Off-Farm Income (farming)

I don't know if you have noticed, but his show is about non-conformists and people who look at the world a different way.  All of us fit that definition a little bit by the mere fact that we want to farm and only 2% of our population is in that career field.  But what about that person that says "why do I have to do it that way"?

Today's guest, Ben Rykerd, is that person.  Ben is now 29 years old.  He describes himself as having a "travel bug" and he has known this since he was a kid.  So, as high school was coming to a close Ben didn't just take the next prescribed step in the journey, he stopped and asked himself what type of life he wanted to have.

Direct download: OFI_2086_Replay_Of_993_-_52324_12.16PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:44pm MDT

Today's Farm Update Episode includes a large announcement about the future of the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  I hope you will all tune in and share this moment with me.

Direct download: OFI_2084_Tuesday_Episode_-_52024_6.59PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Lynn & Jesse Frey are the owners of Life Root Farm in Stanley, Wisconsin.  These are two people who are definitely listening to and following their inner voices.  Lynn grew up with a mother who was passionate about gardening, and Lynn thought that she would never want to do that.  However, somewhere along the line it clicked and she found herself wanting grow fresh and healthy food for her family.  Jesse grew up on a dairy and was encouraged by his father to go get an education and do something different than farming.  He followed that path but eventually felt himself called back to agriculture.

Today they are in the midst of transitioning from a CSA based business model to one that is centered around growing and marketing heirloom seeds.  With four children to raise and mentor, they are showing them how rewarding a life on the land that connects with nature can be.

Direct download: Lynn_Frey_Episode_2080_-_5724_10.11AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today I have a farm update for you, and a discussion about the many benefits of direct marketing our beef that I never thought about.  This is not the farm business model that I dreamed of in my youth, but it has turned out to be a lucrative and rewarding model that I really enjoy....


Direct download: OFI_2077_Tuesday_Episode_-_51324_4.55PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Bryan Buerkle grew up on his families farm in Eastern Montana learning many valuable lessons about the struggle that farmers face trying create a sustainable business model in this world.  Working full-time on his families farm was not a viable option when he finished high school, and he had to look for other alternatives.  College and engineering was the path he chose, and it led him all around the world designing and building tractors for John Deere.

Today, Bryan is back in Montana and he is devoting himself to helping farmers to create a business model that will see them through.  He and his partners have started Farm Pro, which is an online business designed to help small to medium sized farmers find available revenue that would otherwise be hidden from them.  Farm Pro is currently focused on farmers who have one to a few trucks capable of hauling commodities, and connecting them with farmers and businesses who need those commodities hauled.

This is the beginning of this start up business, and it is moving towards a day that it connects farmers who can offer a wide array of services to people who need those services in their surrounding communities and regions.  If you are considering starting your own business as the method of creating your off-farm income, this is an interview that could prove very beneficial to you.

Direct download: Bryan_Buerkle_Episode_2073_-_5724_10.40AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

In agriculture when we hear the word pivot we usually think of 120-400 acres of irrigated ground.  An automated sprinkler system that is self-driven, applying a precise amount of water to a crop or pasture.

If you are a small business owner that services agriculture you need to know about another pivot.  This is the catch phrase used by so many in the business “start up” community.  To “pivot” means to change direction in your business to adapt to changing market conditions, new technology or new information and ideas that you can only obtain after you have started your business and got in the game.

Those of us in agriculture are pretty practical people.  Most business information is written for those who work in the city, work online and don’t get their hands dirty.  The truth is farmers and those who serve farmers have been “pivoting” for years.  We just called it “common sense”.  When things changed it was pretty apparent that we needed to change with them.

Direct download: OFI_2072_Replay_Of_201_-_5824_3.42PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On today's show I "accidentally" talked for thirty minutes about how we used real estate to create our current situation.  Basically, as I was starting the farm update show, something caused me to veer onto this tangent, and a half hour later I had given a blue print on how to purchase a farm in your late thirties by investing in real estate starting in your twenties.

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




Direct download: OFI_2070_Tuesday_Episode_-_42924_11.31AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Kasey Neely and her husband, Kyle, live in Eastern Illinois on their 32 acre farm.  There they raise and sell grass fed beef, pastured poultry, eggs and they are considering raising and selling pastured pork.  Kasey is a strong advocate for buying local and supporting your local farmer.  On today's episode we will discuss their journey to becoming farm owners, how not growing up on a farm influences the manner in which you design your farming model and pacing yourself no matter how excited you get about what you could possibly do on your land.

Direct download: Kasey_Neely_Episode_2066_-_42324_3.12PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

There is a lot of content in today's interview.  I was first drawn to this guest because of a referral by one of our listeners, Dave Lehman, because our guest was selling products to assist people with raising and processing chickens.  However, during the interview I found out a lot more about this guest.

Mike Badger has worked in corporate America, and he grew up believing that was the way that life worked.  However, he later decided that it did not have to be that way.  He and his wife decided to farm right then and there.


Direct download: OFI_2065_Replay_Of_294_-_5224_11.03AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 11:29am MDT

Our dog brought us a piece of literature about canal breaches last night (literally), and I thought I would discuss this issue on today's Farm Update show.  We will also be discussing:

  • Kidding is over!
  • Selling our bottle kids!
  • First round of irrigation completed already..
  • Protecting trees from goats

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



Direct download: OFI_2063_Tuesday_Episode_-_42924_11.28AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Rick Savoia is the Product Manager for and the host of The Two Way Radio Show, and he is back for part II of our exploration into GMRS Radio.

A few weeks back I did a Tuesday episode about GMRS Radio, why I was using it and my limited knowledge.  Well today, we get to hear from an actual expert, and hopefully correct any mistakes I made in the Tuesday Episode.

There is so much information here that I broke this interview into two episodes.  So, today Rick joins me for part 1 of this 2 part series, and we will talk about GMRS and how you can use it for your farming operation as well as for dealing with rural and agricultural crime.

Direct download: Rick_Savoia_Episode_2059_-_4524_12.09PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The technology that is emerging in agriculture is really amazing, and it all points to a future with less rural crime and easier management.  It also brings people into agriculture that may have never believed they would wind up there.  Enter today's guest, David Philpot.

You may remember in episode #988 that I interviewed David Smith of Ceres Tag about the rural crime prevention and detection capabilities of this smart ear tag.  As David has been growing his company, he has been speaking to groups about investing with him.  Both David and, well, David, are from Australia, and this is what brought them together.  David Philpot belongs to an investor's group, and during one of their meetings David Smith came to speak with them about investing in Ceres Tag.

Not only did David Philpot become an investor, but he realized that a website called Mapipedia, which had been a hobby of his for some time, would be highly useful when paired with Ceres Tag.  So, the two David's began working together and have just completed a mock sheep theft in Australia in which Ceres Tag, coupled with Mapipedia, was able to detect the theft and help law enforcement track down and recover the stolen sheep.

On today's episode David Philpot will explain all of the possible uses of Mapipedia in the livestock industry, including better management, bio-security and theft prevention.

Direct download: OFI_2058_-_42524_10.55AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 11:11am MDT

Today is another farm update episode, and I will be covering:

  • Starting Irrigation
  • Bottle Feeding
  • Lack Of Sleep
  • Grazing
  • Hattie Getting Ready To Graduate
Direct download: OFI_2056_Tuesday_Episode_-_42224_6.29PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Rick Savoia is the Product Manager for and the host of The Two Way Radio Show.

A few weeks back I did a Tuesday episode about GMRS Radio, why I was using it and my limited knowledge.  Well today, we get to hear from an actual expert, and hopefully correct any mistakes I made in the Tuesday Episode.

There is so much information here that I broke this interview into two episodes.  So, today Rick joins me for part 1 of this 2 part series, and we will talk about GMRS and how you can use it for your farming operation as well as for dealing with rural and agricultural crime.

Direct download: Rick_Savoia_Episode_2052_-_4524_11.32AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is another farm update episode, and I will be covering:

  • The Farmer's Tax Guide
  • Kidding Update
  • Very Good Farm Help
  • Night Checks
  • The Creek Filling Up

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



Direct download: OFI_2049_Tuesday_Episode_-_41524_2.37PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Zack Parisa is a co-founder of NCX (Natural Capital Exchange), as well as the CEO.  NCX is also a sponsor of the show and has been for several months.

On today's episode I get to sit down with Zack and talk with him about the reasons I partnered with NCX to share their message on the show.  We will discuss the different revenue streams that might be present on your land, and how you might take advantage of the to sustain your farming lifestyle.  We will also discuss some of the things to look out for, and how the different markets for things like solar, carbon and environmental improvement are emerging and developing all the time.

My partnership with NCX has been something that I am proud to promote, and on today's episode you will learn why!

Direct download: Zack_Parisa_Episode_2045_-_4924_1.15AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today has a passion for farming, a path to farming full-time and a job that he likes that might keep him from doing just that!

Chris Benton and his wife Leann are the owners and founders of C&L Farms Grows.  They have an 8 acre farm about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia and they are focused on growing microgreens.  Chris told me that he chose microgreens for a number of reasons.  The fact that there is an almost immediate harvest and return, nobody in his area was doing it and they are so nutritious were among his top reasons for this decision.

The way that Chris and Leann developed their business is interesting as well.  Chris grew up around agriculture and wanted to be involved with that.  Leann did not necessarily have the same desire to farm, but she wanted to find a niche business that would allow her to work from home for a number of reasons.  Thus the business was developed.  It allows Chris to be involved in agriculture, and it allows Leann to stay at home.


Direct download: OFI_2044_Replay_Of_596_-_41024_10.12PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

It is kidding season for us, and I am up late checking goats.  So, why not record a podcast?  Lots to talk about tonight:

  • Dog Behavior
  • Circadian Rhythms
  • End Of Watch
  • Coast To Coast
  • Rain


Direct download: OFI_2042_Tuesday_Episode_-_4824_1.15AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Taylor and Dylan Roberts are the owners of Roberts Five Farm in Sparta, Tennessee. They are a young couple, just starting their family, and they have a phenomenal story.  They are just at the tail end of their first season of growing and selling tulips, and the response from their community has been unbelievable.  

On today's episode I speak with Taylor, and she tells me the whole story.  Beginning with she and Dylan dating as sophomores in high school to today, farming one acre of tulips on their 12 acre farm and coming up with an excellent business plan.  Their trajectory is currently straight up!  They have had a first year that any farmer could only dream of, and I do not doubt that they will continue on this path!

Direct download: Taylor_Roberts_Episode_2038_-_4324_6.20PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Audrey Levatino is the author of Woman-Powered Farm: Manual for a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle from Homestead to Field.  This is a book that I was intrigued by when I first heard of it, and I knew that I would want to have Audrey on the show.  I initially got the book so that I could read it prior to interviewing Audrey.  However, it turned out to be much more than work.  I could not put the book down.

If you have an interest or passion for farming, this book is for you - man or woman.  Audrey's stories, writing style and coverage of a wide breadth of issues that come with running your own farm will inspire you to either get moving or keep moving.  Audrey covers a multitude of issues.  Everything from what tools to buy to how to protect your small livestock are covered.  She even breaks down income potential by the size of the ground you own or have access to, and the most profitable business possible on that size of ground.

Audrey was a great pleasure to speak with, and I continued to be inspired in our actual conversation, just as I was reading her writing.

Direct download: OFI_2037_Replay_of_071_-_4424_11.05AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 11:17am MDT

Where do tales of haunted forests in the days of Mid Evil Knights come from?  I may have solved that riddle on my own farm.  I'll talk about that and some actual farming on today's Farm Update Episode!


Direct download: OFI_2035_Tuesday_Episode_-_4224_11.12AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 11:18am MDT

Richard Fultz is the Land Survey Supervisor with the Modesto Irrigation District in Modesto, California.  I bumped into Richard while I was in Modesto in February and learned of his position.  He suggested doing an interview about his profession for a number of reasons.  One of the main reasons was how much he gets to work in agriculture through this career.  Also, because there are a shortage of land surveyors, he believes this can be a very lucrative career for an agriculture student.

In today's episode we talk about what it takes to become a land surveyor, who seems to fit the best in the career and what you get to do. Richard also talks about his pathway to doing this, and some internship opportunities to help students determine whether or not this is the correct fit for them.  It is my sincere hope that this helps a student find the pathway in agriculture that they are looking for.

Direct download: Richard_Fultz_Episode_2031_-_31424_11.53AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's episode is a bit different than any normal, Off-Farm Income episode.  Today I am speaking with Kathleen Dowling.  Kathleen and I have a lot in common.  We both grew up in California, we both started our collegiate education at a community college, we both had a dream of moving to Montana, we both became Montana state residents and we both got ag degrees from Montana State University.

Recently I saw a post on the Facebook Group, My Job Depends On Ag, that Kathleen had put up.  She expressed a bit of frustration with finding a career in agriculture and was asking for recommendations from other people.  I reached out to her and offered to provide some career coaching if we could release the conversation as a podcast.  She agreed to that, and today's episode is that conversation.

Direct download: OFI_2030_Replay_Of_1383_-_32824_1.09PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 1:22pm MDT

I have recently taken up the hobby of speaking on a GMRS Radio and using repeaters to connect with people outside the range of my handset.  On today's episode I want to expose you to the fun and the practical side of this activity.

Links Discussed On The Show:


FCC Licensing:

Notarubicon YouTube Channel:

Treasure Valley Linked GMS Repeater Facebook Page:

GMRS Live:


Direct download: OFI_2028_Tuesday_Episode_-_3424_1.45PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Lukas Hitchcock is 19 years old, has a passion for farming and has little to no farming background.....and he has a vision.  When Lukas was about seven years old he had some limited exposure to farming on one of his cousin's operations in Iowa.  He can remember that moment, and he cites it as the moment that he fell in love with farming.  However, life circumstances for Lukas were not conducive to him growing up learning about farming or working on a farm.  In fact, based on some bad choices of his parents, his attention had to be diverted away from higher level things like learning about farming to just day to day success.

Ultimately, Lukas was thrust in adulthood and independence earlier than most of us, at age sixteen.  As soon as this occurred he started working as a farmhand wherever he could, just to be part of the lifestyle and to learn.  He continues these efforts today, three years later.

Lukas has a vision of having his own farm at some point in the future, and like so many of us, young and old, he has no idea how to make that happen given the large financial obstacles that stand in his way. Lukas is doing what everyone in his position does.  He is seeking, researching and looking for information wherever he can find it.  That led him to reach out to me for advice.

Instead of having a private telephone conversation about ideas, we decided to record the conversation and publish it as a podcast episode if we both agreed.  At the end, neither of us said anything that we wanted kept confidential, and we decided go ahead with publishing it in the hopes it might help somebody else.

Direct download: Lukas_Hitchcock_Episode_2024_-_31324_3.51PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's ag business episode we are looking at the concept of farm transition again.  It has been several years since I have done this, but it is a topic that we should keep front of mind because it is a valid way to begin farming or ranching.  Back in 2017 I interviewed a young man who was a National Proficiency Finalist and a sophomore in college.  He was raising his own cattle and working for a neighbor on his ranch, and that neighbor was ready to retire.  The neighbor did not have a family member who wanted to farm the ground, and he was transitioning the operation to my guest, Stetson Dittmar.  On today's show we will revisit that conversation.


Direct download: OFI_2023_Replay_Of_389_-_31824_4.45_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's episode was inspired by a Tuesday show I did back in 2019, #662.  I will be discussing getting yourself to a conference this year as a matter of pivotal importance to the growth and sustainability of your business and/or farm enterprise.


Direct download: OFI_2021_Tuesday_Episode_-_3424_1.32PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

John Price is 26 years old and has been running his own farm for 1/2 of his life.  Today, he runs Archlynn Farm with his wife, mother and step-father in Charlotte Courthouse, Virginia.  There they raise over 50 acres of produce for direct sales to customers and sales in grocery stores.

When John was in elementary school he, his sister and his two brothers were all in the 4H, and John never liked it!  He exited the 4H as soon as he was able and really was not enthusiastic about agriculture.  However, when he was around 13 years old his family planted a 1/2 acre garden, and he worked with the rest of the family on the plot.

At some point, friends and family started asking to purchase produce from them, and this led to the development of a CSA.  Something clicked for John at this point, and he has been loving farming ever since.  That was 13 years ago, and the time since then has spanned half of John's life.

Today, his siblings have moved onto to other pursuits, but he is farming with his folks and his wife.  They are now growing produce on 50 acres of land and selling to multiple outlets.  There was a pivotal moment in the development of the farm that led to a question - "do we scale back so the four of us can run this, or do he hire help so we can grow?".  The choice was to grow, and to develop a business that would sustain the four of them as full-time farmers.

This decision led to the problem of finding reliable labor on the farm.  Ultimately they chose to participate in the H2A Program and hire labor from Mexico during the growing season.  John and I spend the final 15 minutes of the interview discussing how this works and the decision process.

Direct download: John_Price_Episode_2017_-_31224_12.43PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am profiling a farmer from South Virginia with an impressive vegetable farm.  This made me think about the interview I did with the owners of Diemand Farm back in 2019 and how many different enterprises and value added products they had to keep going.  I thought this was a great tie in for tomorrow's ag business episode, and I am eager to play it for you again.

Direct download: OFI_2016_Replay_Of_592_-_31424_9.55AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 10:42am MDT

Today is a regular farm update for you.  On the agenda is:

  • March snows
  • Building a heated room in my shop
  • Taking up wood carving
  • HenGear Nest Boxes
Direct download: OFI_2014_Tuesday_Episode_-_3424_1.19PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A while back I spoke with you about setting your New Year's Resolutions later in the year, rather than on January 1st.  There was a good rationale for that, and I am find that to be proven true.  On today's show I'll share with you what my two resolutions for 2024 are.


Direct download: OFI_2007_Tuesday_Episode_-_22624_11.46AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's episode is significant to me for a couple of reasons.  First, what Dan Frank is doing epitomizes what this show is all about.  He is a small, owner/operator of a business that allowed him to "make it in farm country".  Dan values the lifestyle that living rural and farming brings, and this drives him to find a way to make a living "out there".

Dan chose entrepreneurship to be the main way of creating his income in an area where jobs normally are scarce.  He sees our current economy for what it is - a moment in time that will allow you to get ahead.  Right now, Dan can get all of the side jobs he wants working for other people because unemployment is so low that farmers cannot find labor, let alone quality labor.  However, Dan realizes that this is not going to last forever.  So, instead of sitting back and enjoying the fact that he can work as much as he wants for other people and make good money right now, he is building his own business on the side for when the economy slows and jobs are less plentiful and competition for those jobs is higher.

Dan has been bootstrapping his silage hauling business, Frankie's Feed Movers.  He started out by purchasing an old truck and using an old box on the truck to get started.  He is now creating enough revenue that he is going to be able to upgrade equipment and expand the services he can offer.

Direct download: OFI_2002_Re-Cap_Of_780_-_22924_3.44PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 3:54pm MDT

Rachelle Meyer is 30 years old, the mother of 7 and a successful regenerative farmer from Southeastern Minnesota.  She and her husband, Jordan, have been together since high school, and they have been farming together since they got married.  Jordan grew up on his families farm/dairy, and Rachelle grew up outside of agriculture.  However, her mother had farm ground that she had put in to CRP.  

Jordan and Rachelle struggled to find a viable business model for years until 2018 when they started practicing regenerative farming.  Since that time they have had opportunities develop and productivity increase.  And, they have had input costs go down.  Today, they have multiple streams of revenue from their farms and the farms they lease.  They are direct marketing what they produce, and they are inspired about the lifestyle they have chosen.

Rachelle also works as a "business and mindset coach" helping people to frame their mindsets about farming in such a manner that leads to success.  They are growing their family and growing their farm into the future, together, and today we get to share a bit of this with you.

Direct download: Rachelle_Meyer_Episode_1996_-_22224_2.52PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's ag business episode I am featuring an inspiring entrepreneur who has built a farming enterprise with her husband through regenerative farming practices.  This made me think back to this interview I did with Wil Crombie in 2011, and I realized that it was the perfect tie in to tomorrow's show.  

Direct download: OFI_1995_Replay_Of_1011_Will_Crombie_-_22224_3.02PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 3:13pm MDT

For the third year in a row I ran to the Southwest Desert to find the sun and feel some warmth during the middle of winter.  This is becoming a tradition that I don't think I will ever give up.  I'll talk all about it on today's Farm Update Episode!

Direct download: OFI_1993_Tuesday_Episode_-_22224_10.27AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Spring is coming everyone, and it always makes me think about the spring of 2012.  Back then I had never started a business, but I had identified one that I wanted to start.  The first business I started was gopher extermination, and it was a seasonal business.  All winter and spring I had been getting cold feet and chickening out until one night at about 3am I sat straight up in bed and realized that if I did not get started I would have to wait a whole year more to begin because I would miss the season.

If you have been doing the same thing, the time is now!  Don't wait until May like I did.  Take a step forward and begin.  On today's show I want to go back to an interview about one such business.  If you are thinking about staring a farm photography or video business, growing season is coming!  Get started, and let this interview I did with Doug Armknecht back in 2015 be your inspiration!


Direct download: OFI_1988_Replay_Of_150_-_13124_6.01PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On today's episode I am catching up with Zac Fralix from Southern Tennessee.  Zac was originally on the show in 2015 when he and his, now wife, were going gangbusters raising around 500 goats, teaching people to fit goats, showing goats and fitting on contract all around the country.  Sometime after that, with an urge to stay closer to home, Zach started a landscaping and lawn care business.  He ran that business for 5 years and sold it to take a job with his county.

Today, Zac is married with three kids, and he has been promoted to the assistant director role of their solid waste department.  He is in a stage of life in which his kids and family are taking priority.  The farming has ramped down, and the fitting and showing is only for friends and family.  However, when the day comes, Zac has already proved that he knows how to run a business and he has overcome the fear of doing so.  So, if he decides that is the life he wants at some time in the future, he will be ready to go!


Direct download: Zac_Fralix_Episode_1982_-_2224_5.21PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Spring is coming everyone, and it always makes me think about the spring of 2012.  Back then I had never started a business, but I had identified one that I wanted to start.  The first business I started was gopher extermination, and it was a seasonal business.  All winter and spring I had been getting cold feet and chickening out until one night at about 3am I sat straight up in bed and realized that if I did not get started I would have to wait a whole year more to begin because I would miss the season.

If you have been doing the same thing, the time is now!  Don't wait until May like I did.  Take a step forward and begin.  On today's show I want to go back to an interview about one such business.  If you are thinking about staring a custom fitting service, show season is coming!  Get started, and let this interview I did with Zach Fralix back in 2015 be your inspiration!

Direct download: OFI_1981_Replay_Of_093_-_13124_5.53PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Several years ago I did a series of episodes about the health benefits of entrepreneurship.  I was looking at those today and decided that I would record another episode about this very topic.  I think being an entrepreneur or small business owner is healthier for you than fighting the rat race to get to a career that is the wrong fit for you.  The main reason I believe this is how much stress is piling up on you that you cannot even detect when you are in that rat race situation.  Stick with me in this episode as I contrast the two very different parts of my life.

Direct download: OFI_1979_Tuesday_Episode_-_13124_9.52PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If you listened to my Tuesday episode this week, then you know that one of the most important mentors I have in this entrepreneurial journey, Dan Miller, died in January after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December of 2023.  Dan is a great man who has inspired countless people to change their lives and life styles, including me.  In continuing tribute I wanted to replay this interview I did with Dan back in 2016 to give you another chance to be inspired by his words and outlook on life.

Direct download: OFI_1974_Replay_Of_330_-_13124_5.45PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If you have listened to the Off-Farm Income Podcast for some time, then you have likely heard me speak of Dan Miller on more than one occasion.  Since 2009, Dan has been a mentor, inspiration and "permission giver" to me.  It was around 2009 that I decided that I wanted to change my life, and I started dreaming of entrepreneurship.  It was also then that I discovered Dan and started consuming his content.

Since that time I met Dan in person and became friends with him in 2015.  I talked all about this in episode #67.  In 2017 I had Dan on my show for the very first time on epsiode #330.  And, in 2022 I was a guest of Dan's as a featured entrepreneur for his private Eagles Community, which I recaptured on episode #1362.

Dan was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer on December 7th, 2023.  And he passed on January 23rd.  In today's episode I want to pay tribute to this man who has meant so much to me, and who helped to unlocked the door to the life I was dreaming about.

Direct download: OFI_1972_Tuesday_Episode_-_12924_11.33AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Dr. Alan Harrelson is a history professor at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.  In his dissertation he focused on Agrarian Society in the Antebellum South.  He also has a successful Youtube channel, website and podcast in which he discusses these ideas as a corollary to one of his passions, tobacco pipes and the accompanying lifestyle.

I discovered Dr. Harrelson some months back through his Youtube channel and have enjoyed his ideas on what it means to be an agrarian as well as the history of agriculture looked at from this perspective.  I also find myself aligned with him when it comes to personal choices of how to live life, why we bought agricultural land and the rewards that come from such choices.  I am thrilled that he is joining me on today's episode.

Direct download: Alan_Harrelson_Episode_1968_-_12424_2.26PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode, I am profiling a gentleman that I connected with through the hobby of pipe smoking.  That got me thinking about if I had ever profiled anyone on the show who grew tobacco, and I was so pleased to be reminded of this great interview with Lorrie Barron that I did two years ago.  In addition to so much more, they grow speciality tobacco on their farm in Southern Virginia, and I am thrilled to play their episode again.

Direct download: OFI_1967_Re-Cap_1323_-_12524_3.28PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 3:39pm MDT

Welcome to the Farm Update show for this week.  Today, I am going to be speaking about a new testimonial for a product that was sent to me - Hen Gear's 54" laying box.  Hint: So far, I am very pleased.  I will also be discussing:

  • The ever changing weather conditions on our farm.
  • A car sliding into our fence
  • A snow load related insurance claim at a rental house
Direct download: OFI_1965_Tuesday_Episode_-_12224_2.01PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

We have been experiencing actual winter on the farm ever since we got back from our tropical vacation.  It is funny how things get more complicated with even a little snow and frigid temperatures.  Today, I will talk all about it.

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




Direct download: OFI_1958_Tuesday_Episode_-_11524_12.41PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

An interesting dynamic of our world today is the news cycle.  We know about more of the most horrific events and suffering in the world than any of our predecessors.  However, it turns out that there are a lot of very bad stories out there, each of them compelling.  As such, we have the strange phenomena of hearing about something in another part of the world that causes us great consternation in the short term, but is then replaced by another horrific event that causes us to slowly withdraw concern or even forget about the first event.  And the cycle repeats itself.

Just because we experience this phenomena, does not mean that any of the problems we initially heard about have been fixed or even improved.  It just means that they are not being talked about on a large scale any longer.  But somewhere, there are people still dealing with the issue that still need help.

In 2021, the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan after being omnipresent in that country for two decades.  This created a vacuum that the Taliban quickly filled, and it put the people who worked with the U.S. in our efforts in peril.  This was a great crisis and huge news story at the time, and it compelled me to interview Caroline Clarin, a woman who I had read about that was helping families from Afghanistan that she had come to know when she was doing agricultural work there between 2009 and 2011.

On today's show we are following up with Caroline.  She is still very involved in this work, and her efforts have now evolved into a 501(c)(3) called the Friends And Allies Project where she and her team are working to support five families who made it out of Afghanistan but are stuck in Pakistan trying to get Visas that will allow them to come to the U.S.

Direct download: Caroline_Clarin_Episode_1954_-_1924_2.47PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's Friday episode I am featuring an episode with previous guest, Caroline Clarin.  Caroline first came on the show in 2021 during Christmas, and we discussed the situation with people in Afghanistan who had helped out the United States since the war began there in 2001.  The United States had just pulled out of Afghanistan, and many of them were now in danger because of the return of the Taliban.  On tomorrow's show, Caroline is coming back on to give us an update on that situation, so today I'll play her first episode again to give you an idea of the before and after picture.

Direct download: OFI_1953_Replay_Of_1264_-_11124_3.31PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 3:42pm MDT

Autumm, Hattie and I have just returned from 10 days on the Island of Roatan in Honduras.  That is why you have been hearing "best of" episodes for the past two weeks.  Hattie and I are now certified SCUBA divers, and I've got a lot to tell you in today's farm update!

Direct download: OFI_1951_Tuesday_Episode_-_1824_3.53PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

How would you like to start your farming endeavor, come up with a business model and then find out that the demand for what you were producing was way bigger than you ever expected?  Well, that is exactly what happened to Steve Horton and his wife, Lyn.

Steve's wife Lyn has always wanted to have a farm where they sold raw milk.  After about 20 years of waiting, she and Steve decided to put in a modern, milking barn on their small farm north of Dallas, Texas. They went through the entire process of getting certified and inspected, and they reached a point in which they were legally able to sell raw milk.

Soon, they had a big customer base wanting to purchase raw milk from both their goats and cattle.  Then they started getting requests for other products, so they began selling grass fed meat that they purchased from other farms in their area.  They also started making and selling cheese, yogurt and other products.

Steve and Lyn live in a rapidly expanding rural interface to the north of Dallas, and in this area people are passionate about purchasing food raised the way they want it raised.  Steve states that in this segment of agriculture there is room for a lot of farmers.  Instead of competing with each other, farmers can work in collaboration with each other for the betterment of everyone.


Direct download: OFI_1946_Replay_716_-_121423_7.40PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Entrepreneurship is a very fun and rewarding journey.  But just like anything else there are highs and lows to this journey.  The problem with entrepreneurship is that some of the highs can be so high, that a low that would seem normal for an everyday employee might seem like the Marianas Trench to an entrepreneur.

Direct download: OFI_1944_Replay_531_-_121423_7.18PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Happy New Year's Everyone.  This is always a fun episode because we announce the results of our silly,
agricultural survey, Autumm and Hattie come on the show and we give away prizes.

This year's episode was recorded remotely in Texas!  We are in the midst of an epic trip exploring Texas history, the Southern Border and a watering point on the Goodnight/Loving Trail.  Enjoy the photos!

Thank you all for another great year!  We could not do this without you, and we will be forever grateful.

Direct download: OFI_1943_Replay_547_-_121423_7.29PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Merry Christmas everyone!  I always love creating and recording our Christmas episode for your each year.  However, this year is a little bit different.  This year I have a guest on the show for Christmas who is a person who has done something very compassionate for people who are unbelievably less fortunate than anyone born here in the United States Of America.

You may remember from our rural crime episode #1240 that the final story I covered was about a woman named Caroline Clarin in Fergus Falls, Minnesota who had been helping families to escape Afghanistan and come to the United States.  She has initially been introduced to these families through her work as an agricultural advisor, through the USDA, in Afghanistan.  And of course after being there, meeting these families and seeing the poverty, corruption and violence for herself she was compelled to help them leave.

After covering that first story, I decided to reach out to Caroline and see if she would do an interview to discuss the amazing humanitarian work she had done and was still doing as part of our Christmas episode.  It turned out that the original story I had read mis-represented what had actually happened a little bit.  Today, she is on our show to discuss some of what she learned in Afghanistan, how she helped to get families out, what it was like when she learned the U.S. was pulling out of Afghanistan in August of 2021 and what she is still striving to do.

I cannot imagine anything more Christmasy, regardless of your belief system, than what Caroline did between 2013 and 2021 in helping five families relocate to the U.S. from Afghanistan or what she is still striving to do.  So, Merry Christmas everyone, and her is a heart warming story to help you appreciate just how good we have it in the U.S.

Direct download: OFI_1964_Replay_1264_-_121423_7.08PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Starting tomorrow and going through the 6th of January, I am running "best of" episodes.  I can do 7 episodes per week, but I need a break! And I am taking one.  I hope you enjoy the memories everyone!


Direct download: OFI_1937__-_121423_7.06PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Merry Christmas everyone...just a quick check in to say I appreciate you on this most special of holidays!


Direct download: OFI_1936_Christmas_Day_-_121423_7.04PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Julia McCarthy is a farmer, rancher and freelance writer from Grangeville, Idaho.  Several months back I read an article of hers in a publication about agriculture in my state called Ag Proud Idaho.  The topic caught my eye and I liked the writing, so I invited Julia to be a guest on the show.  Finally, we got the interview done.  

Freelance writing is one of my favorite forms of off-farm income.  It can be done anywhere, and it significantly predates podcasting.  In today's episode Julia talks about her path to becoming a freelance writer, some of the hard lessons she has learned and some tips and tricks of the trade.  If this is something you are considering for your off-farm income, in any topic area, this episode is a must for you!

Direct download: Julia_McCarthy_Episode_1933_-_121223_6.56PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am profiling a freelance, agricultural writer.  This is one of my favorite forms of off-farm income.  For today's re-cap episode I went back to episode #1233 and an interview I did with Rachel Gabel of the "The Fence Post Magazine".  In this interview we talked a lot about how freelance writers can get started and be successful, but we did it from the editor's perspective.  I thought this was the perfect tie in for tomorrow's show where we will hear this from a writer's perspective.


Direct download: OFI_1932_Re-Cap_Episode_-_121323_1.38PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A quick farm update for all of you today, and a sure fire method for keeping any livestock or dogs from going under your fences.


Direct download: OFI_1930_Tuesday_Episode_-_121423_7.02PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Teak Barhaug is the past president of the Alaska FFA, a current student at the University Of Alaska - Fairbanks and a former resident of Wyoming.  When Teak's father transferred to Alaska to finish his career in the National Forest Service it came at a bit of a price.  Teak's mother, Kimberly, was a former FFA member, Teak's brother had been involved in the 4h and was progressing into the FFA and Teak had been involved in the 4H and was planning on progressing to the FFA.  However, there was no FFA Chapter in Seward, where they would be attending high school.

So, Teak and his family took it upon themselves to form an FFA Chapter.  This happened with the minimum number of 10 members, and it took off from there.  This escalated all the way to Teak serving as the state president of Alaska.  During Teak's time in high school he worked in the agri-tourism industry, taking groups of tourists into the wilderness to pan for gold and teaching the how.  Today, Teak is studying biology and botany in college and is loving the life he has found in Alaska.

Direct download: Teak_Barhaug_Episode_1929_-_121223_3.30PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Forrest Pritchard is a regenerative and multi-generational farmer from the Shenandoah Valley of Northern Virginia.  His families roots on the farm go to the mid-1800's, and today he has transformed the look and production of the farm back to something that might resemble how farmsteads operated in that time.

Forrest was not always interested in regenerative, direct to consumer farming.  However, after trying to make it as a commodity based farmer, he went looking for larger profit margins, and this is where he landed.  It helped that this was a manner of farming that offered him the ability to provide service and food to his surrounding community.  He has been at it since the mid 1990's.

Forrest is co-author of the outstanding book, "Start Your Farm", that he wrote with Ellen Polishuk.  I first found out about this book after seeing a quote from it on a social media post discussing the fact that small farmers still choose the commodity based farming model even though their small acreages could never possibly produce a profit on those low margins due to lack of production capability.  This led me to want to know more.  The book is full of great advice, and it is the book I would write if I were ever to sit down to actually do it.  Thankfully, Ellen and Forrest have done it for me, and I can concentrate on podcasting!

Direct download: Forrest_Pritchard_Episode_1926_-_121223_7.17PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am speaking with a farmer and author who has written a book about how to start your farm.  I thought this interview that I did with Mara Fielder could bring some real life to the interview I am playing tomorrow.  On tomorrow's show we will talk about timing and things to take into consideration when beginning.  But, in this interview with Mara, we hear it from somebody who was going through it at the time, and it adds a sense of a first hand witness to the situation.


Direct download: OFI_1925_Replay_Of_1155_-_121323_3.44PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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.

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




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

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 MDT

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!

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





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

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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

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



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

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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

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


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

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 MDT

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

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


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

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT

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 MDT