Off-Farm Income (farming)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Today is a legitimate farm update!  We will cover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original show notes are below:



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

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

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

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

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



Facebook: LINK

Website: LINK

Telephone: 301-752-2353

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original show notes are below.

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



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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original show notes are below:


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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


HIGH SCHOOL: Kuna High School, Kuna, Idaho

MASCOT: Kavemen

FFA ADVISOR: Travis Edwards


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

Kuna High School

Jadelyn's FFA Advisor's Email Address:

Kuna High School Telephone Number: 208.955.0200


National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

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


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

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

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original show notes are below.



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

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

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

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


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

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

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


"Stay Conservative, Be Creative & Think Things Through"


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


Website: LINK

Email: LINK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original show notes are below.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original show notes are below.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

MASCOT: Hilltoppers

FFA ADVISOR: Lauren Frances


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

Ashton's FFA Advisor's Email Address:

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


National FFA Organization

Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE's)

Support FFA 

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


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

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

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Show Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below are the original show notes.


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

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

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

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

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

Connect with Stacy Funderburke and The Conservation Fund:





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below are the original show notes:

Who Am I?

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

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

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

Who Are You?

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

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

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

Category #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Treat LinkedIn As LinkedIn

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

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

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

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

Tear Down Your Old Site

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

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

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

Starting Over

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Developing Your Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharing Your Resume

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

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

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

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

Get Recommended

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

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

LinkedIn makes this possible.

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

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

Timeless Advice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original show notes can be found below.



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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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



Email: LINK

Website: LINK

Facebook Page: LINK

Telephone: 320-764-9910

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below are the original show notes:



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

Hop Farming Business Opportunities

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

Vertical Farming

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


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


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


Baxter Black's Website:

Baxter Black's Facebook Page

Baxter Black's Twitter Feed: @BaxterBlack


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

Baxter Black Book



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

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

Below are the original show notes:




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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

It is amazing where an agricultural passion can take you.  Even though I know that, I am not quite sure I have ever profiled a story quite like today's episode with Daniel Oduntan.

Daniel grew up in the city of Ibadan in Nigeria, Africa.  Sometime, around the time he was 30 years old, a woman from Denmark put on a workshop about beekeeping that he attended.  This was the beginning of what would become a lifelong passion for Daniel that would eventually see him live on three different continents.

Daniel's interest in beekeeping was piqued, and he started studying, first obtaining a bachelor's degree in agriculture in Nigeria, soon to be followed by a master's degree in entomology.  Not long after this Daniel moved to Germany to study beekeeping in Bavaria.  His interest in and passion for bees allowed him to develop a global network of contacts in the beekeeping industry, and that eventually brought him to Pennsylvania for a conference.  During this conference he met a family with multiple generations of beekeeping experience which he had been admiring from afar as well as many other contacts.

This ultimately led Daniel to decide to base himself in the U.S., and after researching where to live he found Salt Lake City, came across the country and settled down. Today Daniel is operating his own business, Bee-Craft Consult, from Salt Lake City, he has authored two books on beekeeping and he has started a foundation to raise money to educate people worldwide on the art of beekeeping!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1401_Daniel_Oduntan-COMM_14_03-052622.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is our farm update episode, and the theme is definitely "never give up".  With the odds stacked against it, spring rain fall has really made a big difference in our irrigation season.  And, I've got another project that I need the "never give up" attitude for!  Plus a success story on a new marketing effort.  I hope you enjoy!

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Direct download: OFI_1398_Tuesday_Episode_-_53022_2.28_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

There are very few things that make me happier than when I can pull a gold nugget out of an interview that I know is going to be helpful to the listeners.  That definitely happened in my interview with Kendall Teichmeier today.

Kendall works full-time in agriculture.  His first exposure was a fifteen year career of managing large hog operations in Nebraska until his body just could not handled the work any longer.  After a brief stint of factory work Kendall made his way back to agriculture and started working at a seed cleaning and production facility in Broken Bow, Nebraska, where he still is today.

Recently Kendall has started a side hustle, which is exploding with business opportunities.  He started a company called "Axe Kickers", which is a mobile axe throwing lane that he can take to corporate events, fairs, festivals and even weddings.  He built it so that it can be set up indoors or out, and it just happens to be a lot of fun!  Word of mouth about Kendall's business is now spreading like wildfire, and it appears as though he is going to work every single day this fair season between his full-time job and his new business.  I couldn't be more excited for him.

I also could not be more excited for you, because as Kendall told the story of developing this business he exposed me to a new idea.  And if the idea is new for me, I know it is new for almost all of you!

In January of this year Kendall took his idea to the Nebraska Association Of Fair Managers annual conference.  He purchased space for a small booth and spent his time talking with the managers of all the county fairs in his state about the event that he had created.  Each one of these fair managers wants to have a successful fair, and the name of the game for success is people having fun.  So, several of these fair managers were very interested in his mobile axe throwing lane and contracted with him to come to their fair.

I had never heard of an association like this or the fact that they had an annual convention with an expo hall in which performers, exhibitors, etc. could show off what they had to offer.  But as I listened to Kendall it occurred to me that all these different county fairs are a brand new market that many of us have never even considered.  And, most of probably had never given any thought to purchasing a booth at one of these conventions and having direct access to decision makers who can hire us!

If you have a business, talent or event that could be a part of a fair, you should start researching this right away!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1395_Kendall_Techmeyer--COMM_14_25-052222.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On today's show we are going back into the archives to look at an off-farm business that generates revenue at fairs and festivals.  This is a great tie-in to tomorrow's ag business episode.  

Mark Hufford has the fascinating business of doing educational displays and talks about the use of oxen in the frontier and colonial times.  Below are the original show notes from his first episode with us.  



Today we are heading to Indiana to talk with a 6th generation farmer about how he and his wife changed their farming model to something that was more palatable and profitable for them. 

Mark Hufford of Double M Farms will be joining us and talking all about their direct marketing model for beef as well as pork.  It is a bit different than what I do, and quite possibly a bit better. He was also be discussing one of his forms of off-farm income, raising oxen and taking them to exhibits and shows in their region.

Mark has a lot of great advice for us in this episode and a great story.  He and his wife's pursuits have taken them all over the country to ultimately wind up back in Indiana and trying to figure out a way to make it in farming.  Today they are well on their way, and he will share that with us here today.



Facebook Page: LINK

Telephone: 765-268-2104

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Today is a farm update episode everyone.  Here is what I will be talking about:

  • A big strategy change in the way we are raising goats.
    • Less means more
    • Work smarter not harder
  • The inverted bell curve of grass growth on our farm in Idaho
  • I am unable to imagine being short on forage later this summer
  • Some farmer/inventors who were innovating themselves out of an obstacle and found their invention being very desired and successful
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Direct download: OFI_1392_Tuesday_Episode_-_52322_3.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is highly educated about the world of agriculture, believes strongly in advocating for ag and knows that we need to reach out to children with the truth about farming and livestock before inaccurate information is told to them so many times that it becomes ingrained.  And it is these core beliefs that led Jackie Nix to strike out as a children's author and create her first book, Modern Farms and create her publishing company, Moo Maven Publishing.

Jackie really has an amazing story.  She grew up around other people's farms but not on her own.  This was enough for her to develop a passion for agriculture which led her to Virginia Tech. University to study animal science.  She followed this up with a master's degree in agriculture which led her to become an extension agent.  After several years in this field she went to work in private industry, selling feed, and then two big disruptions happened in her life.  Her father became terminally ill followed by Covid 19.

During this time period Jackie focused on family, and that meant leaving the corporate world for a while.  This time away from the busy business world gave her extra time to think, and that is when she was inspired to write her first book, Modern Farms.  Jackie has a vision of what she wants to produce, and how she wants to educate children about what farming really is.  She is so true to her vision that instead of contracting with a publishing company, she started her own.  This was all about creative control and making sure that the vision she has in her mind is the same one that gets to the children who read her books!

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1389_Jackie_Nix-COMM_9_57-041422.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

It is very difficult to know what is in the future on our farm this year, and I know this is true for so many of you out there.  From weather to input prices to unavailability of fertilizer there is a lot that we just don't know.  For me, this big unknown is water and hay prices.  I don't know how long I will be able to irrigate for this year.  If they stop delivering water at the end of July, that is 2 extra months of hay that I have to feed.  The end of August equals one month extra.

With an already existing hay shortage due to massive development in the area, the drought is just making a pre-existing problem worse.  I am not sure how much hay that I should buy, because I don't know when I will begin feeding.  I have no idea what the price will be because farmers won't set that until after the first cutting his complete.  I have even heard that some farmers aren't taking reservations for hay, and they are going to set a floor price and auction their hay off to the highest bidder.

I have already reserved all of my hay, and I have not heard anything back from that farmer indicating that he is canceling my reservation and conducting an auction.  I am hoping that is not what I am looking at.  However, I do expect to be paying much higher prices and purchasing more hay than usual at those prices.  So, the impact on my bottom line will be significant.

So, starting out the season I am trying to take advantage of every blade of grass grown on my place.  There are a few different patches of grass in areas that are not fenced that usually get mowed.  This year, I am using temporary fencing or even putting up some additional permanent fence in order to graze these areas.  Every single blade of grass is going to matter for me because how long I get to irrigate is out of my control, and when it is over, it is over.  The more grass I have standing at that moment, the longer I can wait to begin burning hay.

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Direct download: OFI_1386_Tuesday_Episode_-_51622_4.00_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

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

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

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1383_Kathleen_Dowling-COMM_21_47-031922.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's episode I am speaking with a young lady about her future career prospects and finding her way to the agricultural life that she is dreaming about.  So, for today's re-cap episode I thought that I would go back to a special coaching episode I did with a woman named Wendy from Ontario, Oregon.  I find it is helpful to hear people brainstorm through these ideas as they try to find a way to make it all work.  I hope this is true for you as well.  Below are the original show notes.



Today is our second episode devoted to coaching a listener for free.  I hope you see the consistency here. I tell you to work for free, and I am working for free to develop this part of my business.

Our guest today is Wendy from Ontario, Oregon.  Wendy and her husband both work full-time and have a farm dream.  They have purchased a 200 acre farm about 90 minutes away from her husband's work and recently purchased another 500 acres nearby.  Now they want to fix up an old farmhouse on the property and they need funds to make this happen.

They are leasing out a large portion of the farm and farming the rest.  However, there is 20 acres of pasture available and they have their eye on the cattle business as a way to generate revenue to help with the remodeling of this house.

This turns into more of a consulting session than a coaching session.  But there is good information in here on a couple different models of using direct marketing to make beef really pay.

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1382_Replay_Of_Episode_318-COMM_8_30-041022_.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

This morning I was out in one of our pastures moving our sprinkler line.  I was wet, my hands were muddy and wet and I was already behind the 8 Ball for the day.  As I normally do, I had a podcast playing while I worked, and the host of the show read a quote that has been attributed to Thomas Edison.  The quote stopped me in my tracks.

The quote says, "Opportunity is missed because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work".

This quote really struck me for a couple of reasons.  First, as I often say on the show, farming is a lifestyle business.  If it were not about the lifestyle than nobody would invest all the time, the heartache, the work, the money and the education into it.  You could invest all of that into other enterprises that would return you a lot more on that investment.

Those of us that farm cannot be afraid to work, and eventually that turns into opportunity.  Of course, those that do not farm see your later success as a snapshot of that moment, and they never see all of the risk and hard work that led up to that moment.  Talking about this always reminds me of a conversation with a friend when they found out that I had become the host of the D&B Supply Radio Show & Podcast.  They asked me how I was able to do that, and before I fully answered they replied with "you just kind of fell ass backwards into it?", answering their own question.

I let that one go, as I just did not have the energy or motivation to justify all of the work I had done to reach that moment.  We are still friends and there were no hard feelings, but this is a perfect illustration of people not seeing the hard work that is behind momentary success.

The other reason that this quote struck me so powerfully was that I was actually wearing overalls.  I'm not talking about Carhartt bibs that have become standard winter workwear.  I am talking about denim overalls that farmers in the 30's would have been wearing as standard work clothing.  I am talking about clothing that almost nobody wears any longer and will definitely garner you a second look from strangers if you wear them to town.

My step-grandfather wore overalls every day of his life, and every day that I knew him.  He only ever changed into pants if he was going to the sale or going to the doctor.  Other than that, he wore overalls.  I always wanted a pair, but I never allowed myself to get a pair until I actually had my own farm.  Now, Autumm and Hattie, tacitly accept my work wear choices with a smirk every now and then, but I tell you, there has never been a better piece of work clothing invented.  I am all about function and not about form, so if you want to see someone in denim overalls, just come on out to my farm.

Standing there on 33 acres of open ground in one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S. and the most rapidly appreciating real estate market in the U.S., I knew what was under my feet.  And, I also knew that many people would have cashed out long ago in order to move into a life of leisure because they don't see work as opportunity.  I thought of another statement that had been made to Autumm and I a few years earlier.  As real estate had been appreciating in our area for some time, this person was speculating what our farm was worth.  Then she said, "if this place is worth......, I'd sell it tomorrow and be done with all this work."  Obviously, we didn't purchase our place just to turn around and sell it.  Our farm is the culmination of a 20 year dream of farming, not land speculating.  But, looking at the statement from that person today proves that Edison was correct, if he did, in fact, say that.  Our place is probably worth twice as much as that person was speculating back then, and over the course of the past 3-4 years since she said that there has also been a lot of "opportunity" on our farm disguised as work dressed in overalls.

During the moment I heard that quote, I had a feeling of satisfaction, and I knew that at least I was following Thomas Edison's model of finding success, and couldn't be all bad.  And, I'd never been more proud to be wearing overalls.

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Direct download: OFI_1380_Tuesday_Episode_-_5222_3.56_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The ability of farmers to innovate and solve problems is probably on of the most remarkable things about the women and men that make up this profession.  In today's episode we are going to speak with one of those farmers.

Jeff Sberna farms his families land in Northern Ohio.  As he states they are not a big farm, which means that they don't have big equipment.  Even at the height of their farming of 300 acres of family ground, they still operated with smaller machines.  Their farm lies on an old riverbed, adjacent to the Great Lakes, and this creates a number of challenges for them, including many different soil types, gravel and drainage issues.

In about 2008 Jeff was trying to solve the problem of soil performance on their farm, and he believed that he needed to rip the soil to a depth of about 16-18 inches.  However, there were not implements that would work with their smaller equipment that would get this job done.  What is a farmer to do when this happens?  Invent what you need!  And Jeff did it. Tune into the show today to find out more. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1377_Jeff_Sberna-COMM_18_30-032022.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today, enjoy an interview an interview I did with a fellow who was frustrated by not having the tool he needed when working on auto engines and did something about it. Tune in as Shane Mulligan shares his story and how he created a NASCAR partnership to help him market his MAXX Leverage tool that he designed. 


Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1376_Replay_Of_Episode_435-_COMM_16_03-040922.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I talked about "finding the next Boise" on episode #1152 and have spoken about Rapid City, SD being one of these possibilities in the past.  This article demonstrates that was true.

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Direct download: OFI_1374_Tuesday_Episode_-_5222_3.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I am fascinated with the business of being a private crop consultant, and with that I have only interviewed two or three of these folks in my time hosting this show.  However, the concept is so interesting because of the talent and knowledge level that these folks have to have.  A private crop consultant is competing with crop advisors from fertilizer companies, where farmers are purchasing product already.  The advisement that the farmers receive at those companies comes as a value ad to them purchasing their fertilizer there.  So, when an individual gets paid to provide crop consulting services without being part of a value ad, you know that they are bringing significant value to their clients.

That is the case with today's guest, Brandon Vining.  Brandon has worked as a crop advisor for one of the big fertilizer and ag companies.  Eventually he thought that he could do more good for farmers as an independent, so he struck out on his own and started Pro Gro Consulting in his area of Eastern Idaho.  While that region has specific crops and specific issues, Brandon started seeing patterns and similarities in other parts of the country by communicating with people online about agronomy.  At the same time, friends from other parts of the country were sending him photos, soil test results and descriptions of problems and asking his advice on how to solve them.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1371_Brandon_Vining-COMM_16_08-031222.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's episode is a replay of an interview I did with Jonathan Meeker as he takes us through his journey of working for someone else so that he could end up working for himself. It is the story of someone seeking entrepreneurship and getting there by being patient and by being smart about how he got there. Today, learn more about Meeker and his re-development company.

Original Show Notes:


Today's guest has definitely got an entrepreneurial spirit.  So, it was wisdom that caused him to stop being an entrepreneur and go back to work for somebody else.  After Jonathan Meeker's first entrepreneurial venture he decided that he wanted to move in a different direction.  That direction was the re-development of permanent crop areas in the San Joaquin Valley of California where he is from.

In order to get trained up in doing this, Jonathan went to work for a company that specialized in doing this. After he had learned the business, or at least enough to go out on his own, he found a niche that his current company was not really serving.  He then started his own business, JMeeker Company, in that space and went back to work for himself.

Now Jonathan works for agricultural investors as well as absentee farmers in getting their vineyards, orchards and other crops up and going.


RESEARCH: You have to know what it is you are going to be selling.  You better do your research ahead of time.

PRICE: Figuring out price can be a very difficult thing to do in a market that has not established strict going rates.  Make sure you get a good feel for what the price can be when planning your business.

QUALITY: Do not stretch yourself too thin.  If you do, the quality of your service will suffer, leading to damage to your reputation and thus less and less work.


OVERTHINKING: Don't overthink things.  Keep moving forward and going in the correct direction.


PATIENCE: Jonathan describes himself as a very patient person.  This is important for anyone in agriculture, but when you are dealing with permanent crops it is even more important.

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1370_Replay_of_Episode_357_COMM_11_30-033122.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today, I have a farm update for you that is the result of some busy weeks and sleepless nights.  I've also got exciting information about how Hattie is progressing in the FFA, and I want to address an article I saw stating that locally produced food is the answer to inflation.

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Direct download: OFI_1368_Tuesday_Episode_-_42522_4.46_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Amber and Krystal Wilke are mother and daughter, and they are operating a very successful laser art and engraving business from their family farm in Kimball, Nebraska.  While this might seem like the main part of the story, as successful as it is, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

Amber and her husband have been able to create an enterprise on their 4th generation, Nebraska farm, that has allowed their children to come back and work there.  Now, they are surrounded by multiple generations of family, living at the farm.  Krystal lives 12 miles away in town, but is back on the farm full-time.  This has been done through expansion as well as innovation.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1365_Amber_Wilke-COMM_13_15-031122.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Some time ago, I was studying a martial art called Kajukenbo.  My instructor was a very nice man with a lot of experience and training.  And on one of those nights the man who had instructed him came to our class, observed and offered some instruction to the students of his student.

On today's episode of the Off-Farm Income Podcast, I am lucky enough to offer you a similar experience.  Dan Miller, the famed author of 48 Days To The Work You Love and the host of the vastly popular podcast, the 48 Days Internet Radio Show, is our guest host.  And, he is interviewing me!

It was my huge honor to be invited by Dan to be his featured guest for a private group that he facilitates called the 48 Days Eagles Community.  On Monday's, Dan brings a guest on for their Monday Mentor Training, and on 4/11/22 it was me!  I discovered Dan Miller in 2009 when I was first dreaming about a different lifestyle...actually, the lifestyle that I have now.  If it had not been for Dan, I wouldn't be living the life I am living today.

Dan and I have got to know each other over the years, and he has kept informed about my progress as an entrepreneur and podcaster.  I can't tell you how special it is that he thinks my story and experience is valuable enough to share with his exclusive audience.  And today you get a special peek behind the curtain.

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Direct download: OFI_1362_Tuesday_Episode_-_41122_2.37_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

In today's interview we are lucky enough to take a fascinating journey into the mind of an inventor.  Not just any inventor though, a farmer who sees problems, visualizes ways to solve them and then follows through.....all the way through.

Monte Busser has a list of 8,100 ideas that can make life better for farmers and everyday people.  Looking at all the patents he already has filed, all of the work he does outside of inventing and the processes he has in place to make his inventions commercially available you might euphemistically say that he has been "struck by lighting".  However, when I asked him when he remembers first creating and improving things, he thinks back to a time when he was actually struck by lightning at ten years of age.  Fortunately the lighting bolt first hit a transformer, then arced and struck him while he was riding his bicycle on rubber tires.  His parents actually saw him be struck by the lighting, but he was not hurt, he just started riding faster.  And since that day, he has been inventing and improving.

In today's episode we focus on five of Monte's patents that are featured on Google Patents.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1359_Monty_BusserCOMM_14_10-031022.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's show is a replay of interview I did with a fellow podcaster. It is an interesting discussion on his discussions when it comes to hauling agriculture related freight. Check it out!

Orignial Show Notes:

As part of my journey in agricultural podcasting I have found myself as the editor and producer of the Bulkloads Podcast.  The Bulkloads Podcast is part of, which is a service for truck drivers hauling bulk freight.  Naturally this is related to agriculture with all of the hauling of bulk commodities around the country.

I was recently editing an episode for Bulkloads, and their guest was Mike Wade.  Mike grew up on a dairy farm in Northern California and eventually found his way into truck driving.  Along the way Mike saw a homemade tool another driver had, and he thought he would like to make one for himself.  However, when he designed it he added on other features that he always wanted in a tool that would help him in other ways.  Huckleberry's Hammers were born.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1358-Replay_of_Episode_920_COMM_17_52-033122.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Thoughts Inspired By The Book: "The Crucible Of War"

Immediately following the the French and Indian War in the U.S. a recession or even a depression began to sink in, in the colonies as the British military moved out of the colonies and focused their attention on matters in the Caribbean.  This left commercial farmers, the very first to ever emerge in North America, dealing with how to pay back debt with low commodity prices.  This caused smaller farmers to shift from growing extra and selling it at markets to return to a basic subsistence type of farming lifestyle.  This also led to more bartering with supplemental agricultural products.

I found something interesting about the view of farmers when looking at the story of Thomas Rich.  He was a merchant from Philadelphia.  He had significant amounts of inventory that he had purchased with debt during the war because the British military was purchasing everything and the war was fueling all sorts of commerce.  However, when the war ended and the economy slowed he was left with a lot of inventory that he could not sell and the debt that was going to be paid from the sale of those items.

He came up with a scheme to ship this merchandise to the French in their colony of Guiana, but this was illegal as he was a subject of the British Crown, and the British had just ended a war with the French and the terms of the end of the war prohibited him from trading with the French.

This plan did not work for Rich, and by 1770, when he finally paid all of his debts he was essentially bankrupt.  I am listening to this book, so the tone of the author can be felt by the inflection of the reader and what he emphasizes.  As the narrator finishes telling Thomas Rich’s story he say says, with some sort of disdain in his voice, that he “died raising sheep on a farm in New Jersey”.  The inflection is obvious as though the fact that Thomas Rich ended his life as a farmer was a form of disgrace or shame.

I found myself chuckling as I listened to this.  I did not find it disgraceful or shameful that he spent his final years in a beautiful place raising livestock.  I thought to myself, “he finally got it right!”.  I can’t help but wonder if after all the stress and high level dealings that Thomas Rich went through in the 1700’s if he found himself tending to sheep one day and asked himself, “why haven’t I been doing this all along”.

I do find it ironic that today, so many who live this high stress lifestyle in the cities are rejecting this life and opting for a simpler life in a rural environment raising livestock or growing food.  It seems to me that there is a secret to living a good life that exists, and only farmers have really been able to figure it out.  This has been going on since the 1700’s, and I wonder why it has taken almost 300 years for people to start realizing this.

There was another part of Thomas Rich’s story that I wanted to share with you.  I found myself thinking of the quip, from the book of Ecclesiastes, that states “there is nothing new under the sun” is really true when I heard this part.  Thomas Rich was a “go big or go home” type of guy.  He took on a lot of debt.  So much so, that he never found himself in a debtor’s prison.  His debtors had lent him so much money that they dared not have him arrested or foreclosed on.  Their only hope in recovering what they had lent to was keep him producing and earning so that he could repay, even if that were incremental and slow.

So much has not changed.  His philosophy was “If you owe your banker $1,000 and you have $500 to pay him, you have a problem.  If you owe your banker a million and you don’t have a nickel, he’s got a partner”.  I have heard many people talk about farmers, particularly dairy farmers, with admiration in their voice, who follow this principle.  This philosophy is alive and well in agriculture today, and some of the largest, and perceived to be most successful farmers, that I have heard stories about are those that owe the bank or banks so much money, that the banks would never dare to foreclose - debtors prison is no longer a thing.  If they foreclosed they would get pennies on the dollar for what they have lent.  They have no choice but to continue to work with the farmer and ride the cycles of agriculture in the hopes of recovering the money they have lent.

It is very interesting how if you are careless with debt it can wreck you financially, but if you absolutely reckless and build an empire on debt everything changes and it can sustain you!

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Direct download: OFI_1356_Tuesday_Episode_-_4622_11.08_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Would you allow a cell tower on your farm if it meant an extra $800-$2,000 per month of revenue to help sustain the farming lifestyle that you are in search of?  Have you read things on the internet or heard rumors about lawsuits, bad leases or health problems caused by cell signals being transmitted close to your home?  How long should a cell tower lease last?  Who should be responsible for liability insurance?  How much farm ground would you have to give up to have this revenue source?

In today's interview with Ryan Conklin, the owner of Wright &amp; Moore Law Co. in Ohio we will talk about all of these questions.  This episode was inspired by an article written by Ryan's predecessor, Robert Moore, in 2019 discussing the expansion of need for cell towers with the advent of 5G technology.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1353_Ryan_Conklin-COMM_15_12-031922.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's episode takes us back to interview I did many shows ago. An oldie, but goodie, Adam Kline takes us through business and farm succession planning strategies. He also talks about how to obtain a farm and some challenges that might come up and how to work through them. 

Original Show Notes:

I would like to introduce you to Adam Kline this week.  Adam is a business succession attorney with Bose McKinney & Evans LLP in Indianapolis, Indiana.  He is from a farming family and is significantly invested in agriculture.

In this episode Adam helps us continue learning about obtaining our farms.  There are many obstacles to entry for new farmers.  Land, equipment and "know how" are just three of the potential obstacles.  Farm succession planning helps both the transitioning farmer and the new farmer overcome all of these obstacles.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1352-Replay_of_Episode_22-COMM_14_07-032422_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A quick farm update for you today.  I believe that I have hit my metaphorical "10,000 hours" when it comes to raising cattle.  And, if you are not already raising goats, it is time.  Today, I offer my most compelling argument yet.

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Direct download: OFI_1350_Tuesday_Episode_-_4422_6.14_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

It is really amazing what you can accomplish if you are willing to listen to your inner voice and follow where it takes you.  The concept of this "inner voice" can take you down a number of rabbit holes.  For me personally, I feel as though that voice is there to direct you to the reason you were put on this Earth.  In my case, I believe that it comes from God, either spoken to me in real time or implanted at birth to speak to me when the time is right.

This "inner voice" is not magnificent in the sense that you are not going to become overwhelmed by a feeling or see something miraculous that leaves you with no doubt that the universe has a message for you.  It is much more subtle than that, and it can be difficult to hear.  It is one of those things that is always there, but you never notice it until you finally do.....and then it seems as obvious as the sunshine.  I don't know why it is not easier to detect, but I suspect it is that way so that you are compelled to make some effort to hear it.  What I know for sure, is that it is there for everyone.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1347_-Emily_Reuschel-COMM13_59_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The types of businesses that people are creating by talking about agriculture are amazing.  Today, I get to profile one of those influencers.  Michelle Miller goes by the name "The Farm Babe".  She has an interesting story of growing up in Wisconsin, finding herself on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, traveling the world, bartending on a beach in Florida and ultimately finding her way to a farm in Northern Iowa. Find out how she did in today's show. 

I just found out that irrigation will not begin for surface water users in my area until April 22nd this year.  Citing repeated drought, the Boise Project Board Of Control announced that canals would not begin filling until April 18th, and the earliest that anyone would be irrigating would be the 22nd.  Also, we are starting out the season with an allotment.  Normally, we do not begin the season with a restriction on how much water that we can use other than what we have in our accounts.  Usually, as water in the reservoirs starts dropping an allotment is declared.  This generally takes place sometime in June or maybe even July.  However, we are starting the season this way.

This means that all irrigators are going to be restricted to using no more than 1.20 acre feet of water per acre on their ground for this season.  This is a low allotment, and it is designed to get farmers all the way through the growing season.  However, these restrictions definitely impact the decisions that farmers will make for the year.

If you have been watching the news out of the Central Valley of California, you will see that a lot of acres, especially on the west side of the Central Valley in places like Fresno and Kings Counties, will go uncultivated this year.  Farmers there are dealing with greater hardships than us in Idaho, and they have to forgo planting seasonal crops so that they can save the water that would be needed on those fields for their permanent crops like almonds, grapes and fruit trees.

Here in Idaho, what I expect to see happen is less acres of water thirsty crops like corn being grown and more short season crops like wheat being planted.  I suspect that the farmers who can buy water from other people might not alter their rotations.  However, those that cannot may have to.  With that said, I expect the price of wheat to be up if the conflict in the Ukraine continues, maybe that will act as a hedge for farmers who are forced to plant more acres of wheat than they anticipated.

I consider myself to be in a good position.  If you've been listening to me since 2015 you will know that one of the ways that we put in the necessary infrastructure on our farm was to do a cost share with the NRCS through their EQIP program.  That has been nine years ago now, and it has only been a positive, we never endured any negative consequences from it.

One of things that came out of that program is that our entire place is irrigated by sprinklers now.  And over time we have progressed from rented sprinkler pipe, to wheel lines to irrigation pods.  We have become progressively more and more water efficient, which means that we have yet to use all of our allotted water in a season.  And, this allows us to "carry over" some water from one season to the next.  So, I am very grateful that we made that move.  Irrigation is now easier, and it allows us to really save water throughout the year to get us through.

However, if there is no water available it does us no good.  And, if irrigation water gets shut off very early this year, than it will not matter what manner of delivery that we use, we will be unable to irrigate either way.  So, as a hedge I am going to purchase some extra hay, early in the season, and hope that I don't have to start feeding in September.  However, I am fully prepared for that to be the reality that I am facing.

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Direct download: OFI_1344_Tuesday_Episode_-_32822_6.54_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I have never delved into the world of hemp farming or of value added products made from hemp plants and seed.  Today, I am finally going to break that pattern.  I will be speaking with Justin Harris of Wild Ass Soaps.

Justin and his wife have developed quite a family enterprise that operates with them and their children in Southwestern Nebraska.  They first began with a lawn and landscaping business which grew and became very time consuming.  Looking for other opportunities they began growing and selling sod from their 15 acre farm.  Eventually they started to look into making soaps, and then something major happened.  The production of hemp was legalized by the U.S. government.

Within two years of this announcement Justin and his family were producing hemp and incorporating it into their soaps, lotions and oils.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1341-Justin_Harris-COMM_18_38-021922.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today we are going deep into our archives to replay an episode about starting a goat milk soap business.  On tomorrow's ag business episode we are profiling a new type of soap business, and I thought this interview with Shanna McCann would tie in nicely to that show.  Goat milk soap is such a great, value added product that I really enjoy profiling and replaying these business interviews.  Below are the original show notes from episode #351.


So, I haven't had one set of plans work out like I wanted in the recent past, and that is just the way it is going for me on my farm.  First, I was supposed to start calving on February 25th, but we didn't have our first calf until 3/5/22.  Our cows are all showing that they are ready to calve, but they are coming along very slow and to date I only have four calves.

Next, I filled out the perfect bracket for the NCAA Basketball Tournament and put together a fun group of people to participate in the bracket.  After just one weekend, I am in last place with no prospect of turning things around.  And, my daughter is in second and absolutely destroying me.

Currently I am on a solo, staycation, during Autumm and Hattie's Spring Break.  The three of us have taken a trip together every Spring Break for years now, but this slow calving kept me at home.  So, they took off to go look at some colleges and see the ocean over on the Oregon Coast.  That was okay though.  I have a lot things to get done, and I figured that this would give me the perfect opportunity.  I figured I would get started with it today.

Simultaneously our pasture is just starting to green up, so I wanted to get our yearlings off of it and back in with our cows.  And, since our cows have started calving it was time to get the bull separated off.  So, I put the bull in the pen I had used for him earlier this year and moved the yearlings over.  However, with the yearlings cycling he promptly broke a rail in that pen and was in with them for an unknown amount of time.  So, I caught him and put him in a different pen, which he promptly broke out of last night, but luckily could not find his way back to the girls.

So, this morning, instead of starting my projects I wound up changing the configuration of that pen that I had built and adding lumber to it, to reinforce it.  I had to go purchase lumber, and that broke the budget because it costs around $1 million for a sixteen foot 2X6 these days.  And that is the life that I love!

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Direct download: OFI_1338_Tuesday_Episode_-_32122_5.01_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Pat Hanson is the owner and creator of "Memory Lane Crafting Retreat" in Northwest Illinois.  This is a business that was built out of necessity and a love of the farming lifestyle.  Pat's father had a lifelong dream of purchasing his own land farming it, which he made come true in his 50's.  Pat and her family loved the lifestyle so much that they eventually moved out to her father's farm and built their own home on five acres that he had deeded to them.  Then, Pat farmed with her father on a daily basis until he suddenly passed from a stroke at the age of 75.

Her father's sudden passing left Pat and her husband with the farm and the question of what to do, not only with the farm but her with her father's house.  A lot of ideas were considered, and ultimately Pat followed her instincts and started a crafting retreat for women.  Her farm is on a beautiful setting in a very rural area, and it draws repeat customers from all around.  Rarely does Pat have any vacancies available on weekends.  From my count she only has 25 nights available in all of 2022!

Today, Pat has turned her father's home into a great getaway for women who love crafts.  And, it is also a very viable form of off-farm income.  At the same time that she is operating this business, she is exposing people to farming and teaching them about rural and agricultural living.  It is truly an inspirational story!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1335-Pat_Hanson-COMM_25_24-021322.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I really respect all of you that keep very tight calving windows and cull cows that fall outside of it.  That is some serious business discipline, and it is well beyond what I have in my own farm business.  My first potential due date for a calf was February 25th.  The first calf born on our place was on March 5th.  As of today, we have three calves on the ground, a bunch of cows that look like they will calve any day and morning after morning of no new calves.

There is no question in my mind that they are all settled and close to calving.  All the physical signs are showing themselves, but I am always amazed at how for some cows they will start showing but still take weeks to calve.  So, day after day, middle of the night check after middle of the night check, I wait for calves.

It seems like this time of year involves a lot of waiting. I've been waiting for it to warm up.  Now I am waiting for it to green up.  I am also waiting for it to start raining, which it is supposed to do this week.  And, I am waiting for the canals to get filled.  In April we will start having kids, and I will be waiting again.

In all honesty, it is a fun time of year.  I like the surprise of going out to feed in the morning and finding a new calf, and the pressure that is relieved each time another cow calves, takes to her calf and gets it up and going. I am always hoping for a 100% calf crop and 100% weaned crop.  Getting all the calves out and nursing is phase #1 of that.

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Direct download: OFI_1332_Tuesday_Episode_-_31422_3.46_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Catherine Chmelka is an ag teacher and FFA advisor for the David City High School FFA Chapter in David City, Nebraska.  As part of her duties she teaches floriculture and agribusiness.  There was a time in her life that these courses were just necessary evils that she had to endure to move through the agricultural education that she was seeking, both in high school and college.  However, that eventually changed.

Catherine's exposure to floriculture awakened a passion in her, that she did not know existed.  She fell in love with both horticulture and floriculture and really got inspired to start putting together arrangements with her students that exceeded the bare minimums.  Eventually, people in her community noticed this and started hiring her to make arrangements for a couple of different funerals.  Catherine and her husband, Justin, also hired themselves by taking care of the flowers for their own wedding.

The attention they were getting and the exposure to entrepreneurship had both of them thinking about how they could continue to work this side business out of their home.  But then, the local flower/coffee shop in David City came for sale.  Catherine and Justin were thinking about purchasing it until they found out there was another buyer looking at it.  That changed everything, and they decided that they had to purchase it.  They wrapped up the purchase in June of 2020, changed the name to "402 Floral" and hit the ground running.

That was 18 months ago.  Today, when Catherine teaches her student both about floriculture and agribusiness, she is teaching the lessons that she learned in her own business, possibly just moments before coming to class.  She is also learning more and more about florists actually do, and she is bringing that real world experience into the classroom with her.  Enrollment in both her floriculture classes as well as her agribusiness classes has increased, but of course people know that she isn't just teaching these subjects, she is living them.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1329-Catherine_Chmelka-COMM_10_51-021022_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT