Off-Farm Income (general)

Some time during high school I was exposed to the concept of vertical integration.  Even though I did not have any aspirations of running my own business at that time, I was able fascinated with the concept and admired the people who do this.  That is still true today.

My guest today, Cinde Moore, is just one of those people.  She and her husband Mark started raising livestock and purchased their very first farm after they turned 50 years of age.  However, they have a very farmer like philosophy which is that they will indulge their love of livestock and fascination with animals as long as every animal on the farm actually makes money for them.  And, if you have been following me for any length of time, you know I like this because they are doing something that benefits them at least twice.

In their search for the right livestock animal to do this with, they eventually came across Angora Goats and the unbelievable fiber that they produce.  They started their herd of these goats with the intention of producing and selling yarn.  Everything was going just as planned until they figured out that they did not enjoy the marketing and selling of what essentially was a commodity.  They wanted more control in their pricing and freedom in the marketing.  Convinced that the Angora Goats were the correct animal, it was back the drawing board of how they would market their fiber.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1275_Cinde_Moore-121721.mp3
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Today, Tom Boyer of the American Goat Federation, joins me to talk about the demand for goats, long term trends and the challenges of having supply meet demand for goat in the U.S.  It is a great time to be a knowledgeable goat producer with the correct infrastructure in the U.S., but the allure of high prices can also be the catalyst to getting some people into goats before they are really ready.  Tom and I will talk all about this and more in this episode.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1257_Tom_Boyer-120421.mp3
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Today is a replay of an interview I did on how one entrepreneur took his time in educating himself before he started his business. He had a passion for hunting and the outdoors and he combined it with his desire to want to improve farm ground all while building his business. Listen in the learn more about Al Wisnefske and his wildlife consulting company, Land and Legacy Group, LLC. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1226-Recap_Of_Episode_008-102821.mp3
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How great would it be to discover a niche in the marketplace that nobody had filled and everyone was waiting to be filled?  Well, our guest today, Korri Atkinson, the owner of The Ranch Signs & Company, can tell you because that is exactly what she has done.

Korri and her husband own a small farm just north of Boise, Idaho, right in my backyard actually.  Korri homeschools the kids and takes care of the animals during the day which keeps her plenty busy.  However, about seven years ago she got an itch to try out an idea.  The idea was to create and selling beautiful signs for the horse industry.  These were "stall signs" meant to be hung up in horse stalls at shows, events, etc. to identify horses, warn people to stay away, or even list out the allergies of the equine.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1215_Korrie_Atkinson-100821_1.mp3
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Ethan Buck is a finalist for the American Star in Agricultural Placement this year.  And, this did not just happen overnight.  Actually, it all started during the Great Depression.  During that difficult time in American History, Ethan's great-grandfather moved from Illinois to Indiana and started the farming operation that Ethan has been so heavily involved in.  Fifty years later, during another difficult time for farmers in the U.S., Ethan's grandfather added a 4,500 head, wean to finish hog operation as a hedge against low commodity prices.  Today, Ethan works on this farm with his grandparents and parents.

Ethan is an American Star Finalist, a college student studying agribusiness and the future of this farming legacy that was started during the Great Depression.  After graduation, Ethan will go into the world and be off of the farm for some time, but when his grandparents (who are in their 80's) decide to take a step back, he will be coming home to take his place on this multi-generational farm.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1183_Ethan_Buck-090221.mp3
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I am very excited about today's guest.  Matt Klingele has already had an incredible entrepreneurial journey.  He has learned about working with steel and how to make knifes, started going custom work for customers and making products that he keeps in inventory for later sales.  This, by itself, led him to win an Illinois State Proficiency Award in 2021 and become a silver award winner at the national level.  But, he is not stopping there. Tune into learn more!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1153_Matt_Klingele-081621.mp3
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Today it is my pleasure to be able to interview the newest state star farmer from Kansas, Wesley Denton.  Wes has just completed his freshman year of college at Kansas State University where he is studying animal science and also the meat industry. 

The story of Wes's herd of cattle and his star farmer award began when he was three and, as his family tradition calls for, his grandfather gave him his very first heifer.  However, the roots of this were actually much earlier in a dark time in our nation's history, particularly for people in the part of the Midwest where Wes lives.  Looking back on the dates, and doing some math it appears that Wes's great-grandfather purchased their family farm in about 1931, after emigrating from Germany.  This of course was in the heart of the Dust Bowl and two years into the Great Depression.  This was certainly a stressful and uncertain time for Americans, and especially those making their livings on a farm in the Mid-West.

The farm has persevered, and today Wesley is a shining example of what that commitment and hard work can lead to.  As the State Star Farmer for Kansas, Wesley will go on to compete to become the American Star Farmer at the FFA's National Convention.  And, if the farming tradition in Kansas were not enough, there is quite an FFA tradition in Wes's family as well.  At his former high school his grandfather's name still hangs on the wall, commemorating all of the committee members to start the Valley Height's FFA chapter way back then.

Wesley plans on completing high school and finding work at a company such as Cargill to work in the food production industry.  He has been told to go out and make his own way before he comes home to take his place on the family farm.  I have no doubt that he will do just that!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1117_Wesley_Denton-062221.mp3
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I have a lot of people to thank for today's episode.  First of all, Warren Clark, the CEO of AgNewsCenter, recommended today's guest and got me an interview with him on short notice.  And, our guest, Brock Taylor, the president and CEO of Brock Taylor Consulting, took time out of his unbelievably busy schedule in one of the busiest parts of the year for him to speak with us.

Brock is an independent crop and agriculture consultant working in the San Joaquin Valley of California.  More specifically, he is based in and does a large percentage of his work in Fresno County, which has an abundance of very valuable crops that are grown every year in addition to an abundance of permanent crops that grown continually.

Anywhere that crops this valuable are grown, it is going to attract a lot of support-type businesses such as fertilizer companies, irrigation suppliers, and of course, crop consultants.  An agronomist like Brock has a lot of challenges in his business because there are also crop advisors working for fertilizer companies offering their services as an added value to farmers when they purchase fertilizer from them.  Over the years Brock has seen the crop advisors with the fertilizer companies expand their services to offer some of the things he does as an independent consultant in an attempt to pull business from him.  At the same time as this has been happening, the competition from other independent crop advisors has been growing, resulting in price competition and a much more strenuous environment.

Specific to California are a number of challenges.  Perhaps the largest is water and what appears to be a rapidly increasing frequency of drought years. This takes acres out of production and farmers make less money.  Of course, as farmers make less, they have less to spend on important services like crop consultation.  And, as they leave more and more acres uncultivated, there are fewer and fewer acres for somebody like Brock to consult on, resulting in less work for the growing number of consultants.

In this interview, Brock will give you a very realistic look at this particular agricultural business, the challenges that are associated with it, and how he recommends getting the experience you need to be independent.

Direct download: OFI_1101_-_Brock_Taylor_Mixdown_1.mp3
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The other day an article popped up in my newsfeed about a young man who had won an FFA academic award upon graduation from high school.  As I read through the article, I saw that the same student had received an award from the Sons Of The American Revolution.  This piqued my interest because I am a member of the Sons Of The American Revolution.  I am thrilled to today bring this young man onto the show.

Victor Snook is definitely worth a SAR award as well as many other accolades.  In our interview, we uncovered many ways in which this young man is currently contributing to his community and will continue to do so in the future.  Victor is not afraid to be busy!  He plays football, played baseball, participates in the marching band, is in the school's jazz band, works outside of school, and obviously is involved in the FFA.

What really stood out to me in this interview with Victor is service.  For Victor's job, he works for a farm service business.  When I hear the term "farm service" I think about mechanics and technicians that repair equipment in the field or service equipment on people's property.  However, for Victor's job he helps people out on their farms in any way they need.  He fixes fences, does concrete work, and even repairs sheds if need be.

Of course, a service job is consistent with everything else I heard from this young man.  He has a deep love for music.  He has four brothers, and three of them play the saxophone right along with him.  That's right, there are four brothers playing saxophone together, two on alto and two on tenor.  During the interview, Victor mentioned playing for their church as well as entertaining people in senior living facilities and bringing them the joy of music.

Victor has his eyes set on service as a career.  He mentioned in our questionnaire that he was going to be studying law enforcement in college. In the interview, he talked about serving his community as a conservation officer.  Either way, it is service that he knows and service that he is going to provide in his career.  You are going to enjoy getting to know this young man!

Direct download: OFI_1099_-_Victor_Snook_Mixdown_1.mp3
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We talk a lot on this show about how to get started farming right now, even if you don't have the farm that you ultimately see in your dreams.  Usually when we speak of this we are talking about marketing some fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. from a back yard operation or possibly something like aquaculture or hydroponics.  But, what if you want to raise livestock?  Is there anything that you can do on a small piece of ground that would be profitable?

Our guest today, Annie Johnson, is going to talk to us about doing exactly that with pigs.  Annie's has a very interesting story that has come full circle. Her grandfather used to raise pigs on their families farm about ten miles away from where she currently lives in Cambridge, Illinois.  However, nobody in the family raised a pig for about 20 years until she got started at the age of 14.

The family farm is still there, and that is where Annie raises her pigs.  However, the crop ground on the farm is in the CRP program, so it is not being farmed.  That means that Annie only had a small piece of ground to be able to begin her livestock enterprise.  Pigs were the answer for her, and direct marketing was the business model.  Annie has been able to pre-arrange the sale of her pigs to multiple customers, and because of her unique story and the way she is raising them she can charge a premium for her pork.

Through direct marketing, Annie has been able to increase what she receives for her pigs.  However, she is being just as innovative on the other end to keep expenses low.  Instead of feeding a boar all year long, she is using artificial insemination to breed her sows.  There is an old grain cart on the property that can safely hold a lot of pig feed.  So, Annie buys feed in bulk and has that cart filled to save money on feed costs, and it works!  Annie has also experimented with different breeds and is now raising Duroc's.  Her customers prefer the meat, and the Duroc's work be in her operation.  So, she is producing a very desirable product through the most efficient means she has at her disposal.

Annie has just graduated high school and has just been awarded a state proficiency for her efforts in pork production.  She is going to take all of this experience and knowledge with her to college where she will be studying to be an Ag teacher.  When she finishes college, she will bring it all with her to the classroom, and she will be inspiring Ag students for years to come!

Direct download: OFI_1097_-_Annie_Johnson__Mixdown_1.mp3
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Our guest today, Tatia Veltkamp, and her husband had an interest - butterflies. This interest turned into a hobby.  The hobby grew and eventually turned into a side-hustle.  Once the side-hustle started Tatia could see other opportunities.  Today, this has grown into a full-blown business called Wings Of Enchantment.

Tatia and her husband started breeding butterflies after they gained some exposure to the need and the process.  Over time they discovered the demand for these butterflies and saw several opportunities to turn this into a business.

Today they own "Wings Of Enchantment" in New Mexico.  They are spreading awareness about butterflies, habitats, and the plants that are needed to support the species.  They have also recognized several ways to generate revenue from this and put them into practice:

  • Classroom Presentations
  • Butterly Releases
  • Life Cycle Kits
  • Displays

The concept of butterfly releases was very interesting to me as I never even knew this existed.  For special events, memorial services, dedications, you name it, people like to release butterflies.  Wings Of Enchantment can provide the butterflies for you and even help you figure out how to make it work best.

From a business standpoint, there is a lot to be gained from this episode.  Tatia and her husband are surviving the transition of loving something enough that they did it for fun, to turn it into a business.  They have been able to do this and not lose the love or passion they had for butterflies in the first place. That is always the real question when turning a hobby into a business - will you continue to love it or will the business rob you of that.

Direct download: OFI_1088_-__Replay_with_Tatia_Veltkamp__Mixdown_1.mp3
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I have a lot of authors reach out to me, requesting that they be guests on the show.  I almost never say yes, but today that is very different.  Today, I am very excited to have Shannon Hayes on the show.  Shannon has a great story of shifting mindsets, pursuing a rural and agricultural lifestyle, and making it work.  And, she has written a fantastic book called Redefining Rich chronicling all of it and the lessons that she has learned along the way.

The title of this book really stood out to me when I first saw the proposal.  I talk about redefining retirement on the show all the time.  It seemed to be such a natural corollary to redefine what it means to be rich as well.  So much of Shannon has experienced and talks about in this book is exactly what I have gone through since the time that I chose lifestyle and fulfillment over dollars and cents.

The journey that you want to take, to the lifestyle that you want to have is going to force you to change your mindset in multiple different ways.  If you try to stay in the mindset of the full-time employee, ultra-consumption lifestyle while pursuing your dream, you will never make the sacrifices or adjust your priorities in a way that will lead to success.

Shannon's book is an excellent template for how to change that mindset and find true happiness.  I talk about how lucky those of us with rural values who want to live in rural areas are, all the time.  However, this makes no difference if you can't look around you and see yourself as rich because of the way in which you get to live.  Shannon's book will absolutely help you see it and make that change.  We will start you off with this great interview.

Direct download: OFI_1077_-_Shannon_Hayes_Mixdown_1.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_1074__Getting_Behind_On_The_Farm_Covid_Style.mp3
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Farmers typically have a reputation for being strong, stoic, silent types who can handle anything that comes their way. While I believe this is 100% true, I have to ask if this stigma prevents farmers and ranchers from asking for help regarding mental health?  In today's episode, Matt pulls himself out of bed while battling the coronavirus to talk to Dr. Tina Christine L. Chasek about the importance of mental health in agriculture.

Dr. Christine L. Chasek is a Mental Health Counselor in Kearney, NE, with special training and skill in working with individuals, groups, and communities to improve mental health dysfunctions by discussing emotions and experiences, then prescribing custom holistic solutions. As a Mental Health Counselor, Christine L. Chasek, LMHP, LPC performs assessments and diagnostics, psychotherapy, treatment planning, and crisis management. Mental Health Counseling is flexible, consumer-driven therapy that combines psychotherapy with practical, problem resolution strategies.

Direct download: OFI_1071__-_Dr._Christine_Chasek_Mixdown_1.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_1068__A_Farm_And_Health_Update.mp3
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On today's show, we have a special Friday edition for you.  Our guest is Elliot Prestwich, the producer of the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  The stars definitely aligned to bring Elliot to his role on the show.   Today we will introduce you to him, his role at Off-Farm Income, and talk about what is next to come! Elliot has an extensive background in audio production coming from the live entertainment and recording industry. He is an expert in brand management and marketing. Elliot is currently producing Off-Farm Income and the D&B Supply Show Podcasts.

He even wrote his own bumper music for his special episode, lets us know what you think!

Direct download: OFI_1065_-_Elliot_Prestwich_Mixdown_1.mp3
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This was a very interesting interview.  I did not get to any of my normal business questions because I was so fascinated by learning about how Joseph Carter catches, trains, and hunts with mink to get to them.

One of our great listeners, Dave Lehman, recommended Joseph as a guest to me.  What is ironic about this and also demonstrates the power of social media is that Joseph and I live relatively close to each other.  However, Dave lives on the other side of the country.  But he was very familiar with Joseph while I was not.

What Joseph does with mink is awesome from a business standpoint.  He can find and flush rats and muskrats.  Based on my previous business of gopher extermination I am very curious to see if mink can hunt rock chucks (marmots).  In the area of Idaho that I live in, if an effective solution for rock chucks could be found, that could be a very good business.

ADVICE FROM JOSEPH:

TIME: You had better devote the time needed to train your mink.  If you don't you will assume, like so many before you, that they are untrainable.

REST OF THE BUSINESS QUESTIONS:

I will have to get to these on a follow-up interview with Joseph as I took way too much time discussing how mink hunt and hearing his story to get to them in this episode.

CONTACT INFORMATION AND LINKS:

YouTube Channel: LINK

Facebook Page: LINK

BOOKS:

Direct download: OFI_1064_-_Replay_with_Joseph_Carter_Mixdown_3.mp3
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Any of you who have been listening to this show for some time know how we find our guests for Friday episodes.  Generally, we comb through Craigslist ads looking for somebody with an agricultural business, and then we reach out to them to see if they will be on the show.

About two weeks ago my producer, Elliot, was doing this very thing when he came across an ad in Wyoming for grass hay, horse grazing, and horse boarding.  He sent an email to the author of that ad asking him if he would like to be a guest on the show.  The answer was yes, and it turned out that Elliot had opened up an oyster that contained a pearl.

Elliot had reached Reid Lance Rosenthal.  Not only was Reid the author of that Craigslist ad, but he is the author of many, many books, a rancher, a radio host, a real estate investor, and a broker as well as a public speaker.  Reid is the author of the "Threads West" series of books including notable titles such as Maps Of Fate and Moccasin Track.
 
So, what was going to be an interview about side businesses in agriculture turned into an interview about books, ranches, writing methods, and favorite writers.  I had a great conversation with Reid, and I think you are going to really enjoy hearing this discussion.  I know I enjoyed having it!
 
Connect with Reid Lance Rosenthal
Direct download: OFI_1053_-_Reid_Rosenthal_Mixdown_3.mp3
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INTRODUCING  JAYLA WASHINGTON:

It is always difficult to quantify what I love about interviewing FFA students the most.  Each time I try I do come back to a common theme, and that is that the projects these students take on are all vision and almost no mitigation due to real-world realities.

As adults when we start a project or business we have to do it within certain confines.  We still need to make the mortgage payment, we don't want to lose our life savings that are in the 401K, we have to keep enough time in our schedule to be a good spouse or parent, etc., etc.  These realities of adulthood can really scale back a project or even make it seem unworkable.

With FFA students they just aren't subject to these things, and they can let their imaginations run wild.  Normally, by the time I have found out about them and invited them to be on the show, these ideas have turned into something wonderful.

That is definitely the case with today's guest, Jayla Washington.  Jayla is in her third year of the FFA at Lowcountry Leadership Charter School in Hollywood, South Carolina.  Prior to entering the FFA Jayla had been observing her grandfather's efforts to serve their community by growing vegetables and donating them to people in need in the surrounding community.  Of course, one of the major aspects of the FFA is service, so when Jayla became a member this seemed like a natural fit for her.

Thus began "Produce For All", which is Jayla's non-profit operation to provide organic, fresh, and healthy food into a local food desert in her area.  This started out with her networking with food banks to get food into these areas, but it has grown.  As of our interview, Jayla has been awarded a $1,000 SAE grant two years in a row.  The first year from the CCOF in Santa Cruz, California, and Bob Evans Farms this year.  Both of these grants have enabled her to expand her operation with equipment so she can produce even more organic produce to donate into her local food desert.

Jayla definitely has a vision.  She is a junior in high school right now, and one of the things she wants to do with this project before she graduates is turned it into a placement SAE for another FFA student.  She is planning on going to college in Alabama to study horticulture, and she wants somebody to continue to run this non-profit while she is away.  So at the same time that she is keeping organic produce flowing into an area where it is really needed she will be creating an SAE opportunity for another student.  Brilliant!

Jayla has discovered a career path that will help her to aid other people in need through being a horticultural therapist.  This was the first time that I had ever heard of this profession, but she explained to me how it works.  She is completely dedicated to service, and it is wonderful to see where is going to take this.

Connect with Jayla's Local Farm on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaylas_local_farm/



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SHOW NOTES

I have had a lot of great business ideas (in my opinion).  So much so that one of the biggest challenges to being an entrepreneur for me is to not chase every "great" idea that comes into my head.  And thank goodness that I didn't because a great business idea is not necessarily a true business opportunity.

For the bulk of us listening to this show and considering entrepreneurship we have a lot at risk.  We cannot afford to chase every single business idea that comes to mind because they are unproven.  When I started my first business I figured that I had one shot.  One-shot to make something that would prove I was capable of doing this.  In my own mind, I could not justify putting my family through the expense and time away from me a second time.  So, I was careful.

Finding a true business opportunity is kind of like being careful.  Before we jump in with both feet we want to pay attention to some parameters.  We want to identify those ideas that give us the greatest chance for success.  Things that we already know something about.  We want to find something that we know something about that excites us as well.

Once we have done that we must go about figuring if it can make money, what the competition is, and whether or not we can improve upon what is available.  We also need to give serious thought to what the purpose of us starting our own business really is.  There will be turbulence along the way, and if your purpose is only to make money then you might jump off of the train the first time it slows down when what you should be doing is riding it until it picks momentum back up.

Consider this episode a lesson in developing a real business opportunity.  I hope that when you decide to start your own business you will follow this template and give yourself the best possible chance to succeed.






Direct download: OFI_1014__Experiencing_Other_Cultures_Through_Direct_Marketing_Of_Goats.mp3
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INTRODUCING ABIGAIL MITCHELL:

Have you ever heard the saying that you should have an "attitude of gratitude"?  Over the years I have come to value that small piece of advice more and more.  Our guest today is just a sophomore in high school and is already exuding this. It is my belief that this attitude is going to lead Abby Mitchell to a life that is happy and well-lived.

Abby is in the beginning stage of starting her very first business.  It is a really fun stage of entrepreneurship to profile, but I rarely get to do this because it is usually only after the establishment of a business that a person receives the recognition that allows me to find them.

In Abby's case, she and her FFA advisor, are very forward-thinking, and they applied for an SAE grant to help get Abby started in the business. She was awarded this grant, and a newspaper article was written about the winners.  That drew my attention to Abby and the business that she is started - goat milk soap.

Any value-added business always draws my attention, but this one is one of my favorites.  There is something about the development of a non-perishable consumer product that can be shipped, styled, scented, and customized in so many ways that I really appreciate.  Also, the communing with the dairy goats by milking them twice per day and relying on them to provide you the milk that you need to make your products is special as well.  So, it goes without saying that I was eager to speak with Abby about the business.

However, during our interview, something else caught my attention - gratitude.  Every time that I tried to ask Abby about it, well...Abby, she took the opportunity to talk about how somebody else helped her, contributed to her life, or inspired her to allow her to accomplish the thing I was asking about.  This became so pervasive that it developed into the theme of this interview.

Abby is the type of person that does not take people for granted.  Therefore, when they make a contribution to her life she recognizes them first, well before taking any credit herself.  This quality is going to benefit Abby her entire life.  The most content people in the world are those who are grateful.  Instead of wondering when it will be their time or what is next, they see the contributions people are making to them right now.  Abby has this special gift.

Direct download: OFI_1009_-_Abigail_Mitchell_Mixdown_1.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_990__You_Better_Learn_To_Hear_Whats_Coming.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_984__Almost_Catching_A_Train_In_California.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_972__Everyone_Has_To_Get_Pulled_Out_Of_The_Ditch_Now_And_Then.mp3
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SHOW NOTES

Jason Tatge describes the device that he has created as the "Fitbit for farm equipment".  I don't think there could be any more apt description.  Jason is the creator of Farmobile which is a device and data capture system that solves many problems that people practicing precision farming in the past faced, such as how to get the data out of their tractor and how to make it all work together so it becomes information.

Through the solving of these problems and the creation of this new interface, Jason has unearthed a revenue source for farmers that nobody ever knew existed - data.  With Farmobile, farmers are now able to collect data in real-time that they can combine with weather conditions, planting dates, etc. to make crucial decisions in the field.

This information has value to other professionals in the farming world as well, and Jason believes there is a market for it.  What Jason has done has created a way for farmers to sell another product that they were already harvesting but did not know there was a value for.

I wanted to bring you this episode because we are always looking for ways that farmers can enhance their revenues to make their business more sustainable.

CONTACT INFORMATION AND LINKS:

Website: LINK

Facebook: LINK

Twitter: LINK

Linkedin: LINK


Direct download: OFI_954__The_Emphasis_On_Common_Sense_And_Trying_Until_You_Succeed.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_952__Cyber_Security_For_Farmers_-_For_The_First_Time_Ever.mp3
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Direct download: OFI_951__Merry_Christmas_From_Our_Farm_To_Yours.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MST

Merry Christmas to all of you!  Thank you so much for making it possible for me to do this for the past three years (already)!  I have a favorite memory of my time growing up in Valley Home, California that happened 40 years ago on Christmas Eve.  I wanted to share this with you for my Christmas episode this year.

I could try and type out this story here for you to read, but I'm going to make you listen to it.  I grew up in a very special place; a town that was dying out.  We were there in what really were its last, best years and I've got a lot of fond memories from my childhood.  This story is just one of them.

Here are some photographs to help show you what I am talking about when I describe Valley Home and the alley where this took place.

This is what Wikipedia says about Valley Home today and the triangular shape of the town:

Here is a satellite image of Valley Home.  I lived in the bottom right of the triangle:

[caption id="attachment_4289" align="alignnone" width="510"] The purple pin is where the Valley Home Store is located.[/caption]

Here is a close up of where my house and the Rinna's are located:

[caption id="attachment_4290" align="alignnone" width="510"] Karen's house in the center and mine is the brown, "L" shaped roof. The "incident" took place in the alley between our houses.[/caption]

This is the front of my home, the window I was pressed against and the door that Santa left out of:

[caption id="attachment_4285" align="alignnone" width="508"] The kitchen door of the house I grew up in.[/caption]

Here is the fence that caused all the trouble:

[caption id="attachment_4287" align="alignnone" width="510"] The short fence that caused all the problems....the shop was not there then.[/caption]

A couple of photographs of the Valley Home Store:

[caption id="attachment_4281" align="alignnone" width="510"] The Valley Home Store today.[/caption][caption id="attachment_4282" align="alignnone" width="510"] The gas pumps are gone and the post office is not longer being used.[/caption]

Merry Christmas everyone!


I am a huge fan of two things relevant to agriculture: value-added products and wool.  And, that is why I was so excited for this interview, it combines both.

Kyra Uphoff has been working with "fiber arts" since she first started 4H, years ago.  She concentrated on two things through 4H - public speaking and fiber arts.  During this time she began learning to make felt, combine felt with silk, and create products and art projects with this skill.  She also honed her public speaking abilities and developed a passion for talking with people.

When it was time for high school Kyra joined the FFA because it would continue to give her the opportunity to speak publicly.  She has been pursuing this for the entire four years of high school so far.  For her supervised agricultural experience, she has continued to refine her craft with fiber arts.  Today she has her own business, "KS Uphoff Fiber Arts".  She makes felt and silk into products like scarves and she also uses these raw materials to make art.  Kyra likes to take pictures with felt, and she also makes "3D Creatures".

She clearly has a passion for working with these materials and an artistic eye for creation.  She has been showing her products at craft shows, selling products, and developing her reputation.  Now that Covid has hit she is developing a website and social media presence to help her do the same.

As a funny side note, both of her parents are huge fans of Kansas State University.  So both Kyra and her brother have the initials "KSU".  Luckily for her parents, their last name started with a "U".  It made it easy to pay homage to their university that way!



The FFA is all about opportunity.  From learning about different careers, learning vocational skills, public speaking to doing research the FFA offers abundant opportunities.

At what point do these opportunities end?  Is it during your senior year of high school, just after graduation, or sometime during your freshman year of college?  In today’s episode, we will be speaking with a student who is mid-way through his first year of college and is just seeing all the different FFA opportunities open up in front of him.

Creed Ammons is the 2020 National Proficiency winner in agricultural processing.  In addition to that, he is serving as the state president for the State Of West Virginia and studying agricultural education at West Virginia University. 

Even though Creed is already in college, his opportunities in the FFA are just getting started.  He still has the chance to become a national officer as well as an American Star winner, and he will be receiving his American Degree in the future. Creed is studying agricultural education and is looking at becoming an ag teacher like his parents, but he is also keeping the possibility open of working in agricultural policy either at the state or national level. 

I was very excited to learn during this interview that Creed had received a $1,000 scholarship from our great sponsor, Lacrosse Footwear, last spring.  The serendipity of having him on the show and him winning a scholarship from those great folks is almost too much to believe!

Interviews like Creed’s are very exciting to record because you can see all the possibilities for his future laid out in front of him. 

How To Contact Ammons' Farm Fresh Turkeys:

Facebook: LINK

Phone: (304) 771-9022

Email: creedammons@gmail.com



Direct download: OFI_942__The_World_Is_Changing_And_You_Had_Better_Take_Notice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MST


SHOW NOTES

As you all know from listening to the show, I have a very positive outlook on the world of farming and rural living.  I believe that those of us who value this way of life has a lot going for us, and we are very fortunate that our values lie in living this way.  With this in mind, I tend to look at this lifestyle through rose-colored glasses.

Alas, the episodes I produce about rural crime definitely demonstrate to me that not all farmers are looking out for other farmers. Interviews with folks like Jason Medows of the Ag State Of Mind Podcast show me that not everyone on farming operations is living in a state of bliss, overwhelmed by the grandeur of this lifestyle.

Since I have to admit that there are challenges in this lifestyle, the next logical question is what do we do when we need help with these unique questions?  Who out there has the knowledge and understanding to address the specific life and family challenges of farmers and people living in rural communities?

That question led me to today's guest, Elaine Froese.  Elaine is a "farm family coach".  She lives just inside of Canada, above the State Of North Dakota.  Elaine and her husband have been farming for over 40 years, and she has gone through the process of farm transition three separate times during their marriage.

Elaine is possibly the only expert in North America dealing with the familial issues involved in the rural and agricultural lifestyle.  And, she understands it from multiple different perspectives - the son who wants to farm, the daughter in law who married the farmer not the farm, the sibling who doesn't want to farm but feels entitled to part of the parent's legacy, and the retiring farmer.

Throughout the interview with Elaine, two things became apparent to me.  First, she is a considerable expert and extremely valuable to people in this lifestyle.  Second, there are myriad issues in farm families that never really get talked about publicly.  These need to be addressed.  With a rise in farm divorces and suicides, they really need to be discussed.

Thank goodness for Elaine, her expertise, and the books that she has written to help people enjoy this great lifestyle, in spite of the many challenges that can develop.

 

HOW TO CONTACT ELAINE FROESE:

Website: LINK

Blog: LINK

Facebook: LINK

Twitter: LINK

LinkedIn: LINK

YouTube: LINK

Email: elaine@elainefroese.com

 


SHOW NOTES

KEY IDEAS: 

Roy Jackson has the title "Master Hatter", but I would call him an artist.  About three years ago my brother-in-law returned from a work trip to Salmon, Idaho.  He told me that I needed to look into "this guy up there that makes hats".  That is how I got introduced to Roy Jackson.

About a year after that I was watching "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance".  At the very beginning of the show Jimmy Stewart gets off of the train in Shinbone wearing a large brimmed, straw hat.  I wanted that hat and called Roy.  He did not know the hat, and without seeing it he could not make it.  He did not own a copy of the movie either.

I searched the internet and found plenty of photos from that movie, but I could not find a photo of Jimmy Stewart wearing that hat.  I decided to go low-tech.  I sat down to watch the movie and paused it on the opening scene.  Then I took a photo of the hat from the screen of my television and emailed it to Roy.

About one week later a perfect replica of that hat showed up at my house.  Unbelievable!

I need a new straw hat for this summer.  I saw a picture of a hat I liked the other day and did the same thing.  Once again Roy had a perfect replica of what I was looking for at my house in about a week.  I knew I had to have Roy on the show right at that point!

ADVICE FROM ROY:

Make Up Your Mind: When I asked Roy when he knew he was going to make it in this business his answer was "when I decided to be a hat maker."  He believes strongly in making a decision and then making sure you achieve that.

Right Person: If you are going to apprentice with someone to learn to make hats, take your time and find the right person to fit the vision you have in mind.

By Hand: In addition to the equipment you will learn to use, learn to make a hat by hand.  This way you can get started with almost no investment, and you will always be able to produce a hat.

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE ROY HAS RECEIVED:

Stick With Your Product: If you are going to be a hat maker, then be a hat maker.  Master your craft.  Don't get distracted by other product ideas until you have mastered what you started out to master.

PERSONAL HABIT THAT HELPS ROY SUCCEED:

Roy gets to his shop early, every day.  He loves what he does, and it drives him to succeed.

BOOKS/RESOURCES:

The Hatter's Guide, or Scientific Instructor; is the book that got Roy started.  When it comes to a hat making business, this is the book to get you going.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Email: roy@jaxonbilthats.com

Facebook Page: LINK

Website: LINK

Telephone: 208.756.6444

Direct download: 12-10-20_Bonus_Episode_-_Roy_Jackson_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MST


SHOW NOTES

One of things I love about hosting the Off-Farm Income Podcast is being up to date on the latest in technology and what people are doing to advance their businesses.  Never has that been more true than today’s Episode.

My guest today, Luke Falkenstien, just won the National Proficiency Award for Goat Production.  It is easy to see what made his application and interview stand out.  He and his family are breeding goats for the show world, and they are using embryo transfer technology to do this. 

I have profiled many students and farmers who are using embryo transfer technology with cattle, and I have even done it myself.  However, I never spoke with anyone who is using it for goat production. 

As Luke will talk about in the episode, there is still a lot to learn using this technology with goats.  And, this leads to a boom and bust cycle with some years working out great and others not working out at all. 

Luke is now studying Animal Science at Texas Tech. University, which is quite a way from his farm in Kansas.  His answer to why he chose to go to school at TTU was interesting.  The campus is just 2 hours away from two of the best goat breeders in the U.S.  Going to school there not only allows him to receive his education, but it allows him to network with the breeders that he strives to emulate!

Follow Luke and His Family Here:  WEBSITE or  FACEBOOK




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