Off-Farm Income (farming)

Will Meadows is a multi-generational cattle rancher from Alabama and a very successful personality in agricultural social media, posting videos on TikTok, Youtube, Facebook and Instagram.  He is now generating revenue from his social media channels as well as selling bulls for his families farm through his video efforts.

On today's episode we are going to talk about how he has accomplished this in under two years, what his process is, what type of equipment he uses and how he chooses what to talk about.  This is a young man who loves to talk about the life he loves in agriculture, and he has turned that into a business using today's social media technology!

Direct download: Will_Meadows_Episode_1919_-_112723_12.04PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's re-cap episode I want to explore the idea of building your own agricultural communications business.  This is something that can literally be done from anywhere, and my previous guest did exactly that.  Tomorrow's ag business interview involves an young man who is an up and coming cattle rancher and who is making his off-farm income through posting about his farm on social media.

Developing your skills in this area as you advocate can lead to the skills that would allow you to start a communications business just like our re-cap guest, Lyndsey Murphy.

Direct download: OFI_1918_Replay_Of_792_-_12723_10.19AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 10:45am MST

One of the ways that I deal with stress in my life is by writing.  I often write things that nobody ever sees, but it helps me when I get my thoughts on out on paper so having an audience for what I have written is not important.  Last night I had an experience that really made me give thought to things I have been observing in our society that have been bothering me.  It was still on my mind this morning, and I sat down and put it into words.  I have attached the text below for you to read if you wish.  And, aside from the introduction, today's episode is my reading of this article:

I am a consumer.  I buy things that I need, and I buy things that I want.  Sometimes the two overlap and sometimes they do not.

My wife and I recently purchased a new car.  Our stage of life enabled us, for the first time, to purchase exactly what we wanted within the boundaries of our self-imposed, upper limits.  It took 50 years of life and 25 years of marriage for me to reach this point.  Our parameters for this purchase had not changed, but a lifetime of living below our means and building wealth changed the numbers that fit within those parameters.

To us, this vehicle is “fancy”, as described by my wife.  For years she and I have driven what we believed we needed but in very stripped down, utilitarian versions, that reduced the cost of the vehicles.  And, more importantly, reduced the burden on our conscience.  The first ever, brand new pickup, I purchased was in 2003.  I intended to drive it for two decades, and I made it 15 years.

The knowledge that I would drive it for so long motivated me to purchase a version that was “stripped down” of electronic amenities that would surely break and require repair before I was ready to part with the vehicle.  Even in 2003, purchasing a new vehicle with manually controlled windows, a standard transmission and rubber flooring was not possible to do on the showroom floor.  Therefore, in order to get a less expensive and less complicated version of this pickup, I had to special order it and wait for a period of months to receive it.  15 years later, I could hardly remember that waiting period.

It was only when wind started whipping into the door seals and the internal, working components of the heating system failed, that I decided to move on from this pickup.  The sag of the body, and the inability to defrost my windshield created an imminent need for serious work on the pickup.  Looking at all available options, I realized that because of the engine in this vehicle the market for it was very strong in 2018.  Therefore, I chose to purchase another “stripped” down pickup, and to sell the other to a private party.  Today, I am still driving the second, brand new pickup, and second, stripped down pickup, that I have ever purchased.

My wife’s new car is a Subaru Outback with a moon roof, heated seats and the enticing “Wilderness Package” that includes a turbo engine, 9 inch lift and off-road capable “X-Mode”.  She would have been just as happy without the “Wilderness Package”.  Even though, this is the first time we have ever been able to purchase “exactly what we want”, I was still thinking long term.  My goal is to purchase her another vehicle in approximately 10 years, but keep this car for myself and my adventures on the rough and rocky dirt roads of Idaho’s public lands where we live.  Therefore, I had it outfitted as capable as possible from the factory.

We will be driving to the mountains soon in search of the perfect Christmas tree.  In idaho, with a little initiative, exercise and sweat you can obtain a beautiful tree for the cost of around $15, and you can make it a family outing at the same time.  I have been cutting my own Christmas Tree from the National Forest since I was in college, and the thought of purchasing one for upwards of $100 from a lot unsettles me.

Of course, our plan is to use the new car to go retrieve this tree, and we will be hauling it back on the roof.  Ironically, this led me to more consumption.  The “Wilderness Package” does not include cross beams for the luggage rack.  So, I had to order them for the car.  After studying prices and reading reviews I went with a set that cost approximately $120 and placed the order.

The location we would travel to for the tree is about a 320 mile round trip from our home.  There are places we could go to that are closer, but after years of hunting Christmas Trees closer to the sprawling metropolis of Boise, we have decided it is worth the drive to go to this area.

We could easily drive my stripped down pickup and never need to purchase the cross beams for the top of the car.  However, at today’s gas prices, we would save approximately $53 by driving the car, which is almost 50% the cost of the cross beams.  Assuming that there will be another use for the crossbeams in the future, possibly one that keeps us from driving the pickup, the purchase seems sensible and likely to ultimately save us money.

Ironically, my own consumption is what led me to give consumption and materialism in the U.S. deeper thought.  On a Sunday evening of the weekend preceding our Christmas Tree hunt I unboxed the cross rails and went about the task of putting them together and fitting them on top of the car.

An issue that can arise with such hardware is a violent wind noise when the vehicle is at speed.  So, after these were mounted, I decided to test drive the vehicle and determine whether not my purchase of an inexpensive set of cross rails was going to lead to this unfortunate side effect.  It did not.

My family and I live on a small farm about three miles from town, and my test drive route took me in that direction.  Ultimately, I wound up on the edge of the small city and noticed our one and only McDonald’s restaurant, open for business.  An iced tea sounded good to me, and I had the $1.69 needed to get one.  So, I proceeded to the drive through.

There were other cars in the drive through line, but there was just one car in front of me, waiting to move up to the ordering console.  I had not gone through a drive through line in a significant amount of time, so I assumed that rewarding my diligent work with this small treat would be a quick affair.

In no time at all there were multiple vehicles in line behind me, and I was trapped and fully committed to this endeavor.  That did not cause me concern.  Having patronized this drive through in the past, I still believed I would be on my way home with the beverage in short order.

After some time of sitting there some sort of internal clock started to alert me to the fact that I should be proceeding through the line but was not.  I began to pay attention to things and saw that nobody was moving.  Not only was I trapped, but I was making no progress and more and more vehicles were lining up behind me.

Sitting there, reluctantly accepting my fate, I looked over at the banner that hangs on the back of the building facing the drive through.  This desperate attempt to procure employees had been there since 2020 when Covid reduced available employees all over the U.S.  This McDonald’s was paying $15/hour as a starting wage to come and work here.  At a standard 40 hour work week, that was a salary of over $30,000/year to cook and serve food at this facility.  Yet the line did not move, and the sign did not come down.

I finally made it to the kiosk where I was not greeted with a “welcome to McDonald’s” or any other such kindness.  No appreciation for my business was given by the voice on the other end, for it was straight to the matter at hand.  “Are you ordering using the app” sternly came out of the speaker.  I replied that I had no such app.  “Okay, what will you have” was the disappointed reply.

Understanding that I was a fortunate person in my vocation, and that this person was likely stressed due to low staffing and in a life stage that caused financial stress, I replied with my friendliest tone, “a large unsweet iced tea please”.  “Is that it” came the reply.  “Yes” I answered.  The voice said “Okay, that will be $1.69” and I sensed a hint of sarcasm in the voice.  He knew what I did not know.  It was going to be a long wait for that iced tea.

For the next 20 minutes I slowly inched forward by only one car length as I watched the car that was at the delivery window sit and idle with no exchange happening between the driver and the McDonald’s employee on the other side.  To pass the time I listened to an audio book and played with the features and technology in this new car, attempting to learn about all of its capabilities.

After an abundance of time had passed the vehicle at the window finally departed.  I never did witness the transaction, so I cannot say whether or not they were served.  Even after its departure there were two vehicles between the window and myself, and I quickly did the math.  The reason behind the employees sarcastic tone of voice suddenly dawned on me.  An iced tea was not worth all this.  Nothing was worth all this.

To my great fortune, when the two vehicles in front of me moved forward, it exposed an escape from the drive through.  A second lane to the right of the vehicles was exposed, and I had access that was not impeded in any way.  The decision was quick and involved no debate in my mind.  I pulled into that lane and literally escaped.  I would not enjoy a delicious McDonald’s iced tea that evening, but the taste of freedom more than compensated for the loss as I again listened for wind noise on my way back to the farm.

Within days of the attacks of September 11th, 2001 President George W Bush told Americans to get out and spend money in one of his several addresses to the nation.  He advocated for shopping, going to restaurants and going to movies.

At the time, all I could hear were the instructions to spend, spend, spend and I resented that our elected leader was giving such instructions.  However, looking back today, I can see that our economy is built on consumption and it is like a train speeding down the tracks that has lost its breaks.  All you can do is ride it and try to control it because stopping is impossible.  Ultimately, this train will stop and that stop is likely to be catastrophic.  Nobody wants to be sitting in the engineers seat when that catastrophe occurs.   

George W Bush didn’t want that for our country, and he certainly didn’t want it as we were preparing to go to war or while he was in office.  A catastrophe of that magnitude would have given the terrorists an even larger victory, and the ripple effects could have inspired more terrorist attacks for decades to come.  Our president was a man with no other course of action, and “spend, spend, spend” was the patriotic thing for Americans to do.

As for me and my family, we failed to do our patriot duty as requested by the president.  My wife and I were in our third year of marriage, had owned our first home for under a year and were just building our careers.  We stayed the course of our values, lived below our means and tried to build our future by not panicking and withdrawing our meager retirement savings from the stock market after its free fall, following the attacks.

It has been over 22 years since that event and that request by our president.  It has become apparent to me that we were in the minority, and the bulk of Americans were very willing to “spend, spend, spend”.

I see my experience last night at that McDonald’s drive through as the culmination of this economic philosophy and the willingness of free Americans to participate.  The dozens of people trapped in that drive through, me included, have become numb to the ramifications of this “spend, spend, spend” policy.  We tolerate long lines, poor customer service and mediocre products just for the illusion of convenience or the small dopamine hit that accompanies spending money.

In my 50 years, I have had the misfortune of seeing our society abandon the practice of being discerning consumers for the chaos of “spend, spend, spend.”  And I have seen a complete shift in the balance of power from consumer to producer.  Our people today are so eager to buy, that they tolerate poor customer service and a poor buying experience as merely a source of strain that must be dealt with to get the next material possession.  This is normal for my daughter, but it is detestable to me.

Ironically, this is leading to disaster for the working class that rely on customer service positions for their wages.  Managers and owners of retail establishments once devoted a much larger portion of their time to insuring that the customer experience was pleasurable.  Either intuitively or after careful research, it is apparent that retailers realized that this was no longer necessary.  Customers will still purchase no matter how they are treated, so customer service standards have been abandoned, and those energies have been directed elsewhere.   

This has given rise to self-checkout in grocery stores and restaurants like the very McDonald’s I attempted to patronize.  It has given rise to apps that are transforming food service employees from customer service providers to merely arms length delivery people.  And, it will eventually eliminate these jobs altogether.  If tacit permission is given to businesses to exchange service for efficiency by consumers, they will, of course, make that transition.  What’s worse, the employees who are participating in this transition are actually justifying the elimination of their own positions when they have the power to make themselves more valuable.

Before proceeding I will admit a bias that I have that harkens back to the “good o’l days”.  In the late 1980’s and very early 1990’s I worked at a grocery store for a stretch of just over 3 years.  This was for a local grocery chain that had served the community for several decades.  Side conversations between checkers and baggers at the checkout were prohibited and monitored, and ignoring customers or treating them like a burden could result in your termination.

When I was a bagger speed and efficiency were values that pervaded the store.  We ran from check stand to check stand, bagging groceries in the prescribed manner with great speed.  All the while we made conversation with the customers and showed our gratitude for them shopping there.  For a customer to walk out of the store without a bagger pushing their cart for them, talking with them the entire way and then loading the groceries into their car for them there would almost have to be an argument before the bagger would relent and allow the customer to leave unassisted.

Today, every grocery store has a growing number of self-checkout stations.  I almost always go through self-checkout in order to avoid the irritation that I experience when I am treated poorly at a check stand.  This decision has not been made haphazardly, as I feel a kinship with grocery store employees.  However, the bad experiences now outweigh the positive, and I do my best to not allow my time at the grocery to impact my day in a negative manner.

What abhors me the most about this abandonment of customer service is watching employees contribute to the destruction of their jobs while it happens right in front of them.  And, to some extent, damaging their futures.  After all, when you apply for a better job in the future and you highlight three years of “customer service experience” at a retail establishment on your resume with the hopes that it will tip the scales in your favor, it will do no good for you if your interviewer finds this meaningless because actual customer service has been abandoned in exchange for customers who serve employees by trying to reduce the irritation the employees feel when having to actually serve.

Take the juxtaposition of my grocery store employee experience in the 1980’s to my grocery store consumer experience in the 2010’s.  Sometime in the past decade or so, my wife and I began fully participating in consumer rewards programs at places that we must patronize, such as grocery stores.  We don’t allow rewards programs to get us to purchase goods that we do not need, but we take advantage of them at the grocery store because we will be shopping there at some level, no matter what.  With these rewards programs generally comes the requirement that at checkout you enter your phone number so that the purchase is counted towards your balance.

Sometime in 2018 or 2019 I went to our local grocery store which has a program such as this.  This particular location had a bit of construction going on at the front end.  Four self-checkouts had been installed, and two more check stands had been removed to make way for four more.  I was still of the mindset that I should purchase my groceries from an actual person in order to vote with my dollars to preserve the jobs of these folks.

On this day I approached an open check stand and waited in line for a few moments to purchase from and support an employee who needed this job for income.  The checker at this station was a young lady that I estimated to be in her early 20’s, and the bagger (we now call them courtesy clerks) was a young man that I estimated to be in his late teens.  They were fully engaged in a side conversation about a later get together involving co-workers, and I received the overwhelming impression that the young man was hoping to spend time with the cashier away from work.

I only needed one item, and as it made its way down the conveyor belt towards the cashier, I walked up to credit card reader where I would pay for the purchase and enter my rewards number.  I was never greeted by either of the employees, and I was talked to only three times.  The first address I received was from the cashier who asked in an annoyed voice if I had a rewards number.  I diligently entered the number and swiped my credit card like a child trying to please a domineering parent and hoping to avoid an escalation in household tensions.

The side conversation between the cashier and her hopeful suitor went on, and was broken only by the irritating duty to tell me how much money I was required to provide the store in exchange for the item I wanted to purchase.  I made a mental note of that fact nobody was bothering to pay attention to me, ask how my day was going or provide any other standard of customer service.

The third communication was from the “courtesy clerk” who simply asked “do you want a bag?”  By this time I was boiling up inside.  However, I had been verbally abused when I was a grocery clerk, and I certainly did not want to allow my temper to transform me from the once abused to the abuser.  So, I calmly asked “you guys don’t say hello or how is your day anymore?”  Both of them could not have been more shocked at the nerve of a customer to be critical of their performance, and I received a quick, disingenuous “sorry about that”.  For his money, I never did see the courtesy clerk do a bit of work.  The extent of what I witnessed was the question “do you want a bag?”   

Far be it from me to think that I never engaged in a side conversation or got distracted when I held either of these positions as a teenager.  However, as I walked towards the exit door I passed the existing self-checkout machines and the area that was being prepared for even more robots.

The irony of the situation dawned on me at that moment.  There is one thing, and one thing only, that robots will never able to do, and that is provide genuine customer service.  No matter how good the human to machine interface becomes in the future, customers speaking with a robot will always know that the robot is responding to a set of stimuli and what comes back is the product of a computer program or algorithm, i.e. it is not genuine and really means nothing.

The employees at grocery stores or fast food restaurants have the power to put an end to robots replacing their jobs.  If they become so indispensable to customers through the service, conversation and genuineness, customers will not tolerate purchasing from robots.  Then companies would be forced to cease this new direction because customers would demand this by either complaining verbally or shifting their dollars to places that provide excellent customer service.

Until consumers actually prioritize the service they receive when making buying decisions, companies will have no incentive to change directions.  And, employees at this level of the service industry are likely not looking at their jobs as a career.  Rather, they believe that these jobs are merely a means to an end until they move onto something better.  Therefore, whether or not they actually ever do move one, they are not interested in looking at what they do holistically and making changes that will improve their position.  And, their immediate supervisors are not interested in pushing them in this direction because the companies are moving in the direction of automation and it is not in their best interests.  Therefore, there will never be any organizing force that will push employees to improve customer service, at their own best interest, en mass.

As the available working pool that comes up through these jobs is not required to provide customer service, the options for hiring at the next level becomes smaller and smaller.  Soon, this degrading of customer service spreads into more sophisticated postings and it just keeps repeating itself.

The root cause or causes of this degradation goes by many names - consumerism, materialism, consumption, etc.  The causes of this shift to consumerism could be debated for decades with fingers of blame being pointed in all directions.

What is clear, is that this is the world that we now live in.  The days of businesses, “earning your business” have passed us by.  Of course you can find businesses that still do earn your dollars, but we all know that they are the exception, not the rule.  And, we all should pay a little more and put up with a little more inconvenience to support them, lest our world turn exclusively to self-checkout stands and streets clogged with delivery vans from internet purchases.

Americans are no longer discerning consumers.  We want it now, we want it cheap and we want a lot of it.  For that, we are willing to tolerate poor to no customer service, clutter in our homes, debt and a lack of savings as we approach our retirement years.

These are just the manifestations that can be outwardly observed or measured.  Larger and more important than this is the further degradation of our society.  Anger, detachment and irritation are all cumulative.  Americans once came home from their day in aggrieved moods from some major conflict in society only rarely.  Because this did not happen very often, the overall mood of our country was more positive, friendly and helpful.

Today, we still may not experience a major conflict in our day, but we come home in horribly negative and angry moods more often than ever.  Instead of the cause being a major conflict, it is the cumulative effect of multiple small conflicts or irritations that we experience through the day or the week.  It is the colloquial “death by a thousand cuts”.

This is an increasingly negative cycle.  In the past if you provided service all day at work, you were rewarded by receiving service when you transitioned from service provider to consumer later in the day.  We rewarded each other for our hard work with gratefulness.  However, today we are providing service all day at work only to be made to feel like we must provide service or at least minimize irritation in order to be consumers.  And this can only go on so long before the very same consumer decides to stop providing service in their job, and the cycle repeats itself.

And this is all caused by our incessant need to consume and purchase.  We want “things” so badly, that we are willing to tolerate almost anything to obtain them.  Therefore, as consumers we have removed the incentive of companies to provide customer service.  Gone are the days of speaking with the manager and telling them that you came to spend money but are taking your business elsewhere because of the way you were treated.  Today we just expect the bad service as something we must tolerate to get the thing we want to purchase.

“Spend, spend, spend”, “buy, buy, buy” and “bye-bye-bye” to our quality of life, society and the bonds that hold us all together.

Direct download: OFI_1916_Tuesday_Episode_-_12423_4.19PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Lexi Wright is the host of the Farming On Purpose Podcast as well as the owner of the agricultural marketing firm, Wright At The Moment.  She, her husband and their four children are cattle and row crop farmers in Kansas who are finding their way down the winding path of the ultimate lifestyle business.

In today's interview with Lexi we talk a lot about entrepreneurship in agriculture and how she found her pathway.  Lexi also puts out a couple of nuggets of valuable information, such as how to make the social media algorithms work on your behalf to connect you with like minded people and to learn information that will help you in your pursuits.

I found a lot of cross over with this talented podcaster, farmer and entrepreneur.  And, you will too!

Direct download: Lexi_Wright_Episode_1912_-_111723_2.17PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Machinery Pete, Greg Peterson, has become a household name on farms throughout the U.S.  His passion for tractors and auctions coupled with his vision of a resource for farmers that want to buy and sell used tractors have led him to great heights in agriculture.  He was first on the show back in 2015, and I am running his episode again today to tie in with tomorrow's Ag Business Episode in which I will be profiling an up and coming agricultural podcaster who I have no doubt will rise to great heights as well.

Direct download: OFI_1911_Replay_Of_056_-_113023_6.58PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 7:13pm MST

For the last time, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  We certainly did!

On today's farm update show I'll talk about our two new kittens and why we got them.  Also, a brief synopsis of what Thanksgiving looked like on our farm.  The new census of agriculture will be coming out in 2024, and I bet the average age of farmers goes up.  Finally, what is it like to feed and do chores on Thanksgiving?  I'll give you my perspective today!

Direct download: OFI_1909_Tuesday_Episode_-_112723_5.35PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Madilynn Campbell is a 2023 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Equine Science - Entrepreneurship.  She raises and trains "halter quarter horses" at her families property near Adair, Oklahoma and has developed a passion for horses and in particular, Quarter Horses.  Madilynn has a deep, family history in the horse breeding business, as her grandfather has been doing this for over 40 years.  Madilynn has her sights set on following in his footsteps in the horse business.

Currently Madilynn is purchase 2-3 weanlings per year, holding them for a year and training them for the halter, lead and trailering during that time.  Then, she starts showing them and is able to sell them at a nice profit.  In addition to the horse business, Madilynn has identified becoming a veterinarian and having her own, mixed practice in her future.  She is currently attending college at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and will eventually transfer to Oklahoma State University.  She is focusing on horse judging in addition to her studies right now, and is also considering getting certified as an equine judge so that she can judge professionally.

Direct download: Madilynn_Campbell_Episode_1908_-_112123_1.33PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Les Schwab Tire Centers is a sponsor of the Off-Farm Income Podcast, and I have been one of their customers for many years.  When Autumm and I first moved to Kuna after purchasing our farm, Les Schwab Tire Centers did too.  This was well before Kuna started to explode with houses and it became obvious that there was money to be made in our community.  This move was about providing service into what was still a small, farming community, and I have always appreciated that.

I have spoke about Les Schwab Tire Centers on the show many times over the years, even though their sponsorship just began in 2023.  The reason has been Hattie's involvement in 4H and later in the FFA.  Every exhibitor livestock auction I have attended at our local county fair has always had a contingent of managers from all the different Les Schwab Tire Centers in our valley present in the stands.  They are there in great numbers, they are there all day and they are bidding on every species of livestock.  

Les Schwab Tire Centers is single handedly responsible for making sure that all of these projects get sold and for raising the average price of these projects.  I truly believe that without the contribution of this great company that many of our exhibitors would have a difficult time getting their money back, let along making a profit.  However, year after year, species after species, Les Schwab Tire Centers are there to make sure that this does not happen.  

I am fortunate to have this company that I am such a big fan of as a sponsor, and I am thrilled to feature them on today's episode.  Joining me is Chris Baker.  He is the Area Manager of all the Southern Idaho Les Schwab Tire Centers, stretching from Oregon to Wyoming.  He is also really passionate about this company and what he does.  In today's episode we will discuss a lot of specifics of the tire business as well as what Les Schwab Tire Centers provides, how they got there and the philosophy behind that.  

Direct download: Chris_Baker_Episode_Additional_Services_Added_In_-_111623_3.11PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you this year.  2023 has been unbelievable.  I wanted to revisit George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation with you on this wonderful holiday.  I am so thankful and grateful for all of you in this audience, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday with friends and family.

“A Day of Thanksgiving”

George Washington first mentioned the possibility of a national Thanksgiving Day in a confidential letter to James Madison in August 1789 (just months after taking office), asking for his advice on approaching the Senate for their opinion on “a day of thanksgiving.”

By the end of September 1789, a resolution had been introduced to the House of Representatives requesting that “a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving.” The committee put the resolution before the president and George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation within days.

George Washington knew the value of a thanksgiving day long before becoming our first president.

During the Revolutionary War, he would order special thanksgiving services for his troops after successful battles, as well as publicly endorse efforts by the Continental Congress to proclaim days of thanks, usually in recognition of military victories and alliances.

Direct download: OFI_1904_Thanksgiving_2023_-_112023_10.49AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hi everyone...I am having a light week, enjoying the holiday with my family.  We hope you are as well, and please enjoy this brief farm update.


Direct download: OFI_1902_Tuesday_Episode_-_112023_10.39AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Jim Griffith and Jim Maples are the creators and hosts of the Revolutionary War Rarities Podcast - the official podcast of the National Society Of The Sons Of The American Revolution.  I recently discovered this show and was immediately drawn to it because of my love for Revolutionary War History as well as my membership in the Sons Of The American Revolution.  

I kept coming back and listening to the podcast because it is so interesting and entertaining.  Jim and Jim do a great job coming up with stories, putting together the episodes and then presenting them.  They are a really good broadcasting team, and their voices are already synonymous with the American Revolution for me.  

On today's episode I get to speak with them both, talks about the origins of this show and where it is going.  We will even touch on some interesting facts about the Revolutionary War as talk a little bit about agriculture and farming was used as a tactic to defeat the British!


Direct download: RWR_Episode_1898_-_11823_3.22PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am thrilled to be profiling a very entertaining, informative and patriotic podcast called Revolutionary War Rarities.  Yes, this is one of those opportunities in which I get to use my platform to share information that is personally important to me.

So, for today's re-cap episode I am going back to an episode that I originally released on the 4th of July in 2018 talking about how the Revolutionary War impacted farmers.  It is just another example of how agrarian our country was at the time of the Revolution as well as another example of the sacrifices our patriot ancestors made for the cause of freedom.


Direct download: OFI_1897_Replay_Of_470_-_111523_10.45AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

The other day I noticed that a steer had got through a fence and caused a little damage that could have been fixed really quickly and easily.  I meant to get it done right away, but one thing led to another and I did not.  Well, all the steers started using that hole, and now I have a major fix to do.  What's worse?  This is not the first time I've ever had this happen.  I knew exactly what was going to occur, but I let it happen anyway!  When will I ever learn?

Direct download: OFI_1895_Tuesday_Episode_-_111323_1.06PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Kade Cole and his wife are health conscious individuals, raising and family and working in a health related field.  They both also have a family history and legacy of farming and raising cattle.  Being health conscious and raising two young children is what initially led them to start trying to make their own balms, tooth powder and soaps.  However, it was the combination of these two things that led them to the development of Cattle Driver Apothecary.

They strongly believe in the products they are making specifically because of what they can leave out of them.  They use their own products and have been receiving rave reviews since they launched their business a few months ago.  There is an interesting twist on this story as well.  Kade states that in the future they would like to purchase their own land and raise their own cattle.  However, he is the sole bread winner and is teaching strength and fitness at a local high school.  So, that salary will not get it done.  Therefore, they looked at the beginning of Cattle Driver Apothecary and small business as they vessel that will take them to that destination.

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Direct download: Kade_Cole_Episode_1891_-_103023_5.36PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am profiling a gentleman making value added products from cattle bi-products.  This got me searching for other interviews that were doing the same, and I remembered this interview with Dexter and Kayla Dedora.  So, for today's re-cap show I am bringing back this episode about their Longhorn value added business.


Direct download: OFI_1890_Replay_Of_1185_-_11823_11.34AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Happy Halloween to all of you, if you celebrate this night of ghosts and goblins.  On today's farm update I touch on a Halloween memory as well as selling goats this weekend and the bad year of goat production that we have had.  Oh, and why I am sleep deprived!

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Direct download: OFI_1881_Tuesday_Episode_-_103023_5.12PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode we are featuring a high school senior who has developed a very active farm sitting business and has actually trade marked her business name.  I love the idea of a farm sitting business for a person who does not have their own farm or livestock yet, but who wants to work in this field.  But, when are you ready to take care of other people's livestock, and how do you make the business successful?  Well, I previously interviewed a farm sitter who gave us the run down on this business, and I thought it would be perfect to bring this interview with Lauren Dixon back for you today.

Direct download: OFI_1876_Re-Cap_Episode_-_102523_2.49PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Back in March I did an episode about farmers being the scapegoats for water shortages in the Arid West, when municipalities were continuing to allow urban sprawl and new subdivision that required water that they did not have rights to.  In that episode I ended by asking the question of whether or not this should be topic of conversation at all, as I believed that this problem would eventually be solved through innovation with the introduction of water from other sources into these areas.

In today's episode I want to read an article to you that I came across discussing a city in Arizona that is looking at innovation to solve this water problem so that they can continue to sprawl.  I am not in favor of sprawl, but I am in favor of innovation to deal with water shortages, and it appears that some of these ideas may be gaining traction.


Direct download: OFI_1874_Tuesday_Episode_-_102323_11.52AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I had a list of farm update things to talk to you about today, but I didn't talk about almost any of that.  As so often happens when I start recording, my mind goes somewhere that is cathartic as it often does when speaking to this fantastic audience.  So, today there is a lot of reflection about how fortunate I am, the current events of today and a somber ending about those events.  I hope you will join me.


Direct download: OFI_1867_Tuesday_Episode_-_101623_12.47PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today will our second installment talking about pricing and “is profit evil?”  I did that for a reason.  This is a question that has come up several times.  It came up for me in my business.  It has come up with guests that I have interviewed on the show.  And, it is has come up from people who are working in my industry who have since gone out of business.

The fact that they went out of business is a hint as to how important this issue is.  By being generous or being nice, rather than pricing their products or services correctly, they are now out of business and not sharing their gifts with the rest of the world.  This is not a sustainable way of doing business.

We need to be concerned with sustainability, business sustainability.  If we use entrepreneurship to support our farming or rural lifestyle and the business fails, then we lose the lifestyle.  So, it is important that we price our goods or services in a way that will sustain our business.  Otherwise, all of the positive impact we could have had with our agricultural enterprise will no longer exist.

Direct download: OFI_1862_Pricing_And_Profit_Part_2_-_101123_4.34PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today we will be talking about pricing and “is profit evil?”  I did that for a reason.  This is a question that has come up several times.  It came up for me in my business.  It has come up with guests that I have interviewed on the show.  And, it is has come up from people who are working in my industry who have since gone out of business.

The fact that they went out of business is a hint as to how important this issue is.  By being generous or being nice, rather than pricing their products or services correctly, they are now out of business and not sharing their gifts with the rest of the world.  This is not a sustainable way of doing business.

We need to be concerned with sustainability, business sustainability.  If we use entrepreneurship to support our farming or rural lifestyle and the business fails, then we lose the lifestyle.  So, it is important that we price our goods or services in a way that will sustain our business.  Otherwise, all of the positive impact we could have had with our agricultural enterprise will no longer exist.


Direct download: OFI_1862_Pricing_And_Profit_Part_1_-_101123_4.27PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hattie and I just returned from Yellowstone National Park.  On this previous weekend, every October since 2016, she and I have departed for Yellowstone and spent three days searching for wildlife and taking in incredible vistas.  She is a senior in high school this year, so this may be it!  I don't know what the future holds for this trip in October, but I do know that she will not be subject to the Kuna High School calendar next year and there will be a new set of scheduling obstacles to deal with when it comes to planning this trip.

On today's show I talk all about these past 8 years of Yellowstone with Hattie, and how this year we graduated to the level of guides!

Direct download: OFI_1860_Tuesday_Episode_-_101023_2.39_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 2:45pm MST

Cassidy Johnston and her husband are the creators and owners of JRC Ranch Management & Consulting.  This is a business that they are developing after years of working on different ranches throughout Colorado and having a myriad of different experiences.  They believe that there can be a disconnect between absentee ranch owners and the folks who are doing the day to day work on the ranches, and they would like to be part of the solution to solving that problem.

In the interview Cassidy talks about how sometimes employees on ranches are not treated as well as employees in other sectors of industry.  This leads to burnout, high turnover and poor performance of the ranch.  Basically, nobody wins in these situations.  In many cases, Cassidy believes that the problem lies in the disconnect and is not necessarily a character flaw of the ownership.  She will talk all about her observations and how she aims to be part of the solution in this episode.

Direct download: Cassidy_Johnston_Episode_1856_-_92623_2.42_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am profiling a cattle rancher striving to make cattle ranching better for everyone.  In she and her husband's efforts, they are taking the perspective of ranch employers and trying to convey that ranch owners, particularly absentee ranch owners.

So, for today's re-cap episode I am going back to an episode I did that I titled "The Amazing Range Cow And the Amazing Rancher".  Hopefully there is enough in this episode to give you some perspective on ranchers out here in the West are doing before we roll into tomorrow's show.

Direct download: OFI_1855_Replay_Of_706_-_10223_5.05_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today, I've got a lively farm update for you.  We will be discussing:

  • very successful FFA scholarship auction
  • .75 inches of rain and done irrigating
  • grazing goats on canal for two weeks straight
  • Oso working out great
  • still on pasture with cattle and hope to be for a couple more weeks
  • corn, kochia and cover crops for goats to green

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Direct download: OFI_1853_Tuesday_Episode_-_10223_4.47_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Peggy Coffeen is a podcast host, farmer and seller of value added products. She also make a successful transition from a corporate career to self-employment after identifying two niche businesses and moving into them.

On today's ag business episode Peggy and I have an in depth conversation about the dynamics of moving to full time, self-employment.  We also talk about many of the pitfalls you will face along the way and the fear that will seek to stop you.  Peggy has a very unique perspective on identifying your target customer, and an interesting story that goes with that.  In addition, she started a very niched podcast after seeing a hole in the dairy world that she believed needed to filled.

Come along for an inspiring and very interesting interview today!


Direct download: Peggy_Coffeen_Episode_1849_-_9623_6.20_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode we are going to be profiling an entrepreneur who transitioned from a full-time corporate career to being a full-time entrepreneur.  In the spirit of what I normally do, I wanted to pull an episode from the archives that tied in with tomorrow's theme.  I believe that this interview with Daryl Mast of Doorstep Dairy does so nicely.  From the transition to the family legacy, this episode has it all.


Direct download: OFI_1848_Replay_Of_252_-_92823_2.38_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 2:44pm MST

A while back I did a solo show defending farmers from a newspaper article calling them "hogs" for using the water that has been allotted to them for well over a century for farming  **See The Original Show Notes Below**

An article recently popped up locally for me that supported the idea of the "pyramid scheme" that small cities get involved with that leads to the need to continue to approve development projects so that they can create new tax revenue that will pay for aging infrastructure.  On today's Tuesday episode I've got a brief farm update for you, and then I want to read you this article and cite it as evidence that this "pyramid scheme" is really happening.

Direct download: OFI_1846_Tuesday_Episode_-_92523_3.39_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Eric Rickenbach is the owner of RescueTechs and devotes himself to teaching others how to respond to emergencies on the farm.  He has also been a first responder for decades and has been to many of these scenes himself.

When I found Eric's web page and what he did, I knew I wanted to have him on the show during National Farm Safety and Health Week, so we made it happen.  Today we will discuss some of the most common instances of injuries and death on farms.  We will also talk about taking the extra step to insure that you are working safely.  And, we will talk about why the buddy system is so important.

Stay safe out there everyone...

Direct download: Eric_Rickenbach_Episode_1842_-_52423_2.59_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

The biggest contributors to farm accidents are probably impatience and complacency.  Getting in a hurry, or thinking that danger doesn't exist just because nothing has ever happened before can lead one into a dangerous situation.

On today's show we are profiling the farm safety education philosophy of the Tunstall FFA Chapter in Dry Fork, Virginia.  Dr. Jessica Jones, the FFA Advisor and her colleagues have figured out that impatience and complacency can be overcome by keeping safety in the front of one's mind.  If you think safety first, then your chances of not overlooking a dangerous aspect of your job go way up.

Two of Jessica's students, Chapter President - Cole Abercrombie as well as sophomore member - Zac Chaney join me on the show today.  They will talk about farming in their area, what they see as some of the biggest risks and how farm safety is taught in every agriculture class at Tunstall, regardless of whether or not it is Farm Safety Week.

Direct download: Tunstall_FFA_Farm_Safety_Episode_1840_-_91323_1.38_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Jessie Jarvis is the owner of "Of The West" a job platform for agricultural jobs and Western lifestyle careers.  She is also a lifelong rancher from Southern Idaho with a deep legacy of ranching work in the Gem State.

On today's episode Jessie will discuss why she created "Of The West", and how the inspiration came to her. She will also discuss some of the challenges of looking for a job in agriculture, and why being part of the 2% of the nation involved in ag can lead to a defeated feeling before you have ever submitted a resume.

Jessie has a passion for connecting people with the right opportunity, and that definitely comes through in today's episode.


Direct download: OFI_1835_Jessie_Jarvis_-_83023_2.52_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode we are going to be talking about ag careers, starting an ag jobs website and delving into the entrepreneurial and professional employee aspects of a life in agriculture.  So, for today's re-cap show I went back to one of the best profiles of an agricultural career that I ever did.  Ironically, this took place on episode #002 of the show.  That's right, this was the second episode I ever produced and the first interview I ever conducted!

This show features my late uncle, Allan Romander.  Allan spent his entire working life in agriculture, and the bulk of his professional career as a crop advisor, then a pest control advisor and finally a certified crop advisor.  He had the same position all the way through but over time the titles changed and the certifications became more challenging.  Allan was the epitome of a professional and he loved agriculture.  I don't think there ever was anyone better suited to advocate for this career path than Allan.

Direct download: OFI_1834_Replay_Of_002_-_91323_2.17_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Well, the largest looming topic on our farm this week is remember 9/11 and trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it has been 22 years already.  Autumm and I will never forget that day, and we hope you found some peace and silence on Monday to take some time to reflect in your own way.

Also on today's show:

  • Oso the new livestock guardian dog
  • Treating chickens for mites with permethrin
  • The biography of Tom Horn

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Direct download: OFI_1832_Tuesday_Episode_-_91123_1.20_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Shawn Kapanke is the Business Development Manager of Silver Spring Foods from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  This company has its roots figuratively in 1929 and literally in the ground of Wisconsin where hot and delicious horseradish is being grown on 5-7 year rotation.

Today's show is a bit unconventional for an Ag Business Episode, as I am profiling a larger company.  Rest assured that Silver Spring is not a prospective sponsor, and they did not pay me for this episode.  However, I love horseradish and don't know anything about it, so when they reached out this was a great opportunity to learn more.

And, and this is a big I researched this company it dawned on me that almost 100 years ago this began with a need for extra revenue and the creation of a value added product.  Since we advocate for value adding on the show, looking at this awesome "after picture" seems like a perfect way to demonstrate proof of this concept.

Direct download: Shawn_Kaptanke_Episode_1828_-_82423_3.16_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hi everyone.  Big things happening recently on the farm, and I'll update you on all of those today, including:

  • Lost another goat to the coyote - hopefully the last
  • We now have a livestock guardian dog
  • We have expanded our goat herd again
  • I just started irrigation today for the first time in 2.5 weeks
  • Heading to our final minor league baseball game of the season this evening

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Direct download: OFI_1825_Tuesday_Episode_-_9523_12.27_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:32pm MST

Joel Holland is the CEO of Harvest Hosts, a company that pairs up farmers with extra space with members who would like to spend a night in their RV in a picturesque setting on somebody's farm.  I have seen both sides of this idea.  As a person who likes to travel in my camper, I have spoke with individuals who are Harvest Host members, and I have found them all to be people that I would be comfortable having stay on my property.  As a farmer, I have a spot on my farm that would work well for this, and I have considered becoming a host.

In today's interview Joel will talk about how farmers generate revenue as hosts.  We will also discuss how you are kept safe and shielded from liability if you become a host.  And, we will touch on the very positive experiences that both hosts and guests have when coming together.

Direct download: Joel_Holland_Episode_1821_-_82223_3.22_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I've got more weather on the farm update show for you today.  It has been a wild 7 days of August weather here in Southwest Idaho.  August is historically our driest month, averaging just under a 1/4 inch of rain.  However, at our farm, in the past 7 days we have received 1.7 inches.  Do I have any culpability for the negative parts of rain like this since I am enjoying the storms?

Direct download: OFI_1818_Tuesday_Episode_-_82823_4.46_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Dan Miller is a mentor and coach to me and has been since about 2009 when I first started dreaming of an entrepreneurial lifestyle.  Between 2009 and 2015 I was unknown to Dan, but I was consuming his books and his podcast in an effort to figure out how I was going to achieve my entrepreneurial lifestyle.  Then, in 2015, three years after I started my first business I was able to put away enough money to go to one of his courses in Tennessee.

I have been a huge fan of his since discovering him in 2009, and I continue to be one today.  On tomorrow's show we are featuring an agricultural career coach.  However, for many of us we will need to look at ideas outside of agriculture and then bring them back and apply them here.  So, in preparation for tomorrow's show I am replaying my very first interview with Dan Miller to give you the inspiration to do just that!


Direct download: OFI_1813_Re-Cap_Of_330_-_82323_12.25_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

One week ago I was talking about how odd a weather event the wildfires in Hawaii were.  And during that discussion (fact check me on this) I stated that it would be like having a hurricane strike Idaho (although wildfires in Hawaii are more common than that).  This was well before I had ever heard of Hurricane Hilary.

Well, like magic, the biggest news story became Hurricane Hilary as she set her eyes on Southern California with a projected pathway that would march her right up to, you guessed it, Idaho.  At the time I am writing this the news is reported that what is left of Hilary is 125 miles due west of Elko, Nevada and racing north.  Well that happens to be a straight arrow right to my farm!


Direct download: OFI_1811_Tuesday_Episode_-_82123_4.10_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Mike Maxwell is the owner of Double M Ranch and a professional shearer of llamas, alpacas, sheep and even goats.  He also does dental work on alpacas and gives shots as well trims hooves.  Mike specializes in serving people on small farms with a few to many animals, but not enough to warrant hiring one of the big outfits.  Mike is taking care of folks who just cannot access the larger service providers.  

Mike's path into farming and working with animals came through his marriage to his wife, Kimberly, who had the property when they were married.   He was, and continued to, work in the corporate world while they were raising sheep and chickens.  Ultimately, he taught himself how to shear and take care of these livestock, and he started offering his services to others.  His business soon grew larger than he could handle since he kept his corporate job.  

Then, a twist came. Mike and Kim had planned on one day retiring to Costa Rica, and when Covid 19 ultimately resulted in a red hot housing market in the Treasure Valley of Idaho they realized that they could retire about 5 years earlier than they had planned.  So, they sold the farm and made it happen.  However, Mike did not want to abandon his customers in Idaho, so twice each year he flies back to Idaho and takes care of everyone's livestock for them.  

Direct download: OFI_1807_Mike_Maxwell_-_81623_3.53_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am interviewing a gentleman with a livestock care business that includes shearing llamas.  That interview has a quite a twist that you are going to want to hear about.  For today's re-cap episode I decided to go back to the interview I did with Mike Huffman in 2015 in which we talked all about his llama care business.


Direct download: OFI_1806_Replay_Of_042_-_81623_1.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today is a farm update episode, and we will be discussing the following:

  • Cover crops are planted
  • August cool down is over
  • Coyote saga
  • Grazing volunteer kochia

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


Direct download: OFI_1804_Tuesday_Episode_-_81423_4.21_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

You all know that I have been trying to solve a coyote problem for some time now.  Well, it still is not solved, and it has opened a pandora's box of how to do this and how to do that while not losing any more goats.  There has been one issue in particular that has plagued me, and that is how to pen up the goats at night in one particular pasture I'd like to graze them in.  Well, this weekend I got away for a couple of days and took some time to completely forget about the problems on the farm.  And poof!  Just like that I came up with a solution.  I'll talk about this method in today's episode.

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Direct download: OFI_1797_Tuesday_Episode_-_8723_3.27_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Well, since we last spoke I have been in a sniper's next every morning by o500 waiting for my chance to exterminate this coyote that has cost us 7 goats.  So far, no luck.  However, I did catch it on the game camera and confirm that it is a coyote.  This discussion will dominate today's farm update episode, but we will also talk about August weather, monsoonal moisture, the Canyon County Fair and corn, corn, corn.....

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Direct download: OFI_1790_Tuesday_Episode_-_73123_6.26_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Kyle Stockdale is a dairyman and entrepreneur from Ontario, Canada.  He first appeared as a guest on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2021 when he was about three years into the development of his company, KY Vision Sharpening & Clipper Repair.  Today, I am thrilled to have him back on the show for an update on his business as well as to learn about how he has advanced as an entrepreneur.

It is always very exciting for me to welcome a previous guest back to the show, and in Kyle's case I learned a lot and couldn't be more proud of what he is doing.

Direct download: Kyle_Stockdale_Episode_1786_-_71123_5.11_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode Kyle Stockdale is coming back on the show with an update on his business as well as his development as an entrepreneur.  I am very proud of what he is doing and excited to share tomorrow's interview with you.

Kyle first appeared on Off-Farm Income in 2021, and so for today's re-cap episode I am replaying that original interview to give you the before and after picture.  You are going to be impressed!

Direct download: OFI_1785_Replay_Of_975_Kyle_Stockdale_-_71123_6.02_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I thought I had dealt with the coyote issue near our farm and the threat was ended, but this morning I received a rude awakening.  I found four dead goat kids, clearly killed by coyotes with only one being consumed.  The rest, killed for sport or to train pups how to hunt.  One is missing and was probably hauled off.  That is basically all I am talking about in today's farm update.

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Direct download: OFI_1783_Tuesday_Episode_-_72123_3.27_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

It is said all the time that you should start farming, right where you are at, in whatever way that you can.  If you are in an apartment, grow some tomatoes in pots on your deck.  If you live in a neighborhood, raise some chickens and enjoy the eggs.  Don't wait to have 1,000 acres, start right now!

I believe in this adage, but I also understand the comparison that people might make to production agriculturists when they are doing something on such a small scale.  That is a reason that I am so eager to introduce you to this episode's guests.

Joanna and Brian Guza both grew up on production agriculture farms and have that as their background.  However, as a young couple growing their family they did not have the land to farm on a production agriculture scale.  They did not let that stop them.  They purchased their home on 2 acres, found a niche crop to grow and began farming and selling direct to consumer.  And, when this episode is released they will be in the middle of harvesting over 300 lbs of garlic that they will sell out of, almost immediately.

It's all about the farming folks, no matter what your situation is.  If you love it, do it.  Just take it from Brian and Joanna and their delicious garlic.

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Direct download: Guza_Episode_1779_-_62823_3.04_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hi everyone.  As I promised myself last winter, I am not taking one day of summer for granted this year.  That does not mean that it is not full of challenges on the farm such as slow pasture growth, parasites in the goats and pink eye in the cattle.  On today's farm update we will talk about it all.

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Direct download: OFI_1776_Tuesday_Episode_-_71823_2.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 3:02pm MST

Forrest Durham was first a guest on the Off-Farm Income Podcast back in 2015 when he was an FFA student and running a roasted corn business.  As a high school student Forrest was attending an average of 14 fairs or festivals per year for a total of 28 days.  He was selling around 500 ears of corn per day at an average profit of $2 per ear.  That's around $30,000 in profit.  Not bad for a high school student working 28 days per year, right?

The roasted corn business was inspired by his father, who sold fudge and ice cream out of a mobile car and later a brick and mortar location.  When Forrest finished high school he went to the University Of Kentucky and got a degree in agriculture, but then he was right back at it, taking over his father's business "The Sweet Shoppe".

Forrest is currently expanding "The Sweet Shoppe".  They do mail orders and are starting to distribute fudge to local grocery stores.  He is also building his cattle herd and has plans for a direct to consumer beef business.  And, he already has a brick and mortar store front and large scale social media following for The Sweet Shoppe.  So, selling cuts of meat produced on his very own farm is just a step away.

Direct download: Forrest_Durham_Episode_1772_-_52323_4.11_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

My mom was a painter, and she used to watch Bob Ross on PBS religiously.  Bob had a saying that has become very popular.  When a brush stroke that he didn't intend happened, he called it a "happy little accident".  I have stolen that phrase, but I use it when I talk about why I raise goats.  Me becoming a goat farmer is definitely a "happy little accident".

On today's farm update episode, goats is what it seems like I have to talk about.  I'll be discussing using them in our driveway to control weeds and growth as well as in a new area of pasture that I have planted.  What amazing little creatures.

Direct download: OFI_1769_Tuesday_Episode_-_71123_4.58_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 5:03pm MST

I have been fascinated with the idea of growing fodder as a livestock feed since I first learned about it in 2015.  Recently I began searching for a guest to come on the show who was using this model, and I found Al Noorda just one state away in Utah.

Al is the owner of Spring Creek Livestock & Feed in Cedar Foot, Utah.  He has been growing and feeding fodder for about ten years to his cattle and finishing them on nothing other than grass, hay and fodder.  Al also sells fodder production systems and sources barley seed for customers.  According to Al, fodder can replace 70% of your feed ration and allow you to feed lower quality hay to your ruminants.  Also, the fodder keeps your cattle or other ruminants gaining weight through the winter when ranchers traditionally only feed for weight maintenance.

I have a natural interest in this system, so in today's interview you get to hear me ask questions that comes straight from the perspective of somebody who is interested in producing their own feed in this manner.  I hope you learn as much as I did!

Direct download: Al_Noorda_Episode_1765_-_51823_12.36_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST



Today is a great day for Americans, farmers, and non-farmers alike.  As we celebrate the anniversary of American Independence we should think about the men and women who lived through this time.  With this in mind, let's look at how it impacted farmers in the colonies during the 18th Century.

Here are a few of the things that farmers went through during the Revolutionary War:

  • Trade routes to the market were cut off by war, either waterways or roads.
  • Farmers could not plant surpluses because they might not be able to sell the excess and it would just rot on their fields.
  • Herds of cattle and horses were depleted either by the plundering of the British or as provisions for the Continental Army.
  • Farmers were away from their farms for long periods of time and had to start over when they finally returned.
  • At this time, 90% of the population were engaged in farming so this really was a war fought by farmers.

I wanted to mention something that I read in Stephen Ambrose's book "Citizen Soldiers" about farm kids in World War II.  He said that the commanders loved the soldiers that grew up on farms because they had been hunting for their whole lives, knew how to handle a rifle, and could shoot straight.

I wanted to pay tribute to four of my ancestors that fought in the Revolutionary War in this episode as well:

  • Samuel Hubbard
  • James Wilcox
  • Jesse Richardson
  • Jesse Rowley
Direct download: OFI_1762_Tuesday_Episode_-_63023_3.03_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Karsten Frecker is the owner of Frecker's Saddlery, a lifelong horseman and a lifelong craftsman.  Along with several members of his family, including his wife, brother and sister, Karsten runs their saddle business from Dillon, Montana.  The business was first started by Karsten's father, Kent, several decades ago, and Karsten just recently purchased it from him.

Like any business that looks straight forward on the surface, there are nuances and complexities to it that the owners make look non-existent.  In today's interview with Karsten I spend a lot of time asking about how a person becomes a saddle maker, what Karsten is looking for in an apprentice and how the business works, i.e. producing saddles for sale vs. doing custom orders.

A very interesting part of this discussion is the manner in which people go about learning this trade.  When Karsten brings on an apprentice, he hopes they will be with the company for the long haul so that they can recoup their investment in the apprentice and grow the business.  However, this does not always happen, and some lessons that were learned the hard way have taught Karsten that only he and his brother will commit to doing custom work for customers with special orders.  Therefore, they have over a 3 year waiting list for custom saddles, and they are constantly striking a balance between producing products and fulfilling orders.

Karsten states that the best way to learn to be a saddle maker is work alongside somebody with experience.  However, if somebody wants to learn the trade in order to start their own shop this has to be done in an ethical manner.  Karsten and I talk about this in the interview.

Direct download: Karsten_Frecker_Episode_1758_-_5523_9.25_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode we are profiling a family business with a long legacy of building saddles for the regular market and for custom customers.  This is a business that is so interesting for the folks who want to live in the world of horses.

Of course with saddle ownership comes saddle maintenance, and sometimes it is easier to outsource that work.  So, I thought for today's re-cap episode it would make sense to go back to this interview that I did with Sarah Banowetz talking about her small business bringing old saddles back to life.

Direct download: OFI_1757_Replay_Of_378_-_52423_1.24_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Alicia Tomlinson has become a friend and mentor over the years since I first interviewed her for the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  On tomorrow's ag business episode she is coming back on the show to update us on her business and what has gone on, over the past 8 years.  So, for today's re-cap episode I wanted to replay her first interview so you can have the complete before and after picture when you hear her tomorrow.  


Direct download: OFI_1750_Replay_Of_069_-_52423_1.32_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Autumm, Hattie and I just got back from an epic 9 day camping/road trip to Northern Idaho and across Montana to Red Lodge.  We concluded yesterday by going over the Beartooth Pass and driving all the way across Yellowstone Park.  I've got a lot to talk about in today's farm update episode, including:

  • Hattie's State FFA Competition
  • The Hiawatha Bicycle Trail
  • Priest Lake, Idaho
  • Noxon, Montana
  • A German Restaurant in Missoula
  • Camping at the fairgrounds in Bozeman
  • A great wedding in Red Lodge
  • The status of the farm when we returned

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Direct download: OFI_1748_Tuesday_Episode_-_61923_3.31_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Agriculture is unique in that it creates a passion and devotion in people unrivaled by any other careers that come to mind.  I often quip that only actors, artists and musicians will work a second job just so they can work the first, but farmers will do it too.  So many of them will work a full time job in the city just so they have the opportunity to farm.  That is what this show is all about.  

John Schomburg has this same devotion to farming, but he demonstrates it a little bit differently.  John builds scale models of farm equipment and farming scenes, and he photographs farm equipment to capture its legacy before it is no longer seen on farms.  And, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  

In today's interview John talks about how he got started building models of farming equipment, why he has file cabinets full of old farm equipment catalogs, why he takes photographs if farms and farm equipment all over Wisconsin and how this all came together for him to win the National Farm Toy Show in 2005, 2012 and 2015.  He even takes us on a tour of his studio and expresses his deepest feelings over the realization that his families farming legacy ends with him.  

Direct download: John_Schomburg_Episode_1744_-_5123_2.18_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode I am profiling a gentleman who has an unbelievable passion for agriculture, but he is not a farmer.  However, he displays this passion through creating replica farm equipment and even replica farms.  So, for today's re-cap episode I thought this interview with Carol Herden, talking about how she got started sculpting farm animals, was a perfect tie in.


Direct download: OFI_1743_Replay_Of_1251_-_52423_1.43_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Last week we worked all of our goats, and we had some volunteers helping us out who were there for no other reason than they love the idea of farming and want experience.  It got me to thinking about the very first farm that I ever worked on, the one that belonged to my step-grandfather.  That would have never happened on that farm, but I was happy to allow it on my own.  He had a "closed" farm, and mine is "open".  So, let's talk about the pros and cons of an "open" farm on today's show.

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Direct download: OFI_1741_Tuesday_Episode_-_6523_6.23_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Natalie McFarland is a lifelong agriculturist turned agriculture entrepreneur.  Officially launching McFarland Productions in 2014, she began telling the story of agricultural companies to help them serve others.  Working primarily with business to business customers but frequently with business to consumer customers Natalie has grown her list of services from photography only all the way to being the marketing department for several of her clients.

Natalie and her team a great knack for capturing agriculture and the Western Lifestyle, and every single team member has an agricultural background.  On today's episode with Natalie I really tried to focus on what the keys to marketing to agricultural customers.  If/when you start your small, agricultural business you will be getting involved in marketing, like it or not.  What are some of the ways you can stand out to the customers that you want to serve?  Today, Natalie and I try to answer that question.

Direct download: Natalie_McFarland_Episode_1737_-_42723_3.01_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode I am speaking with a woman who discovered her niche in marketing to a specific agricultural audience.  She and her husband, like so many of us, are trying to carve out their spot in the world of agriculture and are facing the pressures of high land prices and encroaching urban areas.

I talk about this concept a lot on the show, and one of the premier themes I have dealt with over time has been that of existing in agriculture on the rural/urban interface.  I thought this was a great tie in with our guest tomorrow, and wanted to bring back a solo episode that I made about this phenomenon today.

Direct download: OFI_1736_Replay_Of_087_-_52423_3.22_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend and took some time to remember those who have made the ultimately sacrifice so we could do exactly that.  I have a couple of thoughts that I have been wanting to share with you, and today I will finally get to do it:

  • Hard Work As a value - teaching non-traditional ag students about the world of work they are entering
  • Having a job or business that is not automatable and cannot be replaced by AI

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Direct download: OFI_1727_Tuesday_Episode_-_52923_3.30_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Colleen Cummings is the owner of 2 Farm Boys Soap, a goat farmer and a mother who was looking for a way to engage her two sons in agriculture on her small farm in Heber City, Utah.  There is a lot of family history on that small farm.  Colleen's husband's family started farming that ground in the early 1900's.  Since then, the land has been split up, and today they raise goats and grow hay on 15 acres of what was once a much larger, family farm.

Like so many people with goats, one thing led to another, and Colleen and her family ended up raising goats on their small acreage.  However, her husband had been raised on a farm, so keeping and feeding livestock just for fun was not an option.  The goats had to have a purpose.  Ultimately, with this in mind, Colleen was exposed to the idea of making goat milk soap and tried it out.  It took a bit to get the recipe correct, but once she figured it out product ideas and designs started coming out.

Today Colleen has a nice system in place.  She only milks goats part of the year, but is able to freeze enough milk to keep her making soap all year round.  Also, she sells at one farmers market only, every other week, for part of the year.  And, the big event is the National Finals Rodeo.  Colleen and the family have haded to Las Vegas two years in a row now, selling soap at one of the largest venues in Las Vegas - Country Christmas - which is held at the Rio.

Direct download: Colleen_Cummings_Episode_1723_-_42723_8.20_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Our woes on the farm this year continue.  I've known this was coming, but I confirmed it Friday at our veterinarian's office.  All of my cows are open.  We will be having no calves this year as our bull quit producing viable sperm sometime over a year ago, and I did not catch it because I did not have him semen tested, and I did not have our cows preg tested.

This is a hard lesson for me, and it is embarrassing....and I am telling all of you all about it on this episode.

Direct download: OFI_1720_Tuesday_Episode_-_52223_11.25_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Tom Henson is the owner of T&T Services in Lapeer, Michigan along with his business partner and bowling partner, Tonya.  I found Tom and Tonya's ad on Craigslist and was immediately drawn to it because of the ad for wasp removal.  It was apparent that Tom was offering a suite of services that anyone in the world of farming would already have much of the equipment for, and I wanted to interview him to show other people what was possible.

It turns out that Tom has a very interesting story beyond his business.  He retired from Ford Motor Company where he spent a large part of his career hand building engines for Shelby Cobra's.  He is also a professional bowler with an average of 232!  Tom has bowled in professional tournaments, is in four leagues and averages 50 games per week!

I had a fascinating time learning about the Ford engines and the bowling.  Eventually we got into the business....

Direct download: Tom_Henson_Episode_1716_-_42523_4.01_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am interviewing an entrepreneur who drew my attention with an ad about wasp removal.  This made me think about the two hives of bees that I lost to wasps several years ago, and of course bee and honey production.  So today I am revisiting an interview I did with Alan Mikolich about this very business.

Direct download: OFI_1715_Replay_Of_1107_-_51523_6.30_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Well, I've definitely had better years on our small farm here in Kuna.  At this point in the year, this has definitely been the worst year we have ever experienced.  Last week, on two consecutive mornings, I found kid goats that had been killed by coyotes.  On top of that, we have other issues going on that are going to harm our bottom line on the farm in the future.

On the other hand, some ideas I have put into place on the farm are working great, and I have a new friend in agriculture and podcasting that we get to celebrate on today's episode.

I've got all of that, and a bit of discussion about people with no boundaries on today's show.

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Direct download: OFI_1713_Tuesday_Episode_-_51523_4.51_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Stacy Carr is an Agricultural Consultant and Coach from Johnson City, Tennessee.  Hearing her story, it is obvious what it takes to be able to consult young and beginning farmers with no experience in the way that can - decades of work and experience in agriculture.

Stacy has a fantastic, exciting and rewarding business, but it is not the type of business that you just choose and start.  This business takes a passion for all aspects of agriculture that has driven you to take your own risks, do your own work and spend your own money over a lifetime pursuing farming.  Stacy has done that, in multiple different states and in multiple different ways.  And today, she is reaping the rewards of all of that knowledge and experience by being able to share it with people from all walks of life, including young families who want a rural lifestyle, and help them to succeed in farming.

In today's episode Stacy and I discuss all of that experience, and how her business works.  We will also talk about who the people are that want an agricultural lifestyle so much that they are willing to pay for somebody to guide them to that destination.

Direct download: Stacy_Carr_Episode_1709_-_42423_12.20_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am interviewing a woman with an incredible breadth of knowledge and passion for farming, livestock, gardening and the soil.  She has a very unique and successful model of consultation for small farmers and left me realizing how little I actually know.  So, for today's re-cap episode I am going back to a 2016 interview I did with David Ridle of Skagit Farmers Supply where he was consulting with people on small acreages, as an employee of the co-op.


Direct download: OFI_1708_Replay_Of_101_-_5823_4.00_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's farm update I'll be talking about how I think I am overstocked on the farm, and the recycled and new methods I am using to try and take advantage of all the forage on the whole property.  Plus more....

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Direct download: OFI_1706_Tuesday_Episode_-_5823_4.15_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Caleb Branson and Shelby Redcorn are the owners of a business that is essential to keep production agriculture going in the U.S. and to keep their small community functioning in the Panhandle of Oklahoma where they live.  Caleb has been operating cranes since he was a child, and both he and Shelby have been self-employed for their entire lives.  Neither of them know anything different than getting paid when there is work and tightening the belts when there is not.

In 2017 they started C&S Crane And Steel, offering a myriad of services to farmers and other industries.  From building grain storage facilities to replacing augers on bins, it is this, behind the scenes business, that is there to keep farmers going.  During the interview I asked what motivates a farmer to build their own grain storage facility, and, as you would expect, it was all about giving the farmer the best chance of creating a sustainable business.  But those facilities and other pieces of equipment like them could not be built if it weren't for entrepreneurs like Shelby and Caleb who have the expertise and took the risk to purchase the equipment that provides their community the ability to continually improve their operations.

There is folklore surrounding the American Farmer that brings with it a certain prestige, and deservedly so.  We are all standing on someone's shoulders, and without folks like Shelby and Caleb, American Agriculture just couldn't operate and feed the world the way that it does.

Direct download: Shelby_Redcorn_Episode_1702_-_41923_3.11_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am profiling a husband/wife team that has a unique and fascinating business serving farmers in the panhandle of Oklahoma.  That gave me the thought of replaying Jonathan Demcack's interview from 2015 again for you.  He started a business called "Droplet Irrigation" here in the Treasure Valley of Idaho, providing service to farmers, and I thought it was a great tie in with tomorrow's show.


Direct download: OFI_1701_Re-Cap_Episode_-_5323_3.55_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Tyler Schake is the owner of T&T Mobile Washing.  Growing up farming, Tyler always took pride in, and got very good at washing the farm equipment.  In his mid-20's he came to the realization that he wanted to go out on his own, and working on the family farm was no longer the right fit for him.  At about the same time Tyler and his wife had their first son, and he knew that his responsibilities in life were increasing.

It was at this point that Tyler took the thing that he had developed a passion for on the farm, washing equipment, and turned it into a business.  Starting with just a pickup, box trailer and pressure washer Tyler is now running three trucks, 7 full time employees and serving an area with a radius of about 275 miles.  He is cleaning combines and other farm equipment for dealerships and farmers, and he is doing fleet cleaning for trucking companies.

In today's interview Tyler talks a lot about what he experienced when he decided to start his own business.  Also, he educates me quite a bit on the reasons why a mobile washing business like his is so valuable to trucking companies.  We talk a lot about entrepreneurship and a lot about this great business.

Direct download: Tyler_Schake_Episode_1695_-_41723_2.59_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

In today's episode I have a short farm update and some thoughts about why having a horrible job as a teenager is so valuable.  I'll even tell you a story from a job I had when I was 14 years old.

Plus, and update on the growth of my community.  Here is the link to the article that I read:

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Direct download: OFI_1692_Tuesday_Episode_-_42123_3.08_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Jerry Stephens is the Northern Plains, Regional Sales Manager of Agoro Carbon, and in today's episode he will be talking to us about getting paid to sequester carbon on your farm.

Today's episode is one of those in which I need to give a disclaimer before beginning.  Agoro Carbon is not a sponsor of the Off-Farm Income Podcast, and they did not pay me to record this episode.  Also, they are not a prospective advertiser.  I agreed to have them on the show today because what they are offering might be a source of revenue for you that can help you to achieve and sustain the lifestyle in farming or ranching that you are seeking.

Carbon offsets are a hot topic, and farmers hold some of the best possibilities of capturing carbon through the practices they use on their farms and ranches.  Agoro Carbon works in the area of voluntary carbon sequestration, meaning that there is no government involvement, and none of their buyers are compelled by the government to participate.

In today's episode I strive to have the conversation with Jerry that you would have, if you were considering working with Agoro Carbon to sequester carbon on your farm and to generate a new source of revenue.

Direct download: Jerry_Stephens_Episode_1688_-_41223_3.29_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Tomorrow's ag business episode is featuring a way of creating extra revenue on your farm.  This may be a fit for some of you and not a fit for others, but I like to bring these ideas forward for you to do your own research and find out if they would be helpful to you.  For our re-cap episode today I went back into the archives and found this interview with Ryan Conklin talking about another possible revenue source on your farm.

Direct download: OFI_1687_Replay_Of_1437_-_41823_4.13_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Forget the past, focus on the future?  Is it all or one.  Did I invent a metaphor.  You will find all of this out and get a detailed farm update on today's episode.  Also, what is the "DIY Death Trap"?

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Direct download: OFI_1685_Tuesday_Episode_-_41723_2.24_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Mark & Marcia Ruff are production agriculture farmers in Ohio and the owners of at least three businesses that compliment their farm.  Along with their three children and all of their, year round employees, they are farming 4,000 acres of wheat, soybeans and corn.  This all started back in 1997 when they knew they wanted to farm, and took a leap of faith with Mark leaving his full-time, city job to focus just on farming.  Back then they were leasing approximately 300 acres.

Today, Mark and Marcia have proven themselves very capable both in the world of farming and in small business  So much so, that opportunities literally come knocking on their door.  They have a container loading facility on their property now and run this business for farmers in their community, and, as Mark describes in the interview, he didn't know anything about container loading until some folks showed up as his door and proposed the idea.

In this day and age people will tell you that there is no way to get started farming without inheriting land or being independently wealthy when you begin.  However, Mark and Marcia are living proof that this is not correct.  Today's interview with each of them will inspire you and leave you with no excuses if you truly want to farm.

Direct download: Marcia_Ruff_Episode_1681_-_4523_3.38_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode I am speaking a couple who started their farm from scratch in 1997 and have grown it to 4,000 acres.  They say it can't be done, but tomorrow we are proving them wrong!

This episode with Matt Kellog, talking about different niches for farmers at all levels is the perfect tie in for tomorrow's show.


Direct download: OFI_1680_Re-Cap_Episode_-_41023_12.03_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hi everyone, I get to do something on today's episode that you have given me the privilege of doing.  I am reviewing a product that a manufacturer sent to me for free in exchange for me testing and reviewing it.  The product is the "Chickcozy" automatic chicken coop door, and I am giving it five stars!  This product has been in use on my farm for several weeks now, and I have been able to check it every night, in the middle of the night while I'm looking after our goats who are kidding.  Every night it is closed, not one chicken has been locked out of the coop and no predators can get into the coop to kill our chickens.  Then the next morning when I get up, the chickens are out in the run, hunting and pecking.

The "Chickcozy" has worked just as I had hoped it would, and it has taken one little thing, that sometimes seemed like a big thing, off of my daily workload.  I no longer have to make two trips a day to the chicken coop to let out or lock up chickens.  And, even if that is not a big deal for you, the "Chickcozy" will act as a failsafe for you on those rare occasions that you forget!

You all know that you are my priority, and I would not recommend a product to you if I had not used it and believed it was worth the money.  I can say that both of those things are true in the case of the "chickcozy".  You can find the "Chickcozy" at

In addition to my produce recommendation on today's show, I'll be talking about equipment breaking down, equipment getting fixed and the never ending process of the kidding season!  Happy Spring and Happy Easter everyone...

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


Direct download: OFI_1678_Tuesday_Episode_-_41023_10.49_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hi everyone, I get to do something on today's episode that you have given me the privilege of doing.  I am reviewing a product that a manufacturer sent to me for free in exchange for me testing and reviewing it.  The product is the "Chickcozy" automatic chicken coop door, and I am giving it five stars!  This product has been in use on my farm for several weeks now, and I have been able to check it every night, in the middle of the night while I'm looking after our goats who are kidding.  Every night it is closed, not one chicken has been locked out of the coop and no predators can get into the coop to kill our chickens.  Then the next morning when I get up, the chickens are out in the run, hunting and pecking.

The "Chickcozy" has worked just as I had hoped it would, and it has taken one little thing, that sometimes seemed like a big thing, off of my daily workload.  I no longer have to make two trips a day to the chicken coop to let out or lock up chickens.  And, even if that is not a big deal for you, the "Chickcozy" will act as a failsafe for you on those rare occasions that you forget!

You all know that you are my priority, and I would not recommend a product to you if I had not used it and believed it was worth the money.  I can say that both of those things are true in the case of the "chickcozy".  You can find the "Chickcozy" at

In addition to my produce recommendation on today's show, I'll be talking about equipment breaking down, equipment getting fixed and the never ending process of the kidding season!  Happy Spring and Happy Easter everyone...

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


Direct download: OFI_1678_Tuesday_Episode_-_41023_10.49_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Brian Simpson is the owner of Dirt Man X and RV Dump Bucket in Austin, Texas.  He moved from Michigan to Austin about 9 years ago.  As a previous owner of an excavation company in Michigan, he had the equipment and expertise to bring with him on the trip south.  But, he couldn't bring his reputation because nobody in Austin knew him.

In today's episode Brian and I talk about serving farmers in Michigan and ranchers in Texas.  We discuss going a little bit backwards in business from having loads of business through word of mouth to having to advertise and build trust and a reputation again.  We also discuss how to move a business with that much equipment.  What gets sold?  What comes along?

Brian has great advice for those just getting started, and there are some stories of digging stuff up that you never wanted to find and the lights and sirens that come with those moments.

Direct download: Brian_Simpson_Episode_1674_-_31523_4.51_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

There is a lot going on, on our farm and in our lives right now.  We have definitely broken into spring and are charging forward with our farming season.  Here is what is in our farm update today:

  • A change in advertising
  • College visits in Texas
  • Kidding season is underway
  • Our current stats on goats
  • Hattie's SAE project and grant
  • Afternoon feeding for afternoon kids and calves
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Direct download: OFI_1671_Tuesday_Episode_-_4323_1.43_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Other than 5 or so years in the Air Force, Keith Pearson, has lived and farmed in Tomah, Wisconsin for his entire life.  However, in 2015 the stress, long days and physical labor of farming was catching up with Keith and he decided to retire.  As a result he sold 1090 acres of his 1100 acre farm and went to work in town to keep himself busy.  However, a city job was not the right fit for Keith, and as life happened that became more apparent.  So, Keith decided that in order to stay busy he was going to start his own business.  

Keith missed being in the seat of a tractor in the spring and smelling the soil as it was newly turned over.  So, he found a way to do that and have a business.  Pearson Custom Tilling was born.  Today, Keith is busy from the beginning of spring planting season until the end of September tilling people's gardens, plowing people's land, seeding deer plots or mowing acreages. 

This side business gives him the ability to work on restoring Allis Chalmers Tractors over the winter, and bringing their life and luster back.  Keith is a farmer through and through, and now he gets to share all of that knowledge with his neighbors and the new people moving in around him with visions of farming and sustainability.  

Direct download: Keith_Pearson_Episode_1667_-_3623_2.03_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

There is something about the smell of dirt that moves some people to action.  On tomorrow's ag business episode I am profiling a farmer who retired, sold his land and took a day job in town.  However, after a year of that he missed the smell of freshly turned Earth, especially in the spring time.  So, he started a tilling business and is thriving.

For today's re-cap episode I want to go back to episode #54 that featured Larry Hildebrant.  He had a custom rototilling business, and he was also driven by working the soil.  In Larry's case he even did some of his tilling for free, depending on the situation for the customer.  Larry's interview is a perfect re-cap episode to lead us into tomorrow's ag business episode.

Direct download: OFI_1666_Replay_of_054_-_32723_9.12_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today is a true farm update episode after a couple of weeks of going topical on Tuesdays.  We will be discussing:

  • Water in the creek
  • A bit of green poking through in the pasture
  • Hattie selected as district president
  • Four kids on the ground
  • Still waiting on calves
  • Unseasonable cool and it seems like it is going to stay that way - the leaves and the birds don’t seem to care - must be all about daylight hours

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Direct download: OFI_1664_Tuesday_Episode_-_32723_9.24_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Kent and Shannon Rollins are the force behind teaching the world how to cook like a cowboy.  On their YouTube Channel, "Kent Rollins Cowboy Cooking" and their new book, "Comfort Food The Cowboy Way", they share the wisdom, weather and recipes of the American West.  

This all started somewhere around 1983 when Kent started cooking for an outfitter in a New Mexico elk camp.  But really, it started much earlier than that when Kent was a kid and in his later years of being a ranch hand.  At some point he traded in the branding iron for the cast iron, and he went to work making sure that cowboys were well fed before and after their long days in the saddle.  

There are some traditions of the American West that are thought to be gone, that still exist.  Cooking for cowboys on the range from a chuck wagon is one of those.  In Kent and Shannon's book you get a glimpse of this tradition through the incredible photos that Shannon has taken while they are on ranches cooking.  And in Kent's words, he captures the impact of the weather and how the right meal can ease the burden of facing the harshness of Mother Nature from the saddle all day.  

Direct download: Kent_Rollins_Episode_1660_-_31623_3.09_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I saw an article pop up on Bloomberg today with the title, “Farmers Can’t Keep Hogging the Water in Parched Southwest”.  I was unable to read it because it is behind the paywall, and I do not have a subscription.  However, this is a topic that I have thought a lot about.  

Direct download: OFI_1657_Tuesday_Episode_-_32023_8.05_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Kacee Bohle is a fourth generation farmer from Illinois, a career agriculturist and an Ag Coach.  On today's episode we are going to focus in on her business of career coaching in agriculture.  Kacee has two main customer bases - agriculture students and professionals moving into or out of agriculture.  She deals with a lot of diverse situations in this business, but being an entrepreneur gives her the flexibility to do so and to adapt to each unique situation.

Kacee's coaching is reflection of her own experiences.  When she was graduating high school she did not really know where her future in agriculture resided, but she knew that it was in agriculture.  She is the only one of her siblings interested in taking over the family farm, and she feels pressure to do so to keep the legacy alive.  And, she has had multiple experiences in agricultural industry that make her uniquely qualified to help other people find their paths.

Direct download: Kacee_Bohle_Episode_1653_-_13023_12.05_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode I talking with an agricultural career coach.  This got me thinking of what episode to replay for you on today's episode, and it became clear.  Our guest tomorrow specializes in helping people find their careers in agriculture.  The other side to that same coin is how can you develop your farming and agricultural lifestyle at home.  So, in today's re-cap episode I am going back to a special coaching session I did with Wendy from Ontario, Oregon about this very thing.


Direct download: OFI_1652_Replay_Of_318_-_31523_11.08_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Preston Sechrest is a 2022 SAE Grant Recipient.  He is also the treasurer of the East Davidson FFA Chapter in Thomasville, North Carolina, and he is going to use his grant money as well as money that he saved from working at a grocery store to purchase his first dairy heifer for showing.

This all began for Preston during his 9th Grade year of high school.  He was considering becoming a game warden in the future, he still is actually, so he took an animal science class as an elective.  When his teacher, Mrs. Leonard, did a unit on introduction to the FFA, he thought he had been tricked.  However, by the end of school year he had been hooked, and he was a full-fledged FFA member.

His advisor encouraged Preston to go to a dairy cattle showing clinic to get introduced to this event.  He went, and he took to it.  People could not believe that he had never showed cattle before, and he got several offers to show for other people.  He has done ten heifer shows for a neighboring farm since then, and this has sparked an interest that Preston believes he will have for the rest of his life!

Direct download: Preston_Sechrest_Episode_1651_-_21723_2.04_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today I am breaking down an article that is talking about the new phenomena of "Bare Minimum Mondays".  Here is the link if you'd like to read it yourself:

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Direct download: OFI_1650_Tuesday_Episode_-_31323_5.41_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Taylor Lacek is the 2o22 Minnesota State Star Farmer and a second semester student at South Dakota State University studying Agriculture Business & Communications with a newly added minor in journalism.  She has a passion for telling agriculture's story, and has her sights set on being a column writer in agriculture.

Taylor's grandfather got the family involved in raising show cattle generations ago, and Taylor has continued that onward.  Today, Taylor keeps abreast of the latest technology and methods in cattle breeding, employing embryo transfer and even looking into cloning to develop the genetics in her herd.  Taylor taught me about a method of dealing with calves that are not getting going after birth during the interview called the "Madigan Squeeze".  It was clear that she is constantly consuming information on the industry that she is passionate for, and it is this consumption that will turn her into a great purveyor of agricultural information.

Direct download: Taylor_Lacek_Episode_1649_-_21623_1.34_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Caite Palmer and Arlene Hunter are the hosts of "The Barnyard Language Podcast - "Real Talk About Running Farms and Raising Families".  They are both farmers in different situations.  Arlene and her husband are full-time dairy farmers in Canada with no off-farm jobs. Caite and her husband farm
about 200 acres of row crops and raise livestock in Northeast Iowa and both of them work off of the farm.  Caite and Arlene were brought together by a podcast, met on a Facebook group corresponding to that show and have only met in person one time.  However, they have been hosting a weekly show together for almost two years!

I was recently a guest on the Barnyard Language Podcast.  I enjoyed the conversation so much and was so impressed with how these ladies went about their business, I invited them to be guests on Off-Farm Income as well.  They tackle some tough issues on their show - everything from parenting to domestic violence in rural communities.  They have a mission and a big vision of how they can inspire more farming podcasts that will help farmers.  I love it, and am thrilled to have interviewed them and to feature them on the show today!

Direct download: Barnyard_Language_Podcast_Episode_1646_-_12723_2.36_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode we are featuring a team of agricultural podcast hosts who deal with real world issues and the challenges of parenting on a farm.  These two ladies found each other through a shared passion to help folks with these challenges.  One of them lives north of the border in Canada.

Their interview reminded me of the fantastic appearance that Elaine Froese had on the show discussing how to keep the family from splintering when farm transition and farm sale towards the end of a parent's career or life occurs.  This is a great tie in with tomorrow's show as we feature two guests who deal with the challenge of family on the other end of the spectrum, when children are at their youngest.


Direct download: OFI_1645_Replay_Of_Elaine_Froese_-_3823_10.35_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Dane Haverkamp is the owner of Triple H Custom Hay. He is also a junior in high school, his FFA chapter's vice-president and a family farmer with his parents on their ranch in Kansas.  Dane likes all aspects of agriculture, but his families operation is almost exclusively raising registered Black Angus Cattle.  Around Dane's 8th Grade year he told his folks he would like to get his own equipment for cutting, raking and baling hay on their farm rather than having it done by a custom business.  However, his parents told him that the amount of work needed on their farm would not justify the purchase.  So, Dane came up with the idea of starting a custom hay business of his own to justify the purchase, and made sense.  Dane purchased his own baler, swather and later a rake to start the business.  In exchange for the work he does on the farm, he uses his parent's tractors to operate the implements.  Today, Dane operates Triple H Custom Hay and has a growing business that he plans to operate for years to come.


Direct download: Dane_Haverkamp_Episode_1644_-_21623_7.32_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I think our farm is at a point where I could just cruise if I wanted to.  However, I keep looking at ways to improve, become more efficient and to become more profitable.  What is that in me, and in all entrepreneurs?  Does it ever go away?


Direct download: OFI_1643_Tuesday_Episode_-_3623_4.34_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Aaron Juergens is a very busy, very energetic, serial agricultural entrepreneur.  He first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2015 when we discussed his business spreading hog manure in Iowa.  He was busy then, but the scope of businesses he had was nothing compared to today!  Since our first interview Aaron has sold the manure spreading businesses and become involved in multiple other enterprises.  Looking at his Linkedin Page I count 7 other enterprises, six of which are still running today.

On today's episode with Aaron we catch up on what has been going on in his life for the past 8 years, including getting married and having two kids.  And we talk about partnerships, how to manage them and how he keeps all these different balls in the air!

Direct download: Aaron_Juergens_Episode_1639_-_12323_10.00_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Aaron Juergens was one of my first ever agricultural entrepreneur guests on the show.  Since we first met in 2015 he has continued to expand and grow in his entrepreneurial pursuits.  Tomorrow he is coming back on the show to update us all.  For this week's re-cap episode I am revisiting our first interview from 2015 so you will have the perfect before and after picture.

Direct download: OFI_1638_Replay_of_Episode_40_-_3123_2.58_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST