Off-Farm Income (FFA )

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

"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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

I am a big fan of proactive people, people who go out and make life happen for them rather than letting life happen to them.  Our guest today, Ellas Gaes, is definitely one of those people.  Ella is a member of the Pierce High School FFA Chapter in Pierce, Nebraska.  She lives out of town with her family, and they keep horses on their property.

Even though the horse was the main form of transportation throughout Europe and Asia well before North America was ever discovered, the American West has captured the horse as its symbol, almost as if horse riding originated here.  Ella embraces this culture, roping whenever and wherever she can and helping her family members in Colorado every May with their cattle branding.

Ella also embraced this with her supervised agricultural experience through the FFA.  She has been making jewelry as a hobby for quite some time, and the way that things work in her FFA chapter, she was compelled to get serious about her SAE this year.  Once she really thought about what she was going to do, it became apparent to her that making and selling jewelry that celebrated the Western way of life and the West's ties to agriculture was the right fit for her.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1343_Ella_Gaes-COMM_6_13-022722.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

There is a lot of fruit to pick (pun intended) from today's interview with Jada Rubalcava, and I picked the one that stood out the most to me for the title of this episode.

Jada has a unique set of experiences compared to the other students at Gothenburg High School and in her FFA chapter.  When she was in elementary school her father joined the military while pursuing a career as an anesthesiologist.  This caused Jada and her family to move from her childhood home of Phoenix, Arizona to several other cities and ultimately the small town of Gothenburg.  So, Jada has seen big city life, and she has seen small town life.

Jada is of the opinion that she has many more opportunities being in a small town and small school, which is not the way a lot of people look at this comparison.  However, whichever extra-curricular activity that she wants to participate in she has been able to.  This has to do with the size of her school and the fact that there are not so many students going out for a particular activity that people have to be cut.  Jada used golf as an example. She joined the golf team her freshman year, and when she joined she had never held a club before.  She correctly states that if she were still in Phoenix, she could never make the team under these circumstances and would have missed this particular opportunity.

Another opportunity that Jada has taken full advantage of is the sense of community in her small town and the way that the town respects and supports the FFA.  Based on an idea of some of her friends that she knew when living in Ohio, when it came time for her to being her supervised agricultural experience she decided to make and sell caramel apples.  When people caught wind of what she was doing, word spread like wildfire.  Soon, she was very busy and was even shipping her caramel apples to people.

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1339_Jada_Rubalcava-COMM_10_37-030222.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is currently serving as the State FFA Reporter in Illinois.  Lauren Mohr grew up in Illinois with a strong legacy of farming and the FFA in her family.  In addition to watching her older brothers in their projects, she was working at home with the families sheep flock as well as their business of lambing out ewes for other owners.  Over time she developed a love for the animal livestock industry, and it led her to leadership in the FFA.

Lauren just graduated from Normal West High School last spring.  She is currently taking a gap year to serve as the state reporter and plans on attending Illinois Central College to study animal science and agricultural business next fall.  She has her eye on embryo transfers and reproduction in livestock as a career and has already identified a business that she would like to conduct an internship with.

Lauren is involved in and developing a few different ag businesses currently.  In the summer she shows dairy cattle for her grandparents, and the rest of the time she is developing her herd of cattle and maintaining her flock of sheep.  Lauren has traveled as far away as Massachusetts to market wool and learn more about the wool and sheep industry.  It is no wonder that she has been a state proficiency winner in both sheep production and diversified livestock.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1337-Lauren_Mohr-COMM_11_04-022622.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is a replay that I think you will enjoy very much. It is the story of a remarkable young man who was injured and worked hard to not only come back fully healed but better than ever. He is giving back to the industry he was injured in as a volunteer fire fighter  all while serving as a missionary and running a custom haying operation with his brother. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1334_Recap_of_Episode_669-COMM_20_33_2.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's interview teaches us a lot of different lessons about entrepreneurship, and our guest is just 15 years old. Trever Montgomery has grown up loving to fish.  Years ago, he had the thought that he might one day make his own "soft plastic" fishing baits.  Like so many ideas, it came into his head, never left but got put on a back shelf somewhere waiting to be pulled off at some point in the future.

In 2020 Trever started high school, and with that he also started the FFA.  His advisor let him know that he would need to have a supervised agricultural experience and explained what the options were.  It was in that instance that he knew the time had come, and he was going to start making his own baits as an entrepreneurship SAE.

Trever started researching right away, and with in a couple of months he was creating his very own prototypes.  He first began by purchasing a bait making kit from one company and learning the process.  Soon, he knew how to make them, but he was noticing flaws.  So, he purchased a kit from another company.  He had the same experience again, seeing room for improvement in the baits that he produced with their recipe.  It was at this point that Trever started taking the aspects of one companies baits that he liked and combining it with the aspects of another's that he liked in order to make a bait that was superior to both of the originals.  TM Baits was born.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1333-Trever_Montgomery-COMM_6_58-022622.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is just finishing up his sophomore year of high school, but the progress he has made in building his cow herd since beginning it during his freshman year is phenomenal.  Stetson Shook is from a family with a deep farming background in Oklahoma and Kansas, going back to the Oklahoma Land Rush.  His grandparents still farm the family ground in Oklahoma about 45 minutes away from the farm that Stetson and his parents live on.

Stetson has always had a passion for farming and agriculture, and this led him to know that he would one day be an FFA member.  Then, at the end of his 8th grade year of school he was asked if he would be interested in becoming a Green Hand Officer, and he volunteered.  This really piqued his interest in the FFA, and early in his freshman year of high school his FFA advisors saw something in him and encouraged him to take up a cattle business for his supervised agricultural experience.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1331_Stetson_Shook-_COMM6_17-021022_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

There is no question that if you make delicious cookies and cupcakes that you have the ingredients for a business.  Who can deny treats like that?  However, how does anyone ever find out that you have the ability to make these items and sell them?  Social media is one really capable platform to make this happen.

This is exactly what took place in the formation of Madi Springer's business, Madi's Cookies & Cupcakes.  Madi has been baking for years, and right around the beginning of her freshman year of high school she made some decorative cookies for her mom, and her mom promptly bragged about them on her Facebook page.  this led to another mom in their small community of Franklin, Illinois to contact Madi and see if she could bake four dozen pumpkin themed cookies for the high school cross country team.

Madi agreed and made the cookies.  Her first ever customer was very pleased and bragged about her on social media, and the orders started rolling in.  Today, just 1.5 years later, Madi is fulfilling 3-4 orders per week and turning away customers.  She is planning on becoming more efficient, improving her equipment and expanding her business to cakes as well as cookies and cupcakes.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1327_Madi_Springer-COMM_6_28-021922.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is my final interview of a long list of very impressive national proficiency finalists and winners.  I couldn't think of a better or more inspirational interview to wrap this up with.  To begin, Ty Williams is a national proficiency winner in the category of "small animal care and production".  He has grown up on and lives on his families cattle ranch in Dawson, Texas, but he also has a passion for raising rabbits and what he believes they can do for the world.  He has a big vision, and it is no wonder why he was named as a national winner.

Ty is now a freshman at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, and he is studying to be an agriculture teacher.  I am excited for every student that he is going to mentor in his career because when you get him started talking about his passions in agriculture it is contagious!

Ty believes that rabbits could be one of the solutions to world hunger.  They are small, easy to raise, reproduce quickly and are an excellent source of high quality protein.  On a very small footprint, just like raising chickens, a person can raise rabbits and feed themselves, their family and quite possibly friends and neighbors. Ty travels all over the State of Texas showing rabbits and spreading this message.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1325_Ty_Williams-COMM_10_32-021322.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today I bring to you a replay of an interview I did with an FFA member who is working hard to keep his 100-year family farm operating. They specialize in vegetable roadside stands. This is a fun interview you don't want to miss!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1322_Recap_Of_Episode_229-COMM_5_25-02142.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I can remember taking genetics in my senior year of college with my friends Tyler and Becky.  I had changed the emphasis on my animal science major a couple of times, and genetics was the last, really difficult class I was going to have to take in order to graduate.  All semester long I paid close attention to the lecture, took tons of notes and studied nightly to try and keep up.  Meanwhile, my friend Becky didn't take notes, sat there listening with a smile on her face and aced the class while I squeaked by with a C- and a 29% in the class.  Thank goodness for the curve!

My interview today features a National Proficiency Finalist from 2021.  Zach Schoelerman has grown up on my families ranch in Northern Iowa, and he has been working with cattle and sheep his entire life.  All of his family were in the FFA, and his father is a veterinarian.  As such, Zach has become very involved in the management of his own flock of Southdown Sheep, including artificially inseminating them.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1321_Zach_Schoelerman-COMM_BREAK_8_02-012722.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

nly in the FFA will you find students who will go out and purchase themselves a bulldozer or a track hoe rather than a pickup when they turn sixteen.  It is part of what I love about interviewing these students.  These young men and women are so forward thinking and responsible that it makes me look back on my time in high school and blush with embarrassment.

This is exactly the story of Kale Campbell, who now runs his own business, Campbell Excavation, and was a National Proficiency Finalist in 2021.  He made that decision.  Actually, he purchased the track hoe instead of the pickup, and about three months later he purchased the bulldozer. Then he started his own excavation business under the umbrella of his father's business because he was still sixteen years old.  As soon as he turned eighteen and could qualify for the insurance needed to bid government excavation jobs, he went out on his own.  There is no wonder that the judges who heard his story pushed him right up to the level of national finalist!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1319_Clae_Campbell-COMM_BREAK_6_43-012722.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today, Chris Dible, was a National Proficiency Finalist in 2021, and it is not hard to figure out why.  He understands all the inner workings of his families farm and has a passion for what he does there.  As he was telling me his story, there was an irony that really made me chuckle.  Chris was not allowed to drive tractor on his own until he about 13 years old.  His dad and uncles restrained him from that until they were certain that he was ready as they needed to protect the large, capital investments they had in their equipment.

About one year after Chris was finally allowed to start driving some of the smaller tractors on his own, his dad and uncles purchased a brand new tractor for around $200K, and it came with a ton of technology including full auto-steer and GPS.  Even after 8 hours with the dealership representative instructing them on how to use the technology they didn't get it.  Once he left, Chris climbed into the tractor and the owners manuals and started figuring out how to operate their very most expensive piece of equipment.  It wasn't long until the kid that was only recently allowed to operate the smaller tractors became the only one on the farm that could operate the newest tractor!  I found that comically ironic!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1315_Chris_Dible-REVISED-COMM_BREAK13_19-012522.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 11:15am MDT

Kylie was a National Proficiency Finalist in 2021 in the category of Fiber &amp; Oil Crop Production.  There is no question why the judges thought she belonged in that top four after hearing her story.  Kylie has been riding around with her parents in the cab of tractors and combines since she was very little.  As she grew up she started getting responsibilities of her own like routine maintenance on equipment, sweeping up, etc.  This progressed to helping with planting, doing some field work and driving some equipment.

Kylie always had her eye on one goal though - driving the combine.  She has known this is where she belonged since she was that little kid riding in the cab with her parents.  As it turned out, when she was coming of age her parents purchased a second combine and needed a driver.  Her older brother was living and working in Oklahoma, so he was out.  That left Kylie's older sister, who had been pulling the grain cart for several years.  However, she enjoyed that particular tractor and that job, so she ceded the role of combine driver to Kylie, and she found her self in the cab by herself for the first time ever.

Today, Kylie is studying agricultural education and agronomy at Kansas State University.  She is still determining what her future career will be.  However, when you talk with her the love of farming comes shining through, and there is no doubt what the judges saw that led her to being a finalist.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1313-Kylie_March-COMM_BREAK_8_28_TO_8_30-012122.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

National Proficiency Winner, Tad Nelson.  Tad's story began in the 6th grade, but it has a twist.  He started his lawn and landscape business with his best friend, and they stayed friends and business partners throughout the entire run of the business until they recently sold it.  And, they are not related but had the same last name.  So, it was easy to name the business, "Nelson Mow & Trim".

Tad and his buddy Brigham got really serious about this business in the 8th Grade, after they had had two years of experience under their belt.  They took out a loan, purchased a used but very high quality Walker Mower and started marketing their business more aggressively.  Soon, they were hiring employees, doing jobs in nearby cities that were much bigger than their hometown and really learning about business.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1309_Tad_Nelson-COMM_BREAK_11_50_TO_11_52-011922.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Porter Hanson has grown up on a 50 acre hay farm in Rigby, Idaho.  He describes the farm as a hobby of his father's, but as we all know, these types of hobbies can take a lot of your time.  Porter's dad works at the Idaho National Laboratory.  That is a nuclear research facility located about 60 miles from their farm.  The lab has always been located way out in the Idaho desert because of the work they do.  This way, they are far from population centers, which serves a couple of purposes for the research. However, the employees don't want to live way out there, so they ride a bus to work every day and endure the long commute so their families can live in more populated communities.

During Porter's sophomore year of high school he saw the toll that the long days of work and commuting, followed by moving sprinkler pipe on the farm were taking on his dad.  So, he came up with a plan.  Porter offered to take over and run the farm so that his dad didn't have to go to work when he got home from work.  They came up with a 50/50 crop share agreement, and Porter got busy.  He took charge of every aspect from irrigation to swathing to fertilizing to marketing to delivery.  And, he grew their sales.

Today, getting all their hay sold is never a problem, and Porter has learned a ton.  It is no wonder that he made that final stage at the National Convention in 2021!


Today's episode features a unique story of a previous show I did featuring an FFA member who not only immigrated to the United States, but had a family that saw his natural desire to want to be involved in the agriculture industry and purchased a farm just for him. 


Our guest today is the 2021 National Proficiency Winner in Equine Entrepreneurship, and after listening to this interview it will be clear why she was selected.

Raley Downing has been riding horses since before she can remember and barrel racing since she was four years old.  Horses, cattle and agriculture have always been a part of her life. While she was in the 7th Grade, already showing great ability to train horses, her older brother had a horse he didn't like.  He gave that horse to Raley to see if she could make something of it, and she did.  She recognized that the horse did not have the cow ability that her brother was looking for, but that it could be a good horse for barrel racing.  She trained it, sold it, paid her brother back for his costs and made a profit.  A business was born.


There is no doubt that the most successful people are the most proactive people.  One way or another proactive people find a way to learn a new skill, start a new business or get connected to new people.  No matter how they exhibit their "proactivity" they all have one thing in common....they go get it and don't wait for it to come to them.  Every proactive person knows that if you wait for whatever it is to come to you, it is coming to everyone else at the same time, and that is not a way to get ahead.

Our guest today exhibits these proactive tendencies.  Casyn Larman is just a sophomore in high school, but he has already accomplished a lot.  I first noticed this when he emailed me, requesting to come on the show.  I soon found out that he is already serving as his chapter's reporter, and his coverage of chapter events and accomplishments of fellow members have resulted in him being published in multiple places, including the High Plains Journal.


My guest today loves farming.  As a matter of fact, even though he has only recently graduated from high school, he has loved farming for a long time already.  Connor Keithley grew up farming with his family in Missouri on a farm operation that began in the mid-1940's as a hog operation.  Sometimes in the 1990's they switched from hogs to row crops, and they have been expanding ever since with both purchased and leased ground.  Today, they are farming 10,000 acres, and Connor is an integral part of that.

Even with that size of an operation, something was tugging at Connor to start his own operation.  All the way back in middle school, he decided to pursue this and he invested the money he had saved by working for other farmers and leased 30 acres to start farming.  He still had money left over for inputs, and he began his own operation farming corn, wheat and soybeans.  He has continued to grow this ever since, and he even started raising some pigs as a fair project and liked it enough that he is continuing that to this day.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1297_Connor_Keithley-122621.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the past several years the issue of mental health in the agricultural community has become more and more mainstream with some of the stigma slipping away.  About the time this really started to take hold Madisen Jolliff was noticing that this existed all on her own.  At the same time she was just coming into the FFA and looking for a project for her SAE.  Ultimately she chose to speak with farmers about these issues and try to help people open up.  The results she received were very unexpected, even for Madisen.

Madisen has friends who feel an immense sense of pressure and stress because they have or will inherit land that has been in the family for generations, and they don't want to be the link in the chain where it all ends.  She also has friends that experience stress because they will not inherit land and they cannot find their pathway into farming and raising their own livestock.  She finds herself experiencing both of these as she will one day inherit part of her families farm, but that will not be for a long time.  So in the meantime she is trying to figure out how to get her own land to continue growing her herd of cattle.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1267_Madison_Jolliff-120721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Fresh off of the high of the National FFA Convention I returned home to my studio and can you believe it, my very first interview with was with Tristan Wirkus, who had just one a National Proficiency Award!

There is literally so much good going on at the National Convention that I just cannot keep up.  My interview with Tristan has been on the calendar for weeks.  What great luck for me that he won the national proficiency in Environmental Science & Natural Resources Management.  Tristan has an absolute passion for the environment and the green spaces in his hometown of Stratford, Wisconsin.  This, in combination with the fact that his mother is an FFA advisor led him into this incubator that we call the FFA.

Since that initial participation in the 6th Grade Tristan's experience has grown and grown.  This ultimately led him to coordinating with dozens of stakeholders in Stratford to get trees planted throughout the city and along their Heritage Trail, and this ultimately led to the city receiving the designation of "Tree City USA".  If this were not enough, Tristan went to work testing water quality in a local pond so that changes could be made to make the pond conducive to a healthy fish population.  Once this was done the local police department started a "Cops And Bobbers" program to teach kids how to fish there.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1265_Tristan_Wirkus.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The Mackay High School FFA Chapter holds a "Christmas Bazaar" every year, right after the Thanksgiving break to bring the small and isolated community as well as people from the surrounding communities together.  The bazaar features some food, some singing and Christmas spirit, but the real emphasis is on community support.  This year 49 different small businesses were able to attend for $10 per table and sell their wares to the community.  On average each vendor made over $1,000 at the bazaar.

At the same time that the businesses were gaining exposure, selling products and meeting community members, people from the remote area had a place to get together with friends and neighbors and do their Christmas shopping all in one location.  It is no wonder that this event has been going up and growing in success for up to 25 years now. Tune in for this fun interview on how this all comes together. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1263-Mackay_FFA-121621.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Since Christmas is almost here, I think this interview is appropriate! Learn how one FFA member is making a difference to children by purchasing them Christmas presents from money raised by the Wilcox County High School FFA Chapter of Rachelle, Georgia. Listening to this interview will surely get you into the holiday spirit. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1262-Replay_Of_Episode_737-120421.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's interview is special.  I rarely get to interview a student, or any guest for that matter, face to face.  However, I had accidentally scheduled an interview with Luke Jennings for when he would be at the National FFA Convention and I would be traveling to the convention.  So, we decided to do the interview in person in Indianapolis.  My studio for this interview happened to be the press box way above the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, so it was quite a different experience for me.

Luke came up for the interview after walking across the big stage at the convention for the third time!  He and his team had just been recognized for the performance in the parliamentary procedure competition.  However, how I had first learned of Luke was due to his nomination for a national proficiency award. Learn more in today's episode.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1261_Luke_Jennings-113021.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The unbelievable stories that I am privileged to cover on this show just never stop!  Today I am talking with National Proficiency Finalist, Miles Lee.  Miles has an incredible story on many, many levels.

To begin, Miles grew up in the city but he and his family would vacation at his Great Uncle's farm in Alabama where they raised pigs and chickens.  At an early age this inspired Miles, and a love for farming and agriculture was set in motion.  However, there was more to it than just the livestock.  Miles found himself fascinated with the soil and the life within the soil.  He used to play soccer, and at slow moments in the game he would get scolded for digging in the dirt rather than focusing on the game!  That is not what the soccer coach wanted, but this agricultural podcaster couldn't be more thrilled!

As his love for the soil grew Miles noticed how often he smelled the bad odors coming from the landfill across the road from his house.  He told me that he thought to himself, "there's got to be a better way".  This led him to discover vermiculture and vermicomposting with help of a middle school science teacher.  Miles explored composting food waste in this type of system, but soon it was time for high school.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1259_Miles_Lee-112721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

In today's show, I feature a replay of an awesome interview with one FFA member who is making a goat business work. He is expanding and finding new ways to not only grow his goat herd, but also to grow his goat herd. Check out today's replay of episode 703.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1256-Replay_of_Episode_703-120421.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

One of the great things about hosting this podcast is that I get to speak with people in every stage of development in their agricultural journeys.  Today, I am proud to speak with Shayla Russell.  Shayla is just beginning her sophomore year of high school in a beautiful part of Montana, and she is just beginning the development of her own cattle herd. Tune in for more about Shayla in this episode. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1255_Shayla_Russell-112721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Back in 2018 I interviewed a high school sophomore named Kaelyn Sumner who was just starting her first agricultural business with honey bees called "K's Bees".  At the time she told me about her interest in insects, bees and doing research beyond her entrepreneurship SAE.  Fast forward to today, and Kaelyn is a freshman in college at Kansas State University and has followed through on all of those statements that she made.

Kaelyn is majoring in Agricultural Education with minors in entomology and food science.  She has already lined up work in the food production industry for her summers, and she intends on bring knowledge about food science back to the high school ag classroom as an ag teacher in a few short years.  In addition, she has competed in several research projects and seen a lot of success since we talked in 2018, including placing in two, national science contests.

Kaelyn is a great example of good goal setting and following through on what your vision is.  She has great advice for students in this episode!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1253_Kaelyn_Sumner-112621.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today knows the meaning of a legacy, the meaning of hard work and the reward of seeing your hard work turn into revenue.  Jill Uken is a 3rd generation FFA student whose grandfather's membership inspired her and her brothers to join.  Jill also witnessed the sweet potato business that her older brother started when he was in the FFA, and she decided to carry it forward.

Today, Jill is getting a lot of attention for her project, but it has not come without hard work from everybody in her family.  Whether it was the planting of the 500 sweet potato plants, the weed control or the harvesting everyone found out what farming was like prior to the use of mechanized equipment.  That is precisely because they don't have any!  Illinois is not a place where you would expect to find sweet potato farmers, so there is no harvesting or planting equipment available to rent or borrow.  Everything Jill and her family are doing, is done by hand! Learn more about Jill in today's show. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1249-Jill_Uken-112421.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today, Avery Winters, is her FFA Chapter's President, raises pigs for her supervised agricultural experience and has been a Texas State Proficiency Finalist as well as a District Proficiency Winner in swine production - and she lives in a subdivision.  Across the nation we are seeing the enrollment in more and more high school FFA chapters coming from students who live in subdivisions.  This is due to two things - first, the outstanding success of the FFA as a program and the subsequent success of FFA students, and the fact that over time communities change and develop leading to the loss of farms and construction of homes.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1247-Avery_Winters-112321.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Sometimes when I conduct an interview I can find myself talking for hours if I am not careful.  Usually this is because there are so many different aspects of the guest's story that I could investigate the time just seems to flow by.  That was definitely possible in today's interview with National Proficiency Finalist and Minnesota State Officer, Nicole Koziolek.

I did a decent job of adhering to my normal time constraints, but there is so much to Nicole's story that it was difficult to not spend 30 minutes on each aspect.  To begin, Nicole comes from a farming family and farming legacy.  And, she grew up with her two parents who were farming corn and soybeans in Minnesota.  Nicole is an only child, so she would go to the farm with them, which is about 30 miles from their home, because she did not want to be left home alone.  However, for many of those years Nicole would just ride along and visit.  She did not necessarily show any desire to learn about the farming itself.

Nicole really was not excited about being part of the FFA, but her parents both had been very involved and wanted that to happen.  Eventually, Nicole's mom talked her into attending one, exploratory, meeting just to see what it was all about.  Something special happened in that meeting.  Nicole was hooked.  So hooked, in fact, that she went out of her way to participate.  Nicole went to high school at Northfield High School in Northfield, Minnesota.  However, they did not have an FFA chapter.  The nearest chapter as at Randolph High School about 15 miles away.  So, Nicole drove every morning to Randolph and attended two ag classes so that she could participate in the Randolph FFA Chapter.  She would then drive back to Northfield High School for the rest of her classes.

When it was time for Nicole to start a supervised agricultural experience she was considering a placement SAE, working on her families farm.  However, her dad convinced her to take a little risk and try farming for herself with an entrepreneurship SAE.  She accepted the challenge but realized that all of those years in the cab of the tractor riding along could have been used to learn everything she now needed to know.  So, she started "learning to farm" at a rapid pace.

Five years after that initial meeting at the Randolph FFA Chapter, Nicole is now nominated for a national proficiency award.  She had progressed from renting 20 acres from her parents to owning 13% of the operation.  She is majoring in agricultural communications and marketing at the University Of Minnesota.  And, she is a state officer for Minnesota FFA.  It is a remarkable journey and the FFA was an incredible catalyst for this transformation and success story!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1243_Nicole_Koziolek-112021.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 9:21am MDT

Kendra Goplin is a freshman at South Dakota State University, studying ag education.  She is also a national proficiency finalist, which is the realization of a lifelong goal.  If you are just looking at the student who now will stand on the national stage and be recognized for her accomplishments, you will miss the story of the journey that brought her here.  With no disrespect to her accomplishments, that journey is a fascinating part of this story. Listen in to get the details. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1241-Kendra_Goplin-111721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Kaylea Taylor first appeared on the show during her sophomore year of high school in episode #681.  She was just beginning her journey of putting on camps to teach 4H and FFA students better skills in exhibiting their goats.  Over time this became known as "Stepping Up Show Goat Camp" and her reputation has spread.

Today I am proud to have Kaylea back on the show as a national proficiency finalist.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1237-Kaylea_Taylor_REVISED-112021.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

As you all know I was invited to give a keynote speech at the Montana FFA Foundation's Ag Expo at Montana State University which took place two weeks ago.  After the keynote, Trent Petersen, the president of the Red Lodge FFA Chapter from Red Lodge, Montana joined me on stage for his and my first ever, live podcast recording.  It was a blast, and I am featuring it for you here today.

Trent is a very impressive young man with a dream of running his own cow/calf herd.  He is already building that herd, finding land anywhere he can in his area to put a few head of cattle, get his calves, retain his heifers and sell his steers.  He has a vision of returning to the classroom in the future as an FFA Advisor, and this is his chosen method of creating his off-farm income to support this cattle operation that he has envisioned.

Direct download: Trent_Peterson_Episode_1236_-_112221_11.52_AM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT