Off-Farm Income (farming)

When I think of Virginia, so many things spring to mind - history, green pastures, beef, mountains, rivers, etc., etc.  I also think of thunderstorms, humidity and lazy evenings beating the heat on a front porch.  I realize that so many of the images that come to mind for me are concoctions of things I have read in books, seen on television or looked at in paintings, but for today's guest I think it is all true.

Lorrie Barron and her husband, David, have been farming in Southern Virginia since they got married in 1982.  They love the agricultural lifestyle, and they will do what is necessary to continue it.  This includes offering a wide variety of entrepreneurial services to people in their community ranging from cake baking to sheet rocking to barn building t0 painting.  They also are very innovative in looking for ways to improve their farm through grants and new methods.  And, they are not afraid to be involved in multiple different aspects of agriculture to find niche markets and keep revenue flowing to the farm.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1323_Lorrie_Barron-COMM_13_42-020522.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I was just looking at our month ending stats and am blown away by what all of you have done for us in helping to grow this show.  That got me thinking about how well this has been going, and that, of course, brought up thoughts about imposter syndrome and the upper limit challenge.  I want to revisit each of those obstacles to success in today's episode.  

Imposter Syndrome Explained: LINK

Upper Limit Challenge explained by Dan Miller: LINK

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Direct download: OFI_1320_Tuesday_Episode_-_22822_3.21_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

What is your definition of being a teacher, and how do you think it is possible to follow your passion for teaching?  This is an interesting profession as it seems to only have one definition and two outlets.  Definitionally teachers are in a classroom having one one one interactions with pupils and providing them with knowledge.  And the only two outlets seem to be in conventional public schools or in lesser paying roles as private school teachers.  Somehow, the education system has been able to really own that term of "teacher" and keep the definition narrow.

Where does that narrow definition leave the rest of us who want to impart wisdom and information but don't want to conform to the two outlets and definition described above?  What if we want a different lifestyle or a different income than is provided in those traditional roles?  How do we go about that?

The answer is to define what it means to be an educator on your own terms and then come up with a way to make that into your career.  This is exactly what our guest, Heather Cassill, has done with Kids Sonder Agriculture Unboxed.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1317-Heather_Cassell-COMM_19_25-022522.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The main theme in today's show is that in order to succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to put in time and work. You have to be dedicated to providing a good product and sometimes your expertise is your product. This interview is worth a replay.


The news broke last week.  Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, is coming to Kuna.  This news has serious implications for Autumm and my future as well as the future of our farming endeavors.  There are some pretty obvious implications as to what this will mean for the community of Kuna as well, and today's farm update is all about trying to farm on the rural/urban interface and in a rapidly developing area.

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Direct download: OFI_1314_Tuesday_Episode_-_22122_3.36_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

There are a lot of different directions I could go with today's interview.  As a matter of fact, there are a lot of different directions that I did go with today's interview.  Gabrielle (Gabby) Crumley was originally booked on the show to talk about how she started an agricultural marketing company and how she uses that to support her agricultural lifestyle.  However, her story is even more compelling than that, and I found myself caught up in the entirety of it.

Gabby and her husband, Chad, actually did not grow up raising cattle.  However, they both were part of the horse world in small communities surrounding Portland, Oregon.  Gabby got exposed to cattle ranching and livestock by visiting relatives in the eastern part of her state as a kid, and this led her to choose to major in agriculture in college.  She chose to attend college in Eastern Oregon, away from the rainy climate that the western part of the state holds.  Ultimately, she and Chad met, dated for about three years and were married.  They leased some ground in the mountains outside of LaGrande, Oregon and started a cattle herd.

During this same time Gabby had developed her own marketing business.  This had never been her intention, but a college professor saw that she had a special talent for social media marketing and encouraged her to pursue that.  This led to Gabby developing her first, paid customers, and like it is for so many entrepreneurs, this got her hooked.

This business also allowed her to live wherever she wanted because the business is not geographically restricted.  When she and Chad decided that they wanted to pursue ranching as a lifelong pursuit, this meant purchasing their own place.  As they studied what was available throughout the country they decided on an area of Wyoming near Cody and started looking.  Ultimately, they found their spot, bought their very own ranch and made the big move about a year ago.

What Gabby has done is very inspirational, and it is a clear blueprint for so many of us that would like to follow in she and Chad's footsteps.  Her story also proves a lot of the concepts that we talk about on this show, and that was a thrill for me.

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1311-Gabrielle_Crumley-COMM_BREAK_21_01-012922.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A replay today of a special lady that reached out to me using a social media resource. She is from Europe and has a unique story to tell on how she developed her marketing company while creating her own niche for selling farm goods. She talks about how she did and is doing in today's interview. 


Last Tuesday I touched on today's topic just briefly.  I told you about a conversation that I had with a gentleman who asked me what I was seeing?  Were people clinging to the old ways or abandoning them all together.  I told him that the folks I had been talking to were doing a combination of the two, but that made sense because they tend to stand out and draw my attention.

I've been thinking more about that conversation and wanted to touch on some of the practices and mindsets of my elder mentors that I want to hold onto and that I want to give up.  I'll share those with you today.  Below is a list:

Hold On To Do Differently
Work Ethic Recharge Your Batteries
Frugality Scarcity Mindset
Self-Reliance Outsource
Perseverance Diversifying as a hedge
Focus Multiple streams of income
Create off-farm Income Use entrepreneurship
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Direct download: OFI_1308_Tuesday_Episode_-_21422_3.14_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is got a lot of energy, a very curious spirit and is getting absolutely everything out of life that she can.  Millie Musgrave married a rancher when she was 42 years old and got introduced to the agricultural way of life.  For the past 15 years she has been embracing this life wholeheartedly.  After speaking with her, this is no surprise.  Millie is the type of person what wants to do everything and who spends all of her time pursuing what she wants to do.  I love her philosophy about this.  She likes to combine that pursuit of life with her work, so she has purposefully chosen a career and multiple side hustles that are fun and bring her great satisfaction.

Millie currently works full-time, in town, as the recreation coordinator for a senior living home.  In addition to that she is involved in two, multi-level marketing companies, Senegence and Juice Plus.  She also makes her own soap from rendering the fat of their own livestock as well as from goat milk soap that she purchases.  She sells and exhibits her soaps at craft shows on weekends.

Millie is the type of person that really jumps into whatever task she is working.  She had no experience working with livestock before marrying her husband, and she said that prior to moving to the farm she was the type of person who didn't like to touch raw meat, even when cooking.  However, she quickly adapted, learned to drive farm equipment and work with livestock, and when they butchered a hog on the farm she learned how to process the animal.  It was this curiosity that led her into soap making.  She wanted to make full use of the entire hog, so she taught herself how to render the fat and make soap out of it.

She prides herself on the question "what would a pioneer woman do", whenever she is stumped.  And between this innovative spirit and the help of YouTube she has been able to figure things out, and is positioning herself to always have an activity to do and an income to support she and her family.

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1305-Millie_Musgraves_COMM_BREAK_15_55-012622.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

For the past several weeks I have been giving you updates on a welding class that I have been taking through our local community college.  I just completed the class this previous Saturday.  The class was just a basic, learn to weld course.  There was no grade and no college credits or certifications received.  I had been thinking about taking this course for a couple of years and finally resolved myself to do it this year.

I was reflecting on the course yesterday and something occurred to me.  I am 48 years old, and finally learned to weld.  Why it took me this long, I don't know.  I've talked about the fact that I grew up in the very small town of Valley Home, California several times.  All of the men in Valley Home were blue collar.  Probably 9 out of ten men where I grew up knew how to weld.

When I was about seven years old my father and one of his lifelong friends started a well drilling company, appropriately called "Valley Home Drilling".  It was during this time that I remember my father welding in his shop at our house, although I don't know if he was repairing parts for the drill rigs or doing something different.  I know that he was a stick welder and he was also a gas welder as I remember watching strike the yellow flame at the end of the nozzle and then dial up the oxygen to bring the flame down to a short, sharp and precise, blue flame.  I can remember sneaking into the shop and trying to use his welding helmet as some sort of toy, but it was always too dark to really use.

Our Valley Home neighbor, Fred, welded and farmed, and many of his creations still stand today.  He had a shop on his lot in town, and many an evening you could see the familiar flashes of the arc he was creating and hear the sound of "frying bacon" coming from within his shop.  My friend, Danny's, dad did auto body work in his shop on the north side of town, and he was always welding there when I would visit.  My step father welded, and my step brother, Rick, was a professional welder when he first became my step-brother.  There was always a welder in the shop on my step father's small farm, but I never asked to be taught.

Even with the environment I grew up in, and all the influences around me, I never learned.  When I went through high school I definitely could have learned to weld in shop classes, but I never took any.  My dad had moved into Modesto and the well drilling company had failed years before, but his welding equipment was in the garage at the new house.  However, I don't recall ever seeing him do any welding other than when we all lived together in Valley Home.  I certainly could have asked him to teach me himself, but I never did so.

I have no explanation for why I never asked anyone to teach me to weld.  I learned about working with wood and using power saws from my dad, and I asked him to show me.  I asked my step father to show me how to change the oil in my car, how to swap out the alternator and how to do many other things in my vehicle and I learned.  But for some reason I never pursued welding.

With all of that background, I always knew that I should learn to weld but just never seemed to make time for this until I was 48 years of age.  Autumm and I have owned our own farm for 10.5 years now, and during that time there definitely have been projects that I needed to complete that required welding or repairs that needed to be done that required welding.  Every time these came up I either hired this done or asked a friend with the equipment and know how for a favor.  That has always been a little bit embarrassing to me.  Not knowing how to weld is not a revocation of one's man card, but owning your own farm and equipment and not knowing how to repair it borders on the inefficient.

I tell you all of this to explain the title of today's show.  All of us have a metaphorical closet in our minds.  We have a set amount of space to contain the things that we know we need to do or that we want to do at some point in the future.  Anytime you or somebody else uses the phrase, "it has been in the back of my mind" think of this closet.  The "back of the mind" is the term for the closet where we have been storing the things that we need to get done.

The "back of the mind" is a confined space with only so much room.  So, the more that you put off or say that you will get done on some day in the future, the more you clutter it up.  The more you clutter it up, the less room there is for big goals like starting a farm or beginning a business.  And the more clutter there is, the less able you will be to map out the small steps you need to take to reach the really big goals.  There will just be too much stuff laying around to distract you.

When I finished that welding class on Saturday, I made a bunch of room in the "back of my mind".  It turns out that knowing that I should learn to weld had been taking up a lot of space in there, and for decades now, anytime something needed to be welded, I knew that it was sitting in there.

By being proactive and forcing myself to finally learn this skill, I accessed a new part of the brain.  It is the part where I store knowledge, not where I store ideas, things I need to do and abstract thoughts.  I was able to take all of those cubic feet that the welding was taking up and move it to the shelf of knowledge, allowing me to put new ideas in the closet to finally be pulled out when I am ready.  This is the key to being creative and achieving lifelong goals.  You've got to keep things tidy up there so you have the time and focus to accomplish large and complex goals.

What is cluttering up your closet, and when are you going to clean it out?

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Direct download: OFI_1302_Tuesday_Episode_-_2722_2.46_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Jay and Amber Desimone own and operate 840Farm in Waxahacie, Texas.  They specialize in raising pastured, Mangalitsa pork for customers in the Dallas area.  They do quite a bit of value adding, such as producing salami, and they have a rapidly growing business.  As a matter of fact, during Covid, Jay's job was eliminated, but he hasn't looked back.  He has been full-time on their farm since late in 2020, and it has been an awakening.  He states that if he ever does go back to working for an employer it will be in the trades and not back into the corporate world that he came from.

For the bulk of Jay and Amber's lives together they have lived in the city and lived that corporate life.  However, as they were raising their two boys, River and Canyon, in the city and experiencing police activity and the hustle and bustle of the city they decided to look for something different.  Amber had grown up on a farm in the Panhandle of Texas, and that was definitely the direction she wanted to move. Find out how their timing was just right in as Covid lockdowns came shortly after their move. 

Baxter Black has amazing legacy of entertaining people while telling the story of agriculture and ranching life in his cowboy poetry. Today, I bring you a replay of an interview I did with Baxter a few years ago talking about his is business journey and his key to success.

Welcome to February everyone.  A large percentage of our country will be getting started on the 2022 growing season this month.  Of course this varies from region to region and zone to zone.  Last Friday Hattie and I went out to Melba, Idaho for one of the best burgers you can find in Idaho at Cook's 2-Hole Bar.  We were driving Autumm's 1997 Jeep Wrangler, so we decided to off road a little bit.  There is a route you can take that takes you through the BLM land for a few miles.

On our route we were driving past the range cattle that eke out their living in the winter out on this barren, wind swept plateau that offers some dormant grass and forage from last summer.  Right as we were getting back to pavement we saw a cow near the water tanks with a calf that was just a day or two old.  It reminded me that the most legit of legit ranchers that we have here in Idaho run cattle on these rangelands all year round, and they start calving now in an effort to get those weaning weights up when they ship in the fall.

For us, here in Idaho, the next season begins with the earliest calves that come in January and February.  Soon to follow will be ground preparation, input purchases and before you know it, planting.  There are some parts of the U.S. that are way ahead of us, and there are other parts that will be a month behind us.

I think that true down time anymore is a myth, but if there is any downtime it certainly ends with the end of January.  Your plans for the next growing season should be made, and you should be getting things into place right now for the rush that is coming.  For me, I am marketing, contracting out cattle and pigs and procuring next winter's feed at this time of year.  Here in Southwest Idaho we are almost there.  Our high and low temperatures are about to get a little bit higher, our days are about to get noticeably longer and it won't be long until we have water in the canal out back.  We are just about to put this winter behind us.

Before I sign off for today's Tuesday episode I want to give you all an update on a very early guest on this show.  Baxter Black, the cowboy poet and veterinarian, was a very early guest on the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  He appeared on episode #16.  I thought it was really early in my podcasting career to request an interview with somebody like Baxter, but I did it anyway.  To my thrill and surprise he came on the show.  I am going to replay that episode on our Thursday episode this week.

I just read yesterday that Baxter is dealing with some health problems, and he has stopped writing his columns and doing the work that he loves to do so much.  I also read an article, quoting his son-in-law, stating that he was on a modified hospice treatment with a home health professional coming to check on on him a couple times per week at his home.

Baxter is a great cowboy, agricultural advocate, a true gentleman and a very generous celebrity.  I hope you will all keep him in your prayers and go watch some of his videos on Youtube or read some of his writings.  I've made it easy for you as I've put my favorite video of him up in the show notes on today's episode.  This was an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson when he recited this poem.  It is true genius and hilarious, and I hope you will check it out.

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Direct download: OFI_1296_Tuesday_Episode_-_13122_5.49_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I really enjoy profiling photographers on this show.  Whether they are photographing landscapes, making stock images, shooting livestock photos or capturing people it is a fascinating business that can be done from anywhere.

Our guest today, Pam Shrewsbury, happens to be a photographer that specializes in capturing people.  Pam grew up in the city, coming out to the rural community that she now calls home as a teenager to visit cousin.  It was through these relatives that she met her now husband, Scott, who is a lifelong farmer growing corn and beans and doing some custom feeding of hogs and cattle.

One of the parts of Pam's story that really stood out to me was as she recalled her childhood taking trips to Canada with her family and going fishing with her father.  She said that she always had a camera in her hand.  I like that image.  That is the image of a person with a passion, a natural talent that is just sitting there, waiting to be turned into a business.  Not all of us, me included, have that kind of passion or natural talent, but when I get to speak with somebody who does it is always a thrill.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1293-Pam_Shrewsbury-COMM_BREAK_12_53_TO_12_54.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If you need some tips on taking your photography skills and turning them into a business, then this show if for you. Learn about how to find your place in the industry and other tips to make you successful in starting and running a photography business in today's show replay with Todd Klassy

Today, I look back at Benjamin Franklin's Thirteen Virtues and talk about why not being able to perfect any one of them is alright.  Plus, how do they relate to farming and life choices?

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Direct download: OFI_1290_Tuesday_Episode_-_12422_5.06_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

How about sub-contracting as a corporate pilot as your form of off-farm income?  Seem impossible?  I would have thought it was unrealistic until I interviewed today's guest, Andrew Ambrose.

Andrew owns his own business, Fly Twins LLC, and he farms 750 acres in Southeast Missouri in addition to that.  If that is not enough, he also owns his own excavating company.  As Andrew put it, it would not be uncommon to see him flying a corporate customer across the country in the morning and driving a combine that evening.  This is an interesting way to producing off-farm income. Tune to hear more about Andrew's story. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1287_Andrew_Ambrose-011022_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I believe that self-sufficiency or independence is one of the main reasons that we love the agricultural lifestyle.  I was reminded of that this morning with something as simple and mundane as making my own candles.  In today's episode I want to discuss this with you and why in the world I am making my own candles!

Alex Wild's Youtube Channel About Bushcraft:

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Direct download: OFI_1284_Tuesday_Episode_-_11722_11.27_AM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is a 4th generation farmer, and he is trying to reclaim a farming operation that was lost in his family so that the operation can go into the 5th and 6th generations and beyond.

Corey Strothman has an interesting story of growing up on his families farm and then his father having to stop farming independently and lease out their ground when Corey was ten years of age.  For about 22 years Corey's father actually farmed the family ground for another farmer who was leasing it from them.  Then, around the time that Corey was in his early 30's the opportunity arose for he and father to partner and start farming independently again.

This was not as simple as it sounds.  The land was there, but the equipment was not.  So, a lot of outside income was going to be required to get things up and running and return the operation to the productivity that it once had.  This required Corey to produce off-farm income.  Today, Corey's wife works in town, he is a John Deere mechanic full-time, and he is an independent distributor of agricultural and automotive products for a company called Conklin Co.

Conklin sells products that people in agriculture can use, and that Corey uses himself.  This gives him the confidence to market these products and to stand behind them.  Conklin also operates as a multi-level marketing firm in their business model.  It has been this model that has allowed Corey to produce enough income to increase his percentage stake in the partnership with his father on the farm.  And it is this model that Corey states has saved other people in the U.S. from losing their farms.

In today's episode Corey will talk about the business model, how he got involved and we will even address some of the stigma associated with multi-level marketing.

Contact Information For Corey:

Telephone: (319) 931-6338

Facebook: LINK

Instagram: LINK

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1281_Cory_Strothman-010722.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 11:54am MDT

Tomorrow we are profiling an agricultural entrepreneur using multi-level marketing to leverage his knowledge of farming to create his off-farm income.  I thought that my interview with Megan Dwyer from 2018 when we talked about all the different entrepreneurial endeavors she and her husband were involved in to support their farm would be a great tie in.  The original show notes are below.



Our guest today is from a serious, farm family.  Megan Dwyer and her husband, Todd, are determined to make it in farming.  They both farm with their parents.  Her with hers, his with his and vice-versa.  They have their own farm as well and are striving to build a life in which farming is their primary occupation and it can be passed along to their children.

To support their farming endeavors, Megan and Todd have started a number of farming related businesses.  This brings in supplemental income from off the farm.  It also gives them multiple streams of revenue so they do not become overly reliant on the farm in the case that commodity prices sink or input prices skyrocket.

The services they provide through Ag Authority include:

  • Providing 360YieldCenter
  • SureFire Ag Systems
  • Precision Planting product lines
  • Wyffels Seed
  • VR recs
  • Tile repair and fabrication
They serve Northwest Illinois and are building great reputations in the agricultural community.  Megan is also a certified crop advisor, giving her the knowledge and credibility she needs to serve their clients well.


TRUST YOUR TEAM: You need somebody to partner with that you can trust.

STRENGTHS: Focus on your strengths.  Too often we give our attention to our weaknesses and only bring them up to mediocre.  Why not give attention to your strengths and make them even stronger.

SMALL: Start small and grow slowly.  It you go too fast or try to do it all at once, you increase risk the possibility of business failure.


MENTAL REHEARSAL: Megan does something that is very useful for all of us, in or out of agriculture.  Before talking to a customer she mentally rehearses how she will handle different situations if they come up.  This is something that I used to do as a police officer, and I was impressed that this is something that Megan does in her business as well.


BE THE EXPERT: "If you're not their #1, be their #2".  This was a profound statement.  You cannot win every time. When you don't, make sure you keep your position as #2 in the case that something ever changes with their #1.


Ag Authority's Facebook Page: LINK

Megan's Email:

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Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1280-Recap_of_Episode_402-011222.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 9:50am MDT

Hi everyone.  Today is a true farm update on what we are doing on our place in Kuna, Idaho;

  • Hauling Livestock
  • Outgrowing Our Trailer
  • Getting Deposits From Customers
  • Our Ongoing Fox Problem
  • Learning To Weld


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Direct download: OFI_1278_Tuesday_Episode_-_11022_2.36_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's show is a replay of a person who deserves our admiration. After the passing of her husband, she is not only running her farm alone, but is finding new and creative ways to diversify and offer quality, hand spun wool to her customers.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1274-Recap_Of_Episode_153-010322.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Let's talk 2022 goals, how to change your perspective on your job and all about the positive impacts of the wind!

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Direct download: OFI_1272_Tuesday_Episode_-_1322_4.19_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Happy New Year everyone!  And here is a to a great 2022!  Below are some of the most notable moments of 2021 as well as our most downloaded episodes of 2021!

Most Downloaded of 2021

Rural Crime 970    
FFA 973    
Friday Show 969    
Tuesday Episode 966    
Re-Cap Episode 1004    

Notable 2021 Moments

  • All of us having Covid
  • Hattie’s conduct team winning state
  • Hattie’s conduct team taking 5th in the nation
  • Meeting so many students who have been on the show in Indianapolis
  • Stopping in Kankakee, Illinois
  • Purchasing neighbor’s farm
  • Seeing Hattie in her FFA jacket for the first time
  • Adding Guardline
  • Keynote in Montana
  • MSU going to national championship
  • Hattie getting her permit
  • New record FFA auction
  • One millionth download
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Direct download: OFI_1270_Tuesday_Episode_-_123121_5.37_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tiffany and her husband, Matt, both grew up in a city environment, St. Louis, Missouri, and did not have exposure to rural living or agriculture.  They were entrepreneurs, running an electrical contracting business for which Matt was the electrician, and they were busy!  So busy in fact that work and hustle were all that they knew.

A simpler life was calling to them however.  They started out just like so many people in the U.S.  They had a 3,000 square foot home, even though it was just the two of them.  While they were still there in the city they downsized to a home that was under 1,000 square feet.  This seemed like a radical move to friends and family, but really, for two adults it was very appropriate.

This simple living had sparked something in both of them, and there was a mutual thought that someday they would move out somewhere rural, live much more simply and even forget what day of the week it was.  Then, Tiffany was diagnosed with breast cancer.  This opened up a whole new perspective.  The thought that the opportunity to carry out your dreams may not be there tomorrow can be a strong motivator, and it was for Tiffany and Matt.  So, they made this vision a reality in short order and Wilderland LLC Glamping Cabins was born!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1269_Tiffany_Ursch-121621.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's show is a replay of a special interview I did on how we view life and what you choose to do in situations that don't make you happy. Learn how to find purpose in your work and having faith in yourself. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1268-Recap_Of_Episode_558-120721.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you.  I've got a very chilly farm update for you in today's show.  Also, a true story about a strange Christmas Eve that sounds like (and should be) a commercial for our sponsor, Guardline Security!

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Direct download: OFI_1266_Tuesday_Episode_-_122721_6.10_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

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

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

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

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

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Direct download: Caroline_Clarin_Episode_1264_-_121521_2.52_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Hi everyone, Merry Christmas and welcome to our Tuesday episode for the week of Christmas, 2021.  In today's episode I'll be talking about some career validation from law enforcement, making a slight revision to our previous rural crime episode and getting pumped for Montana State University being in the national championship game for the first time since 1984!

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Direct download: OFI_1260_Tuesday_Episode_-_122021_3.28_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I just wrapped up my annual "creative retreat" where I get to focus on nothing but growing, improving and sustaining the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  This retreat traditionally happens in Ketchum, Idaho and this year there was no snow.  So, I spent a lot of time walking into and out of town.  These walks took me to parts of town that I do not normally travel in, including passing by the Post Office.  At the Post Office I noticed a big banner that said "Join Us" in an attempt to recruit new employees at the postal service, and it dawned on me how much times have changed.  For people starting their working careers in 2021-2022, jobs that used to be perceived as impossible to obtain are now ripe for the picking.  What a crazy turn around in our country.

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Direct download: OFI_1254_Tuesday_Episode_-_121321_7.40_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Carol Herden is an incredible agricultural sculptor, and this has led her to a full-time career doing what she loves - sculpting farm animals.  It is fascinating to me anytime I see an artist develop their craft into a career, and even more so when they do it creating art that resembles agriculture.  However, in Carol's case, her journey might be even more fascinating than that. Tune in for her story. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1251_Carol_Herden-112621.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Re purposing vintage and scrap items is a growing hobby for many people today. Not only is today's guest using old farm materials that might otherwise be burned or go to a landfill, she is creating unique artwork. This interview is a replay showcasing Monica's ag background and how that led her to creating artwork using farm scrap materials

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1250-Recap_Of_Episode_417-Monica_Wagner-120421.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Well, out here in the West we are in a familiar pattern, a pattern of less than optimal forecasts that offer a bit of precipitation and then fall part as they get closer to us.  Right now we are experiencing a "weird" La Niña and it is keeping everything dry and warm.

For those of us out here in the West we are the complete opposite of all of you who farm with rainfall.  We have to get all of our precipitation in the Winter, store it as snowpack, then store it in reservoirs as it runs off to be able to irrigate with it during the growing season.  If we don't get that Winter snowpack, some really hard decisions will have to be made for all of us.

I'm trying to stay optimistic, and certainly it is not time to ring the emergency bell yet, but I have seen this pattern before.  This really started for us last winter.  We started out really strong and had a good snowpack, but then the precipitation just shut off and we had one of our driest springs on record.  I didn't like the lack of weather activity in the spring, but I thought we were going to be okay because of the snowpack.  However, it turned out that the dry spring reduced our ability to store all of that spring runoff.  With the soil being so dry from a lack of spring precipitation a lot of that runoff went into the soil and not into the reservoirs.  So, we were forced to stop irrigating early this year.

I spent this weekend up in the Ketchum and Sun Valley area of Idaho with my family.  We traditionally go up to the Wood River Valley on this weekend to play in the snow and to elk hunt.  I am used to seeing a foot of snow on the valley floor up there in early December.  However, this year there is only snow on the tops of the very highest mountain peaks.  All of the hills and mountains around Ketchum are completely bare, and the world famous Sun Valley Ski Resort is operating on a very limited capacity with man made snow.  We can still catch up, but looking at this area that is normally buried in snow and seeing it bare starts to wear away at the optimism.

Last Spring when I bought my hay for this year, I offered to commit to the farmer to buy just as much from him this year.  However, he wouldn't do it. He just said, "we'll have to wait and see if we get any snow this winter".  In my area we are already dealing with a shortage of hay because so many hay fields have been taken out of production due to development.  If there is not enough water to get the maximum number of cuttings, that shortage is going to be even worse.  That is going to drive prices up, and in the long run there will be some people who just can't get hay.

I find myself trying to figure out how to mitigate what could be a crisis right now.  I have an idea that I am pursuing that might allow me to keep quite a bit of the hay that I purchased this spring.  With the warm temperatures we have been having and lack of snow, there are still some fields near by me with quite a bit of forage in them.  It makes sense for me to see if I can lease them and graze them off while I still have the chance rather than feed the hay I have out in my stack yard.  If that does not work, I am going to have to figure out how I am going to find hay for 2022.  And, I will be forced to raise prices on my customers as well.

So, this is farming.  Admittedly, because we irrigate from snow melt and generally have nothing but fair weather during our growing season we don't seem to deal with crisis caused by weather as much as the rest of you in other parts of the country do.  But, it does occasionally happen, and it looks like we will either have an incredible burst of precipitation in the beginning of 2022 to get us back to normal, or this will be one of those years for us.  Let's hope for the precipitation for everyone in the West!

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Direct download: OFI_1248_Tuesday_Episode_-_12621_7.16_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

One of my favorite things about hosting this show is catching entrepreneurs and families at the beginning stages of their journeys and being able to see their vision with them.  That is certainly true of my interview with Marrianne and Greg Russell, the owners of Rock Bridge Farmstead in Kentucky. Listen in for their whole story. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1245-Greg__Marrianne_Russel-112321.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

In today's interview I get to connect with a listener of the show and talk about how he and his wife are making their farm dream come true.  I will be speaking with Justin Farrish from West Virginia.  Justin has a really interesting farm story.  This farm was started by his great-grandfather in the first half of the 20th Century.  West Virginia is rocky, mountainous and filled with trees, so there was lots of work to do.  Justin talks about his great-grandfather digging out stumps by hand to clear land for grazing.  It is really amazing.

Today Justin and his wife have been able to move their family to the farm and start putting it back into production.  They had to start with remodeling the existing home and making it livable.  After that it there is fencing and more clearing to do.  They have done a lot of work already and have a lot ahead, but they want to carry this legacy forward and are prepared for this.

In the interview we talk about all the challenges that come with a multi-generational farm, including the pressures of keeping it in the family line.  We also discuss what Justin does for his off-farm income, and the culture of the area that he and his wife have moved their family into.

Here are the show notes from Justin's first appearance on the show:

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1244-Recap_Of_Episode_896-120121.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

How many of you find yourselves sitting in your home in the evening after being on your farm all day, tired from physical labor and thinking "this is exactly the life I want"?  I had that experience on Sunday night, and it came on the tail end of a lot of physical work.  This was just further proof to me that work is not the enemy, the wrong job is the enemy.

Sunday night was quite the opposite of the Sunday night's I used to experience.  I used to get what I referred to as the "Sunday Night Blues".  This was the depression and irritability that set in when I knew that once I went to bed, I would be waking up to go to a job that was the wrong fit.  That does not happen to me any longer, but sitting in my living room, looking at my family, feeling physically tired, watching the dog lay in front of the fire and having a feeling of elation come over me is a whole other level.  It is more than just the opposite of the "Sunday Night Blues", it is the next rung up the ladder.

When I first started this journey, I was just trying to get rid of the "Sunday Night Blues".  I never imagined it could reach this level.  Here is what my weekend looked like, and what led me to feeling so good on Sunday evening.

Friday - our kitchen sink had a catastrophic failure.  Outside of chores, plumbing was on the schedule for me this day.

Saturday - all day was spent cutting up downed trees in our creek area, splitting them and stacking the wood for heat.  Outside of our daily chores this took up our entire day.  However, when the day was done and every day since I have been able to look at those stacks of split wood and see the progress that we made.

Sunday - after chores Autumm, Hattie and I got busy removing nose guards from our calves and separating them from their mothers.  Then we started cleaning out a shed, purging things that we no longer need or use and storing some items in a storage shed on our new property.  We have been "slow to grow" on our farm since we bought it in 2011.  Instead of incurring debt for new outbuildings and storage to house our personal effects and the equipment we needed for our farm, we have dealt with the clutter of stuffing too many things into too little space.  This has included doing things like tarping our lawn equipment over the winter to protect it from the weather.

Our patience and frugality has paid off, and now we have expanded.  With the expansion came additional out buildings and a pre-existing pad that allowed us to put a shop up at minimal expense.  This has acted as a pressure release for the clutter and yesterday I was able to treat the gas in our lawn equipment, pull the batteries and put them to bed for the winter under a roof rather than a tarp.  It might seem like a small thing to say out loud, but for me it was a big step in the correct direction.

Just like nine years ago when started my very first business, I still have energy for days.  I realized then and still realize today that your body does not magically need to rest and reboot at the end of an 8 hour work day.  If you are doing something that you love, you can spend all your waking hours working and recharge on just your normal 7-8 hours of sleep.

Yesterday, even after the sun had gone down I was still working.  I had smaller, indoor projects that needed to get done and I was happy to do them.  By the time I put on my sweat pants, sat down in front of the fire and watched a little football we had cleaned out fallen timber in our creek, split cords  of wood, stacked split wood, finished weaning calves, purged clutter, put away equipment for the winter and repaired and replaced small equipment at our home.

As I sat there and looked at my family and my home I realized that this was all I needed for happiness.  I had not spent the weekend walking at a mall, entertaining Hattie at a theme park or taking in movie.  All of that is fine every now and then, but it was the accomplishment of worthwhile activities at home that I was getting my fulfillment from.  And it is this knowledge that gives me the peace and contentment that so many people cannot find.  If you can love your work, you will always have this state of mind available to you.

I hope that in some small way, we can help you get there by listening to this show!

Direct download: OFI_1242_Tuesday_Episode_-_112921_3.45_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If there is an opposite of being artistic, then I am that person.  Therefore, hosting the Off-Farm Income Podcast has allowed me to meet and interview many artistic people that I would otherwise never encounter.  It is fascinating to me the way that an artistic person sees the world and is able to craft that vision into something beautiful and pleasing to their fans.

On today's episode I am featuring once such artist who has taken his love of agriculture, his artistic ability and his skills in jewelry making and combined them all into a unique and exceptional line of agricultural jewelry.  Talk about a value added product!

Chris Chaney is the creator of "Agrijewelry", a line of jewelry that began with the creation of a piece that looks astonishingly like a cotton boll.  This is was requested by a customer, and Chris went on a pilgrimage to make it happen.  One thing led to another and today Chris offers jewelry that looks exactly like a multitude of crops from corn, to soybeans, to peanuts to almonds.  And, he has expanded into livestock, wildlife and exotics as well.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1239-Chris_Chaney_REVISED-112021.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I have a lot to be thankful for, and it starts with you!  I hope you enjoy the episode.

Direct download: OFI_1238_Thanksgiving_Episode_-_112421_8.21_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Writing, whether it be as a fiction author, a novelist or a freelancer is one of my favorite methods of off-farm income creation that I cover.  Maybe it is because when I first started this show I interviewed an author and it gave so much credibility to the concept that I was pursuing, or maybe it is because I admire people who can write for a living, but I am a fan.

On today's show Rachel Gabel joins us to talk writing, raising cattle and raising goats.  Rachel lives and ranches in Northeast Colorado, and she has been in that general vicinity all of her life.  Growing up there and ranching there has given her special credibility with the people who read her words, and it has allowed her to write about some topics that only a few people would be accepted discussing.  She primarily writes for The Fence Post Magazine, and she has been doing so since she was a young teenager.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1233-Rachel_Gabel-111321_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Jerry Apps is one of my favorite, all time, agricultural authors.  Tomorrow we are featuring an agricultural author whom I have just met that creates her families off-farm income through writing.  I thought this would be a great time to replay my second interview with Jerry.  I especially enjoy reading and listening to him around the Thanksgiving Holiday as his stories evoke those warm, family memories.

Below are the original show notes from episode #668.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1232-Recap_Of_Episode_668-111521.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

The purpose of this show has always been to help you find ways to create the revenue that you need so that you can sustain you farming or ranching lifestyle.  I have always picked entrepreneurship as the way to do that because of the many benefits that come with it such as making good money where few jobs exist and being able to be on your farm when your livestock or crops need you to be there.

In today's episode we are profiling another such opportunity that accomplishes both of these goals.  I will be speaking with John Hansen, the landowner profitability manager for Land Trust, a business based in Bozeman, Montana.  Land Trust thinks of itself as the "airbnb of hunting, fishing and agri-tourism".  This service works like Airbnb in that it allows a land owner to sign up and then market their land to potential customers for the purposes the landowner is willing to allow.  This could be hunting, fishing, agri-tourism, bird watching or whatever!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1227_John_Hansen-103121.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I am brining on a new advertiser on November 22nd of this month and am very excited about the new contacts in the industry, the affirmation of my show that they are giving me and the fact that the business is growing.  However, what has got me the most excited is the fact that I have stayed true to the advertising model that I committed to for this show, and it is working.

Today, I want to touch on my philosophy once more and get you all ready for what is coming.

Direct download: OFI_1224_Tuesday_Episode_-_11821_2.51_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

All of the concepts that I teach and much of what I went through as I was transforming into an entrepreneur is covered in today's episode.  It is amazing to me how often I interview an entrepreneur who has made the same transition that I have, and when they tell their story there are so many common themes.

Julia (Julie) Jacobsen went to work in her local county office when she was 19 years old.  During that time she married a rancher, started having a family, and devoted nearly two decades to that position.  However, her presence was being demanded on their ranch more and more over time in addition to the demands that were being placed on her by having a toddler running around the house.  She knew it was time for a change, and she left her county job to be on the ranch with the kids full time.

Julie and her husband had budgeted for this, but with the loss of her off-farm income, the margins were extremely slim.  So, they knew that at some point Julie would have to start bringing in an income again.  Julie knew one thing for sure.  She wasn't going back to work for an employer again.  She had creativity and "outside the box" thinking boiling over in her soul, and her experience in the workplace was not one that embraced that part of her spirit.  It was one that attempted to smother it out!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1221_Julie_Jacobsen-102321.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is a special replay of a show featuring an interview I did with Andy Dyar, who followed his entrepreneurial dream and started a T-Shirt company. He did extensive research and learned that professionalism was key in building his business, Farm Heritage, Inc. 


Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1220-Recap_Of_Episode_028-102721.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's podcast is a replay of an earlier show I did on why social media is important, especially if you own or manage a business. Whether you don't have social media accounts, are new to the world of social media, or need some further insight, be sure to tune into today's podcast. 

Original Show Notes:

For years I have been jealous of those of you who never opened a social media account.  By the time I developed that opinion I was well invested in social media for my business, and there was no changing that.  Then, I put out an ad for a full-time, podcast producer and started interviewing candidates.

This hiring process has clearly shown me one thing, and that is that all of you who are seeking a certain lifestyle should be posting content on social media.  Hang with me on this.  I know it can be a toxic environment, but there is a really good reason.  I delve deep into this in this episode, and I hope you will join me!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1214-_Recap_Of_Episode_926-100521_1.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Our guest today is Britin Wardlaw.  Britin grew up on a citrus farm and raising cattle and married another farmer.  One of the permanent crops that they grow are persimmons, which is a bit of a niche crop and they tend to be aesthetically pleasing and associated with the fall and winter.  Britin noticed that before all of the persimmons could be harvested, many, perfectly good fruit fell off of the trees, rendering them no longer suitable for human consumption.  This waste bothered her, and it also gave her an idea.

Britin has an eye for decorating and styling the front porches of people's homes.  What is better, is that she has a deep desire to do this in such a way that reflects the agricultural industry and heritage of the surrounding area.  So, she came up with an idea for a business, The Western Loom, in which she would get paid to decorate people's homes in her area of the San Joaquin Valley of California.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1209-Britin_Wardlaw-100121.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I ran across a very interesting story about pigs being used to solve a safety problem near an airport in Amsterdam.  After seeing the creative way that the pigs were used, it got me thinking about the way we view livestock in the United States.  There is a mantra in the West among those who support grazing cattle in national forest lands that goes "log it, graze it or watch it burn".  

As I thought about this it occurred to me that there is a group of very vocal Americans who are against grazing cattle in national forest lands.  However, they will support the use of goat and sheep for certain prescribed grazing in the name of fire suppression.  As I considered this I wondered if the way cattle were viewed by certain individuals could be shifted from a symbol of wealth and power to a defender of the beautiful forest lands if that would create on consensus on grazing national forest lands once again.

Direct download: OFI_1206_Tuesday_Episode_-_10_18_21_7.33_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Marie Canon and her husband, Mark, have been married and operating their dairy in Western Pennsylvania for 31 years.  However, the legacy of this farm goes back much further than that, all the way to the Revolutionary War.  Over time there have been different business models on the farm, and it has been some time since any direct marketing was done, such as the milk route that Mark's grandfather once had with the milk produced on the dairy.

About two years ago, Marie and Mark's daughter, Josie, told them that she wanted to come home and work on the farm, but she did not want to be involved in the day to day of milking and raising crops.  The dairy was already supporting Mark's parents, Mark and Marie, and their son, Trent's, family.  There simply was not enough pie left to cut out another slice.  So, what do we do?

It was decided that they would begin direct marketing and selling products directly from their farm.  They would also start creating value-added products to have something to sell.  Some capital was put aside to make all of this happen, and "Canon Creamery" was born.  There were a lot of unknowns going into this, such as how to market, would customers come to their farm, and when to be open.  However, those fears were overcome and the business was started.  This was not without difficulties, however.  Covid definitely slowed down the development and delayed the ability to start recapturing some of the capital that had been outlaid.  However, a spontaneous grand opening that was caused by the perishability of milk proved the concept, and now they are off and running!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1203_Marie_Cannon-100121.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today is a big day on our farm in Kuna, Idaho.  Our daughter, Hattie, has completed driver's training and been awarded her driving permit.  She is going to start driving with us and fulfilling the requisite hours to make her eligible for her full driver's license.  We are going to go through the motions and do everything we need to do to comply with the requirements of the state for this to happen.  However, she has been driving for years now.  She drove the pickup while I fed hay off the back, then she started driving up the driveway when we got home, then I let her drive out in the desert and finally we cheated and let her drive on the farm roads by our house.

This got me thinking about my own experience as a teenager.  I drove a lot before I ever even got my permit.  Sometimes this was with my parent's permission and sometimes this was not.  But growing up in a very rural area, I got behind the wheel a bunch to the extent that driver's training was really just a formality.  My question today, is should we return to a time in which farm kids are treated differently when it comes to licensing?

Direct download: OFI_1200_Rural_Crime_-_101121_5.16_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

90% of farmers in the U.S., large and small, rely on off-farm income to run their households because the farm revenue just won't.  In a larger percentage of these instances that revenue comes from a working spouse.  In today's episode, I get to interview Rosie Bosse, who is and was that working spouse and she has an amazing story of entrepreneurship, creativity, and hard work that spans 42 years.

Rosie and her husband farm and raise cattle in Northeast Kansas.  Over their 42 year marriage, they have raised four children, who are all out of the house.  They continue to farm and raise cattle to this day.  In our interview, Rosie stated that the farm paid for itself, but it didn't produce enough income to support the household. Therefore, her role, in addition to the parent, was to come up with a way to create that income to run the home.  Tune into this podcast to find out she did that. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1197_Rosie_Bosse-100121.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On tomorrow's Friday episode I am profiling a woman who supported her families farming lifestyle for 30 years selling Tupperware, driving all over Kansas and Nebraska and working six nights per week.  I like my re-cap episodes to flow into my Friday episodes, and I thought this previous interview with Elisabeth Watkins would be perfect.  Elisabeth turned something that we all have to do, cooking, into an art form and then into a regular television appearance in Sacramento, California.  And, she did this all while she was in the FFA at Central Catholic High School in Modesto, California.

Both of these women took tasks that had to be done everyday in their homes and saw the possibility to take it further.  This shows that entrepreneurship does not have to be inventing a new software program.  All it takes is a will to make it and a creative outlook.


Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1196-Recap_Of_Episode_452-100521.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

My agricultural life is kind of split into two phases by my law enforcement career.  The first phase is growing up rural and then getting introduced to working with cattle by my step-father and step-grandfather.  The next phase is meeting and becoming family with my father-in-law, Terry White, who showed me an even bigger vision with cattle than I had myself.  Terry and his wife, Wanda, also got Autumm and I started with our first four heifers and one bull when we first bought our farm.

As a serial entrepreneur, Terry was always a cheerleader for me with my different business ideas.  He was a person I would turn to that I always knew would shine a light on the positive things that I was achieving with my entrepreneurial endeavors.

Terry passed away last week, and in today's Tuesday episode I want to pay tribute to him.

Direct download: OFI_1194_Tuesday_Episode_-_10421_2.41_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Have you ever heard of a business and thought, "why didn't I think of that?"  Well, that is the case in today's episode.  I think the most brilliant people are those who can see what is right in front of all of us, when none of the rest of us cannot see it.

Today, Lisa Lupton and Martyn Jones, the founders of Seeds With Love Cards join me to talk about their greeting card business.  The two of them have a brilliant business that combines selling products with advocating for agriculture.  They are based in the U.K., so they have some unique perspectives on business challenges that we don't see in the U.S.

Seeds With Love Cards are greeting cards that come with a packet of seeds.  The idea is brilliant.  One card might come with a recipe for a cocktail, and that recipe includes the herbs that can be grown with the included seeds.  Another card, for Christmas as an example, will come with a packet of seeds that can be planted at Christmas time.  There are myriads of possibilities here, and Marty and Lisa are 18 months into tapping into this niche

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1191_Seeds_With_Love_Cards-092821.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Last night was our annual scholarship auction at the Kuna FFA Chapter.  It is always a very well attended and very successful event.  This year was a new record, as it seems to be every year.  

This year was the 10th year in a row at this auction for us.  A lot has changed in that time.  The first time we went Hattie was five years old. Now she is 15, in her second year of FFA and on her way to the National Convention to compete in Conduct Of Chapter Meetings in just a few weeks.  Instead of being the new person in town, hoping to meet people, now I host an agricultural podcast and interview FFA students every week.  And, I am one of the advisory board members for our chapter.  They are huge changes and differences, but every moment is thrilling.  

Direct download: OFI_1188_Tuesday_Episode_-_92721_4.48_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Today's ag business interview has it all for you.  As a matter of fact, I have never seen the concepts that we talk about on the Off-Farm Income Podcast come together quite so well as they have for today's guests.

Dexter and Kayla Dedora are cattle ranchers in Alberta, Canada.  They both grew up around cattle and agriculture and were determined to have this same life for themselves and their kids.  Of course, being determined and getting it done are two different things, and that is why this show exists.  At this point, the Dedora's are well on their way to the life that they have been seeking.  However, they have been "lucky".  When I say lucky, what I mean is that they have worked hard, hustled and they were ready when an opportunity presented itself.

Dexter and Kayla are purchasing the ranch and operation of a retiring ranch couple.  They are doing this through a gradual transition process, just the same way that we have talked about on the show so many times.  This began with them leasing land from the ranch owners and purchasing their Longhorn Cattle herd.  The relationship has built over time, and now they have an agreement and are slowly moving it into their possession.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1185_Longhorns__Leather-082821.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

If you are a loyal listener, then you will recall my guest Nick McCormack as he appeared on the show in Episode #327. During our discussion, he outlined how he started his ranch from the ground up, literally. It wasn't easy and he had to develop his leathercraft skills in order to generate some cash to make it work. Tune in and find out how Nick and his wife got their ranch started along with their off-farm income business. 

Big happenings (possibly) on our farm, and proof of concept during an interview!

Direct download: OFI_1182_Tuesday_Episode_-_92021_4.37_PM.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Through the past seven years of hosting the Off-Farm Income Podcast I have made the claim on numerous occasions that you can find a niche in agriculture, become the expert in that niche and turn that into a business that will produce your off-farm income.  Today, I offer proof of this concept one more time, and oh my goodness, is this proof!

Lisa Steele, the creator of "Fresh Eggs Daily", the author of six books, television host and frequent television guest is joining us on the show to talk about the development of her brand and business that is all about raising chickens, geese and ducks!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1179_Lisa_Steele-082421.mp3
Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

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

Here are the notes from the original Episode:

                                        KEY IDEAS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ohio Man Creates 9/11 Tribute Mural On Farmland

Farmers See 9/11 Impacts Each Day

John Ogonowski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are my notes from this morning:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In today's episode we will be discussing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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