Off-Farm Income (farming)

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

  1. Urban Sprawl and disappearing farms
  2. The period between the Super Bowl and March Madness
  3. When is it a good idea to get a Harley Davidson
  4. A better mouse trap
  5. Our new Ag College Episode

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Direct download: OFI_1629_Tuesday_Episode_-_22023_7.29_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

A.W. Erwin is a syndicated "cowboy cartoonist" with a quick wit and funny personality.  He has been drawing cartoons of cowboys and cowgirls in funny situations for decades now, and this is his form of "off-farm income".

Making his home in north central Texas, he is immersed in the cowboy lifestyle knowing people far and wide who are preserving the old ways and arts of cowboying.  To keep his commute as a short walk from his house to his studio, A.W. has developed a line of products he sells as well as services.  He has mastered "re-purposing".  A drawing he made yesterday might become a coffee mug tomorrow and a calendar next year.

A.W. made his first appearance on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2015, and he is back today with more inspiration and advice for artists who don't know how to turn their passion into a full-time business.

Direct download: A.W._Erwin_Episode_1625_-_12523_7.41_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's episode I get to catch up with A.W. Erwin, who first appeared on our show in 2015 on episode #15!  A.W. has a very quick wit, an incredible artistic ability and he has turned this into a successful business that has supported his family and his ranching endeavors for decades.

On today's re-cap episode I am going to bring the very first interview I did with A.W. back.  You can get the before and after picture on A.W., and you will definitely get a before and after picture of me as an interviewer and podcaster....


Direct download: OFI_1634_Replay_Of_015_-_21523_3.05_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Grace DiGiovanni is a 2022 National Proficiency Winner in the category of Service Learning.  With a title like that, you know that she had done something significant to help out her community, but after doing a complete interview with her it was obvious that she is wired to help her fellow human.

Grace is currently attending college at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.  She has her eyes set on medical school and oncology. She has a scientific and inquisitive brain, and all of us are blessed that people like Grace exist.  She has a desire to work on the macro and micro in oncology in her career.  On the micro level she sees herself helping individual patients through oncological surgery to address their specific needs.  On the macro she sees herself studying the tumors that she has just removed for the betterment of all of society!

Of course, this is no surprise when you learn what Grace's SAE was.  She saw that the food that was being included in a local backpack food program was not very nutrient dense or healthy.  So, she obtained a grant, community volunteers and donations from the community to change this.  Ultimately she wound up taking over the entire program and leaving a legacy in her community.  And, during all of this she obtained over 80 college credits through dual credit courses.  That number is a new record of college credits obtained in high school on the Off-Farm Income Podcast!

Direct download: Grace_DiGiovanni_Episode_1623_-_11823_1.34_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I have been on a twelve day quest to find the sun, feel it's warmth and find my people.....I succeeded and today I'll tell you all about it...

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Direct download: OFI_1622_Tuesday_Episode_-_2923_6.07_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Jessica Hart is the owner of Deschutes Farm Services in Bend, Oregon.  She is also a certified veterinary technician and former rancher.  Jessica moved to Bend about four years ago and found herself starting a new chapter of her life in a town that was starting a new chapter of its own.  As many native citizens of Bend were moving out and making room for people emigrating from places like California, Jessica saw an opportunity. 

Many of the California transplants had the money to purchase homes with acreage and had very options to purchase homes without acreage.  So, there wound up being a lot of people with no experience, who never planned on raising livestock or farming, trying to manage small acreages.  This is where Jessica came in with the skill set that she already had.  Deschutes Farm Services was born.  

Today Jessica specializes in hoof trimming for goats, farm and ranch sitting and consulting with new land owners on what type of operation to start and how to get it going.  She is a full-time entrepreneur, working with new landowners.  

Direct download: Jessica_Hart_Episode_1618_-_11923_11.08_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am featuring a guest who learned a lot of different livestock management practices over the years, and then found herself living in an area with a lot of small farms.  She took all of these skills and turned them into a small business helping these new livestock owners.

One of those skills is hoof trimming, and that reminded me of early interview with Randy Hettinga who has a hoof trimming business in my hometown of Kuna, Idaho.  He serves the dairy industry and took some time to speak with me about how this business works.  I thought it fit great to bring this interview back to you today.

Direct download: OFI_1617_Replay_Of_058_-_2123_11.30_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I have failed a lot on my farm and as an entrepreneur.  It is all part of the journey, and if you frame your perspective correctly it is part of the fun.  In today's episode I am discussing some of these failures, including:

  • Cover Crop fail - only just a few days of feed on that
  • Holding goats until January 
  • Having listeners find Friday guests
  • Finding a producer

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Direct download: OFI_1615_Tuesday_Episode_-_2123_12.04_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Kate Ziehm is the president and owner of Morning Ag Clips and has an incredible story of agricultural entrepreneurship.  There are many ways and motivations that form people into entrepreneurs, Kate's was lifestyle.  Many times people choose entrepreneurship for lifestyle purposes thinking it is going to bring them passive income and the famous "four hour workweek".  Kate's lifestyle was a bit different than that.  She was adjusting to being a single mother of three sons, and being there to raise them was her #1 priority.  Entrepreneurship was what was going to allow her to fulfill that vision.

When Kate took over Morning Ag Clips it was simply an email sent to a list about agricultural issues in the State Of New York.  Kate's vision, passion for agriculture and love of this business led to massive growth under her ownership.  Today Morning Ag Clips publishes 28 versions, covering 35 states, with employees spread all over the country.  It has evolved from the email list to a website and most recently, a mobile app!

Kate is truly an inspiration in agriculture, and in today's episode we get to share her story.

Direct download: Kate_Ziehm_Episode_1599_-_121522_4.48_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode we are speaking with a very enterprising agricultural entrepreneur from New York State.  The crux of her story is that through entrepreneurship and a set of skills that she already had, she found her place in agriculture.  Today, she is making major contributions to our industry and keeping us all informed.

This made me think of my interview with Wil Crombie.  Wil definitely had a winding path that took him out of and then back to agriculture, and finally into a new way of participating in farming.  While Wil was away he was developing a skill set that would allow him to create the off-farm income that he would need and share the world of agriculture that he was passionate about.  This was the perfect prelude to tomorrow's ag business episode, and I am happy to bring Wil's episode back for you today.


Direct download: OFI_1610_Replay_Of_1011_-_2123_10.53_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today is a farm update episode everyone.  We will cover:

  • Changing my security plans about goat theft
  • The tractor that ended horsepower
  • The lost art of manure pick up
  • How to irritate staff at the livestock auction
  • Why you should never put scrapies tags in your goats early

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



Direct download: 1.31.23_Tuesday_Episode_-_13023_5.05_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Andrew Swafford is a county commissioner in Bledsoe County, Tennessee and at the time of this writing he is 25 years old.  Andrew is also the owner of three chicken houses, a 749 acre plot of timber, a forestry business called Four Aims Forestry and a graduate student at the University Of Georgia.  He clearly is a high achiever, and this is something that we at the Off-Farm Income Podcast have known for almost a decade.  

Andy, as he likes to be called, first appeared on the show in 2015 as a recently graduated high school student with a bee business called Andy's Bee Keeping.  Back then he was collected, bottling and selling honey to customers all around his community in Tennessee.  He was just getting ready to begin college at the University Of Tennessee back then, and oh how far he has gone since then!  

I like to see the progress the guests on the Off-Farm Income Podcast have made from time to time, and I was blown away when I read Andy's resume on Linkedin.  I am happy to welcome him back onto the show today to give us the details on the journey that he has been on and what is next to come!

Direct download: Andrew_Swafford_Episode_1605_-_11223_4.29_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today is a farm update episode everyone.  We will cover:

  • Beautiful night skies during calving/kidding season
  • The lure of the predator
  • The great relief of remembering that goats are just dumb
  • The archeology of our local area of Idaho
  • The worst roads in America

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Direct download: OFI_1602_Tuesday_Episode_-_12423_6.50_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 6:59am MST

The Shepherdess At Harmony Farms is named Grace, and she has an unbelievable story.  Starting at the age of 11 she lived in the suburbs of Austin, Texas and was purchasing and re-marketing garage sale items online.  She developed an incredible talent for online marketing during her teen years to the point that she developed a 7 figure apparel company using the marketing skills she had developed.  Then, there was a drastic change.

Grace was living with her parents at this time, and they decided that it was time to move to an area where they could purchase some land and get further away from encroaching urban sprawl.  This took the whole family to northeast Texas, where her folks bought 30 acres.  In an effort to keep their agricultural property tax exemption, they began raising sheep, and for the first two years, Grace wanted nothing to do with this.  However, in 202o that all changed.

Once Grace embraced taking care of the livestock and farming, she fell in love with the lifestyle and work.  This led her to develop a passion for findng a way to stay on the farm.  She took the online marketing skills that she already had and started applying them to the families farming enterprise and "The Shepherdess At Harmony Farms" was born.

Today Grace is selling premium Dorper Sheep, online courses, merchandise, sheep supplies and other SWAG.  She is fired up about telling young people how they will be able to get into farming and why that is a great choice.  And, she is putting outstanding content out on her blog and her YouTube Channel.  And, I am lucky enough to interview her today.

Direct download: Shepherdess_Episode_1599_-_11823_11.24_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hello everybody.  We have a farm update episode today, and I am excited about the developments at our place.  I hope you will join us to talk goats, a new market for goats, beef, word of mouth marketing and so much more!

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Direct download: OFI_1596_Tuesday_Episode_-_11623_7.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Darrell Anderson is a career, agricultural broadcaster.  He left his families farm after high school for college, and during college discovered his interest in broadcasting.  This led Darrell in several different directions.  Today, after a career's worth of the radio business Darrell is working as an independent agricultural broadcaster.  He hosts a syndicated, 90 second show, called Farm To Fork that is played on stations all around the country, five days per week.

In today's episode Darrell will retrace his journey to where he is at today.  And, we we will talk about how a young person who wants to be an agricultural broadcaster can start their own, independent show in the way that Darrell has, today.

Direct download: Darrell_Anderson_Episode_1593_-_12822_9.14_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's farm update show I want to inspire you on your journey in pursuit of your new lifestyle!  

Direct download: OFI_1590_Tuesday_Episode_-_1923_4.30_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Farm Link is a program in Nebraska that strives to match up retiring farmers and ranchers with new and beginning farmers and ranchers that are looking for an operation to take over.  The obstacles of entry into farming and ranching are very high, making it difficult for a newcomer to get started.  At the same time there are retiring farmers and ranchers that want to see their land support another family the way that it did theirs, and they are willing to work with a young person to make this happen.  

Allan Vyhnalek is an extension educator for the University Of Nebraska at Lincoln, and he started the Nebraska Farm Link Program in January of 2021.  In today's episode we will discuss how it works, options for transition plans and some of the things he sees that are holding new and beginning farmers back from taking full advantage of this resource.  

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Direct download: Allan_Vyhnalek_Episode_1587_-_12622_3.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

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_1586_Replay_Of_389_-_1423_4.45_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's farm update show, let's talk about my goals for 2023, including:

  • Be better at gopher control
  • More frequent pasture rotations
  • Sell sweet corn in a road side stand
  • Start a working dog
  • Become more of a vagabond on Idaho’s back roads
  • Graze goats on our canal more
  • Start a couple of pack goats

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Direct download: OFI_1584_Tuesday_Episode_-_1223_3.51_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

A quick farm update on a "kind of" week off between Christmas and New Years.  This one has it all: goats, freezing rain and more....

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Direct download: OFI_1578_Tuesday_Episode_-_122622_6.20_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Gracee Poorman has overcome a lot in her life, and dealing with the difficult challenges of overcoming obstacles is probably what attracts her to agriculture.  She did not grow up in agriculture, but through a series of twists and turns she found herself working in a commercial hog barn.  She also found many people skeptical about her ability to put in the work and be successful working in that environment, and that drove her to prove them wrong.....which she did!

Today Gracee is married and living and working on the family farm that has been in her husband's family for two centuries.  She is what I would describe as a serial entrepreneur.  Gracee is running several businesses including photography, pressure washing, agricultural consulting and public speaking.  She keeps herself very busy with different streams of revenue as well as working on her families farm.  In this episode, we will get a glimpse into what drives her.

Direct download: Gracee_Poorman_Episode_1575_-_12122_3.18_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hi everyone.  We have a farm update for you today and some more weather talk.  Yes, I love the weather and I love interesting weather.  We seem to have that in abundance right now, and I talk all about it in today's Tuesday Episode.


Direct download: OFI_1572_Tuesday_Episode_-_121922_3.43_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Lance Irving is the program director for the Leopold Conservation Award which is presented to one farmer in each of 25 participating states.  The award comes after a farmer has been nominated for the conversation practices on their farm that are both financially sound and environmentally beneficial.  The award is facilitated and presented by the Sand County Foundation, which is named after Aldo Leopold's watershed book titled "A Sand County Almanac" which was released in 1949.

On today's episode Lance will speak with us about the award, the work of the Sand County Foundation, working for a foundation and his journey that led him into this position.  We will also discuss trends that he is seeing in agriculture and the use of conversation practices and the philosophy of the Sand County Foundation on educating people about this way of farming.

Direct download: Lance_Irving_Episode_1569_-_113022_3.28_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am profiling the Leopold Conservation Award that is given out by the Sand County Foundation each year to one farmer in 25 states.  The Sand County Foundation has a significant tie to Wisconsin and, of course, Aldo Leopold.  Whenever I think of old time Wisconsin, I immediately thing of Jerry Apps and his great story telling ability.  So, on today's re-cap episode I thought it would be great to revisit the second interview I ever did with Jerry.

Direct download: OFI_1568_Replay_Episode_-_121422_2.46_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

The last piece of media I took in last night before bed was the weather report.  My favorite meteorologist predicted that the rain we were receiving would turn to snow over night but that little to no accumulation would occur.  She did give the caveat that if snow were to stick it would have to be from a very fast and heavy snowfall, which was very unlikely.

The first thing I heard this morning was my wife on the telephone receiving a call notifying her that her school district was taking a snow day today because of the heavy snowfall over night and the horrible road conditions!  I went outside to feed and found four inches of very wet and heavy snow.  And for a weather dork like me, that is a very happy surprise!


Direct download: OFI_1566_Tuesday_episode_-_121222_3.39_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Jenn & Phil Tomkins (Homestead Jenn & Phil) are the creators of "Rent The Chicken", an affiliate business that is helping farmers across the U.S. and Canada to create extra revenue and support their farming lifestyle.  They are also helping prospective entrepreneurs to get experience running their own businesses and gain the courage to really go out on their own.

Phil & Jenn are based in Western Pennsylvania, but they have affiliates spread far and wide.  They are also growing knowledge about agriculture by creating an easy way for non-farmers to get exposure to raising their own chickens and collecting their own eggs.  Jenn & Phil first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2015 on episode #30, and today they are back to update us on the growth of their business and how they have sustained their transition to being full-time entrepreneurs.



Direct download: Rent_The_Chicken_Episode_1563_-_112922_3.17_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode I am catching up with Jenn and Phil Tompkins of "Rent The Chicken".  They first appeared on the show in 2015 on episode #30.  Their business is still going strong, and they are both full-time entrepreneurs in agriculture.

For today's re-cap episode I wanted to provide you with their very appearance on the show.  

Direct download: OFI_1562_Replay_Of_030_-_12722_8.02_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

It is that time of year when we have successfully raised a calf crop to finishing weights and deliver them to the butcher.  However, the timing of this trip factoring in the weather and traffic is always an interesting part of our story.  And of course, it can be a little bit bitter-sweet to have these livestock that we have known for so long fulfill their life purpose.  However, it is ultimately a very good day.

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Direct download: OFI_1560_Tuesday_Episode_-_12522_3.56_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Nick Tsiolis is the founder of Farmer's Keeper, a grain merchandising company in Chicago.  Nick and his team provide grain merchandising advice and assistance to farmers of all sizes, and they are especially helpful to those farmers on the bubble who are thinking about marketing some or all of their grain in the futures markets.

I like to say that I can podcast about agriculture because I know a little about a lot.  However, futures and the marketing of grain has always been a blind spot for me, so I was eager to speak with Nick and to learn more about how this is done.

Direct download: Nick_Tsiolis_Episode_1557_-_111622_6.19_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

We did something very different for Thanksgiving this year.  We took a trip to Moab, Utah and spent the holiday with friends, rather than family. We then returned to a snowy farm to kick off the Christmas season!

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Direct download: OFI_1554_Tuesday_Episode_-_112822_12.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Pete Curran began his career in agriculture at age 55 after a job loss.  He began working in seed sales and started meeting farmers.  This lit him on fire about agriculture, farming operations and farmers.  Soon, he was doing something unconventional, asking farmers if he could take photographs of them.  This led to a collection of photos and ultimately his book, "When I Listened To A Farmer".

I discovered Pete through social media, and he sent me a copy of his book.  The photographs that he has been able to capture with just an iPhone are fantastic, and he clearly has an eye for telling a story through a lens.  The writing style in the book is unique and makes you think.  As Pete explains it, this is exactly how he communicates, and it works.

Direct download: Pete_Curran_Episode_1551_-_11222_6.18_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I have a ton of gratitude for all of you, and thank you so much for being in this audience.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Direct download: OFI_1550_Thanksgiving_-_112222_2.57_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Happy Thanksgiving Week to all of you!  On today's solo episode, I want to take some time to thank our great sponsors!

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Direct download: OFI_1548_Tuesday_Episode_-_112122_6.39_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Ross Cady is a territory manager for Corteva Agriscience in South Central Minnesota.  Ross first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast 7.5 years ago in 2015 on episode #27.  He was one of the first ever FFA students featured on the show.  Since then he completed high school, was an Illinois State Star Finalist, graduated from Iowa State University and found the job that he had always been imagining with Corteva Agriscience.

In today's episode Ross and I catch up on 7.5 years of life, we discuss the four internships he did during college and how they helped shape him, and we discuss how he identified the career position he wanted and then reverse engineered the pathway to obtaining that job - which he did!

Direct download: Ross_Cady_Episode_1545_-_11122_4.11_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today I was listening to a radio show, and they were commenting on a TikTok Video in which an individual stated that there is no way to live on less than $25/hour in the U.S. with current cost of living averages.  This got me thinking about another topic I have touched on in the past, and that is how lucky those of us with a rural mindset are because we can live so cheaply in so many rural areas.  It also got me thinking about the common refrain about college tuition being so high and outrageous student loan debt compared to the reality that I encountered at the National FFA Convention.

On today's show I want to cover these thoughts more in depth.

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Direct download: OFI_1542_Tuesday_Episode_-_111422_7.16_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

James McMurtry is a songwriter, singer and musician who has been writing incredible lyrics since the 1980's and touring the country entertaining audiences ever since.  I have had tickets to see James for months with a show date of October 25th for several months.  I reached out to James' business manager and made the request for an interview, and James graciously said "yes".  So, during the afternoon prior to the show I sat down with James in his hotel room and learned a lot about music and song writing.


Direct download: James_McMurtry_Episode_1539_-_102522_5.32_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Erik Dylan is a singer and songwriter who has written some of my favorite songs such as "Baseball On The Moon", which he collaborated with Luke Combs on, and "Map Dot Town".  He first appeared on the show in episode #471 and was gracious enough to agree to an interview.

On tomorrow's show I am featuring another great songwriter and performer.  This episode with Erik flows into tomorrow's episode very well, and I am happy to bring some great music back to the Off-Farm Income Podcast.


Direct download: OFI_1538_Re-Cap_Of_471_-_11922_7.46_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

There is a lot going on, on our farm, and here is a bullet list of today's topics:

  • Goats are eating our cover crops - and that is good thing.
  • The time has changed!
  • I'm seeing an increase in demand for beef and eggs all the sudden.
  • Bird shortages.
  • The 2022 World Series - 20 years later.

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Direct download: OFI_1536_Tuesday_Episode_-_11722_6.30_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Farmer Lee Jones is a lifelong farmer, regenerative farming expert and innovative entrepreneur.  Along with his brother, Bob, Lee owns and operates his families farm on land that has been his families farm twice.  Everything you need to know about how to succeed in your personal quest to farm, i.e. perseverance, entrepreneurship, vision, goal setting and valuing people is in this episode.  The Jones farm has existed for over 50 years, has been auctioned off and then risen again to grow to great levels of success.  The principles discussed in this interview are essential for any person who has farming as a goal in their life.

Direct download: Farmer_Lee_Jones_Episode_1533_-_101922_5.58_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hanna Laney sells beef direct to restaurants in the Portland, Oregon area and first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in episode #784.  Today I'm bringing this episode back to highlight this method of farm business sustainability and tie in with tomorrow's ag business episode.


Direct download: OFI_1532_Re-Cap_Of_784_-_11322_3.24_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 3:44pm MST

Jenny Schweigert is a small farmer, agricultural advocate and a very well know agricultural communicator.  Jenny has also faced challenges due to Crohn's Disease that threatened her life and put her on the sidelines of her ag communications business for several months.  In today's episode Jenny and I catch up and have a great conversation about meaningful agricultural advocacy and communication.  Jenny first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2015 in episode #50.


Direct download: Jenny_Schweigert_Episode_1527_-_101822_5.11_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's episode we go back into the archives to revisit a great interview with a great agricultural communicator, Lyndsey Murphy.  Lyndsey first appeared on the show in 2019 when we spoke about the businesses she was building in Ohio.  She has a very interesting story, and this is one that I am very proud to bring out of the archives to play for you again.

Direct download: OFI_1526_Replay_of_792_-_102422_5.53_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Lesley Kelly is a farmer, podcaster, author and speaker with a very personal message about mental health on farms.  Growing up on her families farm in Saskatchewan, Leslie thought she was bound for the big city and things "bigger" than farming.  However, as those dreams started to come to fruition she realized that she missed the farming lifestyle, and when the opportunity to farm full-time with her husband, father and brother presented itself she and her husband made the leap.  

There have been many stressors throughout this journey from mother nature and the nature of farming.  These have taken their toll on everyone in the family in one way or another.  On today's episode Lesley will discuss her journey, why we both love Mad Men and breaking the stigma of mental health in our agricultural communities.  

Direct download: Lesley_Kelly_Episode_1521_-_101122_4.14_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's re-cap episode we are going back to episode #912 when we spoke with fellow ag podcaster, Jason Medows.  Jason is a cattle rancher in Missouri with his wife and children.  His podcast, Ag State Of Mind, deals with the issues of mental health in agriculture, and in this interview we have a very candid discussion.  This is a great tie in to tomorrow's ag business episode that is going to touch on a lot of the same subjects.  


Direct download: OFI_1520_Replay_Of_912_-_102022_7.25_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 7:34am MST

Today is a legitimate farm update!  We will cover:

  • Weaning our calves and why this year all the neighbors have something say
  • The progress of my cover crop experiment

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Direct download: OFI_1518_Tuesday_Episode_-_101722_4.14_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Karoline Rose is the founder and CEO of Cattleman U, KRose Company, and The Rancher's Daughter. Her mission is to show ranchers - specifically ranch women - how valuable their creative side is on the ranch. She believes empowering women on the operation is the best way to ensure the operation continues on for the next generation, and that is what she and her team strive to do. Watching women strive for and achieve personal and professional growth on their ranch lights her up.

Karoline first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast seven years ago as she was beginning this journey.  Today we get caught up.  It is amazing how far she has come in under ten years.

Direct download: Karoline_Rose_Episode_1515_-_10422_7.26_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode we are catching up with previous guest, Karoline Rose.  I first had Karoline on the show in 2015, and she was doing amazing things then.  However, her progress and everything that she is doing in the world of cattle marketing and cattle raising is really astonishing.  The growth of her multiple enterprises is coming along at an astonishing rate.  I am going to replay her original interview today so you can compare it to the new interview I did with her tomorrow.

Direct download: OFI_1514_Replay_Of_342_-_101322_8.41_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 8:51am MST

This weekend was my annual father/daughter trip to Yellowstone National Park.  Man are we lucky to live so close!

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Direct download: OFI_1512_Tuesday_Episode_-_101022_8.04_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

The whole point of the Off-Farm Income Podcast is to provide you with business ideas that will help you to support your farming or ranching lifestyle through entrepreneurship.  Today's guest is already doing that, just at age 22.  There is a twist to Justin Miklaszewski's business.  The business he created, which is exploding by the way, guarantee's his farm will sell 100% of the livestock it produces at a premier price.

Justin started direct selling cuts of meat when he was about 15 years of age.  This happened not because he was trying to start a business but because he was out of freezer space with two pigs he was feeding that he was unable to sell at the state fair.  He put out an ad on Facebook to sell the meat and the response he got was huge. He saw something in that opportunity and explored it.  He had desired to own his own business for years already at that point, and this seemed to be a good fit.

Over the next six years he built this business up to the point that he constantly had people coming to his home to pick up meat.  It was sometime after that, that he realized he needed to find a retail location, and then, just like that, the perfect spot opened up on a highly trafficked highway.  That location and the large number of farmer's markets that he was participating in propelled him into a very fast growing business.

Justin competes against himself, and part of what drives him is the ability to see just what he can accomplish.  Considering that he is just 22 years of age, it is going to be exciting to see where he takes this!

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Direct download: Justin_Miklaszewski_Episode_1509_-_10322_3.58_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode I am featuring an absolute phenom of agricultural entrepreneurship who is building quite a retail business for the livestock that he raises on his farm.  For today's re-cap episode I am going to take you back to an interview I conducted with David Hancock who was doing the same thing when we first spoke, and he has continued to build an unbelievable business since then.

The original show notes are below:



Do you dream of farming and being able to stay on your farm full time?  Do you love to share agriculture and what you love about it with other people?  Do you enjoy livestock and love to brag about the meat you produce on your own place?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then selling retail cuts of your own meat at a farmer's market or on your own place might just be the answer you are looking for.

Let's face it, my show is all about using entrepreneurship to support your farming endeavors.  Even though this is what I do and what I teach, it does not mean that it is the ultimate goal.  Ultimately, all of us would like to do nothing but farm.  We would like to be that person who wakes up with the chickens, beds down the cows and only leaves the farm because we want to in between.

Our guest today, David Hancock, has a recipe for doing just that.  No two farms or farmers are alike, and you may have more or less challenges than David has had to overcome.  But one thing is for certain, he loves farming and needed to figure out a niche to achieve his dream of farming full time.  He did that through selling individual cuts of meat.

David shares a wealth of information in this interview.  It is practically a blue print for anyone who wants to find a way to farm full time.



Facebook: LINK

Website: LINK

Telephone: 301-752-2353

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Direct download: OFI_1508_Replay_Of_944_-_10322_5.25_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

This weekend we did an experiment selling coffee from our farm on a friend's coffee trailer.  I wouldn't say that we have a new business, but I was reminded how just trying something can lead to a waterfall of business ideas, and I will discuss this with you today.

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Direct download: OFI_1506_Tuesday_Episode_-_10322_5.50_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's episode I get to catch up with one of the first guests I ever had on the show, Pake McNally.  Pake first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in 2015 to talk about blacksmithing and his aspirations for ranching.  Today he is back and we will be talking blacksmithing, why he joined the Army at age 30, starting a family, starting over in the blacksmith world and much, much more.  You are going to enjoy this interview.  I sure did!

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Direct download: Pake_McNally_Episode_1503_-_92822_7.59_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's re-cap episode we are going way back into the archives, all the way to episode #18.  I am going to replay an interview I did with Pake McNally over seven years ago when he had just taken over a blacksmith shop and was building that business with aspirations of having his own cattle herd.  On tomorrow's ag business episode I am having him back on the show to catch up, see what's changed and get a glimpse into what his life looks like now.  I thought letting you hear the "before interview" would help prepare you for the "after interview.

The original show notes are below.

If you are interested in this business don't forget your safety glasses!



READ YOUR ART: In Pake's free time he finds magazines to read that inspire his artistic ideas.  He looks at car magazines and other things that give him ideas.  He and Nevada Miller both do the same thing to give them ideas, they look at magazines and journals about their interests and receive inspiration.

PRACTICE: When Pake is not looking for inspiration in reading materials, he is tinkering and experimenting with cheap or free materials that he has found and can afford to practice with.

MAKE MISTAKES: Pake tells you not to be afraid to make mistakes.  The only way to get better is to "fail forward."  Experiment, make mistakes and learn from them.

EDUCATE YOURSELF: Don't ever stop learning.  Pake is always reading, experimenting and doing whatever he can to keep learning.

STAY HUNGRY: Do not allow yourself to become complacent.  Pursue something that interests you, and if that interest fades find something else that interests you.


TINKER, EXPERIMENT AND SEEK KNOWLEDGE: When Pake gets home from the shop in the evening it is automatic for him to pick up experimental materials, a magazine or a Youtube video that is going to help him grown in his craft.


SAY NO: Of course you want to say "yes" at some point.  That day is coming.  But one thing that is consistent across all genres of entrepreneurs is the inability or at least struggle with saying "no".

Pake was reminded early by Tom Smith, a blacksmith and mentor to Pake, that he would have to be able to say "no."  If Pake says yes to everything the quality of his work will suffer, both because he would not have time to do his best work and because he would take projects that do not interest him.


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Direct download: Pake_McNally_Replay_Episode_1502_-_92822_8.05_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Thanks to friend of the show, Warren Clark, we have an interesting study about off-farm income to present you with today.  Also, I've got a farm update for you, and let's talk about the best example of prioritizing starting a farm I've ever covered on this show!

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Direct download: OFI_1500_Tuesday_Episode_-_92622_4.10_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

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.

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Direct download: David_Philpot_Episode_1497_-_91322_4.42_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On last week's Tuesday episode I started talking about how my original business, Idaho Gopher Control, has now had three sets of owners.  It got me thinking about the all of the unintended, positive ripple effects of starting my very first business.  It also made me realize how close I came to chickening out on starting my own business, and what would not have happened if I gave into fear.  On today's episode, I'd like to discuss those things with you.

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Direct download: OFI_1494_Tuesday_Episode_-_91322_4.13_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's episode I get to interview a neighbor.  Well, at least a neighbor  compared to so many of my other guests.  Felecia Hillyard raises goats and flowers at her farm on Chicken Dinner Road in Caldwell, about 20 miles from my farm.  She has a very interesting business model with enterprises that compliment each other.

To hear Felecia tell her story, the first time she laid eyes on goats, behaving like goats behave, she was enamored.  This got her started talking about how much she wanted to raise goats when she was at work, and it turned out that one of her colleagues name Jamie, raised goats of her own.  Ultimately, Felecia purchased 12 goats from Jamie, and Jamie ended up being a close friend and mentor to her.

Soon, Felecia leased the farm that she currently owns and started growing her herd.  It wasn't long after that, that she recognized that between manure, bedding and hay waste the goats were leaving behind what would be great compost.  She started making compost with the bi-product and needed something to do with it.  This led her to start growing flowers.

Felecia found a farm that was going out of business and selling a hoop house, and she bought it.  After disassembling it at their location she transported it back to her farm and put it back together.  Today, Felecia grows flowers in her goat compost, cuts them, arranges them and sells them at an unsupervised roadside stand in front of her place.  She hasn't experienced any problems with theft, and since the beginning the bulk of her sales have changed from cash purchases to electronic purchases.

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Direct download: Felecia_Hillyard_Episode_1491_-_9722_5.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's episode we are revisiting a very early episode I did featuring Chris and Ramona Long.  They were raising rabbits and then creating "rabbit tea fertilizer" with the manure that was for sale.  I loved the concept that they had, and how they were using the waste as a value added product.

This interview is a perfect tie in for tomorrow' ag business episode, and I am looking forward to bringing it back to you right now.

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Direct download: OFI_1490_Re-Cap_Of_058_-_91222_6.35_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today is a farm update episode everyone.  I've got a ton of reasons to be both excited and thankful this fall, and I will be detailing them in this episode:

  • We have our irrigation shut off date
  • I am already feeding hay (with a caveat)
  • My newly planted cover crop is coming up very well!

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Direct download: OFI_1488_Tuesday_Episode_-_91222_3.54_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

We have talked about the different ways in which businesses get started on this show many, many times.  The most common answers are people being frustrated that something does not exist and then creating it, or people seeing a product or service and knowing that they could do it better.  While these encompass the vast majority of stimulus behind business development, there are other reasons that can be even more compelling.  In today's episode our guests, Karen and Nik Fitch, will share their story of the development of the Cuddle Cow Company and how unbelievable adversity inspired this business.

Nik and Karen have been married since 2017, and prior to meeting each other they were both already on a path to farming and raising cattle.  After they exchanged vows, they were able to obtain a farm together that was in CRP.  This gave them time to focus on fixing up facilities as well as the home, and they continued to build a herd of cattle that Karen had already started on her father's property.

Since she was very young, Karen had been dealing with a congenital condition called "AVM" or "arterial venous malformation" which was located on her upper spine.  This had required constant monitoring by physicians and some surgery to deal with, but the prognosis was good.  However, in 2019, quite by surprise, that all changed and Karen found herself with a significant spinal cord injury as a result of the "AVM".  This led to months in multiple different hospitals, her having a very elevated risk to Covid when that began and her not not having the use of her limbs and needing 24 hour care.

This is the type of situation that can and does lead so many people to lose hope or to blame the world for being unfair.  However, in Karen and Nik's case it led to inspiration.  After the spinal cord injury took place they were inspired to start a business that would raise money for spinal cord research at the same time as it functioned as a business for them.

Seeing a gentleman whose business model was donating a pair of shoes to somebody in need for every pair that he sold inspired them to try the same thing.  There were a few criteria for this business.  First, they wanted the business to somehow share their farm and love of agriculture with the world.  Second, they wanted the business to help further spinal cord research.  And last, they wanted to provide the comfort to their customers that had been brought to Karen when somebody sent her a blanket to snuggle with while she was in the hospital.  Cuddle Cow Company was born.

In today's episode hear the incredible story from Karen and Nik themselves, and find out all about how they decided to sell blankets, how they are able to enhance those blankets and how they have broadened their product line!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1485-Nik_And_Karen_Fitch-COMM_10_54-090722.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I have been looking into some innovative ways to improve the productivity of my farm, and some really outside the box ideas.  On today's farm update, I'll tell you all about them.

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Direct download: OFI_1482_Tuesday_Episode_-_9522_6.58_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Some time back we broadened our horizons on the Off-Farm Income Podcast, and on our ag business episodes started interviewing farmers with value added business rather than just off-farm businesses.  That has been a great decision, and I am so happy that we opened it up.  It is interviews like today's that remind my why this was such a great decision.  Profiling farmer/entrepreneurs like today's guest, Andrew Bowman, make that decision and easy winner.

Andrew lives and farms in the heart of the Corn Belt, as his family has done for over 100 years.  And for all of those generations his family has included popcorn in the list of crops that they grow.  So, when Andrew and his wife took over the family farm after his father passed away they knew that popcorn would be part of the story.  However, they also started looking at the sustainability of the farm business for the next generation, and that led them to look into doing something different.

The idea that they eventually landed on was directed marketing a niche product, and that is when Pilot Knob Comforts Popcorn as a company first "popped"!.  Through a series of connections that included farmers in the area, friends and instructors from college led to the development of a popcorn brand with red and blue popcorn kernels.  Today, PKC Popcorn can be found all over the country and ordered online and they are just getting started.  In today's episode you will hear the story of the development of this company, and I predict that you will be trying PKC Popcorn very soon as well!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1479-Andrew_Bowman-COMM_16_21-082522.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hi everyone. So often we talk about things you have to do to become or succeed as an entrepreneur on the show.  So, in this episode I decided to discuss 10 things you don't have to do as an entrepreneur:

  1. Get Bossed Around
  2. Commute
  3. Ask Permission To Do Something
  4. Watch A Clock
  5. Live In A Certain Area
  6. Work Overtime
  7. Buy Expensive Clothes
  8. Be Drained Mentally
  9. Postpone Your Life
  10. Depend On Others

If I hadn't already convinced you that starting your own business was the way to create your off-farm income, maybe this list will push you over the top!

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Direct download: OFI_1476_Tuesday_Episode_-_82922_5.42_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's episode I have an interview that is going to blow your mind.  We all know that farmers are innovative and solve their own problems, but the story you will hear today goes beyond anything I've ever profiled.

Doug and Kathy Applegate met while attending community college in the 1970's and started dating right as they were finishing up their education in 1978.  44 years later, in 2022 they are the owners of Praxidyn with 11 full time employees, manufacturing the MIXMATE in what used to be the farrowing barn on their Iowa farm.  There is a lot of story to be told about that 44 years sandwiched between today and community college, and in today's episode we get the story.

There are some highlights about this interview I want to let you know about before you listen.  First, is that this exactly the kind of story that the Off-Farm Income Podcast was designed to profile, but on a much larger and more complex scale than normal.  In the interview Doug talks about the fact that they used to raise hogs as a way to diversify their farm income and reliance on corn and soybeans.  However, they stopped raising hogs and started a business to accomplish this diversity, and the who reason for the beginning and existence of Praxidyn is to support both of their sons coming home to farm.

In addition to that, both of their sons, Brent and Luke, were standouts in the FFA and are pivotal to the innovation, design and manufacturing that is Praxidyn.  In 2006 Brent was the Iowa Star winner in agribusiness, and 2010 Luke was a finalist.  Clearly, their time in the FFA as well as 4H has had something to do with their development as entrepreneurs and inventors.  In addition to that, when the boys were around 9 years old, Doug and Kathy got them started welding and computer programming!  What a combination, and after you listen to this interview you will see what it has led to!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1473_Applegate-COMM_20_30-082122.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's Re-Cap Episode we are going back into the archives to profile a great entrepreneurial story.  This story involves seeing the market place, taking a risk and building custom equipment.  What really stood out to me in this interview was that the our guest recognized that through consolidation, many smaller farmers were feeling unvalued and left behind.  He found a way to fix this.

The original show notes are below:


Today we get to profile a fascinating agricultural business.  Craig Bailey, the owner of Green Mount Grain Roasting, will be
joining us to talk all about the business of mobile grain roasting.  This is a very niche business, and as he will explain you need to be located in the correct type of area for this business to work.

Craig is a fascinating entrepreneur.  He has a high risk tolerance, and that his what led him to start his poultry farm and to purchase the equipment for grain roasting.  In addition to that he is doing row crop farming and raising some livestock.

This is a fascinating business that I never knew about until one of our listeners, Josh Gullman, contacted me and suggested it.  Craig serves smaller farmers and dairies in his area who don't raise enough grain and soybeans to purchase their own roaster, and who are not big enough to get priority at the stationary roasting businesses.  Craig services four states with his equipment, and believes there is room for other people in the U.S. to start this business as well.



<a href=""> Facebook <a/>  <a href="" target="_blank"> Email <a/>

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One lesson I have learned, over and over again, throughout my entrepreneurial journey is that persistence pays off.  This latest example happened in the strangest of ways.

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Direct download: OFI_1470_Tuesday_Episode_-_82222_8.11_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

As many of you know I am very lucky in my connection to the FFA.  Of course, through this show and by doing interviews for the National FFA, I have the 30,000 foot, nationwide connection to this great organization.  However, in my community of Kuna, Idaho I also have the local connection, which for the past three years has included being part of the advisory committee for our FFA chapter of which my daughter is now a member.

Part of my duties being on the committee include interviewing students who had applied for scholarships at the end of their senior year of high school.  This year one of those interviews was with today's guest, Jadelyn Mecham.  Jadelyn's interview was very impressive, and it was the first time that I learned that she had a supervised agricultural experience working with driving horses.  I was intrigued by this aspect of horsemanship that I am yet to have profiled on the show.

A few weeks later, I was working at the Kuna High School Ag Expo, pulling a hay wagon around filled with elementary school students who had come to learn about agriculture.  During a down moment I was able to visit with Jadelyn again and discuss more in depth, her project working with horses.  That was plenty for me, and I invited her onto the show.

Today, Jadelyn and I will be talking about breeding horses, fixing bad behaviors in horses and how you train a driving horse to get used to the feel of the harness, having a load to pull and having somebody control it from the rear.  Jadelyn also introduces me to the horse breed, Gypsy Vanner, which I was unfamiliar with until this interview.

I learned a lot in this interview, and I am sure that you will as well!


HIGH SCHOOL: Kuna High School, Kuna, Idaho

MASCOT: Kavemen

FFA ADVISOR: Travis Edwards


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

Kuna High School

Jadelyn's FFA Advisor's Email Address:

Kuna High School Telephone Number: 208.955.0200


National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

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


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

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

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1469-Jadelyn_Mecham-COMM_10_10-081122.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Why did it take so long for the small, destination winery business to take off.  With the benefit of hindsight, it seems like it should have been obvious for decades.  No matter how long it took for the American public to realize they loved going to places like this is fine.  What matters is that families like that of Maggie Hall, today's guest, have the ability to create sustainable agricultural businesses by giving people what they want.

Maggie is the only child of two free spirited and creative lovers of agriculture.  Maggie says that to look at them, you wouldn't know how free spirited they are, but her parents have been seeking a way to live and maintain an agricultural lifestyle since before she can remember.  For a couple of decades this took the form of a horse farm that included breeding, training, selling and even cart pulling for special events.  However, about seven years ago the bottom fell out of the particular horse market they were in, and they made a change to growing grapes and running a destination winery.

Today, Maggie is the social media marketing expert for her parents' business, Broken Spoke Winery.  On the same farm that used to be primarily devoted to horses they now grow grapes, make wine, host events, provide entertainment and sell locally produced, value added products.  Maggie describes their location as the "middle of nowhere" but as it turns out, a lot of people vacation in the area.  So, with the assistance of social media, Maggie can target folks in the areas that tend to travel to her part of Maryland and inform them about the events and entertainers that will be appearing at Broken Spoke Winery.

In today's interview Maggie will tell us all about the journey, her role and her parent's philosophy on business and agriculture!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1467_Maggie_Hall-COMM_18_46-080922.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I am overwhelmed with gratitude today and thrilled to tell you all that I have been selected to receive an Honorary American Degree from the FFA this October at the National Convention.  I owe big thanks all around for this honor, starting right her in my hometown of Kuna, Idaho.

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Direct download: OFI_1464_Tuesday_Episode_-_81522_5.44_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Have you ever gone to a wedding in somebody's old barn, loved the venue, had a great time and later asked your spouse, "why don't we do that"?  It looks simple doesn't it?  Most people don't have land or barns, so, if you have one, the other or both, why wouldn't people just flock to your property and pay you thousands of dollars to have their weddings there?

Our guest today, Lea Cahill, has gone through this entire process from first thought to six months worth of bookings and great success.  In today's interview she will talk with us about starting this business, the mistakes she has made and she will share some great tips on protecting yourself from liability.

If that were not enough she will talk about how to deal with alcohol consumption, liability insurance, what to demand from customers and what to demand from venders.  This really is a treasure chest of great information on the realities and pitfalls of this type of business.

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1461-Lea_Cahill-COMM_15_19-073122.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's re-cap episode we are going back into the archives into one of my trips out to North Carolina to speak at the University Of Mount Olive.  While I was there I was lucky enough to visit the Broadslab Distillery and hear a great story of entrepreneurship and full-time farming.  I'm happy to bring this interview with Jeremy Norris back to you today.

The original show notes are below.



This show is all about finding a way to stay on the farm full time, or at least as much as possible, through entrepreneurship.  Our guest today is the epitome of doing just this.  Jeremy Norris has been entrepreneurial for a long time.  He built up a couple of good body and paint businesses as well as some investment properties.

He could have clearly just held on to the businesses and the rentals with a nice, passive income coming in from all of that.  However, his goal to farm his families land was too strong.  He ended up selling his investment properties and one of his auto body businesses to purchase the family farm that has been in his family since the 1840's.

Jeremy had learned from his grandfather that in order to pay for an expensive piece of farmland you had to get creative with what you are selling.  His grandfather did it with a roadside vegetable stand, but then the interstate came in and took the drive by traffic away.  So, that option was out for Jeremy.

Jeremy decided that he would follow another family tradition, making corn liquor.  He now grows his own corn for making the whisky, and he adds a lot of value to the corn with the fermenting.  The moonshine brings in customers for what is now a fantastic agri-tourism business.  He has found ways to double or triple the revenue off of everything he does with multiple markets and back up markets.  It's really a remarkable story


CARDS: Don't play all of your cards on one hand.  Test your ideas before you go "all in" on it.

BACKUP: Always have a backup plan, just in case the first idea doesn't go your way.

REVENUE: Make sure to create additional revenue streams as soon as you can, so you are not overly reliant on just one source.


"Stay Conservative, Be Creative & Think Things Through"


Jeremy will stay at his location until late at night until he is satisfied that everything is put away, tidy and correct for the next day.....every day.


Website: LINK

Email: LINK

LISTEN TO US ON SATELLITE RADIO! WE ARE CONTRIBUTORS TO "FFA TODAY" ON RURAL RADIO SIRIUS XM CHANNEL 147! "FFA Today" airs on Rural Radio Sirius XM Channel 147 Saturdays at 7:30 AM Eastern and Sundays at 6:30 PM Eastern. Please let RURAL RADIO know that you like hearing us on their channel!  Here is how to contact them and leave feedback: Email: Website: Twitter:

I've got nothing but gratitude for you in this episode.  We just hit 2 million downloads, and my mind is blown!  I've known this was coming for some time, but I don't think it really hit me until I actually saw the number on the screen.  What makes this more unbelievable is that we just celebrated hitting our one millionth download in August of 2021.  So, it took us 7 years to hit one million and just one year more to hit two million!  Thank you all so very much!

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Direct download: OFI_1458_Tuesday_Episode_-_8822_4.24_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I am sure you have heard it said before that farmers take great care of everything: livestock, soil, crops, equipment - except they neglect themselves.  This neglect can come in the form of nutrition, exercise and mental well being.  In fact, even though farming is associated with very difficult, manual labor, with a lot of the technology that is available today to farmers, it can be a very sedentary job at times.

Our guest today, Amanda Nigg, has always been into sports and fitness in one way or another.  When she launched her career in the insurance industry in South Dakota she was introduced to her husband who was a fifth generation farmer.  Soon, she found herself living a life that was the complete opposite of what she has envisioned.....and loving it!

Amanda did not allow living in a very rural part of the country to diminish her passion for fitness and working out, and then a personal catastrophe happened - their newly constructed home burnt to the ground.  Shortly after this occurred the entire country shut down due to Covid.  Amanda found herself strongly relying on exercise and fitness to manage her mental well being as she and her husband worked their way through this time.

This was the inspiration for her to begin Farm Fit Momma, her fitness and mental well being coaching business.  Amanda went for it, 100%, and her business has taken off.  Now she has been featured on RFDTV, several podcasts and radio.  She has a huge network of farmer followers and social media and she has more people applying to be a client of her business than she can serve.

We are lucky enough to have her tell her story on today's episode!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1455-Amanda_Nigg-COM__16_47-073022.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:00am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode I am profiling an entrepreneur who is staying fit on her farm.  I thought bringing back this episode with Dolly Denson, "The Fit Stock Show Mom", was the perfect segue into this business interview.  Today, Dolly has grown her business even more and is the host of the "Be The Mom Movement Podcast".  

The original show notes are below.



Those of us that work in agriculture, and especially those of us that are working towards a future in agriculture are very busy.  We are either totally devoted to the farm or business that we now have started, or we have pinpoint focus on how we are going to achieve that dream and are doing everything we can to reach it.

Focus and passion are wonderful things, but they can pull you away from a balanced life.  In the end, it does not matter if you have accomplished a major dream, if the rest of your life is left neglected and in shambles.

The first thing to usually get neglected when we find this focus is ourselves.  And the first part of ourselves to get neglected is usually our physical health.  There has to be somebody, somewhere who understands us and how difficult it can be to find time to pursue better physical health.

Well, let me introduce you Dolly Densen - The Fit Stock Show Mom.  Here is someone who comes from our shared experiences and has figured out a system to help all of us find the time and ability to eat well and exercise, even when we are busy and on the go.

Dolly is a health and fitness coach who lives in our agricultural world.  Specifically, she has children who show animals all over the State of Texas, and she knows what kind of challenges that brings for parents.  She has figured out how to tailor a health and fitness plan to the needs of us in agriculture through careful selection of workouts and nutritional programs.

Dolly is now a sponsor of the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  So, you will hear me singing her praises every week.  Autumm and I are participating in her program, but for very different reasons.  Autumm is in great shape, and wants to be in even better shape.  I am am the typical person who has been so focused on my other projects that I am out of shape.......and I need help!  Thanks goodness for Dolly!

I hope you enjoy Dolly's passion and enthusiasm in this episode.  There is a lot of good information here not just about fitness, but also about how she identified her niche in agriculture and has been able to turn it into a business that she can do from anywhere.  Dolly is definitely an Off-Farm Income producer, and you will enjoy her story.

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There are a lot of horrible stories out there right now about the natural disasters that our fellow humans, and more specifically, our fellow farmers and ranchers, are experiencing.  If you are not going through these dramatic hardships, and you have tinges of guilt about "why not me" or "why am I so lucky", you are not dealing with something abnormal.  This is probably a very low form of what is known as "survivor's guilt".

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Direct download: OFI_1452_Tuesday_Episode_-_8122_3.30_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

In today's episode we are interviewing a fascinating entrepreneur with a fascinating, value added, agricultural business.  Tina Schooler and her husband farm lavender, and they create a myriad of value added products with the lavender that, until this interview, I did not know were possible to make.  Chief on my list to try is the lavender beer bread.

Where I live in Idaho, there are a few different lavender farms.  As a matter of fact, my wife and daughter, like to frequent one nearby in Kuna.  Even with that I never knew there was a difference in lavender between culinary and non-culinary, as I learned in today's episode.

Tina has considered a lot of different ideas for how to monetize this crop that she and her husband grow, and she has some great ideas, such as teaching people how to make lavender based cocktails.  With all of that there was a business principle that really stood out to me in this episode that I was excited to emphasize and share with all of you.  That was how Tina tested the market before diving in head first.  She took a very slow and cautious approach, even though her nearest competition was over 100 miles away.  And once she determined that a demand existed, and that people would purchase the value added products she had in mind, she then dove in and has set up a great e-commerce and local sales business.

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1449-Tina_Schooler-COMM_14_53-071422.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

This great interview with Alaskan, Jennifer Sharrock, is the perfect tie in to tomorrow's Ag Business Interview.  Jennifer is a teacher at heart and teaches people in Alaska how to grow their own food and increase their self-sufficiency.  It is my pleasure to bring this interview back to you today.

The original show notes are below.


It is always exciting to interview a person who had a dream of working full-time, in agriculture, for themself who has made it come true.  We get to do that today when Jennifer Sharrock joins us on the show.

Jennifer has a very interesting story.  She grew up in New Jersey, went into the insurance industry and lived all around the country through her career.  One of these stops was Alaska.  In Alaska, Jennifer found her people, met her husband and started her family.  She also discovered a passion for permaculture, regenerative agriculture and growing her own food during their tiny growing season.

Jennifer really dove into this, starting around 2015.  Since that time things have snowballed with her teaching classes to other people about how to farm on a small scale, the way that she does.  For the past 2+ years, Jennifer has been a full-time farmer and entrepreneur.  She grew her farm business large enough to be able to quit her insurance job and be completely independent.

This is a powerful thing, and in the interview with Jennifer you will hear how it has impacted her.  It is really an amazing thing to watch or listen to when somebody like Jennifer is able to make this transition.  You spend so much time dreaming about this lifestyle, never knowing how to make it happen.  Then one day you have a break through and before you know it you are there.  This is my story, and this is Jennifer's, and I am excited to profile it for you.

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What year in school is too soon to start an agricultural business that serves large farmers?  I'm not sure, but, based on today's interview, I know that the answer is not 9th Grade.  Ashton Brusveen has just completed his 9th Grade year of high school, and he has been part of the FFA since 7th Grade.  He has grown up farming on his families land, helping to produce corn, soybeans, rye and wheat.  But when it came time for him to develop a supervised agricultural experience, with his grandfather's help, he decided to start a business providing a service to other farmers.

This business, "Seed Clean", all began with some conversations with older farmers in the area talking about the need for a seed cleaning business.  As the idea was discussed it became apparent to Ashton and his grandfather that there would be a lot of business for a person who started up a business like this.  It just so happened that Ashton's grandfather had an old, Clipper fanning mill, in a shed on the farm.

Ashton and his grandfather cleaned up the old mill, and his grandfather even purchased an old co-op facility that was no longer in use for the logistics of farmers bring seed in.  Then they made an arrangement that Ashton would run the seed cleaning business as his own, splitting the profits with his grandfather until the time that he was completely paid back.

The demand for this business turned out to be even higher than they expected.  Therefore, Ashton is now investing in a larger mill, a Clipper 99 fanning mill, that will give him the ability to serve more customers and clean their seed faster.  In addition to all of this he has got his eye on expanding his services in the future to bagging corn, and he is considering hiring his first employee.

I am very excited to watch and see how this business develops.  This has got national proficiency and possibly even American Star Award written all over it!


HIGH SCHOOL: Cambria-Friesland High School; Randolph, Wisconsin

MASCOT: Hilltoppers

FFA ADVISOR: Lauren Frances


Click on the picture below to be taken to the Cambria-Friesland High School website:

Ashton's FFA Advisor's Email Address:

Cambria-Friesland High School Telephone Number: (920) 348-5548


National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

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


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

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

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1447_Ashton_Brusveen-COMM_9-22-030622.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I think that every one of us that owns property, raises livestock or grows crops has days that, as hard as you try, you cannot remember why you are doing this.  Some days can be so frustrating that you just cannot remember why it is all worth it.  I am definitely having one of those days today, and I'll share the whole story with you on today's episode.

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Direct download: OFI_1446_Tuesday_Episode_-_72522_12.15_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I am a huge fan of wool and wool clothing.  I am also a huge fan of my family heritage and legacy.  But....I am no comparison when it comes to today's guest.  Starting when she was 13 years old, Kelsey Patton, decided that she wanted to knit a sweater.  However, she and her mother did not just go buy her some yarn so she could get started.  Instead, they purchased sheep, a spinning wheel and much of the other necessary equipment so that they could produce their own raw materials and then refine them into a sweater.

That one decision started Kelsey on a journey of entrepreneurship, farming and raising sheep that has been growing and evolving ever since.  Today, Kelsey is the owner of "The Fiber Mill", which is her very own mill that processes the wool of small farmers from all over the nation so that they can sell locally raised, raw materials to their customers who will in turn, create something beautiful with the product.  Kelsey and her mom still maintain a flock of sheep so that they can do the same.

In today's interview Kelsey will talk about the journey and the growth process.  She will also talk about transforming herself from being an artisan to a business owner and the boss of her employees.  Turning a craft that you love into a legitimate business is great, but it also forces you into roles that you didn't necessarily sign up for.  Kelsey talks all about that and more in today's interview.

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1443_Kelsey_Patton-COMM_15_37-071022.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business Episode I am profiling a very impressive entrepreneur with a passion for wool. I also have a passion for wool, which was reflected in this solo episode from 2019.  Below are the original show notes:

Show Notes

Me and the whole family were back up in the Wood River Valley of Idaho this weekend so that I could elk hunt.  It just so happened that a friend of ours had a condo available that they could not use this weekend. So, the whole family was able to go.

I hunted during the days, and I was able to hang out with Autumm and Hattie in the evenings.  Because of the short days, we actually ended up with quite a bit of time together, so it worked out really well.

For my outdoor clothing I prefer to wear wool to any other fabric, natural or man made.  After this weekend, I really want to solute all those farmers who are producing wool.  On my first evening I got my pickup stuck and was out in the middle of nowhere in a snow storm for quite a while.  I was dressed in wool base layers, socks, pants and a heavy wood sweater.  I was dry and warm, and the wind just did
not have that much impact on me.

The next two days I spent climbing steep slopes in about 2 feet of snow in pursuit of these elusive big game animals.  Between taking every step knee deep into snow and laying prone in the snow several times I never got cold or wet.  The wool clothing did just as advertised, and I could not have been more pleased.  This miracle fabric is an excellent investment!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1442_Recap_Of_Episode_1442-COMM_20_11-071922.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

It almost seems like farming has taken a back seat for me this summer so far.  Immediately after getting home from a very rare, but very large and fun vacation it was time to start turning over a rental house from which a tenant had moved out.  So, I've been irrigating in the morning, getting work done on the podcast and then heading into Boise to work on one of our streams of revenue.

In today's episode I'll talk about this stream of revenue and a little about our journey using this to build our current lifestyle.  I also came across an interesting article about the unrest in Sri Lanka right now and discuss this.  Surprisingly to me, farming is at the heart of why there are so many protests in Sri Lanka right now.

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Direct download: OFI_1440_Tuesday_episode_-_71822_6.42_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's episode Ryan Conklin, attorney and owner of Wright & Moore Law Co. in Delaware, Ohio, returns to the show to discuss another revenue generating agreement possible on your farm.  Ryan first appeared on the show in episode #1353 where we discussed cell tower leases and what to look for if you were going to put one on your farm.  In today's episode we are going to talking about renewable energy leases, specifically solar energy.

As you will see in the episode there are many pros and cons to entering into one of these agreements.  Also, there are things to look out for that a quality attorney who specializes in this type of agreement can help you navigate through.  We will also discuss what to expect to be paid, different types of solar projects, what an "escalation rate" is, what a solar purchase agreement is, property taxes and much more.

Putting in a solar farm is significantly more invasive than a cell tower, but there might be a situation in which this is the right fit for you.  I hope this helps!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1437_Ryan_Conklin-COMM_35_50-070922.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's Ag Business episode we are going to be discussing create and outside the box ways of creating off-farm income to support your dreams of farming or your farming lifestyle.  This interview that I conducted with Stacy Funderburke about agricultural easements outside of Atlanta, Georgia back in 2021 is a perfect lead in to tomorrow's episode.  

Below are the original show notes.


There are two fundamental issues that have always plagued me when it comes to farming.  First, what do we do about urban sprawl and disappearing farm ground?  Second, how can a person expect to start a successful farm and be a full-time farmer with land, input, and equipment costs being so high?  So, when I was contacted by The Conservation Fund asking to be on the show and talk about their answers to these questions, I jumped at the chance.

The folks at The Conservation Fund are pro-agriculture, and they are particularly fond of locally produced farm goods that follow their model of sustainability.  They also abhor disappearing farm ground.  So, they are working to increase locally produced goods while slowing urban sprawl.  Right now they are doing this in the 30 counties, metro area of Atlanta, Georgia as a pilot project.  But the prospects are very good for expansion.

In this episode, I speak with Stacy Funderburke, who is heading up the "Working Farms Fund" on behalf of The Conservation Fund in the Atlanta metro area.  This program aims to pay farmers the actual market cost for their farms.  Once purchased, they place the farms into an agricultural easement so that they will be farmed in perpetuity.  And this is when the fun really starts.

Once these two things have taken place they match up the particular farm with an experienced farmer, who has been leasing ground or working as an employee and is looking to start their own enterprise.  Because the land has been placed in an agricultural easement the price is not driven up by demand from developers.  This gives the new farmer a reasonable shot at purchasing the land.  To begin the new farmer enters into a lease on the farm ground with an option to buy.

The Conservation Fund helps the new farmer with obtaining resources, sharing equipment, and developing markets.  In exchange, the City Of Atlanta and its surrounding metro area have another local producer who can bring locally grown food to market in that area.  It is a win/win/win situation.  You don't need to be from Georgia to participate in this and be selected as one of the new farmers.  We will tell you all about this in today's episode.

Connect with Stacy Funderburke and The Conservation Fund:





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Our Tuesday episode this week coincidentally comes out on my 49th's birthday!  Talking about my birthday is not really what I want to do, but as I thought about the fact that one year from today I will be turning 50, I had some thoughts.  Really what it has come down to is that my vision of what my farm life would look like comes more true each and every season.  As we see 100 degree temperatures on our farm, it reminds me of the way that I grew up down in California and the vision that I created for myself back then.  Every season of raising livestock we get a little better, and as I reflect on being a year away from the milestone of 50, this seems more and more like something that I could do forever.

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Direct download: OFI_1434_Tuesday_Episode_-_71122_2.45_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On today's episode we are profiling a company that has come up with a very unique concept to improve farming and improve lives locally, here in the United States, as well as globally.  I will be speaking with Randy Krotz, the CEO of Agwiki, and he will be talking all about the concept and why it is both beneficial to American Farmers while being benevolent to the rest of the world at the same time.

My discussion with Randy is not the first time that I have learned about Agwiki.  About one year ago I had a great conversation with one of the founders and creators of Agwiki, John LaRose Jr., and learned about how this company came about.  While Agwiki is not a sponsor of the Off-Farm Income Podcast, I have been intrigued with the concept ever since.  I always enjoy efficient products that accomplish two or more positive things simultaneously, and Agwiki appears to be once such product.

Today's interview is not an endorsement or effort to get you to subscribe to or invest in Agwiki.  However, I do think that the concept of Agwiki is powerful and its origination is organic.  Therefore, it is something that I wanted to share with all of you in the Off-Farm Income audience.

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1431_Randy_Krotz-COMM_16_00-062622.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

On tomorrow's ag business episode I am profiling a company using a new concept of social media to improve farming and share farming methods all over the world.  I thought replaying a solo episode I did about how to use Linkedin to grow your business would fit in nicely for our re-cap episode.  So, I am replaying episode #678 for you today.

Below are the original show notes:

Who Am I?

I recently published a two part episode about building your own podcasting business on my new show, The  Microphone Money Podcast.  It dawned on me that is a great skill for everyone following the Off-Farm Income Podcast to know.  I have talked about using Craigslist to market your business before.  Today, we will talk about LinkedIn.

Let me first start by admitting that I am not a LinkedIn expert.  But I have used it to build a successful business, and I think it can be valuable for you as well.  The only reason I am evening willing to talk about this, is that I have found a strategy with Linkedin that has helped me to build my custom podcasting business, and will help me to attract new business.  I know how to use it for this one thing.  I'm sure that if I was tested on all of the capabilities of this social media platform I would know about 10% of its actual capabilities.

So, please keep that in mind as we go through this episode.

Who Are You?

I assume that you fall into one of the following three categories when it comes to LinkedIn:

  1. You've never heard of it or at least do not have an account
  2. You have an account, populated with some business contacts and a lot of your friends, and you really don't understand how to use it
  3. You have an account, and you know more about how LinkedIn can benefit you in business than I do

Those of you in categories 1 and 2, I've got great information for you.  Those of you in category 3, stick around, I bet I have something for you that you have not thought of.

Category #1

I want to talk to you category 1 people for a moment and tell you what Linkedin is.

LinkedIn is a social media platform that has a business purpose.  You may or may not be on Facebook already.  Or, you possibly avoid Facebook like the plague because this is not the place for you.  We will address why you should not avoid Facebook in a future episode.  For now, please think of LinkedIn as very similar to Facebook but for business.

On LinkedIn you have "connections" instead of friends.  Also, your profile is much more at the forefront of what you do.  You can also post text, photos, videos and there is a great article writing function.

On a platform like Facebook you connect with friends and family as the primary function, and you share anything you want with them.  Connecting with strangers is not something that is the primary function of Facebook unless we are talking about a business page or group.  But that is a different topic.

Think of Facebook as a wedding or high school reunion.  You get to see friends and family that you don't get together with that often any longer.  You catch up, talk about the kids, talk about your work and maybe share a thought or two about the state of our country or your favorite baseball team.

Contrary to Facebook, connecting with strangers is the main function on LinkedIn, but within a certain set of boundaries - business.  Think of LinkedIn as a business conference.  You are there with a bunch of people in your industry, and you might all be able to serve each other in different ways.  People are open to you coming up to them and asking what they do or even sharing what you do.  But there is a decorum and a boundary.  We are here to create professional relationships, not life-long friendships.

Certainly, aspects of what goes on in Facebook and what goes on in LinkedIn bleed over between the two platforms.  But there is a level of expectation of professionalism and focus on business when you are on LinkedIn.  If you would not say it or do it at an industry convention, you should not do it on LinkedIn.  You want to remain professional and focused on the people you are there for.  You don't want to go on a rant about whomever is in the Oval Office at the time (unless that is your business).

Treat LinkedIn As LinkedIn

With all that said, don't treat LinkedIn as Facebook.  As a matter of fact, don't even create an account if you are not clear on how you want to use it.  I had a LinkedIn account for years that I mis-used.  I don't really know what I was thinking.  When I first opened it, I think I thought so highly of myself that I assumed that I would be discovered on LinkedIn and whisked off to my dream job.

That did not happen, and I ended up using it incorrectly.  I had a lot of connections with my friends on my first LinkedIn account.  So, when I tried to connect with someone on LinkedIn, if they looked at my connections they would not see any sort of consistency.  They would see bartenders, school teachers, pharmaceutical sales people, farmers, etc., etc.  Basically, looking at my site showed that I was not serious or professional.

So, don't use LinkedIn for that.  Use Facebook for that.  On Facebook, everyone expects you to have an eclectic group of friends from all walks of life.  And, if you have a crazy aunt who attacks your friends for their views when they are posting on your page, that is just what is expected on Facebook.

But remember that Facebook is a wedding, and that crazy aunt is invited.  So, your friends know what to expect.  LinkedIn is a business conference.  Imagine having a conversation at a business conference with someone whom you'd like to work with, and your crazy aunt walks up and attacks them because they are using a plastic straw to drink their iced tea.  Not good.  Business lost.

Tear Down Your Old Site

A little truth here.  When I opened my first LinkedIn account it was basically just a second Facebook account for me.  I connected with all my friends who were also on LinkedIn, did not post any meaningful content and let it sit idle for years, waiting for the magic to happen.

When I started to get serious about my custom podcasting business and I looked at my LinkedIn site, it was embarrassing.  I had done everything that I just told you not to do, and I did not want any potential clients to see it.  So, I closed it down and started over.

Do you need to close yours down?  I think that depends on what you have been doing with it.  But, if there are a large percentage of people that you are connected to that have no business being at your virtual industry convention, I would say yes.  Tear it down!

Starting Over

Let's draw up some rules for when you start up your new site:

Rule #1 - Only request connections with people for legitimate business purposes.  If you run across an old high school friend who is in an industry that has nothing to do with your work, don't connect here.  Make a note and connect on Facebook.

Rule #2 - Turn down requests to connect.  Yes, some people are going to be offended by you not connecting on LinkedIn or refusing to connect.  You have to weigh this.  I have a few people that I have accepted connection requests from on Linkedin that are not in my business circle.  Just a few.  For the rest I have sent them a note stating that I won't be able to connect with them on my LinkedIn page, but would be more than happy to connect on Facebook.  Or, I just ignored this.  You will have to weigh which of these responses is most appropriate for you in a given situation.

Rule #3 - Don't "set it and forget it".  Be active on your page.  As you are publishing podcasts, share them here.  Write articles that are pertinent to your industry and share them.  Keep updating your profile and make sure it is well written, grammatically correct and shows what you want it to show.

I currently have 10 articles posted on my LinkedIn profile.  These are not just posts.  I post on there almost every day when a new episode of one of my shows comes out.  The article function allows you to write and post articles much like you would find in an industry specific magazine.  These get read by people searching on LinkedIn for your topic.  But I believe the greater value is the way these articles position you as an industry expert.

Think of it this way.  Let's say that your industry of choice is field mowers, and your niche is under tractor mowers.  And let's pretend that you have a brick and mortar store called "The Under Tractor Mower Store".  If a potential customer came in, was shopping for a new mower and was considering buying one from you they would have questions.  You, being the expert would answer their questions, and you would even answer some other questions that they did not know they had.

Being able to have this conversation with a potential customer is very valuable because you have the opportunity to show them the value of your product.  When you write articles on Linkedin, this is your way having this conversation with your potential customers.  And when they look at your profile and see your articles, this is their way of walking into your virtual store.

As an example, on my LinkedIn profile I have an article titled "If You Have An Agricultural Message To Share, You Better Have A Podcast".  This is not the most eloquent writing, but it is direct and to the point.  This article is written for the potential customer that visits my virtual store and has an agricultural message to share.  That title is going to catch their eye, and they are going to be intrigued.  When they get done reading the article they are going to have their questions answered, even the questions they did not know they had.

This positions me as an industry expert, and it works!

Rule #4 - Don't send out a lot of connection requests to everyone in your industry on day one.  Be strategic about this and have a reason to connect.  This platform is not about having the biggest number of connections.  It is about having quality connections.  As I talked about last week, there is a strategic way to make connection requests that will get you more bang for your buck.  More on that in a moment.

Rule #5 - Don't include the kitchen sink on your profile.  Think of LinkedIn, all of LinkedIn, as a virtual resume.  The #1 rule of a resume is that you don't want it to be too long with superfluous information on it.  This means that you need to understand who you are targeting with your LinkedIn page and tailor the page to that audience.

Let me give you an example.  I took one career path in college, then I did a complete 180 degree flip with my career after college, and then I came back to the original career path that I had been on in college after about 15 years.

The industry umbrella that my current niche falls under is agriculture.  But my career for 15 years was in policing.  During my time as a police officer I earned a master's degree in criminal justice.  I am proud of this degree, but I do not list it on my LinkedIn profile.  In my opinion it will only serve to confuse my potential clients.  So, I list my bachelor's degree only, which is in agriculture.

This rule applies to your work experience as well.  If you look at my profile, all I list are the podcasts or radio shows that I host or contribute to.  That is because my target market are companies who are going to need someone to host a show for them.  You will want to cater to your target market.

Rule #6 - Beware of what you post.  I read a great post once, and I cannot remember the name of the author.  I wish I could so I could them credit for this.  Before you ever hit "submit" or "post" or "send" or whatever command will make your thoughts public you should step away from the keyboard, do something totally unrelated to your post and then come back to your computer.

Re-read your post and make sure that it says what you want to say.  More importantly, make sure that it does not say anything that would not want to say.  Make sure that in the heat of the moment you did not write something that you would later take back if you could.  You never know who might read this post.  If they are offended by what they see, you may never get a chance to make amends because you might never know they even read it.  They might just choose to not do business with you.

Rule #7 - Don't just accept connections and go on about your day.  Be grateful for the connection, and send a message to your new connection thanking them for connecting.  Make yourself stand out and build rapport.  And, yes.  Some people could care less and they are just trying to get another number, or they are trying to get business by connecting with as many people as possible.  You will smell that out soon enough.

Developing Your Network

When you start reaching out to people in your industry on LinkedIn you have to understand how they will see you.  You must try to see yourself through their eyes.  They are not going to see an energetic start up with a great ideas who is willing to take risks and put themselves out there because they are so passionate about this industry.  They are going to see another entrepreneur with a business idea who wants to connect with them because they work for a company with big budgets.

If your new connection is nice enough to accept your connection request, even though they don't know who you are and don't know anything about your company they are likely just a nice person.  Meaning they are accepting it because they would rather do something positive, say "yes", then something negative, say "no".  But that is probably as far as it is going.  They are not going to look at your profile.

If I am right about this, why send the connection request?  Once they click "accept" and move on, your chance to get them to spend any more time on you or to look at your profile has just passed you by.  If you think there is a benefit to having them show up on your profile as a connection, there probably is not.  There are lots of people, with lots of connections on LinkedIn.  So, this probably does not mean much to the potential customer who looks at your profile.

So, I suggest connecting with people when you can either offer them something, have advice for them or when you want to pitch them an idea.  This will up the odds of them actually looking at your profile.  At this point you are just planting seeds, and there are a lot of things that are outside of your control.  For example, you cannot force them to go through your profile or read your posts.  But they might, especially if you have piqued their interest somehow.  If they read your articles the chances of them becoming more interested in you or your ideas will go way up.

There is another bonus to doing this.  It is the message function.  For now, if you want to send a message to a non-connection, LinkedIn requires you to be a premium member.  This is expensive.  But, there is a loophole.  If you are requesting that somebody be a connection, you can include a message to them for free, explaining your reason for connecting.

This is a great way to be able to contact some high level people and plant a seed.  And if they are intrigued by your idea, they are almost guaranteed to look at your profile.  They would be derelict in their duty if they pursued something with you, spent their scarcest resource (time) on the idea and never took the time to determine if you were legitimate.

So be strategic in how you build your network on Linkedin.  If you have your eye on a connection, say the vice-president of marketing for the "Under Tractor Mower Company", do some research.  Read about this person online.  Find out what he or she said the last time they were interviewed.  Did they mention any pain points?  If they did, can you do a little leg work for them?  Then can you send a message with your connection request stating, "I read that it was a tough decision whether or not to make under tractor mowers or PTO driver mowers.  I found some research from Germany saying that solo farmers prefer under tractor mowers more."

This is a pretty crazy example, but hopefully you get the point.  Even though these people are in the power position you should still find a way to help or give to them rather than just come to them wanting something.  They get a lot of that everyday.  You want to stand out by being different.

Sharing Your Resume

This is really similar to building your network.  But when you are going to be meeting with someone for real, like at a coffee shop or something like that, it is a great idea to connect on LinkedIn just before that meeting.

If they have agreed to meet with you about one specific idea, they would likely want to prep for the meeting before hand.  You can simply send them a connection request a few days prior with a message that says, "I thought I'd connect with you here so you could see my profile prior to our meeting in a couple of days.  Looking forward to the conversation."

You are doing something gracious for them by making it easier for them to prep for the meeting.  But you are also being totally transparent and showing them you have nothing to hide.  And, even though you are meeting to discuss one specific idea, you probably have many different ideas you would like to pitch them.

If they read one of your articles that applies to them, they might see that you offer another service or be intrigued by your expertise enough to ask about it.  They will see you as offering more value, and you do not have to overwhelm them with all sorts of ideas on the day you meet.  You can be casual, let your profile speak for itself and avoid looking desperate.

Get Recommended

LinkedIn has two fabulous features called "Skills & Endorsements" and "Recommendations".  This creates unbelievable opportunities for you.

What if a person, who is respected in the industry, was willing to either endorse you, your business or write you a recommendation?  What if whole world could see it?

LinkedIn makes this possible.

Whether or not you have already connected or you are requesting a connection, I would follow this request up with a telephone call.  And if you cannot get through on the phone I would try a hand written letter requesting a recommendation or endorsement.  This is powerful stuff, and you should strike while the iron is hot.

And don't be shy about offering to recommend them or even doing it proactively.  Just make sure that you have a legitimate experience with them that gives you credibility in the recommendation.  If you recommend someone who you have never met, or never interviewed it is likely to look like pandering.

Timeless Advice

The great news about this advice is that it can change with technology.  So, if LinkedIn develops a bunch of new technology by the time that you read this, you can still use this advice.  My hope is that LinkedIn stays around for a long time, and that you can benefit from my experience doing this for a long time to come.

Best of luck to you with this method.  It is a lot of fun!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1430-Replay_Of_Episode_678-COMM_15_08-062322.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today is the first time I've been behind the microphone since 6/21/22 and the first time I've been on the farm since 6/22/22.  I've got stories to share!  Plus, we are doing something special with FFA interviews for the rest of the summer.  

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Direct download: OFI_1428_Tuesday_Episode_-_7422_6.14_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Hi Everyone.  Just a quick episode today while I am out celebrating our Declaration Of Independence to say Happy Fourth Of July and thank you for all you do in agriculture!

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Direct download: OFI_1427_Fourth_Of_July_-_62022_1.43_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I did an episode a few months back titled "it was all because I wanted cattle".  Everything that is currently true about my present and future lifestyle can be traced back to this one desire.  Today's guest has the same type of story, and oh, where that has taken her.

In addition to a love for cattle and a desire to have raising livestock be a part of her life, Eliza Walton has hustle....major hustle.  She has been building her cattle herd since she was in high school, and she has moved her herd across the state of Pennsylvania multiple times as her father has made moves.  Each time she has done this her herd has been bigger than the previous time, and she has had to find a farm to raise them on.

The last time this took place Eliza had just recently finished college.  Her father had purchased a feed mill in Coburn, Pennsylvania named "Martin's Feed Mill", and she went to work for him.  For the next five years, she learned the business.  Then, it was time for her father to move on to the next adventure.  However, this time, Eliza would stay when her dad went.

Eliza purchased Martin's Feed Mill and began running it with their twelve employees, carving out a niche of delivering feed for free to customers who ordered 500 lbs or more, when her competitors will not deliver under 3,000 lb orders.  In addition to the feed mill, Eliza still had the cattle herd to tend.  She struck up a business relationship with her business partner in another business, Sinking Creek Meats, and was able to provide the cattle herd while her partner provided the farm.  Then, they started direct marketing individual cuts of meat.

Today, Eliza is actually owner of or partner in three agricultural businesses.  However, she is where she wants to be, she is growing her businesses and she is tending to her cattle.  She is also continually opening up new doors that only entrepreneurs tend to see, and she is going places!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1425_Eliza_Walton-COMM_17_25.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Tomorrow I am profiling a young lady that has dove into the feed business in a huge way.  As a great lead in to that interview, I chose to replay this powerful interview with Sandy Hansen-Wolff about the challenges she faced and the things she overcame in establishing her own feed and see business.

The original show notes can be found below.



Our guest today was thrust into the world of agribusiness in a situation that she would have never chosen. However 16 years after this happened she finds herself running a successful feed and seed business, feeling innovative as an entrepreneur and realizes that although she never realized it, she had entrepreneurial tendencies even as a child.

Sandy Hansen-Wolff is the owner of AgVenture Feed & Seed.  She found herself with this business at the age of 30 after her husband passed away.  Sandy did not know a lot about the business when this happened and found herself with the responsibility for making it solvent before selling it could even be considered.  However the sale never came as she discovered that running this business was rewarding and fulfilling.

Today, Sandy has the business and she is a sought after speaker, coach and entrepreneur.  She gets to spread her message of entrepreneurship all over the country and has a very inspirational story to tell.  We were lucky enough to have her tell her story on this episode.


MENTORS: Sandy says "go get some mentors" and start learning from other people who have been where you want to go.

LOVE: Love of your passion is not enough.  Working in your business is fun for every entrepreneur.  You need to learn to love working on your business, such as doing the book work, budgets, etc.

NEGOTIATE: Do not be afraid to negotiate well and get the price that your products or services are worth.


LISTEN: Listen to others.  Do not just dismiss someone as a critic because they are saying something critical about your business.  Maybe they know something and you should make a change.


FITNESS: Sandy wasn't always fit, but she is now.  She exercises, watches what she eats and meditates (kind of) every day.  She knows that if she does not feel good physically and feel good about herself, she will not be able to lead, innovate and inspire.



Email: LINK

Website: LINK

Facebook Page: LINK

Telephone: 320-764-9910

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Have you ever heard of "peecycling"?  Apparently it is a thing, and today let's talk about it.  With these fertilizer prices, anything is worth considering!

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Direct download: OFI_1422_Tuesday_Episode_-_62122_4.18_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Soooo, you want to know what my favorite business that I've ever profiled on the show is do you?  Well, I still can't pick, but a brewery where delicious beers, delectable meals and lots of fun are all located has to be in the top three!

Today's guests, Trent and Vicki Bushner, are full-time farmers in Yuma County, Colorado.  And for the past 25+ years, Trent has just happened to be a hobby brewer.  So, a couple of years back when a young man they knew invested in a building on Main Street in Yuma City and was looking for new businesses to fill out the downtown area asked, they said "yes, now is the time to start a brewery".  Tumbleweed Brewing & Wine Company was born!

The farming heritage in Trent's family goes way back. Trent was too young to remember much but did get to meet his great-grandfather who was 4 years old and living near battlefields in Missouri during the Civil War.  That eventually translated to farming in the Eastern Plains of Colorado, first as dry land with irrigation infrastructure eventually being developed to the point that now it is about 50/50.

We recorded this interview in April, and at that point Trent and Vicki had only seen .5 inches of measurable precipitation since harvest of 2021.  They already had some crop failures this year, and we've got our fingers crossed for them that between the time we recorded the interview and when it airs that they get a lot of rain.  Just in case they don't, the next time you drive across the plains, take a different route and wet your whistle in Yuma, Colorado at Tumbleweed Brewing & Wine Company!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1419_Trent_Bushner-COMM13_36-061222.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Tomorrow we are featuring a farm couple who has started a fun and successful brewery in Eastern Colorado.  I thought a look back and the opportunities surrounding hop farming would fit right in.

Below are the original show notes:



I have three themes that I want to cover this week.  All of them have to do with entrepreneurship:

Hop Farming Business Opportunities

Currently we are planting record acreage of hops in the United States and there is still a shortage for craft beer brewers.  People are planting hops in small areas all around the United States to support their craft brewing hobbies or businesses.  In order to use and grow the hops certain things need to be done.  This creates an opportunity to serve these farmers.  This is very similar to the journey that Jonathan Demcak described in episode #12.  Here are some of the things they need:

Vertical Farming

I read about vertical farming a couple of weeks ago and had to share this with you.  People are using hydroponics to turn spare bedrooms and garages into farms!  They are suppling restaurants with fresh greens and making money.  The article I am linked to here profiles a gentleman named Dan Albert from Seattle, Washington who left his day job just to run his vertical farming business.

This proves that anyone can farm.  Even if you live in an apartment in the middle of a big city!


This is a bigger problem than you would think in entrepreneurship.  Once you go to work for yourself a sense of isolation can creep in pretty easily.  In agriculture many of the tips and tricks to combat this will not work.  However, the effects of this can also be countered by being outside, in the sun, working with animals and receiving intrinsic rewards from your efforts.

But, this is something that I have experienced, just in missing the hustle and bustle of things going on around me.  I have tried to replicate this occasionally by doing some of my computer work at a McDonald's where people are coming and going.

Here is an article that discusses some of "loneliness pitfalls" of being and entrepreneur and how to deal with them.  Remember that we have to take this "non-agricultural" information and convert back to make sense in our world.

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1418_Replay_Of_Episode_162-COMM_23_37-031022.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

I have been saying for quite sometime that direct marketing grass finished beef at a premium price was the equivalent of selling a luxury item and that when the economy got bad there would be less customers for this type of product.  I've also been curious about the entire local food movement that has been growing and thriving for so many years now.

I believe that it is a foregone conclusion that the American economy, and really, the world economy, is heading into a recession or is already in one.  So, my predictions and quite possibly my business model is about to be tested.  A couple of things to consider going into this are:

  • If demand for locally produced or premium agricultural products decreases, can you lower your prices and survive as a business?
  • Will demand for beef in general diminish and be replaced with more chicken and pork consumption?
  • Will the memory of empty grocery shelves during the pandemic be enough motivation for people to continue to support local agriculture in spite of higher prices?
  • Will your off-farm business lose business due to people having less disposable income, such as an agritourism business?
  • If your off-farm business serves farmers, will they start doing the service you provide themselves to save money?
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Direct download: OFI_1416_Tuesday_Episode_-_62022_12.47_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Is there any more fundamental business to the world of agriculture than that of auctioneering?  I say "no".  Auctioneers have been there in good times and in bad times, whenever folks need to sell farms, ranches, equipment or otherwise, for whatever reason.  The auctioneer is always there trying to maximize what these folks get for their lifetime of work and for their next chapter.

Today's guest, Scott Shuman, has made a life out of doing just this, both in good and bad times.  Scott is based in Northern Colorado, and has been involved in agriculture his whole life.  During high school and later college, he was doing anything he could to be around the auction industry and auctioneers because he found himself really interested in it, and it made a great job for a student. Eventually, Scott went on to get his master's degree in agricultural education, but there was something about the world of auctions that kept calling him back.  So, after a year and a half of teaching, he found himself heading back to the front of the auction and he has not looked back.

Today, Scott is a partner in Hall And Hall Auctions, and he travels all over the world helping to sell premier farm and ranch properties.  On today's show he is going to talk about the life of an auctioneer, how to get started in that industry and when your too old to start this career (hint: there is no maximum age).

In addition to the world of auctioneering, Scott as just released a book: A Million Acres & Counting, and he was pivotal in helping the National FFA to design a supervised agricultural experience to help students start their own auctioneering business during high school.  We have all of that an more for you in this great interview!

**Scott's daughter, Shelby, is our featured guest in episode #1415.

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1413_Scott_Shuman-COMM_20_41-053022.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Baxter Black, who I have been a fan of for at least three decades has passed.  In 2015 Baxter generously agreed to be a guest on the Off-Farm Income Podcast when we had barely began and had no catalog and no reputation.  He provided me with a great, long-form interview as well.

The world learned that Baxter was ill and on hospice care back in January of 2022, and in February of 2022 we replayed his interview as tribute.  We are doing it again today as we have lost one of good ones.  The original show notes are below.



WORK FOR FREE: Baxter's advice is to 1,000 shows for free before you figure out what you are worth.

HAVE SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT: Baxter related a great story about a young man that walked 15 miles to meet him because he wanted to become a cowboy poet.  But the boy was not a cowboy, so he did not know anything to write about.  Baxter sent him off to get ranch working experience, to learn his subject matter and THEN to start writing.


YOU NEED TO FORM A HABIT: Once Baxter started writing a column, he started a habit of writing everyday.  Now on every plane ride, or nightly before bed, he writes.  This is how he has produced so much content.


GET YOUR MESSAGE OUT: Baxter told me that it was not until he was addressing a group of ranchers in Colorado that one of the took him aside and suggested that he write a column.  The message that Baxter received was that he had a message to get out, and he needed to get it to a wider audience.  You need to take that step, and find a way to get your message to the people who are looking for it.


Baxter Black's Website:

Baxter Black's Facebook Page

Baxter Black's Twitter Feed: @BaxterBlack


Mr. Black recommends this book which is about entrepreneurship, overcoming obstacles and following your own path.  Click on the image to go directly to Baxter Black's webpage where he sells this book:

Baxter Black Book



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Direct download: OFI_1410_Tuesday_Episode.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Today, I am replaying my interview with James Budd of Alpacas Of Montana.  This is perfect segue into our ag business interview tomorrow, talking about luxury wool and fleece production.  At the time I did this interview with James he had built a worldwide brand with Alpacas Of Montana.  He continues to grow and succeed, and it is my pleasure to bring the interview to you again.

Below are the original show notes:




Do you like to be warm in winter?  Who doesn't?  Would you like to farm?  Who wouldn't?  Our guest today combined these two things and now has 5,000 of his closest friends over on the weekend!

James Budd and his wife Sarah are accomplished professionals in their respective fields.  About fifteen years ago James decided that he had accomplished enough, and he wanted to try something on his own....anything.  He talked with Sarah about raising alpacas after reading an article, and she reminded him of the several reasons that would not be a fit for him.  She was right, but then he had two other things happen on the same day telling him he should pursue this business.  He tried again and Alpacas Of Montana was born.

James and Sarah moved from Colorado to Bozeman, Montana, bought property and of course, alpacas.  They began raising these animals and learning about them.  Eventually James came up with five different revenue generation models from these animals and started pursuing them all.

The revenue model we talk the most about today is the production of products from alpaca fiber - socks, hats, mittens, gloves, etc.  Alpacas Of Montana now produces a wide product line that are sold all over the world.  James has a passion for business in general and of course, his business.  This has led to their latest open house on the farm in Bozeman with over 5,000 people coming to visit.


GET HELP:  Nobody has accomplished great success without getting help from others.  Don't be afraid to seek your own.

SMART: When it comes to your particular product, service or area of expertise be the smartest person in the room.  Know the most.

NETWORK: The old saying is "it's not what you know, it's who you know".  James really believes that the power of your network will be a key to you being successful.....but he still believes that what you know is very important.


"A Little Bit Of A Lot Is A Whole More Than A Lot Of Nothing" - find your market and get a piece of it.  Then work on getting a bigger piece.


RE-PRIORITIZATION: James prioritizes his day, everyday.  About mid-day he does it again to get the most productivity.

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Today, we take a look at what has been going on, on our farm and with the podcast.  We also take a few minutes to discuss the importance of creeds and some of the most well known creeds in agriculture.

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Direct download: OFI_1404_Tuesday_Episode_-_6622_6.55_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MST