Off-Farm Income (farming)

Today is an oldie but goodie in terms of podcast episodes. I reach back into the archives to bring you this interview featuring Freelance Writer and Agricultural Communications Specialist, Heather Smith Thomas. 

Here are the notes from the original Episode:

                                        KEY IDEAS


ADVICE FROM HEATHER:

PERSISTENCE: Heather urges you not to give up, even after several editors have rejected your idea.  She states that just because an editor has rejected your idea does not mean that it is without value.

KNOW YOUR SUBJECT: Heather states that if you are going to write professionally about a topic you become more successful and credible if it is something you are familiar with.  So, pick something that you are interested in and know about.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1178_Recap_Of_Episode_009-090921.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

As it turned out, our good snow pack from last winter was largely diminished by the dry spring that we had.  The ground in the mountains was so dry from lack of rainfall in the spring that when the snow started to run off they absorbed a large percentage of the water that would normally end up in our reservoirs.  Therefore, my irrigation water shuts off tomorrow, about 30 days earlier than normal.  I am done with irrigation early this year, but it is not a happy surprise.  I will have less pasture than normal, which means I will be feeding livestock sooner than normal.  With hay at a premium, that causes its own problems.

My problems pale in comparison to those of the production agriculture farmers in our area whose yields are going to be reduced because their crops are going to stop or significantly slow down on growth when the last of their soil moisture disappears.  Out here in the West we are going to need a very wet winter followed by a wet spring to get us back to or towards normal and to help us avoid a crisis.  We hope you will keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Direct download: OFI_1176_Tuesday_Episode_-_91321_4.28_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

It's been 20 years since Autumm and I received a telephone call first thing in the morning telling us that the Twin Towers in New York City were on fire.  Different then our normal morning routine, we headed out to the living room and turned the television on to witness the towers falling just a short time later.  We were forever changed just as everyone else was on that day.

In today's episode I'd like to spend some time remember that day and discussing it from an agricultural perspective.

Here are links to three stories that I covered in the episode today:

Ohio Man Creates 9/11 Tribute Mural On Farmland

Farmers See 9/11 Impacts Each Day

John Ogonowski

Direct download: OFI_1174_Rural_Crime_-_91021_4.43_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is my second time featuring Ally Spears on the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  She first appeared on the show in December of 2020 on episode #945.  She and her mother co-own a business called Junk & Disorderly, and it supports the farm and farming lifestyle in the Bay Area of California.  Ally does not live in California however.  She lives in Texas and works for Texas A&M as a program director.  She definitely has the entrepreneurial spirit, which is easily recognized by all of the different ventures she finds herself in.

On today's show Ally and I will be talking about her journey in agriculture and entrepreneurship.  We will also be discussing some of the issues faced and progress made by women in farming and ranching.  These are the kinds of topics that Ally discusses on her podcast, Ag Chicks, and we are lucky to have her first hand with us on the show today!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1173-Ally_Spears-081821.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's episode I am having Ally Spears back on the show to talk about some of her other entrepreneurial endeavors in agriculture.  It was a fun interview, talking about ag and life in general.  I thought recapping the episode she did with her mother, Robyn, from the National Finals Rodeo in 2020 would be a great choice for this week's re-cap episode to get us ready for Friday's agribusiness show with Ally.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1172-Recap_Of_Episode_945-090821.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Autumm, Hattie and I spent Labor Day Weekend in San Francisco.  In today's episode I'll tell you why you should plan a visit if you've always wanted to go there but the news about the homeless problem has scared you away.  Also, my cousin and his family are carrying on a great farming tradition in California, and I'm excited about it!

Direct download: OFI_1170_Tuesday_Episode_-_9621_10.06_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's episode is the epitome of the type of business that this show was designed to profile.  Our guest, Roc Rutledge, farms with his father and brother in northeast Colorado.  Long ago, Roc's father told them that they would need to create some sort of business to help support them if they were going to come home and farm.  Roc has done that a couple of times over, and on today's show we are talking all about his newest business, Ace Composting.

Roc has been unbelievably innovative and courageous in the creation of this business.  And, just like always happens, now that he has put himself out there, other business opportunities are emerging as a result of what he has done.  Roc is being paid to dispose of dead pigs by a large scale pork producer in his area, and this was the first problem he solved.  He came up with a way to dispose of these pigs in close proximity to where they were being produced while insuring biosecurity for his customer.  On the other end of his innovation he has compost that he is using to improve his pastures and farm ground.  And, he is now getting interest from others to consult for them as they develop the same type of system that he has created.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1167_Roc_Rutledge-REVISED-081921.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

oday's show is a reply of an interview featuring Aaron Juergons who had the idea to inject manure into the soil in an effort to mitigate Clean Air Act air emissions reporting requirements. In addition to his manure spreading business, he owns a hog feeder and finisher business with his brother and they are both employed by Juergens Produce and Feed Co., which was started by their grandfather, Vernis Juergens, in 1945.

Additionally, Juergens Produce and Feed Co. has partnered with researcher and inventor, Gary Rapp, to market a liquid manure emissions neutralizer system through a company called Juergens Environmental Control, based in Carroll County Iowa.

Finding ways to be innovative with ag bi-products and being mindful of the environment while also helping farmers build soil for crop production is also a goal for Roc Rutledge. He will be my guest tomorrow, talking about his swine mortality composting business in Northeast Colorado.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1166-Recap_Of_Episode_40-081621_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I woke up this morning and was immediately inspired by a YouTube clip profiling many of the motivational things that Joe Rogan has said on his podcast.  You can watch the clip here.

This took me down a path of thinking and really got me thinking about the deeper meaning of what we are trying to do by searching for this elusive, rural and agricultural lifestyle.  So, today I went down the philosophical path (as much as I am capable of doing that).

Here are my notes from this morning:

  • Thoreau - Walden
  • Hunting camp - save up vacation time to go live like native Americans did for a one week period
  • Clip from Joe Rogan (put link in post)
  • Easier to take chances when you are young
  • Harder when you are older with more responsibility.
  • Story about not being able to leave his job because of lifestyle
  • My story about taking one risk and having one shot because of my age and responsibility.
  • Do the math on investing early (use the investment calculator)
  • Joe Rogan quote about planting the seed of an idea and nurturing it until it turns into something.
  • The rut of traffic, followed by a soul sucking job followed by traffic followed by escaping into the television.  Followed by overbuying to self medicate and being pushed harder into the rut.
  • One of my favorite streams of revenue is selling eggs and I literally make no money.

https://youtu.be/u4taz6dfPQc

Direct download: OFI_1164_Tuesday_Episode_-_83021_12.46_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I have been having a thought about a pathway to purchasing a farm for quite a while that involves four years of hard work, investing, starting young and being very motivated.  I finally decided to put these thoughts out and hopefully help somebody with them.  This is not a regular episode, so I decided to just release it as a bonus episode.  I hope it can help some young dreamer come up with a strategy that will get them to the life they are dreaming about sooner rather than later.

Direct download: Bonus_Episode_Early_Investing_-_83021_12.30_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:44pm MDT

A few weeks ago while reading articles for our rural crime episode I saw a quote from a police officer in the U.K. who was being interviewed about the thefts of sheep.  He was clearly frustrated with the fact that so many sheep are stolen in the U.K. and the cases go largely unsolved.  In the quote he recommended that sheep owners use some sort of marking technology on their lambs such as "TecTRACER".  I had never heard of such a thing so I looked up what it was and was intrigued as to how it works.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1162_John_Minary-082521.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A few weeks ago I published an interview with an FFA student who told me that she was going to be seeking a career as a livestock chiropractor.  Until that very interview, that was a career that I had never heard of.  So, the team started trying to find somebody who did this for a living to come on the show and talk about the career field.  We were very fortunate to find Dr. Renold Bleem and Melanie Bleem from Havana, Illinois.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1161_Dr_Bleem-072821_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

More and more livestock owners are learning the value of massage therapy for their animals. Not only is the use of livestock massage therapy growing, but so is the number of people getting certified to practice. Today, I feature Gail Rose, a Livestock Message Therapist who talks more about her business and the growth of this industry in one of the first episodes of this podcast.

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1160_Recap_Of_Episode_005-081421_2.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I owe all of you a huge "thank you" as I have recently surpassed one million downloads on Off-Farm Income!  When you start talking about seven figures, the scope of that number really hits you.  I hoped for but never allowed myself to imaging hitting a number of downloads like this when I first began.

In today's episode I wanted to make sure and talk about the milestone.  Since this is a business podcast all about teaching others how to create off-farm income through entrepreneurship, I thought I would take advantage of the occasion to tell you how I did it.  If you want to replicate this, you absolutely can.  And today, more than ever, this type of business is a realistic model for you to support your farming dreams.

 

Direct download: OFI_1158_Tuesday_Episode_-_82321_6.04_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If you are seeking an agricultural/farming lifestyle, and you know it from a young age what is the best way to go about achieving it?  One school of thought would suggest that you take a job, save your money and buy your farm when it is economically feasible for you to do so.  This is what I did.  I knew that I wanted to have my own farm when I was about 18 years old, and twenty years later my wife and I finally bought one.

There is the other school of thought however, and that way of thinking about it says to get started right now and build slowly over time.  My guest today, Mara Fielder, and her husband Brandon are subscribing to that school of thought, and they are thinking outside of the box to get this done.

Mara and Brandon are currently leasing sixteen acres from Mara's grandparents where they had been raising bees, boarding horses and providing riding lessons.  However, a series of unexpected events derailed that process.  Mara's step-father is allergic to bees, and this led to some conflict in the family and the loss of the bee hives.  Then Covid struck, and Mara lost her clients who were concerned about their horses being infected because she was still working in the community as a teacher.  This kind of left Mara and Brandon back at square one, wondering how they would move to the next step.

They didn't allow this to get them down however.  They are young, have energy and ideas and they are pushing forward.  Currently they are living in town, looking for land that they can buy.  In the meantime they have come up with an idea of a series of books for children that highlights the careers that a traditionally dominated by men but that women have found success in.  The series is called "Girls Can Too" and they are in the process of being published right now.  This original idea inspired a follow up idea of a book series profiling career choices normally dominated by women that men can succeed in.

In this interview Mara and I speak about their goals, the setbacks they have already encountered and she and Brandon's vision for the future.  It is great to see the journey from this perspective and understand how they are planning to make this come true!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1155_Mara_Fielder-071721.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today I am proud to replay episode #071 which featured Audrey Levantino, who authored a book called Woman-Powered Farm: Manual for a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle from Homestead to Field.  This is a book that I was intrigued by when I first heard of it, and I knew that I would want to have Audrey on the show, and definitely worth a replay of the show. If you missed it the first time, you don't want to miss it this time!

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1154-Recap_Of_Episode_071-081321.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

In today's episode I tell the whole story about the path we took, the luck we encountered and the decisions we made that led us to the rural, farming lifestyle that we have today.  

Direct download: OFI_1152_Tuesday_Episode_-_81621_6.40_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Whenever I am just about to begin an interview I ask the guest if they have any questions about what we are doing or how I do it.  Normally there aren't too many questions, but people frequently want to know what questions I am going to ask them.  I provide folks with a template, but I always tell them that I want the conversation to go in a natural direction, so I may stray from that template.  Well, in today's interview I definitely strayed!

Sharon Kauffman and her husband, Dan, have been farming in Morgan County, Colorado since the late 1970's.  They both grew up there, and Dan is a 3rd generation farmer on their land.  About ten years ago Dan got the idea to try making his own wine, and he sequestered a bathroom in the house to do so.  One thing led to another, and he and Sharon ended up planing vines in an unirrigated corner of one of their pivot fields in 2018.  In 2019 they got licensed to sell wine, and just one week prior to recording this interview they had their grand opening on their winery and tasting facility called Country Road Wines.

Sharon stated that this is a hobby, but is also a form of diversification to protect their farm and family tradition from the ups and downs of farming.  She and Dan were just getting their start in farming during the 1980's and managed to survive it, and that lesson has stayed in the forefront of their minds.  However, Sharon stated that their biggest motivation to put in the winery and create a tasting room was to provide people in their community a place to go and something to do.  They've lived there all their lives, and they are invested in the success of their community.  This was a way to keep it vibrant and attractive for 30 and 40 year olds that had previously left but who might consider moving back as they start families.  Sharon says that is happening.

As Sharon and I continued speaking our conversation really turned towards the issue of rural communities and how you attract people to live there without ruining what the community is all about in the first place.  Fort Morgan appears to have different dynamics than my community of Kuna, Idaho.  In Kuna we are seeing massive price increases on farm ground and farmers selling out to developers who are putting subdivisions on top of that ground.  There is housing pressure in Fort Morgan as well, but farmers are resisting development, causing companies like Cargill to bus in employees.

If you have an interest in seeing rural communities thrive while not losing their identities, this interview is for you

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1149_Sharon_Kauffman-071421.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today I am proud to replay episode #018 which featured Pake McNally, who was just going into blacksmithing at that point.  I found this to be a very inspirational interview, and watching what Pake has done with his life since this has also been interesting.  Enjoy!

Direct download: OFI_1148_Re-Cap_Episode_-_81221_1.47_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 1:52pm MDT

Cattle producers are one of the targets of environmental groups that are concerned about global warming.  The contention is that cattle production is one of the most harmful practices in agriculture or in any industry for global warming because cattle expect methane which is 28 times more efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Those of us who enjoy raising cattle or other ruminants need to be concerned about this contention for a couple of reasons.  First, if it is true then we need to innovate solutions to this problem very soon lest we have other people, from outside of our industry, legislate what they think will be appropriate solutions.  Second, if it is not true but groups continue to spread this information as true and create anti-cattle production sentiment it will harm our industry without merit.  If that is the case we need to educate ourselves to fight back against this.

Therefore, I have been concerned about this issue because it has looked like a no-win situation for cattle producers.  Today, as I record this episode there are articles out talking about the United Nation's "Code Red" warning for the world regarding global warming.  Seeing all these headlines got me researching this issue.  I came across an interesting article from November of 2020 dealing with methane emissions from cattle, and I wanted to share it with you on this episode to help arm you with the correct information.

Direct download: OFI_1146_Tuesday_Episode_-_8921_5.37_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

In today's episode I learned a new term - "compassion fatigue".  This is a term that I had never heard before, but the moment that I did I knew exactly what it meant.

Our guest, Doctor Erin Masur DVM, introduced me to this term when describing her short, but eventful journey in veterinary medicine so far.  After completing veterinary school and starting her own practice in New Jersey she felt herself experience "compassion fatigue", and that began a string of events that led to her selling her practice, moving to Connecticut, limiting her work hours and developing some side projects.  As a police officer I definitely experienced compassion fatigue, and I watched many other officers, social workers, nurses, etc. do the same.  So, I was right on the same page with Erin when it came to this.

One of Erin's side projects is a product that she is developing and selling called Early Bird, which is an herbal remedy for the parasite commonly known as the Barber Pole Worm.  Ever since Erin completed veterinary school and started working with livestock, she has been battling this parasite and the resistance it has to conventional parasite treatments.  Ultimately a colleague introduced her to an herbal remedy for this parasite, and she decided to try it.  The results she saw were enough for her to put her name behind it, seeing mortality in flocks and herds go from 10-20% from Barber Pole to 0%.

This led Erin to do research and trials with this remedy, and to start recommending it to other veterinarians with a lot of resistance so far.  She is about to have a peer reviewed paper about her findings released, and she is using this remedy in conjunction with pharmaceutical remedies for Barber Pole and other parasites.

In today's episode Erin will discuss her journey, her farm (Fork You Farms) and of course Early Bird Parasite Solutions.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1143_Erin_Masur-071621.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:00pm MDT

Some interviews leave you with a smile on your face for for the rest of the day.  This interview left me with a smile for the rest of the week.  The interview I did in episode #015 with A.W. Erwin was a lot of fun.  But, it was also the epitome of what I was trying to demonstrate with the podcast - there is a way to do what you love in agriculture and make a living with it!  A.W. demonstrates this better than anyone, and I am thrilled to feature his episode on the show again today in this re-cap episode.

 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1142_Recap_of_Episode_15-080321.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On today's show I wanted to address a social media post that I saw that was castigating the 4H and FFA for selling livestock for slaughter at county and state fairs.  When something like this comes up it is all of our responsibility to address this, not only because it is our way of life but because it is untrue.  I like to be on the side of truth, and I won't allow someone to make a bunch of emotional statements that paint an untrue statement and just let that go.

Direct download: OFI_1140_Tuesday_Episode_-_8221_3.21_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I am fascinated with the idea of having a shop, heading out there in the morning, working at your own pace and having a new creation to hold at the end of the day.  I don't necessarily think that I have the aptitude for this type of business, but I wish that I did.  So, whenever I get the chance to interview somebody who creates their living in this manner, I soak it all in.

Tom Roark, the owner and creator of 5R Knives, is this person. Each day at his home in the farming town of Brush, Colorado he heads out to his shop and designs and creates some of the most beautiful knives and sheathes you have ever seen.  Each sheath is specific to each knfe, and there is a story to go with each one, like where the wood for the handle came from.

5R Knives is just Tom's latest foray into self-employment.  He has been self-employed all of his life, starting by purchasing his parent's sign business from them in Longmont, Colorado when he was in his early 20's.  He eventually sold that business and purchased another called "Western Sales", manufacturing four products for folks in the beef industry.  After about ten years he sold that business and started 5R Knives.

In this interview, Tom takes us through his history of entrepreneurship, and his philosophy on purchasing and selling a business.  This is an important interview for anyone who is considering entrepreneurship as their option for off-farm income.  And, we have the benefit of getting advice from a person with a lifetime of experience.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1137_Tom_Roark-071221.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

As I was searching for a re-cap episode for this week I came across this interview with Martje Plaggemeyer.  What a great business concept she had come up with!  I definitely wanted to air this episode again.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1136-Recap_Of_Episode_373-072021.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A friend of mine, and one of our previous guests, Jeff Titus, from episode #024 contacted me today and told me that the farm where I learned to love cattle and agriculture had been put up for sale.  The current owners purchased it from my step-father a few years back, and it has pretty much just been sitting.  However, now they have made some significant changes to it and put it up for sale.

If you are interested in purchasing it, please contact Jeff, and he would be happy to represent you.  Here is his contact information:

Here is the link to the listing: 1342 Hickman Road, Hickman, California

It's got a small, three bedroom, one bathroom house on it that is a legitimate farm house and several outbuildings.  However, the current owners have torn out all of the livestock handling facilities and planted almonds.  So, you would be buying into a turn key, 10 acre almond operation.  Or, you could rip them out, put fences and corrals back in, replant pasture and start over, but.....that would be crazy.

According to the listing, the house was built in 1935.  According to my family my step-grandfather, Boyd Womack, and my step-grandmother, Vada Womack, immigrated to California from Oklahoma around 1941 and lived in Pixley for about a year before buying this place for $5,000 in 1942.  Now it's listed for $795,000.  That's a 15,800% increase in just under 80 years!

Their trek to California was after the Dust Bowl and Depression had ended or were ending, but their journey was very much the same with everything loaded onto one truck and my step-father, Chuck, and his brother, Ray, riding the entire way on a mattress that sat on top of all of the family possessions.  Boyd and Vada rode in the cab of the truck with the little girl, Tommie.

When they first purchased the property and home there was 20 acres.  At some point Boyd sold off the ten acres on the eastern side of the farm.  When they first arrived, Chuck and Ray, slept in the well house because it was a one bedroom home.  Later, Boyd converted added on a bedroom and kitchen on the north side of the home and converted the previous kitchen to a bedroom.  The home became the three bedroom, one bath home that it is now and the boys were able to move in.

Boyd and Vada lived the rest of their lives in this house, and then Chuck and Tommie inherited it, Ray had already passed.  Chuck bought Tommie's half of the farm, and he lived almost the rest of his life there as well.  However, when he wasn't able to keep up with the demands any longer, he sold to the current owners and moved into nearby Waterford.

So, today's episode is about my memories from that place.

Direct download: OFI_1134_Tuesday_Episode_-_72321_7.20_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

There are a lot of farm types and agricultural businesses that I like to romanticize.  Perhaps there is none greater than the small farm in which you must milk a few animals on a small scale every day.  I realize that this is called "being romanticized" for a reason.  In reality, the need to milk controls your schedule, no matter what the weather is, whether or not you are sick, or if it is Christmas morning - it has to be done.

These demands on your time can also be a benefit when it comes to starting a farm business that has a chance of succeeding.  The demands of this type of farm weed a lot of people out.  And, on a small scale, it leaves you with time to get creative with your business model.  That is exactly what today's guest, Deb Gray, has done.  Deb milks about ten goats per day, and she spends the rest of her time adding value to that milk in the form of soaps, lotions, etc. on Harvest Hills Farm in Wooster, Ohio.

This translates into Deb's business, Harvest Hills Skin Care, which she has been growing steadily for decades now.  Deb has gone through the transitions that we talk about on the show, eventually growing the business to such a size that she had to leave her day job.  It was clear in the interview with Deb that she loves this business and what she is doing because she is looking to the future.  She has a short-term and long-term vision for how the business will grow and develop and offer other products and services.

In today's interview, Deb will talk about some of the challenges to getting started, the estimated start-up costs, and some of the essential pieces of equipment that were game-changers for developing her business, such as:

  • Professional Labels
  • A Soap Cutter
  • Soap Molds
  • A Bottle Filler

I hope you enjoy this very informative interview about a successful, value-added, farm business.
 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1131_Deb_Gray-070921.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

It was my pleasure to feature Vance Curtis on the Off-Farm Income Podcast again.  When I first interviewed him I remarked at how positive and upbeat he was, and these are definitely the types of episodes that I like to revisit.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1130-Recap_Of_Episode_371-072021.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today I'm talking about being an ambassador for agriculture and why that is so important.  Also, we will discuss six ways that you can become that ambassador and how to get it done effectively.

We should all be ambassadors for our industries, but in agriculture this is probably more important than any other area.

Direct download: OFI_1128_Tuesday_Episode_-_71921_5.42_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today I am very fortunate to have Ryan Stevens on the show.  Ryan and his wife, Stephanie, are the owners of Full Armor Farm in Maine and the parents of three children with one on the way.  Ryan and Stephanie are also both medically retired from the Marine Corps and met in Afghanistan while on one of their many deployments.

When this couple medically retired out of the Marine Corps they needed a place to come home to in the U.S. that would offer them the atmosphere and environment to process what they had gone through and adjust back to life in the U.S.  Stephanie proposed buying a farm and living the lifestyle that she had grown up with in Northern Pennsylvania, and they found one in Maine, five minutes from where Ryan had grown up.  So, in 2018 they made the transition and Full Armor Farm was born.

Today Ryan and Stephanie are raising Scottish Highlander Cattle, they are tapping both maple and birch trees for sap, they are raising chickens and growing apples.  They are feeding themselves from their farm.  As an example, they do not sell chickens, but they had slaughtered 35 birds prior to our interview to feed themselves and local family. They are also creating and selling value added products such as maple syrup and apple cider.  In addition to this they are direct marketing beef from their farm.

A lot of initiative and hard work went into and is still going into this farm.  There were also grants received based on their veteran status that helped to get them started with their value added products even faster.  In addition to this, their religious faith plays a pivotal role in defining what their farm is about and how they live their lives.

Ryan has written a book about his portion of this journey from military and wartime service to this life of faith and farming.  He hopes that it is released at the end of 2021.  It is my honor to help tell a little of their story today!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1125_Ryan_Stevens-063021.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I have been lucky enough to interview PJ Jonas twice on the show.  She and her husband, Jim, have an amazing story of deciding to farm and raise their family agriculturally, and then finding a way to do it full time.  They are truly an inspiration, and I am thrilled to feature my second interview with PJ once again to inspire those of you who never heard it, and to re-inspire those of you who did!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1124-Recap_of_Episode_399.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

This is officially my birthday episode!  I recorded this on the morning of my 48th birthday, and what an appropriate time to do a solo episode where I am just conversing with all of you.

  • Today is a farm update, and we will be covering:
  • Purchasing four new heifers
  • Having good relationships with other farmers
  • Heat and smoke in our valley
  • The presence of so many predators on our farm

I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

Direct download: OFI_1122_Tuesday_Episode_-_71221_11.00_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Rural crime is a pervasive problem in the U.K., U.S., Canada and Australia.  Once per week we cover stories from all four of these countries regarding people in rural areas dealing with criminal behavior.  

Direct download: OFI_1120_Rural_Crime_-_7921_1.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

It wasn't long ago that people were saying that brick and mortar stores are dead and will never come back.  Those folks better watch out because David is swinging his sling shot and has figured out a new way to slay Goliath!

On today's episode I am speaking with an unbelievably innovative, rural entrepreneur, who is not afraid of brick and mortar.  Kayla Gabel is the owner of The Desert Rose Boutique in Wiggins, Colorado.  Located only 66 miles from Denver, she has customers that will drive 90 minutes to come spend the day in her shop rather than drive 20-30 minutes to shop in Denver.  Kayla has redefined brick and mortar, and she is only getting better.

Kayla likes to shop, and that passion ultimately led her to starting her own, online boutique which she named Desert Rose.  However, it was becoming too much for her family to handle in their home, so she found herself opening up an actual store front.  Kayla chose to open that store in the small, farming based town that she lives in rather than commuting into a city where she might get more drive by traffic.  Actually, she ignored convention knowledge about opening up a physical location altogether.  Rather, with the help of the internet and social media, Kayla created her own community of fans, and now they drive to her small town to shop with her!

Today the Desert Rose Boutique makes about 60% of its sales online with 40% of sales happening on location in Wiggins, Colorado.  However, Wiggins is very small and those 40% of sales are not exclusively from locals.  So, how does Kayla get people to drive to her small town to shop.....she created a community.

Kayla is very active on social media, Facebook specifically, and she even has a special, VIP group on Facebook where she shares her life and exclusive offers with her fans.  She has also created a mobile app to keep in touch with her fans outside the confines of Facebook at the touch of a button.

What Kayla really does is provides a unique experience, unique products and unbelievable customers service.  If a customer walks into her boutique, she knows who they are, what their story is and what they purchased last time.  She and her staff will visit all day with them, help them pick out outfits and provide the type of customer service that seemed to have died somewhere back about 1989.  Even though today many people will just buy from whomever and don't hold companies to any kind of standard when it comes to service, there are those who still demand to be treated well.  And, they are driving from the Denver Metro Area to a postage stamp, small town to get it.

Kayla thinks way outside the box when it comes to business.  She has brought a massage therapist into her store so now people who want a massage can come be part of her boutique's experience as well.  She just purchased her first tanning bed, and soon will have three that she will rent to people looking to get some intense UV rays.  And of course, when they are done there is conversation, friendly people and unique clothing and products waiting for them right outside the door.

Kayla is driving by a sense of community, and she is trying to bring customers to her community for a shopping experience that will extend beyond her boutique and into surrounding businesses.

If you have ever wondered if you could start a brick and mortar store in your small town and succeed, you need to hear this interview with Kayla Gabel!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1119_Kayla_Gabel-062521.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today we are revisiting episode #420.  When I wrote these show notes and made this episode I was reflecting on how my life had changed since I decided to become an entrepreneur.  I was living a lifestyle that I dared not dream of at one point in time.  This is the source of my inspiration.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1118-Recap_Episode_420-070621.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Isn't it the nature of farming that just when you think you are getting ahead, you aren't really getting anywhere at all?  Or, maybe you are losing ground?  This spring has been really dry for us in Southwestern Idaho, but you wouldn't think that would matter much because we had a good snow year and have water for irrigation.  However, lot's of people are having more trouble with weeds than normal, and it is impacting farming.  It is specifically impacting me right now as the entire hay crop I was counting on for this season is looking really bad, and I got told that the hay that was pledged to me was no longer going to be available.

In this farm update I'll discuss my hay problems and:

  • Losing a beef customer due to me feeding GMO hay
  • Increasing hay prices putting a crunch on my bottom line
  • Thistle after thistle that I have to spot treat in my pasture
  • Making some progress beating back fox tails
  • Buying four heifer to get ahead, but having to cull three mother cows
Direct download: OFI_1116_Tuesday_Episode_-_7_5_21_6.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A very valid form of off-farm income that I really do not talk much about is creating products and selling them.  The businesses I tend to focus more on are those that serve other farmers in some way.  This is probably because I, in no way, am a creator of products and started out my entrepreneurial journey through farm service.  Therefore, in order to cover the world of innovation and invention we have an expert on the show today.  Allan Fetters, the owner of AGceleration Advisory Services is joining us on the show to discuss the world of bringing new products and technology to agriculture.

In today's episode we will be discussing:

  • Patents
  • Pricing
  • Timelines
  • Why farmers have a head start over innovation companies when it comes to creating agricultural products
  • Why non-agricultural people are creating agricultural products
  • And much, much more!

If you have had an idea of a product or invention that you would like to create because it would solve a problem for farmers, you will find a lot of great information in this episode!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1113_Allan_Fetters-062321.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On the Off-Farm Income Podcast, I interview at least 104 FFA students every year.  And about 10% of them have supervised agricultural experiences involving bees.  Bees are a wonderful way to get involved with agriculture.  They can be raised in a small space, eliminating the need for large amounts of land, and they do something wonderful for the surrounding environment.

What if your interest in bees goes beyond casual, you would like a career doing what you love and that thing is bees?  Where do you start?  Do you go to college?  Are there ways you can serve the bee industry with a side business?  Is this an industry in decline, or are there emerging opportunities? These are the questions I think of every time I profile a student that has an interest in bees.

In today's episode, I finally get to answer so many of those questions.  I am speaking with Alan Mikolich.  Alan became fascinated with bees and beekeeping at age 9 and got his first hive when he was 10.  All he has wanted to do ever since is work with bees, and he made a career out of this passion.  After five decades working with bees, Alan has experience working for others, managing thousands of acres of farmland that need bees for pollination, collecting and selling his own honey, creating side businesses to serve the bee industry, and consulting.

There is no way to replicate the knowledge and wisdom of somebody like Alan who has been in the industry for this long, and today we are lucky enough to be able to share his expertise with the world.  If you have an interest in bees and are wondering how to make that your full-time job, today's interview is tailor-made for you!

Direct download: OFI_1107_-_Alan_Mikolich_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

There are few businesses in which your reputation is as important as breeding, training and selling dogs that people are going to work with and have expectations of.  Our guest today, Laura Stimatze, has learned this over several years of doing this.

With those years of experience comes wisdom, and Laura is offering it to you today.  One of the key pieces of advice that she shares today is to be careful who you sell your animals to.  She guards her reputation very carefully and only sells to people who have the right idea about what they are going to be doing with these dogs. She does not sell pets, and she makes sure that her customers are going to put the work in so that the dog she sells them performs correctly.  She does not want somebody blaming her breeding or training when they did not put in the required work.

Along the way, Laura also noticed something about her industry.  She saw a need for training clinics that were specifically for women.  So, she started one.  She does not do as many as she once did, but she does train just for women.  That was how I found out about her, from one of my listeners, Garoleen Wilson, who went to one of her clinics.

Direct download: OFI_1100_-_Replay_with_Laura_Stimatze_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On today's episode, we are profiling a product.  And like I do every time that we profile a product or company I want to give a disclaimer.  Today's guest is not a paid advertiser or sponsor of the Off-Farm Income Podcast, and there are no discussions taking place for that to happen.  This company was brought to my attention by a person I have met through agricultural podcasting, and after reading about their product I thought this might be something that could help you be more successful on your cattle or pig operation. That is why we are profiling it here today.

Our guest today, Joe Spicola, has been involved in the beef industry, raising stockers, for many years now.  Sometime around 2005, as they were weighing cattle, again, he decided that there must be a better way to get this done than rounding up all the cattle, stressing them out, and inputting all that labor.  Then, an idea was born.  What if the cattle could be scanned and their weight calculated each time they came to water?

This started the journey that Joe is still on today.  However, today he has an extremely accurate product that weighs cattle and pigs through 3-D imaging technology that he is selling.  This product is called CLICR Weight, and its implications are fantastic!

Instead of rounding up cattle, penning them up, and running them through a scale to calculate their weights and average daily gains, Joe's product relies on the cattle coming to water and technology.  Joe has been able to develop an algorithm that uses a 3-D image capture by a camera when a cow or pig comes to drink that provides the animal's weight with 96% accuracy.  The implications here are astounding.  A lot of labor and stress is saved by doing this when the cow or pig is doing something that is totally natural to them.  And, the computer can automatically mark the animal if they have reached their goal weight.  The computer can also automatically apply drenches so that cattle do not have to be run through corrals to get parasite protection, and I think Joe is just starting to figure out all the ways that this technology can help producers.

With a $3,500 price tag and a daily subscription fee of $.05-$.15 per animal, if this sounds like a technology that would help you to succeed in your operation it is definitely affordable.  I hope that the information provided today can help you to be more successful, and I hope that innovations in agriculture like this keep coming our way!

Direct download: OFI_1095_-_Joe_Spicola_-_ClicR_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

There are a few key ways that businesses get started.  One of the most common is when somebody gets frustrated with the lack of something they need or the quality of what is available to them.  Our guest today has exactly this story.

Heather Kelly grew up in and still lives in Alaska.  She takes full advantage of the outdoor recreation opportunities afforded to her there.  In her time in the backcountry, she became frustrated with the freeze-dried food that was available to her.  So, she started making her own.

This ultimately led her to develop her company, Heather's Choice.  She is passionate about making freeze-dried food with quality and locally sourced food when available to her.  She is also passionate about living where she wants to live - Alaska.  And, she is passionate about creating jobs in her home state that are outside of what is traditionally available there.  So, she was a perfect fit for this show!

ADVICE FROM HEATHER:

HONEST: You should always be honest in dealing with your customers....and you should be honest with yourself when it comes to what you can really handle.

JUMP: Heather believes that if you are passionate about an idea you should jump in with both feet and make it happen.  This will help you determine whether or not it is going to work.

MISTAKES: You are going to make them, so just accept that now and it won't be devastating when it happens.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE HEATHER HAS RECEIVED:

At some point, somebody told Heather to read The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It.  This is a great book that I recommend as well.  It talks about no letting working in your business destroy the joy of having your own business.

PERSONAL HABIT THAT HELPS HEATHER SUCCEED:

JOURNAL: Heather is very good at journaling.  She does it daily, and it helps her to maintain her calm when things get crazy.

Direct download: OFI_1094__-_Heathers_Choice_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Back in March of 2017, I had today's guest on the show for the very first time.  In episode #267, Ric Brewer, appeared and told us all about his snail farming, processing, and marketing business that he had started in the Seattle area of Washington State.  Over the past four years, Ric has evolved in his business.  He has also seen his business devastated by Covid 19 as all of his restaurant customers were forced to close their doors.

Those challenges did not stop Ric from pursuing his passion and continuing to raise snails, however. And, during the past four years, he has started consulting with other people who would like to start a snail farming enterprise.  There is a lot to enjoy in this interview.  I think the highlight for me is learning about the unintended opportunity that Ric found himself with as a consultant.  As he will explain in the interview the snail business is very complicated due to governmental regulations, the infrastructure needed to raise them, and regulations on distribution methods.  However, after figuring that all out, he has become one of the foremost experts in the U.S. on how to navigate the waters of this business.  And thus, another opportunity appeared!

Direct download: OFI_1089_-_Ric_Brewer_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

We talk about it all the time on this show - how can you get to the life in which all you have to do is farm or ranch?  What if you already had an enterprise that would allow you to quit that job in town and farm or ranch full-time, but you just didn't know it?

On today's show, we will speak with Dallas Mount.  Dallas has a history of advising and teaching folks in agriculture, and now he is the owner of Ranch Management Consultants and their key course, Ranching For Profit, in Wheatland, Wyoming.  Dallas will be talking with us about how he and his people help to identify areas within people's ranching and farming enterprises that are going underutilized or are acting as a drag on their profits.  He will talk about strategies for improving an operation, increasing productivity, and enhancing profits.  He will also talk about the challenges to implementing those strategies when there are other stakeholders involved in the operation.

Dallas accurately points out that formal, agricultural education really emphasizes production when it comes to teaching ag students.  Therefore, there are a lot of ranchers out there with a large amount of knowledge and skill when it comes to production, but who still need to learn how to look at their enterprise from the perspective of a business person.

Direct download: OFI_1083_-_Dallas_Mount_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

You may wonder why I have a video of the Oprah Winfrey Show with Jim Carrey at the top of a post about farming and entrepreneurship.  The reason that I did this is that today's guest, Tyler Hendrickson, said something that really made me think about this story from Jim Carrey.

If you watch the video clip you will see that Jim Carrey visualized himself as an actor long before he was successful.  He then wrote a check to himself for $10 million for "acting services rendered".  Ultimately what he visualized he was ultimately able to make happen.

Tyler does not yet have a farm.  However, he named his diesel tuning business "Hendrickson Farms LLC". Tyler knows what he wants to do, and he has visualized it.  He wants to farm, and he has chosen entrepreneurship as the pathway to achieving that.  So, even though he does not have the farm yet, he has the business.....Hendrickson Farms LLC.  He knows that someday in the future he will be selling crops and livestock under that name, and he has chosen entrepreneurship to make that happen.

ADVICE FROM TYLER:

LISTEN: Listen to everyone intently for information that will make it easier for you to succeed as you move forward.

RELATIONSHIPS: Find a way to continually be developing relationships with people as you grow.  These people will help you succeed in your chosen business either by being mentors or customers.

PERSONAL HABIT THAT MAKES TYLER SUCCESSFUL:

DON'T QUIT: Tyler doesn't do this.  He sees every job through to its completion, no matter what it takes to get it finished.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE EVER GIVEN TO TYLER:

"If you shoot for the moon and fall short you will still be among the stars"...or something very close to that.  Tyler's grandfather, through his words and example, showed Tyler that you need to set your goals high.  That way even if you fall short you have still accomplished something significant.

Direct download: OFI_1082_-_Replay_Hendrickson_Farms_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today has a story that is very similar to mine in that he has a heart for service and this manifested itself first in the military, later in local law enforcement and finally in his very own service business, Leedy Farm and Property Services.

Chuck Leedy moved away from his home in Dryden, Virginia a couple of times during his life.  But ultimately, after having children, he decided he wanted to return home and farm.  The challenge for him in doing that was what would he do to produce the income he would need for household expenses not covered by farm revenue.

Chuck decided upon entrepreneurship, but his did not happen suddenly.  He was working as a maintenance technician for McDonald's at four different restaurants and building his business on the side.  As he continued to build his business he discovered that the reputation he had built for himself in the community from serving as a law enforcement officer was helping him to get business.  This was only natural as people inherently trusted him to be on their property.

Chuck went through the "crazy time" like so many entrepreneurs do when they are trying to transition from their full-time job to full-time self-employment.  Finally, after working many hours per week between the business and the job he was able to break away and become a full-time entrepreneur.  Once this happened he was able to focus more on his business and his farm.  Now he is on a great trajectory to live the life for himself and his family that he has envisioned.

ADVICE FROM CHUCK:

COMMUNICATE: Chuck and I both learned through our careers in law enforcement that communication with customers is key.  When he gets busy, something goes wrong or the farm demands his attention he can maintain positive relationships with customers through good communication.

REPUTATION: Chuck has a great reputation in his community, and he does not take that lightly.  That is something that needs to be protected.

RELIABLE: Customers want somebody that they can depend on.  You need to be reliable for them to truly trust that they can rely on you.

PERSONAL HABIT THAT MAKES CHUCK SUCCESSFUL:

ORGANIZED DRIVE: Chuck has a drive that helps him finish what needs to get done.  And he compliments his time in the military for making him organized to get all the different things finished that he has on his schedule.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE EVER GIVEN TO CHUCK:

This advice was given to Chuck by his grandfather: "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing it right the first time".

CONTACT INFORMATION AND LINKS:

Chuck's Email Address: LeedyPSLLC@yahoo.com

Direct download: OFI_1076_-_Replay_Chuck_Leedy_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

This show is all about helping you find a way to achieve the farming or ranching dream that you have.  In today's episode, we are going to illustrate the single most important way to make this happen.

Cody Bumgarner is an enterprising young man who is building up a significant bison herd and bison meat business right in my backyard called "Idaho Bison".  Cody is raising his buffalo just about 40 miles away from my farm, near New Plymouth, Idaho.
 
Getting into the bison business is not easy.  Bison are expensive, and they take a long time for you to start generating revenue from them.  In addition to that, they require special handling facilities because of their size and their wild nature.  Plus, if you are looking for an operating loan you might not be able to get one because bankers don't like bison herds as collateral because they are too difficult to sell.
 
Cody was exposed to the bison business by one of his friends, and when he saw how valuable the cuts of meat were he decided that he wanted in.  His friend agreed to allow him to build his herd within his already existing herd and on the property that had the vital infrastructure in place already.  All that was left for Cody to do was to start buying buffalo.
 
Buffalo are expensive, and this expense could have killed the motivation of a lot of people.  However, Cody's motivation is strong and his priority is developing a profitable farm business.  So, he went to Alaska.
 
That may sound funny, but for two years Cody went and worked underground on a drill rig in a gold mine in Alaska.  This was as a high-paying job that he could get, and he took advantage of the opportunity to send money home and have it invested in his herd of buffalo.
 
Today, Cody has developed a significant herd, partnered with two other producers, and started marketing bison meat.  They are selling more and more all the time, and he is well on his way to achieving this goal.
 
Cody is a great example of how to get started farming today.  Networking, partnering with the right people, bringing value to those partnerships, prioritizing farming and hard work is what will get you there.  Cody is what we call "proof of concept".
Direct download: OFI_1059_-_Cody_Bumgarner_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

SHOW NOTES

Are you looking for your niche in agriculture?  Do you wish you could farm but not have to work outside during the cold and windy winters?  Would you like to provide food directly to people but also for livestock?  If so, today's episode is for you.

On today's show, we discuss the emerging market of mealworms for human and animal consumption with Cheryl Powers of Jord Producers.  Cheryl knew she wanted to return to agriculture, but she defined a set of parameters before deciding what she would do.  Between defining how she wanted to farm and what she wanted her business to accomplish she discovered mealworm production.

Now Cheryl is identifying new markets, producing brood worms, and has team members helping her to grow this business.  If you are looking for your niche, this episode is for you!

ADVICE FROM CHERYL:

SKILLS: Look for team members that have skills that you lack.  They need to compliment you in this way.

HELP: Find help in your community in developing businesses. Then take full advantage.

INTERVIEW: Interview potential customers as you are developing your idea.  This will help you know whether or not it is viable, and how to pivot your business.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE CHERYL HAS RECEIVED:

DELIVER:  You better be able to deliver what you promise.  Don't be just another company that makes big claims but cannot follow through.

RESOURCES:

The Lean LaunchPad by Steve Blank

CONTACT INFORMATION AND LINKS:

Facebook: LINK

Email: LINK

Telephone: 402-469-0038

Direct download: OFI_1058_-_Replay_Cheryl_Powers_Mixdown_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

SHOW NOTES

Today's Friday episode is a little bit different than normal.  There are two major points of value in this episode.  First, is the lesson that when you take the step to reach out to others for help or advice you just never know where it will take you.  Second, are some practical tips about how to start your own podcast for your own form of off-farm income.

The way this all started is that a young lady named Ashley Elsbernd, who is currently a junior at South Winneshiek High School, reached out to Warren Clark of AgPR Media for advice about starting her own podcast to profile the projects and accomplishments of her fellow FFA members.  Warren then referred her to me to see if I could help her.

Instead of just trading some emails and answering some of her questions, I decided to have Ashley on the show and have her interview me.  This forced her to think up questions that she wanted answers to, and it took her way out of her comfort zone.  However, by the time it was all said and done, Ashley had completed her first-ever podcast interview, and she had the experience to take her deeper into her project.  Oh, and she and any of you who are interested had information that could help you to develop your own podcast as your form of off-farm income.

I hope this was both helpful and entertaining for all of you.


SHOW NOTES

One of the mantras of this show is that if you want to farm and to farm successfully you need to be willing to relocate.  This has everything to do with land prices and land quality.  If you live in an area that has inflated land prices due to land buyers that are not ag-related, your chances of making it and farming full-time decrease because of this increased land payment.

I have never had a great answer, only a good one, for how to go about finding the right place outside of your area.  There are millions of farmable acres across the United States.  How can a person truly go find just the right spot?

Fortunately for me, I was connected to Steven Brockshus, the founder of Farm Finder, through the American Farm Bureau Federation.  In today's episode, I get to speak with Steven all about this great business and website that he started that is designed to allow anyone to find the perfect piece of farm ground for their interests.  This can be done by entering the exact parameters you are looking for, checking the soil types, viewing the sale prices of comparable farms, etc.

And, in addition to all of this, I get to profile a wonderful success story of a previous FFA national officer who has taken his time in the FFA to the next level.

ADVICE FROM STEVEN:

PURPOSE: Know your purpose when you start a venture.  It is important to know where you are trying to go in order for you to get there.

LIVE: When looking at farm ground it is really important to know whether or not you want to live there.  This really influences the decision process and how good of a farm you purchase.

FINANCE: Have your financing in order and understand the numbers.  Without this, the best farm in the world might still fail.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Website: https://www.farmlandfinder.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FarmlandFinder

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FarmlandFinder

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/farmlandfinder/

Email: steven@farmlandfinder.com


SHOW NOTES

I know that the title of this episode might be a little bit misleading.  I mean, does anyone really get a full night's sleep during calving season?  However, we here at Off-Farm Income have uncovered an innovation that we would like to share with you.  And, if the innovation works as advertised, and you grow to trust it, I believe you will get a lot of sleep during calving season.

I want to give my disclaimer, the same way I always do when we profile a companies product or service.  These folks are not sponsors of our show, they have not paid us any money and we are not seeking them as a sponsor.  At the end of this interview, they did offer to send us some products to test, which we are going to do, but we reached out to them to profile this innovation because it sounds like it could be a game-changer for cattle farmers.

Today I am interviewing Stephen Fagan.  He is the head of operations and design for Moocall.  Moocall is a company based in Dublin, Ireland that was founded by cattle farmers.  They have developed a system for calving detection on cattle and another one for heat detection in cattle.

In the interview, Stephen explains how both devices work as much as he can without giving away trade secrets.  He also talks about the benefits and what you can do with these devices.  This is a very exciting innovation in agricultural technology for knowing when a cow or heifer is about to calve when your cow has been serviced and whether or not she was settled.  I am excited to bring this to you today!

Connect with MooCall:

Website: https://moocall.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moocall

Instagram: www.instagram.com/moocallofficial

Twitter: www.twitter.com/moocallofficial

Email: hello@moocall.com

 

Direct download: OFI_1041__Getting_Sleep_During_Calving_Season___Stephen_Fagan___Moocall.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Advice For The Beginning Cattle Farmer

I have had two situations/conversations recently that have really made me want to ask everyone to hit the pause button for just a second before putting cattle on their places.  And this has really made me think about this a little bit deeper.

Let me first start by saying that as a person who loves agriculture, wants to see agricultural land preserved, likes the diversity of people farming, and really enjoys cattle - I am all for people discovering this great animal and engaging in this industry.

However, cattle are not a species of livestock that you can just decide you want to raise and then begin.  You really need to know what you are doing here, both for reasons of being humane and because of the impact on your financials.

Small livestock like goats, sheep, and even pigs can be easy to start out with.  But cattle are just too big for you to start off with if you have no experience and you don't have the correct equipment.  The larger the animal, the less margin for error and less ability you will have to correct your mistakes.

Once you get a cow to shut off the thinking part of her brain and start running away from you with that thousand-yard stare, you are in big trouble.  My goal is for you to never hit that point.  But if you ever do, I want you to be able to handle it.

What I Have Been Seeing

This is what I have been seeing recently that has caused me to make this episode.  I have been seeing too many instances of folks with zero experience raising cattle but who have purchased a property putting some cows on it with no other planning.  I've also seen these folks get themselves in a bit of a bind when it comes time to doctor the cows, catch the cattle or separate the cows from the bull.

I think the mistake that so many people make is not seeing what is really going on around them.  As folks drive through the countryside you see cattle grazing peacefully on pastures or out on the range, and it is a pastoral scene that you would like to replicate on your own place.  But what you are not seeing is the time, experience, and planning that goes into achieving that scene.

There are a lot of very experienced cowboys and cowgirls out there who have loved cattle their entire lives and have been working with cattle their entire lives.  And if you get the chance to watch them work with cattle, they can make it look very easy.  But it is not.  This is one of those situations in which the person is so good at what they do, that they are making it look easy.

If you have never worked with cattle before, this like watching Stephen Curry hit a 3 point shot or Tiger Woods sink a 40 foot put and saying "I can do that".  They make it look easy because they are professionals.  You are not.  There is a lifetime of practice, desire, and intuition between the head of that putter and the hole that the ball eventually drops in.  You, as the new cow farmer, have a long way to go.

What Should You Do

  • Make Friends With Neighbors
  • Reinforce Your Fences
  • Be Picky About The Cattle You Buy
  • Get The Correct Equipment
  • Get Some Education
  • Learn About Flight Zones And Pressure
  • Teach Yourself To Walk Away
  • Get Some Experience
  • Start Slow
  • Spend Time With Your Cattle
  • Learn About Electric Fence
  • Know The Reasons That Cattle Will Push Fence
  • Rotate Your Pastures

You, Will, Get There

I am excited for you, and you are going to get there.  But let's not get in too big of a hurry.  You can get started pretty quickly with smaller livestock like goats, sheep, and even pigs.  But, if cattle are where you are headed, you need to really think about these things before you jump in.  If you don't, you might end up losing a lot of money.  Worse yet, you might wind up with a cow that needs help you cannot give it because you can't get it caught or can't control it.


SHOW NOTES

Everybody knows that obtaining land is the single biggest obstacle to overcome for a new or beginning farmer.  And the current state of real estate all over the U.S. is pushing us towards the point that it seems almost impossible.  So, if a person wants to farm on a commercial scale, what are they to do.

In our society, innovation always seems to answer these difficult questions, and it may very well be true this time as well.  On today's show, I get to speak with Alex Albu of FarmBox Foods.  Alex and his colleagues have developed a system of vertical farming in storage containers that can be placed anywhere, in any climatic conditions, and get somebody farming.

It is really a very interesting concept.  A person on a small, residential lot could start farming in one of these containers and be producing the same farm revenue that could only be replicated on 30+ acres of ground.  And of course, the investment in this equipment, while significant, pales in comparison to the ground and is not subject to growing seasons or environmental difficulties like storms, freezes, or drought.

In our interview, Alex states that farmer is recovering their initial investment in their systems in about two years.  That is pretty good if all you need to do is purchase a 1/2 acre lot and one of these pieces of equipment to up and running.  And, in this system, Alex suggests growing the best of lettuces and mushrooms to tell at premium prices to restaurants, grocery stores, and individuals through farmers' markets.

This is really a very innovative idea, and I am very excited to see where it goes and how many people it can help to get started farming.

Connect with Alex Albu & FarmBox Foods:

Website: https://farmboxfoods.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/farmboxfoodscolorado

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/farmboxfoods/

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/company/farmbox-foods/

Email: info@farmboxfoods.com

Direct download: OFI_1035__Farm_In_A_Box_Instead_Of_On_Land___Alex_Albu___FarmBox_Foods.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

SHOW NOTES

Our guest today has a very interesting story.  Shelby Smith grew up on her family's farm just outside Ames, Iowa but her passion never seemed to lie with farming.  Shelby is an exceptional athlete, and this is where she concentrated her time during high school, college, and later in graduate school.

As a standout point guard on her high school basketball team, Shelby was able to pay for her undergraduate degree on an athletic scholarship doing the same thing.  Then she was offered an opportunity to do it again for her master's degree at a college in Ireland.  One thing led to another, and Shelby found herself with a master's degree, no college debt, and a prestigious position as a commodity trader.

A whirlwind of sports, collegiate, and career success had taken place and now Shelby was settling into her career as a trader.  Only one problem, as the dust settled and she was working full-time she found out that somehow she had unwittingly found herself in somebody else's dream position.  Shelby states that for every trader that has her previous position, there are 10,000 people trying to get that job.  This created a lot of pressure for Shelby as she realized that this career was not the right fit for her.  That realization contrasted with how lucky she knew she should feel to have obtained this position at such a young age.

As Shelby searched for the solution to this dilemma, something came back to her.  It was memories of the 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans she grew up around on her family's farm.  This farm had been cobbled together by her father and mother over the past 30+ years, and her dad was farming it faithfully.  Her brother was a natural fit to take it over, but he was achieving his own career success as an F-16 pilot in the military.  So, the farm and the opportunity were sitting there, waiting for Shelby.

Everything happens for a reason.  When Shelby told her parents of her desire to return to Iowa and take up farming her dad imparted some hard-earned farming wisdom.  He told her that if this was the life that she wanted she needed to find some sort of niche that would create income for her, apart from rising and falling commodity prices.  Shelby gave this some thought and came up with the idea of cricket production for human consumption.  Within 9 days of research and planning "Gym-N-Eat Crickets" was born.

Shelby is off to a great start with this niche, selling out of her entire supply of crickets in 2018.  She is selling multiple products created from just a small fraction of the 2,000-acre farm to which she has returned.  She also has plans to increase production and build a commercial facility on the farm.

Cricket production was a bit more extreme than what her parents had in mind when they said to develop a niche.  However, Shelby has discovered an emerging market with lots of exciting possibilities.  The time it takes her to manage the crickets and the overhead required to start is minimal.  This leaves her a lot of time to farm successfully!

ADVICE FROM SHELBY:

GO FOR IT: Shelby has had many interesting athletic, educational and career opportunities.  She has pursued all of them with enthusiasm and suggests that you do the same.  She is not one to hold herself back.

UNCOMFORTABLE: Shelby suggests making yourself uncomfortable.  If what you are doing doesn't bother or worry you a little it, you are not experiencing any growth and you are not getting any better.

BITE SIZE: Shelby says do not bit off more than you can chew.  Find an aspect of your business that you can really concentrate on and develop your skills within.  When you have mastered that part you can look at expanding into other areas.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE SHELBY HAS EVER RECEIVED:

"Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable" - this was advice that Shelby received from a professor and it has led her to a lifetime of growth and improvement thus far.

PERSONAL HABIT:

UNWAVERING CONFIDENCE: Shelby believes that she can succeed.  She states that she has fear, just like everyone else but she has found a way to not let that show.  Her successes in sports have probably contributed to this, but she believes she will win, and this has led her to a lot of success.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Facebook: LINK

Website: LINK


SHOW NOTES

The essence of what we are trying to do at the Off-Farm Income Podcast is to give you a way to be successful in creating and then sustaining your farming and agricultural lifestyle.  That really is a two-pronged attack.  We tend to focus on just one of those prongs, and that is how to produce your off-farm income.

Over 90% of farmers in the United States require some form of off-farm income, and we believe that in order to solve the paradox of becoming a new farmer in the United States that entrepreneurship is the best way to produce that off-farm income.

The other prong of the attack is forming a farming enterprise that makes you enough money that eventually if it is your desire, you can become a full-time farmer.  We love niches on Off-Farm Income, so anytime we see somebody who has found a niche and is really making a go of it, we like to profile them.  That is the case with today's guest, Jacob Ebbers.

Jacob and his wife, Sara, grew up showing livestock.  Sheep for Jacob and cattle for Sara.  In 2016 they started their first agricultural enterprise as a married couple, and it was with a form of livestock that they had never focused on before - goats.  They saw the opportunity that was available to them raising show goats, and they decided to pursue this.  So, they bought their first does from a breeder in Texas and trailered them back to South Dakota.

At that point, they started traveling to shows to sell their goats and market their brand.  And, they began using embryo transfer to develop their genetics ever faster.  Soon, they had customers all over the country and a week wrote an article about them.  That is how I found them and why I reached out to them.  And we are lucky to have Jacob on the show to talk about how they are building this operation that may one day be their only form of income.

 

Connect with Jacob Ebbers, Ebbers Twisted E Show Goats:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/twistedeSD

Email: jacob.ebbers@gmail.com

Phone: (605) 228-2682

 


SHOW NOTES

All of us in agriculture, whether you are a full-time farmer, you have a job in town or you run an agricultural business have at least one additional job, and that is advocating for agriculture.  Perhaps when your industry becomes so efficient that it is only comprised of 1% of the population it is just easier to pick on, but agriculture definitely has a target on its back.  I have seen agriculture blamed for air pollution, global warming, animal cruelty, water pollution, high gas prices, you name it.  So, agriculture needs advocates.

Ag is not perfect, but it is also not the cause of all the woes in society.  By and large people in agriculture a hard-working, have strong values, and are content with the little things in life that are free.  We need to be telling our story constantly so somebody else does not tell it for us.  We also need to spread our values and our contentedness to other people.  I believe that it is contagious, and that is why we see so many people seeking this way of life.

Even if you do not have the time to be proactively advocating, you should know some fundamental facts about the good that agriculture does.  There are a couple of reasons for this, and they both are so you have good, educated responses when somebody questions your industry.  The more educated you are on the issues, the less threatened you will feel when faced with these questions.  The less threatened you feel, the more you will be able to answer with a smile and demonstrate why we are a group worth getting to know.  You should also be able to counter-statement with good, factual information that will shift the beliefs and perceptions of reasonable people.

From time to time we like to have agricultural advocates on the Off-Farm Income Podcast to demonstrate to us how it is possible to be proactive and do this in a very positive way.  Today, we are proud to feature Julia Nunes.  Julia is this year's "Alice In Dairyland" represented the State Of Wisconsin and all the agriculture that takes place in the state.

Julia is a ray of sunshine, and she is charged with touring the state, albeit digitally right now, and advocating for Wisconsin agriculture.  Of course, you cannot advocate for your state's agriculture without advocating for agriculture in general, and Julia does a wonderful job of this.

In today's episode, Julia will talk about her background, what "Scientific Holsteins" are, how she became "Alice In Dairyland" and where she is going from here.

Connect with Julia Nunes, Alice in Dairyland:

Website: aliceindairyland.com

Facebook: facebook.com/DATCPAliceInDairyland

Twitter: @Alice_Dairyland

Instagram: @alicedairyland

Youtube: LINK


SHOW NOTES

KEY IDEAS: 

Today's episode is a profile of a 6th generation farmer.  Mark Kannmacher's farming roots go all the way back to a farm located on the French and German border.  After immigration to the United States, the tradition transferred to Illinois.  Today, Mark is keeping the legacy alive, and he has found a way to farm full-time and hopes to have his wife join him soon!

Mark, like so many farmers, has stories of long hours and little sleep.  His are quite incredible though.  When he was trying to transition to farming full-time but still working off the farm as a teacher he found himself getting 1-2 hours of sleep per day during certain times of the year.  And, he was getting this sleep on his lunch break or during his prep period at school!

In this episode Mark will discuss how he made the transition, and how he used a specialty form of livestock for his area, turkeys, to help him generate additional revenue on his farm.  Also, he discusses how he uses niches and diversification to be sustainable as a business.

Mark, his father, and his grandfather have all used various entrepreneurial ventures along the way to create income that would support the farm.  This has all led to Mark being the first of all of them to farm exclusively with no off-farm job.

ADVICE FROM MARK:

PASSION: Mark believes you must really have a passion for farming to make it work.  This passion should naturally lead you to learn all the aspects of the farming business backward and forwards.

BACKUP: Mark suggests having a backup plan, perhaps several.  He cites his turkey barns.  If his contract for raising turkeys falls through, he has already considered other ways to make revenue with that infrastructure.

THE WORST: Mark also suggests that you decide that on the very worst day you ever have farming that you will still be convinced that this is the only job that you truly want.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE MARK HAS EVER RECEIVED:

"Always have a backup plan" which was given to him by Jim Bolin in the oil service industry.

PERSONAL HABIT:

Following God's word and guidance on a daily basis.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Facebook Page: LINK

Telephone Number: (217) 232-1052

Email: kannmacherfarm@gmail.com


SHOW NOTES

When Autumn and I first bought our farm, and well before I ever imagined having my own podcast, I was listening to whatever agricultural content I could get my hands on.  There were long days out on the tractor, disking and trying to get our land into some sort of shape that we could irrigate and grow pasture.

Technology has advanced pretty rapidly since then.  So, back in those days, I had to download podcasts onto my phone prior to listening to them, and I needed wifi to do it.  There was no using cellular data, and there were no streaming podcasts like on Spotify.  So, you had to be really serious about wanting to listen to something because you had to go get it in advance.

One of the shows that I listened to back then was the "Zimmcast", an agricultural show hosted and produced by Chuck and Cindy Zimmerman.  These folks were podcasting about agriculture way before it was cool, and they continue to do so today.

After we announced that we had published our 1,000th episode of the Off-Farm Income Podcast, I received a note of congratulations from Chuck.  It seems that there are only 2 or three agricultural podcasts to reach this number, and the Zimmcast is definitely one of them.

In corresponding with Chuck we decided that it would be a good idea to have a conversation about agricultural podcasting, record it and release it to our respective listeners.  Today's episode is the result of that conversation, and I hope you enjoy it.

Connect with Chuck Zimmerman:

Website: The Zimm Cast

Website: AgWired

Twitter: @Agriblogger 


SHOW NOTES

KEY IDEAS: 

There is a multitude of obstacles to entering farming, growing your farm, and becoming profitable.  And, there is an old model of making it work, that carries some pretty risks - debt.  Using debt to purchase your farm, purchase equipment, cover operating costs, or procure livestock is the norm in farming.  The problem with debt is that you have to service it, and it can control you as well as the decisions you make on your farm.

So, what are the alternatives?  That is what we strive to offer on this show, week after week.  We choose to interview guests who have small businesses that we believe might work for you and become a key component of your overall strategy to make it as a farmer.

Occasionally I run across an opportunity that is outside the parameters that we have defined on the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  When one of these opportunities looks like it could really help you to succeed in farming, we want to bring it to you, regardless of our focus on entrepreneurship.  Even greater than teaching you about the opportunities that entrepreneurship offers to you is our goal to see you be able to farm for a living.

Today's episode is one of those moments.  Our guest today, Austin Maness of Harvest Returns, talks with us about alternatives to debt and another funding source through investment.  Austin has a farming background and a really interesting path that has led him to become the chief operating officer of Harvest Returns.

In his current role, Austin looks for opportunities to match investors with farmers who need funding.  It is a very interesting concept both for the farmer as well as the investor.  While this interview was more focused on benefits and risks to farmers, we touch on the investor side of things as well.

There was a recurring theme in this interview, and that is that every project of this type is different.  In some cases, Austin deals with several investors with a few thousand dollars to invest, and they want to be involved in agriculture.  In others, he is dealing with investors with hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they have their eye on one segment of farming.

It was clear through the interview that the opportunities for farmers as well as investors are kind of limited only by their imagination with this model.  Harvest Returns is a one of its kind, first in the field company that has identified this strategy of funding farms.

Towards the end of our interview, Austin said something that really stuck with me.  To paraphrase he said, "perhaps there is a person that comes from farming but is stuck in a cubicle and wants to go back.  We can help that person get started".

If you are going to shift to this lifestyle, you need all the tools you can have in your financial tool belt.  It will be very worthwhile for you to learn about this one today.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Website: https://www.harvestreturns.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harvestreturns

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harvestreturns/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HarvestReturns

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/harvest-returns/

 


SHOW NOTES

On the Off-Farm Income Podcast, I like to talk about how people in agriculture can use their problem-solving abilities, mechanical aptitude, and farm equipment to create a small business.  Ultimately, I think that too many farmers turn to the rigid, inflexible work schedule of an employer when they could be using everything they already have at their disposal to create a much more flexible and lucrative small business.

But, this is just one side of the coin.  This philosophy only looks at people who are already farming, who have already purchased equipment, and who have already developed certain skills and aptitudes that go with farming that can be used to serve others.  What about the person who wants to transform their life to farming, who has got a degree and several years of work experience in a field that doesn't obviously translate to an agriculturally related business?

Today's guest, Wil Crombie, answers that question.  Wil grew up around his family's farm in Minnesota, doing some farm work with his grandfather, like cutting hay.  But after high school, Wil decided to take his life in a different direction and pursued a career in film production.  He got a degree in this and went into this career focusing on the music industry.

Some years later, Wil had, shall we will say, a moment.  He realized that he wanted to return to his family's farm in Minnesota and create an awesome organic and regenerative farming operation.  However, all of his experience, education, and network contacts were in the film production and music industry.  Wil had this realization while he was in Hawaii.  Moving from a life in the music industry and working in Hawaii, to a life farming in Minnesota couldn't be a bigger change.

What was Wil to do with this hard-earned tool kit of skills and knowledge that he had put together through his film career?  Should he just abandon it, and start over from scratch?  You have probably already guessed, but that is not what he did.

Wil returned to the farm.  He and his wife started the operation that he had envisioned, and they, like 90% of all farmers, needed off-farm income.  Will used his skills to obtain, what he calls "W-2 Work" or a job, at a local non-profit.  At the same time, he was scanning for film-making opportunities in the world of agriculture.  Finally one came up....in Africa.

Wil took this project and filmed an agricultural project on what was once referred to as "the Dark Continent".  The project was met with success, and his reputation in this space grew.  This propelled him and Man Alone Media to be a much more significant part of his off-farm income portfolio.

Since then Wil has been able to leverage his "tool kit" and his growing reputation into more and more work.  But, money is not the only form of payment that he is receiving.  Wil is frequently able to choose work that will not only pay him but will educate him on a concept of agriculture that will help him on his farm in Minnesota.

Many of you have a skill set that you don't quite know how to transition to farming right now.  But as you look deeper into that skill set, and you identify what it is you really do, not just what it says on paper, you can do the same as Wil!

Connect with Wil Crombie & Man Alone Media:

Website: https://www.manalone.media/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/manalone.media

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/manalone.media/

Email: info@manalone.media

 


SHOW NOTES: 

Today we get to profile a very innovative and hard-working farmer.  At the same time, we get to tell a story that we have told before, and we get to show you a great model for creating a sustainable farm as well as creating off-farm income.

Allen Deutz is the owner of a farm purchased by his great-grandfather in 1920 in southwestern Minnesota. In just one more year this will be a century farm.  Like so many generational farmers Allen was faced with creating a business model that would allow him to continue to farm the property and have it available for the next generation.

Allen first tried the dairy business, as his father had operated this farm as dairy.  However, even as he was excelling in his performance as a dairy farmer, the economics of the dairy industry pushed him right out at his small scale.  So, Allen transitioned to raising some commodities - corn and soybeans, raising grass-fed beef, raising all-natural pork, and raising free-range meat chickens.  It is in this diversity that Allen has been able to create a system that is regenerative and hedges against low prices in any one area.

Allen recently purchased a no-till drill for planting on his own property.  He realized two things.  First, when he was not planting that piece of equipment was just sitting there, not making any money.  Second, because of the wet spring, his region had been having many farmers who had not been able to plant and could use his help planting in cover crops for the rest of the season.  Thus, a form of off-farm income was born.

ADVICE FROM ALLEN:

PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP: Allen suggests that you do not borrow money to buy equipment just so you can own it.  Research whether or not it makes you money to own the equipment vs. hiring the work done or renting the equipment.

EASY: Renting is easy, and if you do this for a season it can help you figure out whether or not purchasing the same equipment makes sense.

PERSONAL HABIT: 

Allen is very good about penciling out expenses and whether or not he is making money on any given aspect of his farm.  This has led him to another form of off-farm income in the off-season where he does this for other farmers.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Website: LINK

Facebook: LINK

Email: deutzheritagefarm@gmail.com


SHOW NOTES

If you have been listening to the Off-Farm Income Podcast for a while then you have heard a lot of stories about agricultural entrepreneurship, you have heard a lot of stories about FFA students and you have heard a lot of stories about where those two paths intersect.  Today, we are very lucky to be able to give you the "after picture".  We are able to bring things full circle and show you how it all comes back around.

Our guest today is Caleb Green, and he has a great story.  Caleb grew up in northern Wyoming around farmers and farming with his dad.  Caleb was also an FFA member, and when it came time to select a supervised agricultural experience he decided to start a custom hay business.  He named it "Evergreen Custom Haying".

When Caleb chose to start this business he looked around at what was offered in his community, and he found a niche haying on smaller properties and putting up small, square bales for horse owners and people who needed them.  Soon, he was growing his business, expanding his customer base, and purchasing more equipment.  Caleb's services even included irrigating for his customers when that was necessary.

After graduation, Caleb went on to college and started studying ag.  All through this time, he kept his haying business going.  But, like so many FFA students, Caleb had been inspired by his ag teachers and he was focused on getting his degree and returning to the ag classroom, this time as an FFA advisor.

Caleb is now 25 years old, and that "return to the classroom" moment came in July of 2020 when he was hired as the ag teacher at Burns High School, near Cheyenne.  He started on July 1, going out and meeting his students at their homes while checking in on their projects.  Soon, it was time for the county fair, followed immediately by the state fair and then right into the first day of school.

The writing is definitely on the wall for Evergreen Custom Haying, looking back on this summer schedule.  Caleb's FFA chapter needs him at the exact same time that most of the haying in his part of Wyoming gets done.  Caleb has tinges of emotion when he thinks about not running his custom haying business any longer.  He misses being out there in the open, cutting hay, and doing things on his own terms.  However, his excitement about being in the classroom is contagious.

Because of the requirement for supervised agricultural experience, Caleb started a business and learned about entrepreneurship.  Today, Caleb is the person at the head of the agricultural classroom, and he has the opportunity to take what he learned by running his own business and teach it to dozens of students.  And, as the years go by that number will turn into hundreds and eventually thousands.

Entrepreneurship is desperately needed in our rural communities for a number of reasons, and that is why I am so eager to profile entrepreneurship in the FFA.  Ten years ago Caleb got introduced to the concept by his then FFA advisor.  Today, he is introducing multitudes to the concept with the benefit of his experience.

Coming full circle, Caleb is giving students the inspiration, permission, and knowledge to be able to work in agriculture, create jobs in rural communities and avoid being forced to move to the city for work.  This is an FFA success story at its finest!

 

Connect with Caleb Green & Evergreen Custom Hayingat:

Facebook: facebook.com/EvergreenCustomHay


KEY IDEAS: 

"The #1 reason that farms fail is that they fail to profit".  This statement by Ted Lebow seems simple and obvious, but when you dig deeper it is actually complex and difficult to understand.

Ted's company, Kitchen Table Consultants, looks at farming operations, especially those actively involved in marketing their produce, meat, and fruit, and see how business models can be a detriment to the success of the farm.

Ted grew up in agriculture in Nampa, Idaho.  He participated in the FFA and later studied agriculture at Cornell University.  He has also started several companies, including Kitchen Table Consultants.  He has seen how failing to properly assess profit can lead to not just the loss of a farm, but the loss of a lifestyle.

In this episode, Ted gives several tips to farmers on how to maximize profitability and sustainability.  One interesting point that he made was that farming operations that are involved in marketing should act as two different farming entities.  One entity is involved in farming and the other is involved in marketing.  This will help the farm to determine if they are profitable, and if not it will tell them in which aspect of their business they are failing to profit.

This episode is a bit different from normal as I was not interviewing Ted about forming his businesses.  I was asking him about what he teaches and consults on to help farmers succeed.  I know there will be something in here that can help you with your future success.

CONTACT Ted Lebow & Kitchen Table Consultants:

Website: kitchentableconsultants.com

Facebook: facebook.com/kitchentableconsultants

Instagram: instagram.com/kitchentableconsultants

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/kitchentableconsultants


SHOW NOTES

I love it when ideas spring from actual life experience and people have the courage and tenacity to follow through on making those ideas a reality.  That is absolutely the case on today's episode, featuring the founder and creator of Ag Butler, Kevin Johansen.

Kevin and his wife, Jamie, raise cattle in Lebanon, Missouri.  They both grew up ranching cattle in the "Show Me State", and they continue this way of life as a couple.  You may recognize Jamie's name, as she was the featured guest on episode #772 of the show when we profiled her business, Honey Creek Media, almost exactly one year ago today.

Kevin has always been involved in entrepreneurial ventures.  One of those was working as a freelancer, clipping cattle for people in preparation for shows and sales.  During his time doing this work, he noticed how antiquated and awkward the process was for finding help.  Kevin's particular skill is just one of the many different skill areas that farmers and ranchers need help with at certain times of the year.  And Kevin noticed that when people discovered that their workload rose to the level of needing additional help for a certain project or time of the year, that finding the correct people was ominous.

Kevin described how farmers and ranchers might have a name stored in a phone or on a piece of paper somewhere.  If they could find that name and give them a call the number might not be good any longer, the person may no longer be freelancing or they might have already agreed to work for somebody else because everyone tends to have the same needs at the same time when it comes to clipping and fitting for livestock shows.

For the farmer or rancher who needs help, this creates a real problem.  Their entire network of freelancers that could help them was limited to who they had used before.  If these people were unavailable they would have to start over from scratch on finding someone.  This would be done by calling around and asking for referrals.  And, these referrals might have first-hand knowledge of the person's skills and reliability, but possibly not.  So, it was a gamble as to whether or not this person was going to work out well for the farmer's needs.

Kevin decided to try and figure out a way to solve this problem.  After giving it deep thought, he came up with the idea of Ag Butler.  Ag Butler is both an app and a website that a farmer and a freelance laborer can sign up for.  With the information that they input, the right two people can get matched up.  Also, the farmers and ranchers that hire these individuals can rate them, so that farmers and ranchers in the future have less of a gamble when hiring.  There are real-world testimonials on the app to help farmers and ranchers determine who is correct for them.

Kevin launched Ag Butler in August of 2020, and it has been working well.  They have steadily had more and more people signing up for the service and it is already helping farmers and ranchers who need extra help as well as freelancers looking to work in agriculture.

I believe that there is a significant difference in the quality of a service or product that is determined by the experiences of the founder or those people brought in to help develop it as compared to somebody with an idea who has never worked in the field.  Kevin has seen this problem from both sides, and that has made him uniquely qualified to create this product and solve this problem.  And, I think he has done it!

Connect with Ag Butler, and  Kevin Johansen at:

Website: agbutlerapp.org

Facebook: facebook.com/AgButlerApp

Instagram: @agbutlerapp

Twitter: @AgButlerApp

Email: support@agbutlerapp.org


Our guest today is more proof of an emerging trend in production agriculture.  Young farmers are recognizing both the need for off-farm income and that entrepreneurship is the best way for them to produce this.  

Mark Hewitt and his wife have their own small farm and are leasing more ground to build their lives in agriculture. However, they are not to the point that they are self-sufficient yet.  So, Mark needs to bring in money from off of the farm.  He has chosen entrepreneurship to do this because it allows him flexibility in his schedule to manage his own farm as effectively as possible.  Also, it offers an opportunity for greater earning potential than a job, which could speed up his pathway to full-time farming.  Last, but certainly not least, it allows Mark to arrange his schedule to maximize time with his family.

If you want to be a full-time farmer in production agriculture, this is a great episode for you to listen to.  It also is more proof of this emerging trend among young, production agriculture farmers.

ADVICE FROM MARK:
START SMALL: Mark suggests that you don't go too big, too fast  He learned this from his own experience, and if he had to do it over again he would have taken smaller steps.

RESERVES: Mark definitely suggests prioritizing having some capital reserves.  You never know when an issue will come up in which you need money to run your business or an opportunity will arise that you can only take advantage of if you have the money.

PERSONAL HABIT THAT MAKES MARK SUCCESSFUL:

CONVERSATION: Mark describes himself as a conversationalist.  He loves to talk about farming, and he went with his strength when it came to choosing a business.  Now he gets to talk farming and turn that into supplemental income.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE EVER GIVEN TO MARK:

"Don't Get Discouraged By The Word 'No'".  If you are going to work in any type of sales you will have to get used to hearing this.  And, you will have to keep trying until you hear "yes".

CONTACT INFORMATION AND LINKS:

Mark's Email Address: mark@hewittprecisioninsights.com

Hewitt Precision Insights Website: LINK

Facebook: Hewitt Precision Insights | Facebook

Twitter: Hewitt Precision (@hewittprecision) / Twitter

Instagram: Hewitt Precision Insights (@hewittprecision) • Instagram photos and videos

 


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

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

Ben also didn't look at things through the lens of an "either/or" mentality.  He looked at "and" solutions.  He knew that he wanted to travel, and he knew that he both had to and wanted to work.  But, he never made the statement "I want to travel, but I can't because I have to work".  Ben found a way to say "I want to travel, and I can because of my work".

Ben first looked into being a truck driver, because that would get him out on the road and allow him to see the U.S.  However, he was not going to be eligible for a license that would allow him to drive outside of his home state until he was 21.  So, he started looking at alternatives.  What he ended up finding was working on a custom harvesting crew.  He found an operation in Kansas that was hiring, and he knew that working there would take him all throughout the Grain Belt and allow him to see a lot of the United States.  After one email, he was hired!

That crew, which Ben worked with for four years, was the opening of an exciting adventure.  On this crew, he had coworkers from Australia and New Zealand, and they told him all about the farm work available to him down there.  Before he knew it, he was working on a dairy in New Zealand, learning something totally new about agriculture.  Soon, he found himself in the vast interior of Australia on a custom harvest crew.  He has also worked in Canada and continues to work in the U.S., now on a custom farming crew.  Ben has his eyes set on Ireland, Finland, and Germany as well.

In this episode, Ben talks about how he got started, the Visa he obtained to do this, how to extend your time in Australia, how much money you need to get yourself started, and much more!

Connect with Ben Rykard at:

Instagram: @Dirtbag_Ag

Email:  BenRykard@gmail.com


SHOW NOTES

About two months ago I looked down at my phone and saw that there was a voice mail from my father in law on there.  I listened to the message, and to his attempt to live in my world of technology, even though that was so foreign to him.  He told me that he had just read an article about a guy from Florida that was "making a website" like me and that I should listen.  He said that the show was about cattle ranching in Florida and that he had never realized that the first cattle in America were brought to Florida in 1521.  He said that the show was named "Between The Beaches". 

I've got a small, Bluetooth speaker made by JBL called the JBL Clip that I use twice per day.  In the mornings and evenings when I am doing chores I listen to podcasts on it.  I clip it onto the gear shift of my Polaris Ranger, and while I am driving around the farm feeding cows and goats I can learn something.  So, the night that I received this voice mail I decided to give "Between The Beaches" a try.

I have been hooked on this show ever since.  I like to learn, but there is so much information out there that I will never be able to take it all in or even decide what to take in, in a lifetime.  Without "Between The Beaches" I would never have known or even tried to learn the cattle ranching history of Florida.  There is a lot of fascinating information in this show that has kept me coming back for another episode.

The host, Brad Phares, is our guest on today's show.  Brad has constructed a very unique podcast in that he does two things very well.  First, he educates people on the history of cattle ranching in Florida.  There is 500 years' worth of it after all.  Second, he talks about why cattle ranching is so important to the State Of Florida in modern times.  With 1,000 people moving to Florida every day, he makes a strong case for why cattle ranching is essential.

I am thrilled to bring Brad on as a guest today, and I hope you will all put him on your playlist.  You will really enjoy getting to know all about cattle ranching in Florida!

Follow Brad & Cow Hunters Unlimited Here:

Website: http://www.cowhuntersunlimited.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CowhuntersUnlimited

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/WBPhares

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cowhunters.unlimited/

Between The Beaches Podcast:  http://www.cowhuntersunlimited.com/between-the-beaches-podcast

 


SHOW NOTES

The Current Stage Of My Life And Business

Well, here we are, just a week away from Thanksgiving with 2019 bearing down on us soon.  What are your goals for the upcoming year?  What stage of business development or production will you be in during 2019?

Perhaps you are just starting your plan to become an entrepreneur.  Or maybe you have started your business and are growing it while you continue to work at your full-time, "day job".  Maybe you have even made the transition to full-time entrepreneurship and are looking for other revenue streams or are developing your farming operation.

I have been through all of these stages.  I want to share the stage I find myself in now.  This is probably the most difficult stage to share with you.  It is not because something bad has happened or because I am ashamed of where I am at.  I think it has to do with my raising.

Talking about this stage feels a bit like bragging.  And certainly, nobody in my family has ever done anything like what I now do for a living.  So, for me to talk about this stage I have to remind myself what this podcast is all about.  My purpose here is to be a cheerleader for you, to be the person who keeps moving forward on this path so you can follow behind, and to be the person who takes the risks and leaps of faith to show you that it is possible.  And of course, in the worst-case scenario to be the person who fails and warns you ahead of time so you don't make the same mistake that I already have.

My purpose is also to be an inspiration.  I know how much the people I listened to, read, and watched inspired me when I was first beginning my journey.  I remember hearing about how they lived their lives, and wondering if it could ever be possible for me to live that life someday.  Now I find myself doing that, and I have to force myself to think back to when I wondered if it would ever be possible so I can see the transition that has taken place.

So, the stage I am entering into now is the one that I dreamed about way back in 2009 when I first really started thinking about what I wanted my life to look like.  For those of you who have been listening for some time, you know that having a podcast was not part of that vision back then.  The podcast is one of the pivots I made along the way.

In 2009 I just had a seed of an idea.  I had a vision of a better way for me to live my life.  That little seed opened a pandora's box for me.  I had no idea how to get to that place, but I knew I wanted to be there.

This is what my life looks like today:

  • We have a farm with loyal customers who like to brag about the beef, pork, and chevon they purchase from us.  I would like to grow my farming operation, but I already have more farm than I ever imagined.
  • Crazy time is over: I have gone through two crazy transitional periods - police work to full-time entrepreneurship & moving from the gopher business to full-time broadcasting and intellectual property sales.
  • I have multiple revenue streams in place:
    • The D&B Radio Show
    • FFA Today
    • Advertisers on Off-Farm Income
    • Our online course - The Ag Entrepreneur
    • Public Speaking
    • Voice Over Work
    • Podcast consulting and production
    • Coaching
    • Farming
    • Rental Houses
    • Teaching

I have systems in place for all of these revenue sources which makes them very easy to manage and maintain.  What this means for my lifestyle is that it is extremely flexible, stress-free, and less demanding than anything else I have ever done.

Except for the farm, I do not have a significant hourly commitment each week to keep up with those streams of revenue.  I call agriculture "the ultimate lifestyle business" and I prove it every year.  By far, the farm provides me the lowest hourly wage of any of these streams of revenue.  However, I am able to be on my farm 100% of the time now, and being able to do that is the reason all the other streams of revenue exist.

When I look into the future, and I see the potential for growth in these revenue streams I am filled with optimism.  In the area that we live, real estate values and rent prices are appreciating rapidly, which has a direct impact on the value we receive from our two rental houses.  We continue to grow this show, and as a result, offer more value to our advertisers making that more and more valuable.  We had a great reception for the online course at the National FFA Convention this year, and the possibilities there are endless.  Production of the Bulkloads Podcast is going very well, and there is room to add more production clients.  D&B Supply is doing great, and the radio show I am hosting for them is working just like I had imagined it when I first proposed the idea.

My life today is all about cattle, pigs, goats, and hay.  And it is almost completely on my terms.  Without having a farm to inherit, we have been able to find a path to being on our farm full-time, not using debt, and being financially secure.  And I have a ton of time to focus on farming!

This is the life that I was dreaming about.  And when this dream first popped into my head it seemed impossible.  But I am standing here today ready and able to show all of you that it was not impossible.  It is very possible, and it is not lost on me that I get to live it.

I am going to do another solo episode next week to help you down this path even further.  We all need a lot of help along the way from mentors and coaches.  Most of us cannot afford to hire those people into our lives during those initial stages of growth.  What I did was listen to a lot of podcasts, read a lot of books and listen to a lot of audiobooks.

Next week I am going to give you my list of all the books that I try to either read or listen to (mostly listen to) every year for continuing motivation and


SHOW NOTES

I have repeatedly said that you will see business opportunities all around you once you become an entrepreneur.  It is really true.  Once you start a business, you don't have trouble thinking of new business ideas; you have trouble staying focused on just one.  Something in our perspectives changes once we enter into the arena of entrepreneurship.

There is a good chance that if you listen to the Off-Farm Income Podcast, you could be surrounded by business opportunities in your everyday life and not even realize this.  Many of my listeners are parents who are taking their kids to stock shows several times per year to exhibit their animals.  So, if you are spending all of your time at livestock shows thinking that you can't start a side business or even a full-time business because of this commitment, are you correct?

Back in 2016, I featured an interview with Dolly Denson, "The Fit Stock Show Mom."  She was a person who found herself in this position and came up with a business idea that would serve the other parents at the stock shows.  In today's episode, I am proud to feature another group of people who have recognized the opportunities at stock shows and are making it happen for themselves.

In today's episode, I speak with the owner/operators of "The Stock Market Boutique."  I will be having the co-owners, Olivia Warren and Kyle Blaydes, on the show.  Olivia's daughter, Tori Warren, will also be joining us to talk about being their primary model for the clothing they sell and her role in social media marketing.

Along with a group of people, Olivia and Kyle recognized that there was a niche to be filled at stock shows, selling clothing to exhibitors that they would like to wear around the shows and in the arena.  That is when this business was born.  However, over time the other people involved in the business dropped off, and ultimately it became just Olivia and Kyle, with Tori playing a big supporting role.

Today "The Stock Market Boutique" is traveling to different livestock shows and larger events like the National Finals Rodeo, selling their fashions and meeting people in agriculture.  Tori brings the perspective of a lifelong exhibitor, Olivia has the perspective of a former 4H member and the parent of an exhibitor, and Kyle brings the perspective of a full-time farmer.  This combination is working very well for them.

Even though Covid, with the cancellation of so many shows, they have maintained their business.  They are looking and different revenue models in addition to clothing and are poised to really grown once Covid is over.  You are going to enjoy getting to know this great group of entrepreneurs.

Connect with The Stock Market Boutique:

Website: thestockmarketboutique.com

Facebook: facebook.com/thestockmarketboutique

Instagram: instagram.com/thestockmarketboutique

Email: tsmoffices@gmail.com


SHOW NOTES

KEY IDEAS: 

However, you decided to get into business for yourself there is one constant; you must make the leap from your full-time job to your new business when the time is correct.  For most of this audience is especially true because so many of us have a lot at risk.  If you are in your mid to late '20s without a 401K, a family, a house, etc. then making a big leap is a lot less risky.  But for the rest of us, we really need to mitigate this risk.

Our guest today, Ray Miller, does not take this lightly.  Even as his microbe business grows and spreads across the nation, he continues with his previous career on a less frequent note.  He does not want to let his license expire, thus burning that bridge to an income if he were ever to need it.  So, he is content taking it slow and making the leap when the timing is right.

I normally follow Dan Miller's lead and suggest making the leap when your new enterprise is producing 50% of your full-time income as a side hustle.  However, if you have the ability to do what Ray is doing, it is a great idea.  That is, just shifting percentages of income generation gradually until the new enterprise takes over for the previous one.

Ray followed an interesting path to his own business, much as our guest in episode #468 did by becoming a distributor of Rogue Equipment.  Ray found a great product and realized that there was a need for it, but people around the country did not know about it.  He made it his mission to rectify this and became a distributor.  He has seen great results and cautions us that you had better believe in your product before you decide to deliver it to the rest of the nation.

ADVICE FROM RAY:

SLOWLY: Make your transition from your full-time job slow and gradual.  Just because you have a great idea does not mean that you should slaughter the goose that is laying the golden eggs.

PERSON: As much as you can, meet people in person and shake their hand.  The internet and social media are great tools and need to be used, but they are not a substitute for eye contact.

NEEDS: When you are trying to find a business to start, identify what it is you want that business to do for you.  Then make sure whatever you pick is in line with that.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RAY HAS RECEIVED:

"If You Don't Believe In What You Are Doing, Nobody Else Is Going To"

PERSONAL HABIT THAT HELPS RAY SUCCEED:

PEOPLE: Ray loves to meet and get to know new people.  This helps him to succeed.

 


SHOW NOTES

There is a debate that has been arising over the past decade or so about whether or not paying for a college education is a wise investment.  This debate has continued to grow as valuable skills are being taught more and moreover the internet.  As the advancement of technology moves forward at a more rapid pace, the people with the most up to date skill sets are not coming out of colleges but are coming offline.

When you throw out professions that require a college degree; such as a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. you really start to see a devaluation of a college degree.  If you focus specifically on entrepreneurship type skills, the value drops even lower.  Part of the reason for this is the rapid pace of increased tuition costs that have outpaced inflation for years now.

Today's guest, Kyle Stockdale, is a married, 25-year-old dairy farmer from Ontario, Canada.  At the beginning of our interview, Kyle told me that he had not attended college, and then he made the statement "might as well go to work and make money rather than go to school and spend money".  There is financial wisdom in this statement.  Of course, Kyle did not incur the expenses of college, and during the four years that he would have been making minimal income as a student, he was able to make significantly more money, giving him the opportunity to start investing and growing his net worth if he wished.

That was how we started the interview.  But by the end of the interview, I was recognizing something completely different about Kyle that was very compelling in light of him choosing to skip college.  Kyle knows marketing, and when he starts talking about marketing and growing his business he is clearly very educated.  So, without college, how did Kyle obtain all of this knowledge?

Kyle is one of the millions of people who have followed a relatively simple formula.  He found a niche that he was passionate about and that he could start a business within.  Then he found mentors and teachers online that would help him develop the skill sets he would need to create a successful business.

Kyle started a business called KYVision Sharpening & Repair in 2018.  He did this because he wanted to make extra money and because nobody else in Canada was doing this.  He had always sharpened his own blades and repaired his own clippers for fitting and showing dairy cattle, and he thought that he could turn this into a profitable business.  So, Kyle already had one important skill set to put towards his idea.

However, no matter how good you are at your core skill, your business will not flourish if nobody knows about you.  So, you must market.  This is where Kyle went to work finding online mentors who would help him grow, and this is how he became a marketing expert.  It is clear from listening to Kyle that as passionate he is about his core business, he is equally or more passionate about marketing.  I can say first hand that it is surprising what passions you expose in yourself when you start your own business.  Kyle discovered something about himself by building this business, and he can now talk about marketing like the most polished of college graduates.

Connect with Kyle Stockdale and KY Vision Sharpening & Clipper Repair:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KyVisionblades

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kyvisionblades/

Email: kyle_ky-vision@hotmail.com


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:

Website: conservationfund.org

Facebook: facebook.com/theconservationfund

Instagram: instagram.com/theconservationfund

Email: sfunderburke@conservationfund.org 


SHOW NOTES

KEY IDEAS: 

Entrepreneurship is the only option

If you want to farm, the further away from a major city you can get the more the land prices will reflect on their production capability.  But, there will be fewer jobs available to you, likely with lower salaries.

How will you produce your off-farm income?  92% of farmers in the U.S. rely on it for household income, either created by themselves or their spouse.

If you are going to take a full-time job, what do you do when you need time for farm management activities?

  • calving
  • Irrigation
  • raking hay
  • swathing
  • harvest
  • etc.

If you are making a big transition from a city career to a rural & farming lifestyle you might have skills and/or education that is not applicable in your new hometown.  If that is the case, can you use these skills to create your own business?

  • Turn your previous employer into a client?
  • Work remotely?
  • Teach online?

If you are going to keep a full-time career job in the city, what is a reasonable commute?

  • 20 miles
  • 40 miles
  • 60 miles

Don’t look at entrepreneurship as your lifestyle choice.  Look at farming as your lifestyle choice and figure out a game plan that will allow you to make that happen.  In this model, the production of your off-farm income no longer defines your working life.  It is now the means to allow your working life.

This is why I call agriculture the “ultimate lifestyle business”.  Other than being an actor, artist, or musician this is the only profession where people will work a second job, just so they have a shot at doing the first.

We are choosing this business of agriculture because there is such a strong, intrinsic reward for us that we are willing to make these sacrifices just for the chance to do it for a living.  We are choosing this career for the lifestyle because as a brand new farmer who has to develop their operation we cannot do it for the earnings.

If our career decision was solely earnings-based this would not make any sense.  We could clearly make more money, in less time, with less risk and more benefits at a city job, in a subdivision house with city neighbors.

CHOOSING YOUR BUSINESS

When you are choosing your business try to look at things with demand in the area and nobody filling it.  Or, look at a business in which you could do a better job?  Or, find a business that somebody wants out of with good potential.

I would refer you to episode #480 about finding a true business opportunity.

Don’t get hung up on the earning capability of your business idea in its first phases.  One thing I can say for sure is that as you start working for yourself you will start to see opportunities and ways to generate more revenue than you were unable to see prior to beginning.

In other words, after you get started you are going to find more money.

YOUR ONLY OPTION

How are you going to farm well enough, that you can eventually become that full-time farmer (or most time farmer) that you want to be?

As you are starting out, whether it be with livestock or crops, you need every advantage you can get.

That might mean a 100% calf crop.

Or that might mean a couple of bushel yield bump.

One thing I learned in my two years of riding around with crop advisors was that the best farmers seemed to be the ones that were out there with their herds or crops.  They were able to detect subtle changes or illness early and do something about it before it hurt their bottom line.

How can you do this if you are at work all day?

How do you get the time to react if you discover a problem when you’ve driven home from a long day of work?

NOT AN OBLIGATION

All you have to do is go onto social media to find lots of people who will tell you not to try farming.  They will say many things such as:

  • “How do you make $1,000,000 farming?  Start with $3,000,000”
  • Or, “you can’t make any money farming”
  • Or, “the only way to make enough to survive is to become really big because of the small margins”
  • Or, “only the big guys get enough funding from the government to make a difference”
  • Or, “the deck is stacked against you”
  • Or just…..” don’t do it”

These words, unfortunately, come from people who were just like you at one point.  They had a dream of farming, and for one reason or another it did not work out.

There are no guarantees here, and we could all suffer the same fate and have to give up our farm someday, I included.

Farming is a business, and it may not go our way.

But, we don’t want to end up discouraging others.  I think that discouragement comes from years of struggling to work full-time and farm on the side.  When you do that you can burn out, and pretty soon the dream fades away.  The farm becomes just another obligation, and you then look at it only from the mathematical perspective and decide it is not worth it.

I don’t want any of us to lose the passion for this lifestyle because of burnout.

Entrepreneurship solves so much of this for us.  It allows you to manage your farm better, to give you every advantage possible. And, it helps to keep us invigorated and avoid that dangerous burnout.

Will you use entrepreneurship to create your Off-Farm Income?


SHOW NOTES

Today's episode is really special for two reasons.  First, it has the potential to be very impactful on the FFA.  Second, 80% of the world's hungry people are farmers.  But, unlike U.S. farmers, they are subsistence-based and less sophisticated.  But programs like Growing Hope Globally are taking farming expertise and productivity from the U.S. and exporting it to these struggling farmers.

On today's episode, Alex Morse will join us to explain what Growing Hope Globally's mission is.  He will talk about helping farmers in many poor countries throughout the world and how you can get involved.  He will also discuss how his organization developed a curriculum for FFA students to help them contribute to worldwide agriculture through their supervised agricultural experiences.

Alex specializes in helping farmers in Central America, and he has traveled to small holder's farms all throughout that region.  He has even taken FFA students with him to see who they were impacting with their efforts.  He has some amazing stories to share, and he describes people trying to farm in conditions that no American farmer would ever consider.

SUPPORT A GROWING HOPE PROGRAM: CLICK HERE

Follow Growing Hope Globally online here:

Website: growinghopeglobally.org/

Facebook: facebook.com/growinghopeglobally

Instagram: instagram.com/growinghopeglobally/

Twitter: twitter.com/GrowHopeGlobly


SHOW NOTES

KEY IDEAS: 

In 2011 when we purchased our farm we had a long, long way to go.  We bought 25 acres of weeds with a house on them.  There were no fences, no irrigation, and the land had not been cultivated in years.  I had a small, John Deer tractor with an 8' disk on the back, and I worked the ground with that.

Tons of rocks came up while I disked, and they all had to be removed and deposited elsewhere.  Progress was slow, and at times it seemed like this place would never resemble a farm.  During all of that time on the tractor, I listened to farming podcasts.  They inspired me, gave me the motivation to keep going, and helped me visualize what our place would be like someday.

One of those podcasts that I listened to was hosted and produced by today's guest, Tim Young.  Tim and his wife Liz were operating a farm in Georgia and selling cheese as their main product.  They had a variety of livestock, and I really enjoyed hearing about their day to day farming exploits.

Fast forward to today.  Tim and Liz have moved on from that farm, and Tim is now trying to help other people succeed in their farming endeavors through his website and podcast, Small Farm Nation.  The main thing that Tim learned about succeeding with his small farm was how to market products and sell directly to customers.

In this episode, Tim and I talk about marketing your farm products, and how to develop a following that will patronize your farm business.  Also, Tim discusses his Small Farm Nation Academy which he has built to help folks really perfect this process.  He also has offered 20% off of the coast of the academy to anyone listening to this podcast and entering the code "matt20" at checkout.

This is definitely worth checking out.

CONTACT TIM YOUNG AT:

Website: Small Farm Nation

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/timsmallfarmnation

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallfarmnation/


SHOW NOTES

KEY IDEAS: 

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 in 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 fewer 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 by 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.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION AND LINKS:

Facebook: LINK

Website: LINK

Telephone: 301-752-2353

 


On this day in 1936 Life Magazine released its first ever magazine.  The photo on the cover was of the spillway of the Fort Peck Dam in Fort Peck, Montana.  Some 58 years later I would find myself spending Thanksgiving on a ranch just 48 miles down the Missouri River from that historic spot, and I would find myself learning a lot about the realities of ranching and how agricultural binds communities together.

In today's episode we kick off Thanksgiving week, and I re-hash this experience with you.  It is amazing the things that stick with you and things that don't.  Let's remember some of them together in this episode!

Direct download: OFI_930_Tuesday_Edition_-_112320_4.13_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Happy New Years everyone!  Welcome to 2020.  Today is a quick New Year's Episode, and as tradition would have it we get to have a conversation with the whole family in today's episode.  Autumm and Hattie will come on and share their New Year's resolutions, what they like best about our community and our farm.  And, they are going to help invite you to join us in Italy this summer!

Happy New Year's everyone, and enjoy the episode!

 

Direct download: OFI_743__Happy_New_Years_2020___A_Chat_With_The_Family.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

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!

Direct download: OFI_734_ready_-_121619_11.24_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT