wanted to work with engines.  I doubt he knew what that was going to lead to.  When he did that, one of the people that he encouraged to join was a sophomore named Case Edwards, who happens to be today's guest.  Case took to working with engines like a duck takes to water, and it broadened Case's FFA career and put him on an unbelievable trajectory that led him to become a chapter, district and state officer as well as a National Proficiency winner in 2021.

Today, Case is back on the show because now he has been nominated as an American Star Finalist in the category of Ag Placement that is a result of the work that he has done over the years in mechanics.  The jobs that Case held during this time are a direct result of him learning about small engines, and he gives a ton of credit to Terrance for that.  As Case stated during our first interview in 2021, if you had shown him a spark plug at the beginning of his sophomore year of high school, he wouldn't have known what to do with it.  Now look at him!

If that story were not enough, Terrance, wasn't just a coach.  He was also a fellow student and chapter member, and he was running his own small engine business.  He competed in the FFA as well, and unbelievably he is also nominated as an American Star Finalist this year, but in the category of Agribusiness.  I will do a separate interview with Terrance, but enough cannot be stated about the fact that Case and his classmate that inspired him to try mechanics are both nominated as American Star Finalists in the same year!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Agricultural Placement

HIGH SCHOOL: Wetumpka High School, Wetumpka, Alabama

MASCOT: Indians

FFA ADVISOR: William Norris

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR CASE EDWARDS:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Wetumpka High School website:

Case's FFA Advisors' Email Address: william.norris@elmoreco.com

Wetumpka High School's Telephone Number: 334-567-1178

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and ensure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers, and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

"Because American farmers are able to provide for so many of us, they give more and more of us the freedom to pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing the food we need to survive."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack 

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

 

 

Direct download: Case_Edwards_Episode_1499_-_92122_4.07_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

In the 1980's the "Future Farmers Of America" changed their name to simply the "FFA" because they knew that they were helping to create opportunities for students, inside and outside of agriculture, that went beyond traditional farming.  What a move by this organization!  Looking at the results they are getting in 2022 with their top achieving students, you can see just how much further the influence of the FFA has been able to spread since making that move.

Today's guest, Marin Lonnee, is a perfect example of the results of this decision.  Marin was introduced to the FFA through a middle school agriculture class when she was in the 6th Grade.  That class exposed her, not only to the FFA, but to agriculture, research and her own, innate talents.  The spark that lit the fire with that first class has resulted in years of research by Marin.  

Marin's research has not always been solely focused on projects that fit within the parameters of the FFA, but most of the time it has been.  Regardless of where it fit, her research has always included a social component with a practical impact on people and the betterment of their lives.  

Today, Marin is an American Star Finalist in the category of Agriscience Research.  In speaking with her about what she has done, the reasons she has chosen her research project and her vision for their applications it is no mystery at all why she has been nominated for this prestigious award!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Agriscience Research

HIGH SCHOOL: Oconee County High School; Watkinsville, Georgia

MASCOT: Warriors

FFA ADVISOR: Chelsea Bengaud

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MARIN LONNEE:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Oconee County High School Website:

Marin's FFA Advisor's Email Address: cbegnaud@oconeeschools.org

Oconee County High School Telephone Number: 706.769.6655

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Marin_Lonnee_Episode_1495_-_9822_2.01_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I am always thrilled when a previous guest returns to the show as an American Star Finalist.  It is a thrill to know that these students went on to carry their talents to that level.  That is the case with today's returning guest, Cotton Booker.

Cotton first appeared on this show in episode #671.  Back then he had just become the National Junior Auctioneering Champion, and he was representing the FFA while doing that.  Cotton has his own auctioneering business and has continued to master his craft.  Obviously, his success has been recognized as he is now one of four finalists for the American Star Award in Agribusiness.

Cotton is now in his junior year of college at Oklahoma State University, and he is studying ag business as well as pre-law.  He hasn't quite decided to whether or not law school is in his future just yet, but he sees a lot of application for a law degree in his families business.  Already an expert in the business of auctioneering, Cotton has a reverence for his profession that we should all envy.  There is no doubt in my mind that is has been my privilege to interview him these two times and that on both occasions I have been speaking with the future leader of this industry.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Auctioneering

HIGH SCHOOL: Colfax High School; Colfax, Washington

MASCOT: Bulldogs

FFA ADVISOR: Michael Heitstuman

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR COTTON BOOKER:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Colfax High School website:

Cotton's FFA Advisors' Email Addresses: MICHAEL.HEITSTUMAN@csd300.com

Colfax High School's Telephone Number: (509) 397-4368

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

 

Direct download: Cotton_Booker__-_9722_5.33_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

The complexity and diversity of a large scale production agriculture farm is always mind blowing to me.  I can get stuck trying to understand just one aspect of a farm at that scale, let alone see how it all works together.  Fortunately for today's guest, Jacob Wuebker, he does not have that problem.  And, his mastery of the processes of his families farm and his ability to document all of it through his supervised agricultural experience has led him to be nominated as an American Star Finalist in Ag Placement this year.

Jacob starts his day at 6am, going straight to one of his families pig barns where they farrow out over 100,000 pigs each year.  For the next three to four hours he has various responsibilities in the barn before heading outside.  At that point it it time to grind grain, and he grinds a lot!  Feeding all the pigs on the farm demands a lot of grain, and this is not even counting the dairy steers they raise up from approximately 250 lbs to finished weight on their homegrown feed.

If there is time left after the grinding, Jacob can find himself pulling out over 2 miles of hose to spread manure on their crop fields, spreading straw in the cattle pens for bedding or working the ground in a tractor.  Jacob's future is in this farm, and that is what motivated him to take several dual credit classes during high school and have already graduated college in December of 2021!  It probably has not hurt that his mother is also his FFA Advisor and has been there to guide him through the dual credit process as well as his record book.

Jacob is doing what he loves, and it shows in how he is being recognized as an American Star Finalist!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Ag Placement

HIGH SCHOOL: Versailles High School; Versailles, Ohio

MASCOT: Tigers

FFA ADVISOR: Dena Wuebker

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR JACOB WUEBKER:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Versailles High School Website:

Jacob's FFA Advisor's Email Address: dena.wuebker@vtigers.org

Versailles High School Telephone Number: 937-526-4773

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Jacob_Wuebker_Episode_1489_-_9722_5.23_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Our guest today has an amazing story of becoming involved in agriscience research, not limiting his research interests to one aspect of agriculture and of doing good in the community.  He also has an amazing story of legacy.  Ryan Hess is part of the Stephenville FFA Chapter, and as an American Star Finalist in Agriscience Research he not only is the third finalist from Texas in three years, but he is the third finalist from Stephenville High School in three years!

As if his contributions and findings in research were not enough, Ryan has been very involved in both the FFA and his community.  He was pivotal in the town of Stephenville in getting funding for and installation of calisthenics equipment along their river trail.  Also, he has served in many officer roles over the years, including that of Texas State Officer.

Ryan is not studying Ag Communications at Texas Tech University, along with his preceding American Star Finalists from Stephenville High School.  He hopes to continue his research in the area of social interaction and find new and better ways to share the message of agriculture with the world.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Agriscience Research

HIGH SCHOOL: Stephenville High School; Stephenville, Texas

MASCOT: Honey Bees

FFA ADVISOR: Ryan Best

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR RYAN HESS:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Stephenville High School FFA website:

Ryan's FFA Advisor's Email Address: ryan.best@sville.us

Stephenville High School's Telephone Number: (254) 968-4141

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

 

Direct download: Ryan_Hess_Episode_1487_-_9622_5.04_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Direct download: OFI_1484_Replay_Of_Episode_541_-_9622_4.22_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I have always enjoyed profiling guests who had their own meat rabbit business.  It is a very interesting niche business that seems to have so much upside.  However, I have never had a guest on the show who has a meat rabbit business that has propelled them to being a finalist for the award of American Star Farmer!  Well, that is exactly what Emily Makos has done, and it is my pleasure to introduce you to her today.

Emily has been raising rabbits since she was 8 years of age on her families "hobby farm" in Wisconsin.  After getting to know rabbits better and better over time, she decided to start selling rabbits for meat.  She actually broke into this business selling them into the restaurant business, and this eventually evolved into direct sales to individual customers.

Later, Emily pivoted again and started selling rabbits to people as a form of dog food.  There are aspects of rabbit meat that people really like, and she was able to serve this customer base.  What is so interesting about this aspect of her business is that she is vertically integrated, and she is able to take advantage of the entire rabbit.  Emily sells the fur, she dries the feet and ears for dog chews and she grinds the rest of the animal for a healthy dog food for discerning dog owners.  Since her consumer for this products are not human, she can do all of this herself without USDA oversight.

Emily is currently studying to become an occupational therapist in an accelerated program through Concordia University.  She sees rabbits staying as a part of her life, and hopes to use them as therapy animals in the future.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Rabbit Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Juda High School; Juda, Wisconsin

MASCOT: Panthers

FFA ADVISOR: Joseph Lynne

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR EMILY MAKOS:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Juda High School Website:

Emily's FFA Advisor's Email Address: lyne@judaschool.com

Juda High School Telephone Number: (608) 934-5251

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1483_Emily_Makos-COMM_10_57-090222.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I am always amazed by the natural curiosity that students who are American Star Finalists for Agriscience Research have.  Today's interview illustrates exactly why that is.

Sydney Hefty has quite an FFA legacy already going in her family.  Her cousin, Leah Hefty, previous a guest on this show, was also an American Star Finalist in the category of Agriscience Research, and is now Sydney's FFA Advisor.  Sydney and Leah's grandfather was a career FFA Advisor, and he introduced Sydney to science and research when she was just five years old, but not because he saw this coming.  He wanted Sydney to get involved with public speaking as soon as possible, and the only avenue open to her at that age was the science fair.  Little did he know that he was tapping into a natural curiosity and aptitude for research that would carry forward all the way to today and the National FFA Convention.

Sydney has been researching ever since.  For example, she once looked at a wind turbine, wondered how it worked and then designed her own out of an empty cylinder of Quaker Oats.  She also saw the need for something different that would be able to kill pigweed because of its resistance to conventional herbicides, and she developed her own, organic herbicide with a 94% kill rate!

All of this has led Sydney now to Purdue University where she is studying agricultural economics, she is already teaching courses as a sophomore and she continues to chase her natural desire for research and problem solving!

Here is Sydney's Recipe for her natural herbicide

  • 6oz of 20% concentration vinegar
  • .o02oz of dish soap
  • .5oz of orange oil

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Integrated Agriscience

HIGH SCHOOL: DeKalb High School; Waterloo, Indiana

MASCOT: Barons

FFA ADVISOR: Leah Hefty

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR SYDNEY HEFTY: 

Click on the picture below to be taken to the DeKalb High School Ag. Department's website:

Sydney's FFA Advisor's Email Address: mdice@dekalbcentral.net

DeKalb High School's Telephone Number: (260) 920-1012

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

"Because American farmers are able to provide for so many of us, they give more and more of us the freedom to pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing the food we need to survive."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack 

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1481_Sydney_Hefty-COMM_19_06-083122.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode we are interviewing an entrepreneur who is making a delicious, value added product for direct sale to customers.  His interview reminded me of the time I was able to spend with Forrest Durham back in 2015, and it make perfect sense to bring Forrest's episode back as our replay episode of the week.

The original Show Notes are below:

I continue to be blown away by the students that I get to meet doing interviews for this show.  Forrest Durham is no exception.  I think I am going to sell the gopher business and start a corn roasting business!  Forrest Durham has inspired me.  What an amazing business and learning process for this young man.

Forrest Durham is an FFA student at Larue County High School in Kentucky.  He traveled all the way to Texas with his father to purchase a corn roaster.  Then, he started roasting and selling corn at festivals and fairs throughout Kentucky.  His business has blown up.  Inspired by his father's fudge business, he has found a way to bring agriculture directly to people who want to taste the delicious foods that are grown on our farms.

I think you will be inspired by Forrest Durham as well!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Roasted Corn Sales at Fairs and Festivals

HIGH SCHOOL: Larue County High School, Hodgenville, Kentucky

MASCOT: Hawks

FFA ADVISOR: Mrs. Misty Bevins and Mr. Chris Thomas

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR FORREST DURHAM:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Larue County High School website:

Forrest Durham's High School

Forrest's FFA Advisors' Email Addresses: Misty.bivens@larue.kyschools.us & chris.thomas@larue.kyschools.us

Larue County High School's Telephone Number: 270-358-2210

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

"Because American farmers are able to provide for so many of us, they give more and more of us the freedom to pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing the food we need to survive."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack 

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

 

 

 


It is always a great thrill for me when a student who I have previously interviewed on the show comes back on as an American Star Finalist!  That is happening in today's episode with Emma Victery.  Emma was first on the show in 2020 when she was the national proficiency winner in beef production placement.  She has continued her efforts, and now she is back as an American Star Finalist!

Emma's original show notes are below:

Having a business model on your farm that is sustainable is challenging.  Of course, if you are commodity-based there are so many factors that are outside of the control that you've got to get bigger and push harder.  If you are smaller you are almost forced into being niche so that you can increase the size of your profit margins.  And then of course, if you only offer one product you can get into really hot water if the price or demand for that product falls.

In a perfect world, we would all know what type of farm business we were going to be involved in, in the future, and we could plan out our skill sets accordingly.  Of course, there is no such thing as that perfect world.  However, the FFA offers a future farmer the best chance of coming as close to this perfect world as anything that I know.

This is illustrated very well by today's guest, Emma Victery.  Emma has grown up on her family's farm in Oklahoma.  She is hoping to take it over at some point in the future.  She and her father have been looking at different products they could sell, different markets they could be in, and different ways to grow the business so that it will last for Emma and for future generations.

Just recently they began marketing bulls as a compliment to their commercial herd.  Looking into the future, Emma sees the sale of embryos and using embryo transfers on their farm as a way to offer other products and to really speed up the rate at which they improve their genetics.  Right now, Emma is a senior in high school.  But that does not stop her from looking into the future and trying to figure out how she is going to make all of this happen.

Emma will start college at Oklahoma State University in the fall of 2021.  She is planning on double majoring in animal science and agricultural communications.  She wants to go to veterinary school, become a veterinarian, and specialize in reproduction so that she can use those skills for embryo transfers on their farm.  This would also give her a great form of off-farm income.  Right now she is taking over the marketing responsibilities on their farm, and she plans on using her studies in agricultural communications to strengthen her abilities in this part of the business.

All of her efforts have led Emma to be the 2020 National Proficiency Winner in Beef Production Placement.  She is looking at applying for several more proficiency awards going forward, and feels like her journey in the FFA has just begun.  She has also been accepted to the honors college at Oklahoma State already due to her academic performance.  Emma is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the cattle industry, and it is going to be fun to watch!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Beef Production Placement

HIGH SCHOOL: Chickasha High School; Chickasha, Oklahoma

MASCOT: Fighting Chicks

FFA ADVISOR: Emily Schmidt

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR EMMA VICTERY:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Chickasha High School Website:

Emma's FFA Advisor's Email Address: Eschmidt@chickasha.k12.ok.us

Chickasha High School Telephone Number: 405-222-6500

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1477_Emma_Victery-COMM-12_41-082522.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

It is that time of year again, and it is my pleasure to interview the American Star Finalists for this year's National FFA Convention.  What a great time of year, and what a fantastic guest to kick off this series of interviews with!

I am always fascinated with the way the mind of the finalists in agriscience research work, and with Danae Westra that is very true!  Not only has Danae been doing research on her families dairy since her freshman year of high school, but she has been doing research with immediate, practical applications in the family dairy business.  In addition to that, Danae has a big personality, and that has show through in the names that she has given each one of her projects:

  • Freshman Year: "Calves R Us"
  • Sophomore Year: "Milk R Us"
  • Junior Year: "Protein 4 Life"
  • Senior Year: "Milk It 4 All It's Worth"
  • Freshman Year Of College: "Mastitis Mishaps"

In this interview with Danae you will hear a repeated theme - getting up at 6am to do research before school started.  Whether that was weighing calves, pulling blood samples or collecting urine, she was out there, everyday, getting it done before school even started.  This is what is so inspirational about FFA students, and this is why Danae has already been recognized as one of the top four agriscience researchers out of the 850,000+ FFA students in the nation!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Agriscience Research

HIGH SCHOOL: Central Valley Christian High School, Visalia, California

MASCOT: Cavaliers

FFA ADVISOR: Kelsey De Jong

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR DANAE WESTRA:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Central Valley Christian High School website:

Danae's FFA Advisor's Email Address: kdejong@cvc.org

Central Valley Christian High School Telephone Number: 559-734-9481

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - FFA students can start small businesses through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% and the rest of the world.  FFA provides the needed education, training, and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and ensure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers, and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the food search is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

 

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1475-Danaw_Westra-COMM_10_12-082422.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Our guest today, Maria Sterling, started her supervised agricultural experience out with two business partners.  As she describes it, the three of them were partially joking about what to do for their SAE and the idea of them raising chickens for eggs came up.  They decided to go for it, and between the three of them they were able to obtain two, $1,000 SAE grants, to fund the project.  This was during their sophomore year, but by the end of their junior year, only Maria was still interested in the business.

I have definitely experienced the same thing in life.  Several people are interested in a project, but when the everyday challenges of the work set in, just one or two people are left standing.  In this case it was Maria, but looking back on how it developed, it kind of looks obvious now that she had the passion.  When Maria found herself being the sole owner of the business she branded it "Sunny Side Eggs" and started marketing through word of mouth, at her school and on social media.  And, she has found herself at times, not able to keep up with the demand for her eggs.

Maria just graduated this year, and she is off to the University Of North Carolina at Wilmington, right around the time that her episode is released.  She is still deciding what to study but had narrowed it down to either marine biology or environmental science.  She says that no matter where this ultimately takes her, you will find her raising chickens, either on a larger basis like now or in a back yard flock.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Egg Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Smyrna High School; Smyrna, Deleware

MASCOT: Eagles

FFA ADVISOR: Kellie Michaud

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MARIA STERLING:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Smyrna High School Ag. Department's website:

Maria's FFA Advisor's Email Address: Kellie.michaud@smyrna.k12.de.us

Smyrna High School's Telephone Number: (302) 653-8581

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1471-Maira_Sterling-COMM_7_52-081322.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode we are profiling a very interesting entrepreneur in the wine business.  It occurred to me that this would be a great opportunity to return to a very impressive FFA interview I did years ago with Mark Cavellero, who at that time was growing grapes for champagne that he was too young to drink!

The original show notes are below:

INTRODUCING MARK CAVALLERO!

Our guest today is a finalist for the star farmer award at the 2017 National FFA Convention.  Mark Cavallero is studying plant science at Reedley Jr. College in Reedley, California.  During high school he started farming grapes and almonds on his family's farm in Madera, California.

While Mark was farming he started trying a new variety of almonds that did not require him to bring in bees to pollinate.  He stated that move has saved him a lot of money in operating costs and it has worked out well.

Mark also grows Thompson Seedless Grapes, and the primary use of his grapes is for the production of champagne at a nearby winery.  He is looking forward to turning 21 in about 1 month and being able to taste what his grapes finally turn into.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Grape And Almond Farming

HIGH SCHOOL: Madera South High School; Madera, California

MASCOT: Stallions

FFA ADVISOR: Tim Deniz

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MARK CAVALLERO:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Madera South High School Ag. Department's website:

Mark's FFA Advisor's Email Address: timdeniz@maderausd.org

Madera South High School Telephone Number:  559-675-4450

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

"Because American farmers are able to provide for so many of us, they give more and more of us the freedom to pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing the food we need to survive."

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack 

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

 


Our guest today is from my home state.....well, that is if you are counting the very state that any of my ancestors ever lived in, in America, that is.  My ancestors founded two town towns in Connecticut in the 1600's, and whenever I am lucky enough to interview a guest from that great state, I have to brag about that for a moment.

Coming back to present day, Amelia Withington, just finished up her 11th grade year of school and will be starting back as a senior very, very soon.  During her time in the FFA she has been creating one of my favorite, value added products - goat milk soap.  This is such a great product and business for an FFA student who raises goats and is looking to make great money.

When you start looking into the benefits of goat milk soap, it almost sells itself.  And goats can be kept in a small area but still produce a large amount of milk, or in Amelia's case, raw materials!  Operating a business like this, Amelia is able to learn about agriculture production, value adding, marketing and sales.  It is a great way for a student to learn about business and industry!

Amelia's business is called "Just A Girl And Her Goats Soap And Stuff" and she is selling her products in farmers markets in her area.  She has also recently obtained an alpaca, and she plans on harvesting fleece from it for another value added produce, yarn!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Goat Milk Soap Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Lyman Memorial High School; Lebanon, Connecticut

MASCOT: Bulldogs

FFA ADVISOR: Brenda Wildes

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR AMELIA WITHINGTON:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Lyman Memorial High School Website:

Amelia's FFA Advisor's Email Address: Brenda.wildes@lebanonct.org

Lyman Memorial High School Telephone Number: 860-642-7567

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1465_Amelia_Withington-COMM_10_29-080422.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

My journey to hosting the Off-Farm Income Podcast all began with me becoming a business owner.  That original business was named Idaho Gopher Control, and i used compressed carbon monoxide to exterminate gophers for farmers.  Prior to purchasing the equipment and starting the business I did my research, and part of that research included asking some questions to a gentleman named Rod Zehr who lived about 50 miles away from me in Ontario, Oregon.  Rod used these machines and had a successful business, and he was kind enough to take the time to meet with me.

Today, I am honored to welcome Rod's son, Tanner Zehr, onto the show.  Tanner is a senior at Vale High School in Vale, Oregon and at age 18 he has a decade of gopher extermination under his belt already.  He has learned a ton about the machinery, the business and about hard work.  On today's episode I get the opportunity to reminisce about the gopher business and hear from a young man who has been inspired to entrepreneurship and is about to begin his journey!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Gopher Extermination

HIGH SCHOOL: Vale High School; Vale, Oregon

MASCOT: Vikings

FFA ADVISOR: Anna Chamberlain

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR TANNER ZEHR:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Vale High School website:

Tanner's FFA Advisor's Email Address: achamberlain@valesd.org

Vale High School Telephone Number: 541.473.3181

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Tanner_Zehr_Interview_-_8922_4.05_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

When you are young, you have energy, and you might as well take advantage of it!  That is very true for today's guest, Lane Willard.  Lane is between his 9th and 10th Grade years right now, and he has one year of FFA under his belt.  And, he has been busy.  In addition to working on his families farm, he is playing sports, raising his own livestock, farming his own ground and participating in the FFA.

Lane and his family have been farming this ground for three generations now.  In the late summer is when Lane really feels the heat.  Right at the time that he is getting his pigs and heifers to the fair, football practice begins.  So, he has football practice in the heat, farm work after practice and animals to take care of at fair.  Luckily his coach, his family and his community support the FFA and everyone understands.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1459_Lane_Willard-COMM_5_55-032022.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

All summer we have been profiling students transitioning from their 9th to their 10th grade years in the FFA.  These interviews are a lot of fun to do because if I can ask just the right question I can tap into area of expertise that are already developed in these young students.

Our guest today is Hayven Smethurst.  She has a lot of involvement in the FFA.  She joined because she thought it would help her to advocate for agriculture, and she took action.  She did this by recruiting her friends, who are not involved in agriculture, to join the FFA with her.  She believes through these efforts she can expose more people to agriculture and help to bring people into this industry to keep it going into the future.  So far she has successfully recruited three people to join her chapter who otherwise would not have done that!

In addition to her advocacy efforts Hayven loves animals and raises several different species at her home.  She also works with dairy cattle on her grandparents dairy, and she shows dairy cattle for a nearby dairy with registered Holsteins.  If fitting, training and showing 8 head of Holsteins in a summer were not enough, she also shows horses and keeps 8 of her own.

When I started asking Hayven about showing horses and being successful in the arena, her knowledge and expertise really started to shine.  She had a lot of great information for any future or current exhibitor who wants to show horses and has goals of improving their performance.  Hayven's passion for the equine shone through in the interview so strongly that I titled the episode "how to succeed showing horses"!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Equine & Dairy Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Seneca High School; Seneca, Wisconsin

MASCOT: Royals

FFA ADVISOR: Brigid Leofeoholz

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR HAYVEN SMETHURST:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Seneca High School website:

Hayven's FFA Advisor's Email Address: bloeffelholz@seneca.k12.wi.us

Seneca High School Telephone Number: 608-737-9177

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1457_Hayven_Smethurst-COMM_9_39.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

When I conducted my interview with Carter Ollendick it was right before he and his parliamentary procedure team departed for a competition.  Naturally, I asked him about his participation in both the Conduct Of Meetings team as well as the Parli team during the interview, and he had something interesting to say.  He told me that he would recommend participation in these teams to incoming FFA students because they teach you to give your own opinion and argument in a given situation, and they force you to learn to how stick to what you believe and back that up.  This is just one more of the many life and career skills that students learn in the FFA.

Carter comes from a rich tradition of FFA participation in his family, and even though he just finished his 9th grade year of school, he already had four years of experience because he was able to begin in the 6th Grade.  It is always interesting interview students who were able to begin in middle school, because they are ahead of the game when they get to high school.

Carter has been showing livestock for many years now, starting in the 4H and continuing into the FFA in middle school.  At this point he has a lot of experience showing cattle, pigs and sheep.  So, last year his parents suggested that he try something new.  He agreed, and he grew a pumpkin patch.  Then he set up two roadside stands and sold his pumpkins on the honor system.  He reports that it went very well.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1453_Carter_Ollendick-COMM_6_10-031222.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Everyone likes to joke about sibling fights, sibling rivalries, etc.  And, of course, there is a little bit of truth in every joke or it just wouldn't be funny.  However, many of the students that I get to interview on the show live way out on farms or in very small towns where their siblings might be the only other kids around.  And, when they are being brought up in a farming and/or ranching situation together they might not just be siblings but also coworkers.  So, when does it make sense to partner up with your sister or brother?

Our guest today, Brooklyn Buck, is just one of those students.  She is between her 9th and 10th grade year of high school this summer, and her younger sister is between her 6th and 7th grade year of middle school.  Brooklyn will be starting her fourth year of FFA, and her sister will be starting her first.  With all of that said, they have been partners in a herd of cattle for several years now, and they both love it.  So much so that they are keeping all their heifers and trying to grow the size of their herd every year.

Brooklyn brings up a lot of positive reasons that partnering with her sister has been beneficial to her.  She is also not afraid to admit that they fight and disagree frequently as well.  However, the most compelling part of the argument she has might just be calving season.  Earlier this year they did the bulk of their calving in February, and this meant getting up multiple times throughout the night, in the cold, to check on heifers.  However, with them being partnered they can split those duties, and each of them gets more sleep.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Brooklyn's Heifers

HIGH SCHOOL: AHSTW High School; Avoca, Iowa

MASCOT: Vikings

FFA ADVISOR: Jennifer Sellner

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR BROOKLYN BUCK:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the AHSTW High School website:

Brooklyn's FFA Advisor's Email Address: jennifer.sellner@ahstwschools.org

AHSTW High School Telephone Number: 712-343-6364

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1451-Brooklyn_Puck-COMM_6_08-030522.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

It has been a lot of fun to profile this group of FFA students as they begin their journeys in this fantastic organization.  One of the reasons I enjoy it so much is it gives me a chance to capture their level of knowledge, sophistication and responsibility right at the beginning of their journey.  Then, in a few years I can speak with them again and see how they have grown and really become experts in their chosen SAE's.

Today's guest, Olivia Check, really fits this profile very well.  She has grown up around the stock contracting business with her family and BC Bucking Bulls.  During the summer rodeo season she is gone to different rodeos weekly, helping her father with the business when he takes bulls for competition.  While she is there she gets to compete on horseback barrel racing, break away roping and pole bending.  And when her time in the arena is through, it is back to the business.

Olivia is learning a lot, and one of those things has been how to work with such large animals as rodeo bulls.  She described being fearful of the large animals at the beginning but developing a comfort level being around them.  Today, instead of fear she has a deep respect for these gigantic bovines, but she is able to work effectively around them because she has learned her trade.

When looking into the future Olivia sees multiple different career areas in agriculture that interest her.  One of those is running the family business.  Currently she is deferring to her older sister.  If she wants to run the business, Olivia has other areas of agriculture that she wants to explore.  If not, Olivia wants to make sure that the family business continues.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: BC Bucking Bulls - Rodeo Stock

HIGH SCHOOL: Seneca High School; Seneca, Wisconsin

MASCOT: Royals

FFA ADVISOR: Brigid Leofeoholz

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR OLIVIA CHECK:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Seneca High School website:

Olivia's FFA Advisor's Email Address:

Seneca High School Telephone Number:

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1445-Olivia_Check-COMM_8_56-030522.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Our guest today is well ahead of her time advocating for agriculture and dispelling myths about animal ag as well as the FFA.  After listening to her interview, there will be no question in your mind why she is doing this.

Taylor Russell comes from a rich, Wisconsin, FFA tradition.  Her aunt was the first ever female national officer from Wisconsin, both of her parents were state officers, her two older sisters are in the FFA and her mother is her ag teacher and FFA advisor.  Is that enough?

Hearing all of that, it is no surprise that Taylor got started in the FFA as soon as she was eligible at Shullsburg High School, which for her was in the 7th Grade.  Since then she has developed three businesses.  With the rest of her family she raises sheep and sells lambs every year to exhibitors from the 4H and the FFA for participation in jackpot shows and fairs.  Taylor raises her own steers for exhibition and sale, and she raises chickens and sells eggs to friends and family in her area.

As if this were not enough, she has another supervised agricultural experience in agriscience research that already yielded her a Gold level award at the national level. Taylor has been researching how people in the FFA communicate about the organization using social media.  She has seen a lot of mis-information on social media about cruelty to animals as well as the 4h and FFA being corrupt organizations that indoctrinate students to be cruel to animals.  So, she decided to combat what she knew to be untrue.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1441_Taylor_Russell-COMM_6_06-022722_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Our guest today is not afraid to get started.  She first began raising goats when she was five years old by asking for a pet goat for her birthday.  Her parents said that she could have one only if she took responsibility for it, and she did without hesitation.  Fast forward 8 years, and Kylie Mann found herself in her second year of FFA during the 8th Grade.  Her small chapter needed people to fill officer positions, and despite her young age Kylie volunteered to help out, becoming the chapter's reporter.

That kind of tells the story on Kylie.  She is a go getter, and she doesn't let fear slow her down.  She is a three sport athlete and loves the competition.  Today she has grown her herd of goats to 13 does.  She shows goats, sells goats to other exhibitors and also markets goats through a livestock auction.  Raising registered Nubian goats is just the beginning for Kylie.  She sees her future as being on a farm, raising animals and working as a veterinarian.

Coincidentally, one of Kylie's FFA Advisors, Amelia Hayden, was a previous guest on my show on episode #687 when she was an American Star Finalist.  Between Kylie's fearless attitude and having mentorship like that, there is no telling where this will take her!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Goat Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Lincoln City High School; Lake City, Minnesota

MASCOT: Tigers

FFA ADVISOR: Nikki Flaaen

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR KYLIE MANN:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Lincoln City High School website:

Kylie's FFA Advisors' Email Addresses: nbeucler@lake-city.k12.mn.us

Lincoln High School Telephone Number: (651) 345-4553

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1439_Kylie_Mann-COMM_8_42-030322.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

What a wonderful thing an inquisitive mind can be.  This is especially true for an FFA student, and it always amazes me how soon this begins to show itself.

For today's guest, Meredith Shanks, her inquisitive mind started to show very early, and this was partially because she was able to begin the FFA very early.  In Portage, Wisconsin students are able to begin the FFA in the 6th Grade, which is what Meredith did.  She said that she was enticed by free donuts and orange juice, but she stayed for the fun with other people who were interested in agriculture.

Meredith already had an interest in livestock, specifically cattle, from visiting and working on her grandparent's farm near her home.  By the time that Meredith got to her 8th grade year of FFA it was time to start a supervised agricultural experience, and agriscience research just seemed natural.  She was actually already doing research with animals. Learn more in today's interview. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1435_Meradith_Shanks_COMM_8_25.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

As you all know, I am a big fan of SAE Grants, and I wish that every FFA student would take advantage of this opportunity.  So, I don't take it lightly when a student does.  In today's "Featured Freshman" episode we are talking with Ella Raatz from Colby, Wisconsin.  Ella lives in town, keeps dairy heifers at the farms of people that she shows cattle for and is already an officer of her FFA chapter.  In addition to all of this, she has already been awarded $3,000 in SAE grants, and I recorded her episode in February of her freshman year!

Ella comes from and FFA family, and she has been showing dairy cattle since she was four years of age through the 4H.  She is currently serving as the president of her 4H chapter and secretary of her FFA chapter.  She used her first and second SAE grant (one national and one through the State of Wisconsin) to purchase a dairy heifer.  The third grant she used to purchase embryos.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1433_Ella_Raatz-COMM_5_33-022722.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Tessa Camacho is the very first "featured freshman" guest to come on the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  And she came highly recommended by a previous guest, Mackenzie Camacho, who happens to be her older sister.  You might remember MacKenzie from <a href="https://www.offincome.com/ofi-1195-perseverance-and-determination-leads-to-an-american-star-nomination-ffa-sae-edition-mackenzie-camacho-minarets-high-school-ffa/">episode #1195</a> when she was an American Star Finalist, and when I was lucky enough to meet her in person at the National FFA Convention in 2021.

Tessa is part of long family legacy in the FFA.  Both her parents were members and regional officers, and both of her older sisters are still involved in the FFA.  Seeing that many blue jackets around the house, it was natural for Tessa to follow in those footsteps.  In addition to all of that, she has been participating in the 4H for several years showing pigs, and it was a natural transition in the FFA.  All of this time in the show arena has already paid dividends as well, as Tessa has been highly recognized for her showmanship skills with pigs.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1429-Tessa_Camacho-COMM_8_26--022022.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I've done two interviews with students from New Hampshire in the history of the show, and today is #2.  What a fascinatingly different way of life then I am used to in the West!

Our guest today is a lobster fisherman.  Ella Byrne has grown up in the lobster industry with an entrepreneurial father who is a self-taught lobsterman and also has a maple syrup business on land.  Ella has been fishing lobster for some time now, and in the interview she tells the story of how a business pivot, caused by Covid, stuck and why she is continuing it.  The business that was born out of that pivot is F/V Sugar Daddy Lobsters, and Ella now uses social media and a home tank to tell fresh lobster right from her house.

Ella has big dreams, and she is still figuring out the direction that her life is going to take.  However, she is positive that it includes coming to the West in the very near future to work on a "dude ranch".  She has never been to the West before, but she wants to see the mountains, the farms and the wide open spaces.  We are all out here, waiting for her arrival!  Until then, you will find Ella on the Atlantic Ocean, setting traps and bringing them back up, providing the most succulent creatures from the sea for the rest of us to enjoy!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Lobster Fishing

HIGH SCHOOL: Exeter High School; Exeter, New Hampshire

MASCOT: Blue Hawks

FFA ADVISOR: Anne Demarco

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR ELLA BYRNE:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Exeter High School Website:

Ella's FFA Advisor's Email Address: ademarco@sau16.org 

Exeter High School Telephone Number: 603-395-2400

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1423_Ella_Byrne-COMM_13_29-062022.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Holden Nuhn first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast back in 2019 when he was a 9th grader on episode #623.  This was before Covid, and we had no idea what was coming!  Back then I was so impressed with his "could-do" attitude, and how he had found a way to show dairy animals even though he didn't have any of his own.

On Today's episode, Holden is back!  We are going to be catching up on what he has been doing in the FFA for the past four years.  I'll give you a hint - he really got involved with supervised agricultural experiences!  And, he is now restoring his third tractor and finding great success with this endeavor.

Below are the original show notes from my interview with Holden back in 2019.

Show Notes

Hosting this show always gives me the opportunity to interview people who find a way to make things happen.  Whether it be my adult or student guests, I am always lucky enough to speak with people who have a "can do" attitude.

That is really what stood out to me in today's interview with Holden Nuhn.  Holden actually started buying and raising dairy feeder calves when he was in the 3rd grade.  By the time he was in the 6th grade he decided that he wanted to start showing dairy heifers.  However, he did not have the facilities or herd to do that.  But, he did not allow that stop him.

Holden made a connection with a local dairy farmer and worked out an agreement in which he could lease a heifer to show.  They have a great agreement, which he talks about in the show, where they both benefit.  It is truly a great example of a situation in which both parties win.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Dairy Production & Tractor Restoration

HIGH SCHOOL: Western Reserve High School; Collins, Ohio

MASCOT: Rough Riders

FFA ADVISOR: Mark Starkey

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR HOLDEN NUHN:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Western Reserve High School Website:

Holden's FFA Advisor's Email Address: mstarkey@western-reserve.org

Western Reserve High School Telephone Number: (419) 660.8508

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1421-Holden_Nuhn-COMM_5_18-061622.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I am always happy and honored when a listener reached out and requests to be part of the show.  Sometimes it is a fit, and sometimes it is not, but I am always thrilled that they want to be part of what we are doing here.  Our guest today is one such listener.  Kyleigh Render is a very impressive FFA student.  She will be "graduating" from high school in one month, but there is a twist to her story.  Kyleigh is homeschooled, so her experience has been a bit different.

During Kyleigh's freshman year of high school, she actually did attend school on campus with other students.  This was in Michigan.  She took an agriculture class that semester, and thus, she was automatically enrolled in the FFA.  This stuck.  She relished the group and the roles that she could play.  Soon, her parents decided to move to be by family just outside of Belgrade, Montana and she went back to homeschooling.  However, she took it it upon herself to seek out the Belgrade FFA Chapter and inquire about membership.  They were very familiar with having homeschool students in their chapter, and she was welcomed right in.

Today, as Kyleigh looks forward to her career after high school, she is very motivated to educate others about and advocate for agriculture.  As a result, she started "The Farmer's Story Podcast" this previous February, and she has been telling the stories of how food gets grown and produced in the U.S. ever since.  Her long term goal is to interview a farmer from every state in the U.S.

Kyleigh wants to build "The Farmer's Story Podcast" into a full-time career, and she is ready to launch!  Just as soon as her high school career ends, she will be off to the races!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: The Farmer's Story Podcast

HIGH SCHOOL: Homeschooled and part of the Belgrade FFA Chapter; Belgrade, Montana

MASCOT: Panthers

FFA ADVISOR: Kyle Gavin

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR KYLEIGH RENDER:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Belgrade High School website:

Kyleigh's FFA Advisor's Email Address: kgavin@bsd44.org

Belgrade High School Telephone Number: 406 388 6862

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1417_Kyleigh_Render-COMM_12_46-061122.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Rarely does this happen, but today's interview features the daughter of my previous Friday episode guest.  Shelby Shuman has just finished her junior year of high school, and she has been conducting auctions since she was twelve years old.  Early on in her auction career she knew she wanted to start her own business, but she never really implemented it until her freshman year of high school when she joined the FFA and was required to start a supervised agricultural experience.  At that point, Shelby Shuman Auctions was born.

Inspired by her father, Scott Shuman (featured in episode 1413), she now travels all over the country conducting auctions.  Her niche is benefit auctions, and she has great success finding clients.  As Shelby puts it, it is rare to find a female auctioneer, but to find one who is in high school and in the FFA is extremely rare.  In addition to her outstanding skill conducting auctions, the uniqueness of her stature makes her a big draw.

Shelby has one year of high school left, and then she is off to Liberty University in Virginia to study entrepreneurship.  Being a career auctioneer is in the list of possibilities for Shelby, but she has not made up her mind yet.  She is going to go explore all of the options that are out there for her and find the correct path.  If it leads to auctioneering like her father, then so be it.  If it does not, she will always have the skills and experience that beginning an auction career at age 12 can give you!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Auctioneering

HIGH SCHOOL: Eaton High School; Eaton, Colorado

MASCOT: Indians

FFA ADVISOR: Heidi Lanning

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR SHELBY SHUMAN:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Eaton High School website:

Shelby's FFA Advisor's Email Address: hlanning@eaton.k12.co.us

Eaton High School Telephone Number: (970) 454-3374

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1415_Shelby_Shuman-COMM_8_50-053122.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode we are featuring a gentleman who has made an interesting career out of auctioning farm and ranch real estate.  On the following Monday we are featuring his daughter, who is in the FFA and is also an auctioneer.  It is a complete look into the world of this interesting and fundamental career.  So, for our re-cap episode this week I wanted to take a look back at some of the other auctioneers who I have profiled on the show.  Who better than Cotton Booker, who as the 2018 International Junior Auctioneer Champion!

The original show notes are below:

INTRODUCING COTTON BOOKER!

Today I get to introduce you to a humble young man who is having great success.  Cotton Booker is the 2018 International Junior Auctioneer Champion, the youngest ever auctioneer at the Barrett Jackson Auction and the Washington State Star winner in agribusiness.

Cotton's family is in the auctioneering business, and he has been learning about it his whole life.  Cotton has had a lot of success through auctioneering, and he went to a professional auctioneer's school when he was only 13 years old as the youngest student they had there.

Today, Cotton works for his families business, and he has also started his own auction company, Booker Auction.  He is carrying on the family legacy and trying to help people out in agriculture when it comes time for an estate sale or otherwise.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Auctioneering

HIGH SCHOOL: Colfax High School; Colfax, Washington

MASCOT: Bulldogs

FFA ADVISOR: Michael Heitstuman

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR COTTON BOOKER:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Colfax High School website:

Cotton's FFA Advisors' Email Addresses: MICHAEL.HEITSTUMAN@csd300.com

Colfax High School's Telephone Number: (509) 397-4368

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1412_Replay_Of_Episode_671-COMM_7_13-060822.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I am starting to think that plant breeders are born, not made.  At least every time I interview a young man or woman with this passion it appears that is correct.  In today's interview I am speaking with a junior in high school that has already obtained $10,000 in funding to begin an apple orchard on his high school's property.  Gabe Olson-Jensen is our featured guest, and look at this list of accomplishments:

  • Started working at a local orchard at age 12
  • Grafted his first trees at age 12
  • Obtained land at his school start a 1/4 acre apple orchard in 2020
  • Applied for and received a $1,000 SAE grant in 2020
  • Applied for and recieved $9,000 in funding from USDA SARE in 2020
  • Purchased 200 apple trees and trellising and began the orchard in 2020
  • Using integrated pest management to sustain and grow the fruit trees

Gabe really has an amazing story as so many of these seed breeders do.  Today, we will profile it all for you!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Plant Research

HIGH SCHOOL: River Falls High School; River Falls, Wisconsin

MASCOT: Wildcats

FFA ADVISOR: Ryan Pechacek

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR GABE OLSON-JENSEN:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the River Falls High School website:

Gabe's FFA Advisor's Email Address: ryan.pechacek@rfsd.k12.wi.us 

River Falls High School Telephone Number: 715-425-1830

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1411_Gabe_Olson-Jensen_COMM_6_36-053022.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

It is so interesting how students answer the elevator question I ask them during my interviews.  Mallory Bowers' answer may be the most interesting that I have heard thus far.  She told me that "agriculture saves lives", and then she went on to articulate her thoughts on why this is.  Everything from people finding their purpose to the basic need for food was included in her explanation.

I guess I should not be surprised. Mallory was raised by an FFA advisor, and she has already began the transition process of taking over her families sheep operation.  In addition that, she joined the FFA just as soon as the rules would allow her, and she was just recently named the State of Indiana Proficiency Winner in Sheep Production!

Mallory will have graduated high school by the time that this interview airs, and she is headed to Lincoln Land College just over the state border to study agriculture, compete in livestock judging and prepare herself for the dual careers of teaching agriculture and running her own sheep operation.  As I told her during the interview, she is planning on being busy.  She replied with an "Oh, Yeah!".

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Sheep Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Tippecanoe Valley High School; Akron, Ohio

MASCOT: Vikings

FFA ADVISOR: Michael Jones

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MALLORY BOWERS:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Tippecanoe Valley High School Website:

Mallory's FFA Advisor's Email Address: jonesm@tvsc.k12.in.us

Tippecanoe Valley High School Telephone Number: 574-598-2100

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1409_Mallory_Bowers-COMM_8_11-052922.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

INTRODUCING LANE COLSTON!

There was a very consistent theme running through today's interview with Lane Colston from Western Hills High School FFA.....people.  When I asked Lane about why he had joined the FFA, he talked about all the great people he had known who had been FFA members, and he also talked about the great people he has been able to meet by being a member.  When we talked about the reigning horse world that he is such a big part, he was talking about being able to meet great people again.  I definitely get the feeling that Lane is the type of person that everybody likes, and that is certainly going to treat him well in the future.

Lane comes from a family with a horseback tradition.  And for him, it didn't really catch until he was 8 years old.  Ironically, being from Kentucky (a great horse state) he found his passion for horses in Wyoming.  On a family vacation to the Grand Teton Mountains they took a trail ride on horseback, and something clicked for Lane.  When they got home he looked around and saw the same horses that had always been there, but now he was determined to spend his time riding them rather than just looking at them.

Since that time Lane has become a horse trainer, exhibitor and rider.  He competes all over the U.S. on reigning horses, he purchases them green, trains them and then sells them. In addition to this, he is learning the family concrete business and plans on studying business in college so that he can help both businesses grow!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Reigning Horse Training & Sales

HIGH SCHOOL: Western Hills High School; Frankfort, Kentucky

MASCOT: Wolverines

FFA ADVISOR: Jenna Harrod

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR LANE COLSTON:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Western Hills High School Ag. Department's website:

Lane's FFA Advisor's Email Address: jenna.harrod@franklin.kyschools.us

Western Hills High School's Telephone Number: 502-875-8400

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

  b

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1405_Lane_Colston-COMM_10_29-052922.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

INTRODUCING SAMUEL JIMENEZ!

Buckle up to learn something new in this episode.  I sure know that I did when I was conducting the interview!

Samuel Jimenez has just graduated high school, and he has just been awarded a California State Proficiency Award in Specialty Animal Production Placement.  How you ask?  By raising thousands of Koi Fish in his families business in Madera, California.

Sam's parents have a business called Mad Town Koi Fish, and she sell Koi all over the world.  In addition to the production of fish they produce a high quality manure/fertilizer for their business partner's pistachio orchard with the waste of the Koi.  Sam has been learning this business inside and out over the years, and now when a buyer is at the farm to purchase fish it is Sam who takes out the nets and catches the fish for sale.

During our interview Sam told me about a type of Koi called a "Tancho".  This is a very rare and very desirable pattern on the body of the Koi that results with a red circle on its forehead.  While Same told me that Koi will sell for $5-$7 per typical fish, a Tancho can sell for up to $25,000!  This fish business is very much like other livestock businesses.  They even have a breed organization and they compete in shows for the grand champion Koi.

I learned a ton in this interview, and you will too!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Koi Fish Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Madera South High School; Madera, California

MASCOT: Stallions

FFA ADVISOR: Tim Deniz

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR SAMUEL JIMENEZ:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Madera South High School Ag. Department's website:

Sam's FFA Advisor's Email Address: timdeniz@maderausd.org

Madera South High School Telephone Number:  559-675-4450

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1403_Sam_Jimenez-COMM_9_20-052822.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode we are talking all about bees with a fascinating entrepreneur who has traveled the world.  I thought that a look back at this great interview with Saralynn Smith would be a great idea as she talked to us about the very beginning stages of starting her bee business.

Below are the original show notes:

SHOW NOTES

If You Want To Raise Bees, You Will Need The Right Clothing!


Introducing Saralynn Smith! 

Sara Smith is involved in one of the most ancient of agricultural enterprises, bee keeping.  Her story is kind of unique.  Instead of developing her bee hives with the purpose of harvesting honey or selling products, she and her father started them to pollinate the plants and flowers in their yard.

Soon, they had 3 hives and excess honey!  After giving honey away to people in their community, the idea of "3 B's" came up.  Sara decided to make the beekeeping her supervised agricultural experience.  Now she will be producing lip balm from her honey with all natural ingredients.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Bee Keeping and Product Development

HIGH SCHOOL: Dinwiddie High School; Dinwiddie, Virginia

MASCOT: Generals

FFA ADVISOR: Cindy Blaha & Laurel Bishop

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR SARA SMITH:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Dinwiddie High School Website:

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-12-06-28-pm

Sara's FFA Advisor's Email Address:   cblaha@dcpsnet.org

Dinwiddie High School Telephone Number:  (804) 469-4280

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 


INTRODUCING EMMA ALBERS!

I like to say that if you are hitting all of your goals, you aren't setting them high enough.  Today's guest understands that completely.  Emma Albers set a goal of becoming a national proficiency finalist when she was in the 9th Grade.  She just graduated high school a couple of weeks ago, and she is on the cusp of that accomplishment.

Emma actually has three very strong supervised agricultural experiences and proficiencies - beef production, grain production and veterinary science.  It is the rules that actually held her back.   In the State of Kansas, one student can only advance to state proficiencies with a maximum of two projects.  Ironically, on Emma's farm she gets the most enjoyment out of working with the cattle.  However, her strongest two proficiencies were veterinary science and grain production, so that is what she put forth.

Later this month Emma will find out if either of her proficiencies won at the state level.  If one of them does, she will be on to compete for that national proficiency award that she decided that she wanted so many years ago!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Beef & Grain Production Entrepreneurship, Veterinary Science Placement

HIGH SCHOOL: Doniphan West High School; Highland, Kansas

MASCOT: Mustangs

FFA ADVISOR: Hannah Adame

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR EMMA ALBERS:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Doniphan High School Ag. Department's website:

Emma's FFA Advisor's Email Address: hadame@usd111.org

Doniphan High School Telephone Number: 785-442-3286

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1399_Emma_Albers-COMM_12_44-052422.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Have you ever had the experience of speaking with a person and not being able to match what you are hearing to your preconceived notion about who they would be?  That was my exact experience speaking with today's guest, Ben Bugbee.  Fortunately for me, I interview a lot of FFA students, and that means that I have this experience frequently.  Ben is just finishing his 11th grade year of high school, and when our interview started I had an idea of what an 11th grader should sound like.  However, if you did not know that Ben was in high school and heard this interview you would think that he had been running his own business for a couple of decades and had the experience of his peers that are in their 30's!  Perhaps this is what led Ben to be named the Minnesota State Star in Agribusiness in 2022.

Ben is the owner of Water Ready Rentals in Paynesville, Minnesota, and he also works at his families resort, Bug Bee-Hive Resort, which has been in his family for 102 years.  In addition to that, Ben is a regional vice-president in the FFA and concurrently serves as a chapter officer in the Paynesville FFA Chapter.  Ben has owned his own business since he was 14 years old, and to hear him speak about the pitfalls of renting out watercraft is like listening to an expert put on a seminar about running a business such as this.

Ben is clearly a "non-traditional FFA student", and as he points out, capturing students like himself is exactly why the FFA changed its name decades ago.  With that said, Ben knows exactly how his water sports business relates to agriculture and is able to articulate that clearly.  Ben believes that with a lot of "blood, sweat and tears" that the FFA helps to teach students, from on or off the farm, the work ethic and tradition that is captured in American Agriculture!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Pontoon Boat Rentals

HIGH SCHOOL: Paynesville High School; Paynesville, Minnesota

MASCOT: Bulldogs

FFA ADVISOR: Natalie Utsch

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR BEN BUGBEE:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Paynesville High School website:

Ben's FFA Advisor's Email Address: nutsch@isd741.org 

Paynesville High School Telephone Number: 320-243-3410

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1397_Ben_Bugbee-COMM_14_42--052322.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On this show, I have said that work is not the enemy, the wrong job is the enemy, on multiple occasions.  Today's guest, Lila Wantland, probably summed that statement up better than I have ever done in our interview.  This is one thing I love about interviewing FFA students.  They learn, early on, that work can be fun and it is all just a matter of finding the right work for them.

Lila has grown up on her families dairy farm in Missouri, and she had fully embraced that life.  She milks cattle every day, and being a 99% family run operation, she has invested herself in every other aspect of the farm from the good to the bad.  She is particularly fond of taking care of the bottle calves but dreads when it is time to cull a long serving cow.

Her family primarily milks Holstein cattle on their dairy, but over the years she became interested in other breeds of dairy cattle.  So, she found herself purchasing her own Guernsey, Jersey and Brown Swiss cows and putting them into the milking herd.  Lila finds herself very interested in all the different breeds as well as the different personalities that each of them has.

In our interview I asked Lila if she was interested in returning to her families dairy at some point in the future.  While she is heading off to get an animal science degree at Oklahoma State University next year, returning to the dairy is not what she sees in her future.  I really admired this in her answer, as she has already figured out that even though the family dairy is the basis of her love for livestock and farming, she needs to find the path that she is meant to be on to find satisfaction in her daily work.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Dairy Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Niangua High School; Niangua, Missouri

MASCOT: Cardinals

FFA ADVISOR: Cody Starnes

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR LILA WANTLAND:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Niangua High School website:

Lila's FFA Advisor's Email Address: cstarnes@nianguaschools.com

NianguaHigh School Telephone Number: (417)473-6101

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1393_Lila_Wantland-COMM_8_43-051622.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I've said it before, and I will say it again - I really enjoy interviewing FFA student entrepreneurs because they are not encumbered by fear and other responsibilities that frequently stop adults like myself from exploring business ideas.  With this fear being absent, these students go try ideas, and in many cases they discover businesses that work and are replicable by adults.  In this way, these high school students are actually the leaders for adults, if adults are willing to look at what they have done and follow the example.

My guest today, Ethan Kneisler, is a perfect example of this.  Ethan is just finishing up his junior year of high school and lives in a farming community in Kansas.  He and his father came up with the idea of him starting a bale wrapping business in their area because they saw problems that they could solve on their own farm with this practice and then saw that others in their community had the same problems.  Namely, the need to produce more forage on a small acreage that would allow for the feeding of all the farm's livestock.  This led them to experimenting with different forage crops and balage, and it has worked out very well.

Ethan is just going into his second season of operating "Jimmy's Custom Wrapping".  Through this business he is convincing people in his area of the ability to raise different forage crops and to have them wrapped.  There are a lot of positives to this method, and Ethan is making it pay for his customers.

In listening to the arguments that Ethan has to overcome when convincing farmers to give this a try, I can hear a lot of reasons that an adult, with more to lose than Ethan, might dismiss this business and not start.  However, if an adult is willing to look at the example being set by a high school student like Ethan and trust what they are seeing, they can identify a very viable business idea for the region in which they live!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Custom Bale Wrapping

HIGH SCHOOL: Lyndon High School; Lyndon, Kansas

MASCOT: Tigers

FFA ADVISOR: Tim Kilgore

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR ETHAN KNEISLER:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Lyndon High School website:

Ethan's FFA Advisor's Email Address: kilgoret@usd421.org 

Lyndon High School Telephone Number: 785-828-4413

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1391_Ethan_Kneisler-COMM_1312-051422.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Tomorrow on the show I am featuring an entrepreneur who is helping to teach children about agriculture.  This reminded me of the great interview I did with Katie Benson about her efforts to do the same, and I wanted to bring that episode back for you today.  Below are the original show notes for this episode.

SHOW NOTES

Introducing Katie Benson! 

Katie has a different supervised agricultural experience than we normally profile.  However, I had to have her on.  She is doing a lot to advocate for agricuture.

Katie's SAE is "ag education."  She is teaching all the third graders in her school district about agriculture.  She has done a number of things including dispelling myths about agriculture and making products, such as butter.

Katie has had multiple students tell her that they want to join both 4H and FFA after they are done with one of her lessons.  She plans on continuing her education after high school and becoming an agricultural education teacher and FFA advisors.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Agricultural Education

HIGH SCHOOL: Staples Motley High School; Staples, Minnesota

MASCOT: Cardinals

FFA ADVISOR: Kerry Lindgren & Brian Schornack

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR KATIE BENSON:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Staples Motley High School Website:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.44.15 AM

Katie's FFA Advisor's Email Address:  klindgren@isd2170.k12.mn.us

Staples Motley High School Telephone Number:  218-894-5400

 

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1388-Replay_Of_138-COMM_4_17-041022.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I first discovered Sam Martin through an article that mentioned he and his families anhydrous ammonia business, Martin Custom Anhydrous, and that is what led me to invite him to be a guest on the show.  However, I wound up getting a lot more than I bargained for with this guest.

Sam is a former chapter president, former Iowa State Vice-President and current Iowa State President.  He just obtained that lofty title in April of this year.  In addition to that, he is operating multiple supervised agricultural experiences including a cattle business, a sweet corn business and of course the family business of custom applying anhydrous ammonia all over Southwest Iowa.

Sam and his family are the epitome of the farm families that I strive to profile on this show.  They are on farm ground that goes multiple generations deep, and they are always looking for a way to continue the legacy.  This is what led to them starting Martin Custom Anhydrous.  They took equipment that they already had and used it to serve farmers in their area, filling a need that existed.  They took the fact that their farm was smaller than others and turned that into a competitive advantage.  When many farmers were burnt out from being in the tractor more than them during they year, from farming more acres, they could step in and inject anhydrous ammonia for the farmers who didn't want to see the inside of a tractor again until spring.  It worked out great, and their business has really taken off.

At the same time, the business is providing a way for Sam and his siblings to generate additional revenue to support the family farming operation and it creates an opportunity for each of them to return to the farm.  At the same time, Sam's mother, Sarah, is teaching agriculture at Shenandoah Community High School and brining in off-farm income in that manner.

It is a very interesting story.  So much so that the length of my interview with Sam is about twice as long as a normal FFA interview.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Beef Production, Custom Fertilizer Application, Sweet Corn Sales

HIGH SCHOOL: Shenandoah Community High School; Shenandoah, Iowa

MASCOT: Mustangs

FFA ADVISOR: Sarah Martin

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR SAM MARTIN:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Shenandoah Community High School website:

Sam's FFA Advisor's Email Address: martinsf@shenandoah.k12.ia.us 

Shenandoah Community High School Telephone Number: 712-246-1581

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1387_Sam_Martin_COMM-15_49-051422.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

In the world of entrepreneurship people love to throw the term, "passion" around as if that is all you need to make it.  I certainly is not the only thing you need, but it definitely helps.  Today's guest has exactly that, and it comes shining through when you speak to her.

Grace Brown is fresh off of finding out that she is a state proficiency winner in diversified livestock production in Illinois.  She is already filling out an application to compete at the national level.  Speaking with her for just a couple of moments, and there is no question how she achieved this accomplishment.

Grace is raising cattle with her brothers in a business they named, "B4 Shorthorns".  In addition to raising cattle, she raises broilers during the summer, market goats and show goats for sale.  And, she describes all the different aspects of her businesses as "fun".  That is how I know it is her passion.  For example, Grace talked about what went on during Covid in the chicken business, and how she and her family had more customers than ever before.  She thought this was a blast!

If that were not enough, Grace has an after school job milking cattle on a nearby dairy.  Currently she milks over 130 head each evening after school and on the weekends when needed.  She is is heading off to college next fall to start studying animal science with the hopes of becoming a veterinarian.  Grace is definitely a student to keep our eyes on!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Diversified Livestock Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Flanagan - Cornell High School; Flanagan, Illinois

MASCOT: Falcons

FFA ADVISOR: Jessica Collins

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR GRACE BROWN:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Flanagan - Cornell High School Ag. Department's website:

Grace's FFA Advisor's Email Address: jcollins@fc74.org

Flanagan - Cornell High School's Telephone Number: 815/796-2291

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1385_Grace_Brown-COMM_10_32-050722.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

"The FFA and agriculture is a very welcoming culture.  You just have to put yourself out there, and you will be accepted".  These are the words of the very wise FFA student who is today's featured guest, Kendall Lawson.

Kendall is a senior who will be graduating within about a month of this episode's release.  She loves to watch plants grow the same way that I like to watch cattle graze.  And, this inner voice has led her in the direction of a successful supervised agricultural experience and business called "Kendall's Creations".

Kendall originally began this project by growing succulents, but she moved on to "air plants" in terrariums.  At a church bazaar she found that people were interested in purchasing them and supporting what she was doing.  Soon, she was selling them to family and friends and eventually this led her to selling them to perfect strangers and using social media for marketing.  This final transition is one that is indicative of a real business with real value.

In today's interview Kendall offers some real pearls of wisdom including following her inner voice, pivoting her business model and how she is choosing a career that matches the lifestyle that she wants to live, irregardless of how much money she makes.  Kendall is a definite role model, and it is my pleasure to be able to capture the wisdom that she has to share.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Kendall's Creations

HIGH SCHOOL: Yelm High School; Yelm, Washington

MASCOT: Tornado's

FFA ADVISOR: Austin Baker

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR KENDALL LAWSON:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Yelm High School website:

Kendall's FFA Advisor's Email Address: austin_baker@ycs.wednet.edu

Yelm High School Telephone Number: 360.458.7777

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1381_Kendall_Lawson-COMM-15_38-042822.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today's guest, Remi Gardner, is the second student from the Paris FFA Chapter that I have interviewed in as many days.  I find myself just as impressed today as I was with my first interview of a Paris FFA student, both working in the world of cattle production.  Obviously, I am going to have to get myself to Henry County sooner, rather than later to see what is going on in the beef industry down there!

Remi is just finishing up her freshman year, and she is accomplishing a ton already.  She has already been named a regional proficiency winner for her supervised agricultural experience and has ever intention to continuing to compete for proficiencies.  She has a very unique experience of not coming from a farming family, but finding placement as an employee on a farm.  In this way she really is a great example of how FFA students from in town can still find the livestock or crop experience that they want.

Remi named her own episode today.  As a matter of fact, she had a couple of lines at the very end of the show that I had to write down and preserve.  I like to ask students what they would tell somebody about agriculture if they had just two minutes to pass along some information.  Without hesitation, Remi fired way with "Agriculture is not boring!".  I thought that was great and should be the title of her episode.  However, she continued explaining and really uncovered a nugget of wisdom by saying "you just have to put in the work and agriculture will provide an opportunity for you".

Especially with that second quote, I thought Remi provided wisdom well beyond her years.  I am looking forward to following her FFA journey and seeing where she takes this!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE:  Beef Production

HIGH SCHOOL: E.W. Grove High School; Paris, Tennessee

MASCOT: Patriots

FFA ADVISOR: Laura Moss

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR REMI GARDNER:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the E.W. Grove High School website:

Remi's FFA Advisor's Email Address: mossl@henryk12.net

E.W. High School Telephone Number: (731) 642-9733

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1379_Remi_Gardner-COMM-6_12-042622.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today's guest is a self-professed "showmanship freak".  Showing livestock in jackpot shows and fairs is Pacee Miller's "thing".  She talks about getting everything perfect and striving to be the best in the ring, and this has come true for her on more than one occasion.

Pacee is a young lady who has a passion for agriculture, and more specifically, cattle.  As soon as she finishes up school for the day she heads to a local dairy farm where she feeds bottle calves every evening as an after school job.  When she finishes up there, she heads to one of two locations of her families farm to help her father with their herd of beef cattle.  Currently they are breeding cattle through artificial insemination.  They run several different lines of show cattle, and Pacee helps to synchronize all of their estrus cycles so they can all be bred simultaneously.  She is hoping to earn her AI certification through the FFA next year.

Once the work is done at that location, Pacee heads home where she keeps the livestock that she will be showing during the current or upcoming show season.  She has a few head of cattle there that she has chosen to take into the ring.  She also keeps two goats and two pigs that she will also show.

Hearing about all of her experience with cattle, you might think that beef is where it all started for Pacee.  However, in the interview she tells us that she actually began her showing career with one pig.  It has all built from that first animal.  Pacee is currently ranked in the top four proficiencies for beef entrepreneurship in the State of Ohio.  She will find out on May 5th, if she wins state!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Beef Production

HIGH SCHOOL: West Holmes High School; Millersburg, Ohio

MASCOT: Knights

FFA ADVISOR: Jaime Chenevey

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR PACEE MILLER:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the West Holmes High School website:

Pacee's FFA Advisor's Email Address: jchenevey@westholmes.org

West Holmes High School Telephone Number: (330) 674-6085

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1375_Pacee_Miller-COMM_12_41-042322.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I don't make too many predictions on this show, but every now and then I interview an FFA student and can see that all the ingredients for great success are present.  Today's interview with Caden Delaney is one of those moments.

I first found out about Caden through an article stating that he had won a regional proficiency award in forage production.  This interested me, as I have seen a lot of great entrepreneurship SAE's start this way and lead to a custom haying business, etc.  I reached out to Caden's FFA advisor and requested an interview.  They accepted and then signed up, filling out the form that I send to all guests on the show.

As I was prepping for the interview I saw that Caden was just in the 9th grade!  I immediately wondered if this was a typo, as I am not used to seeing 9th graders achieve at the level of winning proficiency awards.  Caden's grade in school was one of the first things that I confirmed with him prior to beginning the interview.  As we started talking about his project and agricultural background, it became apparent that Caden was sophisticated well beyond his grade level.

As he explained the selection of the Shorthorn breed of cattle that he raises with his sister it all became clear.  Caden told me that phenotypically the Shorthorn cows that he has look sound for breeding, but he uses an Angus bull with a low birth weight EPD on the first calf heifers because the Shorthorns that he has don't rank as well as he would like in calving ease.  My mind was blown!  This was information that I did not learn until well into college, and the sophistication of knowledge that Caden had just kept pouring forth.

I asked Caden how he had learned all of this already, and it was apparent that he has such a love for cattle and agriculture that he is consuming as much information as he possibly can.  This, in combination with being able to go out to his own cattle and apply the book knowledge that he had been reading about, really has him functioning at a very high level as a 9th grader, when you would just be expecting him to just be getting his feet wet.

It is still very early in Caden's FFA career, and he will choose the path that is correct for him.  However, I believe that if he continues to demonstrate this kind of passion for his SAE's, and he continues to compete for proficiency awards that he has an excellent chance of being an American Star Finalist and even the American Star Farmer in five or six years!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Forage Production

HIGH SCHOOL: E.W. Grove High School; Paris, Tennessee

MASCOT: Patriots

FFA ADVISOR: Laura Moss

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR CADEN DELANEY:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the E.W. Grove High School website:

Caden's FFA Advisor's Email Address: mossl@henryk12.net

E.W. High School Telephone Number: (731) 642-9733

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1373_Caden_Delaney-COMM_14_04-042122.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

For the first time ever, completely by accident, I am releasing an interview on the guests actual birthday!  Happy 18th Birthday to Gracie Wagner!

Now that we have got that out of the way, let's talk horses, agriculture and FFA.  Gracie has grown up in what could accurately be called a "horse family" in the Central Illinois area.  She has been around and on horses for her whole life, and that has led her in many, positive directions.

When Gracie was starting high school, this led her right into the FFA.  Her older sister had been part of the FFA, and Gracie knew she could find her people in the FFA as well.  However, it was not something that she was sure would work out at first, it was just something that she was "trying out".  She existed in her chapter for her entire 9th grade year, using a borrowed blue jacket.  However, she got involved in some leadership development activities, namely Conduct Of Chapter Meetings, and the intensity and team atmosphere hooked her.  By the time she hit her 10th Grad year she was fired up.

Gracie has served on her chapter's officer team for all four years, but it was her 11th grade year when she became her chapter's reporter in which that really clicked.  She loved taking the photos, writing the media releases and communicating on behalf of her chapter so much, that when she ran for an officer position for her 12th grade year, the only one that she applied for was reporter.  Gracie found herself being named one of the top 10 FFA chapter reporters in the State Of Illinois in 2021, and she is hoping to repeat that this year!

Gracie knows where she is headed after graduation.  She is off to Central Arizona College in Coolidge, Arizona where she will be competing in college rodeo.  She hopes to compete for all four years and then, who knows!

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Equine Entrepreneurship

HIGH SCHOOL: Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School; Paxton, Illinois

MASCOT: Panthers

FFA ADVISOR: Mike White

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR GRACIE WAGNER:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School website:

Gracie's FFA Advisor's Email Address: mwhite@pblpanthers.org

Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School Telephone Number: 217-379-4331

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1369_Gracie_Wagner-COMM_9_38-042022.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

If you are going to have calves in January, in Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula, you had better have to barn space.  But, what if you have twins!  Well, that is what happened to today's guest, Mitchell Foote, this winter.

Mitchell is a sophomore at Ubly High School and in his fourth year of the FFA.  Each year he shows cattle and pigs at the county fair as part of his supervised agricultural experience.  His older brother is also in his chapter, as the chapter's president.  Some time back, they decided that they would like to show their own cattle that were born on their farm.  So, they adjusted their calving season to start in January, so they would have calves that were old enough to be weaned prior to their fair in August and that would make weight for the "prospect" class of cattle that can be show there.

These are great goals, but they also come with their own challenges as winters in Michigan can be brutal.  For this reason, the cows that are calving are kept in the barn and then the calves are kept out of the weather indoors with their mothers for a month or more.  However, as Mitchell and his brother grow the herd, space inside the barn comes at a premium, and this year they had a set of twins!  They are making the best of it though, trying to get some of the mud in the farm yard scraped up so that they can get some of the cows with older calves out of the barn!

Mitchell is active.  In addition to his new officer responsibility as the "student advisor" in his chapter, he is playing two sports: football and basketball.  His school is having a lot of success in both sports, and he is having a great time playing varsity already!  If that were not enough, Mitchell has already earned three proficiency awards at the state level: one gold and two silver.

SUPERVISED AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Diversified Livestock Production

HIGH SCHOOL: Ubly High School; Ubly, Michigan

MASCOT: Bearcats

FFA ADVISOR: Melissa Kramer

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MITCHELL FOOTE:

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Ubly High School website:

Mitchell's FFA Advisor's Email Address: mkramer@ublyschools.org

Ubly High School Telephone Number: 989-658-8202

FFA LINKS:

National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

Donate to FFA - One way that FFA students are able to start small businesses is through an FFA grant of $1,000.  In 2014, 141 FFA students received these grants.  With your donations, more students can get this head start - pay it forward.

REASONS TO DONATE TO FFA:

  • Only 2% of Americans grow and raise most of the food and livestock consumed by the other 98% as well as the rest of the world.  FFA is providing the needed education, training and resources to Americans that will carry that torch forward and insure that America continues to have inexpensive, quality food.
  • Rural Communities will rely on entrepreneurship in the future for population growth and job creation.  The FFA is a major catalyst to that entrepreneurial growth.
  • Farmers, ranchers and those working in agriculture give the rest of America incredible amounts of freedom because the search for food is as simple as going to the grocery store:

“The future of American agriculture depends on the involvement and investment in America’s youth, In order to prepare for the population of tomorrow, we need to encourage America’s youth today, and show that careers in agriculture are profitable, rewarding, and vital.”.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1367_Mitchell_Foote-COMM_9_27-041622.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

It's always fun to showcase FFA students that have done amazing things and have been able to take talents and passions and turn them into viable SAE's. Today's guest did just that. This is a replay of an interview I did with a very special welding artist. Learn more about Maci Krites and her "weld art" on this episode.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1364-Replay_of_Episode_236_COMM_6_31-033122_2.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

This summer, my family and I will grow a large patch of sweet corn.  This is something that we have done several times over the years.  And, if you were to ask me when we would be getting started, I would tell you that it would be sometime in May.  And by my answer, it shows how I view getting started, and in a lot of ways, what type of farmer I am....or at least where I have room for improvement.

This dawned on me in my interview with Lydia Whaley today.  Without even learning about Lydia's supervised agricultural experience you can already see that she is an all-star.  She has responsibilities on her families cattle ranch in Missouri and is very active there, and she has already served as her chapter's vice-president and is just beginning a term as her area's president.  By the time I got to learn about her SAE, I already knew she was exceptional.

However, when I asked Lydia about growing 4-5 acres of pumpkins each year I really got a glimpse into the way that she thinks and an indication of why she is seeing such success.  Lydia doesn't plant her pumpkins until June, but when she tells you about her project she states that she gets started in January or February, which is obviously the middle of winter.

Lydia's project begins with the selection of seed and pumpkin varieties that she will be growing during the next season.  She looks at her project much more holistically than I do my corn patch.  Lydia realizes that her customers are voting for their favorite pumpkin varieties each and every time they select one from her honor system, road side stand.  So, starting in January, she assesses which were the most popular varieties of pumpkins she sold the previous fall and begins making decisions about what she will be planting in June.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1363_Lydia_Whaley-COMM_12_10-040922.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

As you all know I am a fan of the lawn care and landscaping business.  I have seen students in high school do some amazing things with this particular business, working it all the way up to a six figure annual income while still in high school!  In my own experience, I know a full-time farmer who as able to become this by starting a landscaping business during college, building it up and then selling it and using the proceeds to purchase his farm.

It might seem like that those are all the positives of this business, but wait....there is more.  This "future millionaire maker" business can be started with no money!  I have interviewed several students, including today's guest, Jack Frank, who have started their lawn care business using the equipment that their customers own.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1361_Jack_Frank-COMM_8_35-040722.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Our guest today had a couple things to say during the interview that really resonated with me. To begin, Riley Widboom, was starting over when he entered his freshman year at Worthington High School.  He had gone from Kindergarten to 8th Grade in a small, private school, so his friends at Worthington were limited at best.  However, he knew that the FFA would fix all of that.  Plus, Riley had been interested in and involved in agriculture his whole life from growing up on a farm and participating in the 4H.

Later in the interview Riley told me that if he could tell a non-agricultural person just one thing about ag, it would be that agriculture is is for everyone.  There is a place for every person in the world of ag.  This really struck me as well because, well, because it is true, and because this is the way that Riley lives his life.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1357_Riley_Widboom_COMM-15_39-032622.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I am definitely the type of person who is interested in my family history and feels some sense of obligation to honor that legacy.  So, I am always fascinated when I get to interview somebody with a deep family legacy who is honoring it in the same way.  For our guest today, Kate Rogers, that is a theme that repeats itself throughout the interview.

One of Kate's strongest influences in her love agriculture is her great grandmother, who was raised during the Great Depression, and found many ways to produce good to help generate income during that time.  One of the talents that she had, that Kate also has, is in creating artistic items that have value to other people.  This is something that Kate has carried forward, with many of the supplies that belonged to her great grandmother, in her business, Kate Rogers Art.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1355_Kate_Rogers-COMM_10_00-032622.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

FFA students are some of the busiest people I have ever encountered, but today's guest may take the record.  Look at this list of activities:

  • Marching Band
  • Weight Lifting
  • Podcasting
  • Farm Broadcasting
  • Making & Selling Cotton Candy
  • Playing Guitar
  • Playing Bass
  • Playing Wizardry Card Games
  • School Theater

And, I am sure if I had longer to interview Jesse Cech the list would just keep growing and growing.  This young man is not only involved in a myriad of activities, but he knows a lot about each one.  I found out right before our interview that he had his own podcast, and then during the interview I found out that he took 2nd in a farm broadcasting LDE in South Dakota in 2020.  It was the FFA that introduced him to broadcasting, and now he has future plans to pursue a career in broadcasting or voice acting.  I love profiling stories like this!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1351_Jesse_Cech-COMM_10_51.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

There are so many good things that come out of the FFA, they are hard to count and definitely too numerous to list in one podcast post.  So, in today's post I will focus on the SAE grants that are available to students.  I judged applications for these grants for a number of years, and I can tell you that there is a lot of talent out there.  I can also tell you that there are a lot of students not attempting to receive this free money.  This is precisely why I admire the students that do pursue these grants so much.  It demonstrates that they and their FFA advisors are very forward thinking.

Charleigh Dugger is one of these forward thinking students.  She is just finishing up her sophomore year of high school, but she has already applied for and received a $1,000 SAE grant provided by AmerisourceBergen.  Charleigh is using this money to expand her goat herd, built winter shelter for them and start a cattle herd of Scottish Highlander cows for herself.  She is hoping that this will propel her towards her dream of working with animals as a career.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1349-Charleigh_Dugger-COMM_3_35-031822.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST

My attention was first drawn to Alex Kellersmith when I read an article about him making maple syrup for his supervised agricultural experience in the FFA.  I am always fascinated with this particular SAE because naturally growing trees provide one of the most delicious products on the market.  And, I live in Idaho where this is impossible and you pay a premium for Maple Syrup in a bottle!

As it turns out, Alex has several supervised agricultural experiences.  He likes to grow things that he can either sell directly from harvest or add value to and then sell.  And they all have a common thread....there is the slow pace of the growing season for each of them, and then suddenly, there is a lot of work to be done all at once.  Take these projects for example:

  • Maple Syrup - sap drips into buckets during the winter and is saved up, and then suddenly there is two straight weeks of boiling down sap and bottling syrup
  • Sweet Corn - during the heat of summer the corn grows and grows, and then suddenly there is two straight weeks of picking, hauling, marketing and selling
  • Berries - they grow all summer long and then suddenly they are ripe and the time is now!
  • Lavender & Flowers - okay, on this one Alex can work out a little bit more even of a pace, but of course once the flowers are blooming he can constantly be harvesting, arranging and selling

Alex has some very good advice for incoming FFA students in this interview as to why they should really invest into multiple SAE's.  Tune in and hear what he has to say!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1345_Alex_Kellersmith-COMM_16_39-031822.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MST