Off-Farm Income

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

Our guest today is just a junior in high school, but his achievements suggest someone who is well beyond high school.  Ethan Lulich is a National Proficiency Finalist already, for this his supervised agricultural experience restoring and selling antique tractors.  In addition to that he has two placement SAE's and another entrepreneurship SAE.  He is also serving as his chapter's president already.

Needless to say, Ethan is busy, and that means that he has to be well organized.  As I conducted this interview with Ethan one theme that kept coming up was goal setting.  He is achieving so much in such a short amount of time, there has to be a way that he is getting this done.  It turns out that Ethan is very good at setting significant goals and then sketching out a map to follow to help him get there.  Between his ability to set these goals and his discipline to follow the plan to achieve them he is seeing great results. Learn more by tuning into this podcast today. 

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1219_Ethan_Lulich-102321.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Last Saturday night at about 11pm my wife and I touched down at the airport, exhausted from an incredible but very active week in Indianapolis.  We had been at the National FFA Convention all week, walked dozens of miles and met hundreds of incredible people.  We had seen the future leaders of our country, with all of their hope and promise, talent and work ethic, on display for the whole world to see.  And then, just like that, it was over.

After the plane came to a stop at the gate we walked through the empty airport, retrieved our bags and found our car.  Driving through the night we found our way back to our farm, back to our normal life and the last little bit of travel adrenaline wore off.

Our daughter had flown to and from the convention with her FFA chapter, so she had beat us home.  She was already in bed, and there was no waking her.  My wife made her way to bed and to sleep as quickly as possible, but I wasn’t quite ready.

I had been gone for five days, and I missed the farm.  It was a beautiful night so I decided to take a walk and check a few things before heading to bed.  The chickens were all locked up, the pigs had feed and water and the cows and goats were bedded down where they should be.  Nothing was amiss, and from the perspective of our livestock it was like we had never left.

The night was quiet and clear, and I stood looking at the stars.  As I stood there thinking about the great week that we had just concluded I heard a train blow its horn as it approached town.  I couldn’t help but smile.  Just six hours earlier I had pulled off the side of Interstate 57 to take a picture in front of the Kankakee sign as we drove towards Chicago.

We had flown in and out of Chicago and rented a car so we could get a look at the “houses, farms and fields” of Illinois and Indiana on our way to and from the convention.  I had purposefully chosen this route on our way back so I could see this town with the funny sounding name that Steve Goodman wrote about and Willie Nelson sang about in the great song, “The City Of New Orleans”.

Coordinated Inspiration

As I stood there a thought entered my mind and my smile began to grow and grow.  At the same time that we had made our way back to our farm, tens of thousands of American youth were making their way back to theirs.  All across the country FFA students were making late night arrivals at their family farms, ranches and rural towns as they returned from this great convention.

I imagined these students looking up at the stars in their own hometowns, inspired by the time they had just spent in Indiana and dreaming of what their futures would be.  There is a big world out there and it is filled with opportunities.  However, if you are never exposed to those ideas or nobody ever tells you about them, you don’t even know they exist.

For the 55,000+ FFA students who were able to attend this great convention they couldn’t help but be excited.  This whole world of opportunity was brought to them and placed at their feet, all under one roof.  Whether their path is in the military, the trades, college, niche farming or production agriculture, everywhere they turned there was somebody who was eager to have them join them in their vocation and call to service.

I could not fathom how many thousands of students at that moment were telling themselves, “I didn’t know you could do that for a career” or who had received the spark necessary to light the fire in their souls that had just been waiting to burn.

If all the adults in the expo hall reaching out to these youth by metaphorically saying “follow me and serve your fellow man” weren’t enough, there were the general sessions.  The folks at the FFA are experts at creating an environment that first gets you very excited, followed by inspiration after inspiration in each of these general sessions.

No Excuses

The best thing this convention does, whether or not this is intentional, is that it removes all excuses.  In every session there are FFA students on the stage that are achieving at a very high level.  From the National Officers who run the show, to future professional musicians, to American Stars and Proficiency Finalists, you are shown the best of the best.  The stories of these students and how they made it to that stage are told to you, and every student sees what is possible.

For example, if a student had just found out about a dream career in the expo and told yourself, “that’s for other people, I could never do that”, in the general session they would get a metaphorical wake up call from the stories of the students on the stage that would leave them with only one answer - “If they did it, I can do it too, the only thing holding me back is me”.  That is a sobering thought, but it is also freeing and it is just what these students need to hear to be able to unleash their greatness.

Student after student walks across that stage.  Some receive the highest awards, others do not, but every nominee has achieved things that even adults only dream about.

Whether it is the agriscience research finalist whose research began during his freshman year of high school and has now taken him around the world.  Or the agribusiness finalist who saw a need at livestock shows that was not being filled and at 19 years of age flies all over the country fulfilling this need for his clients.  Or the agricultural placement finalist who had to find a way to fill a major void on his families farm and continue high school when Covid decimated their employee staff.  Or a star farmer candidate who started leasing land at an early age and building their own herd to now find themselves in a position to farm for their living.  Student after student and story after story erases excuse after excuse and replaces them with inspiration.

Neither a student nor an adult can leave a general session without a sense of inspiration and a renewed vigor that makes them believe they can go conquer the world!  Every student and every adult takes a lot more home with them from the convention than they brought.  I bring home so much energy and inspiration that I almost feel selfish.

Organizational Success

To go the FFA’s National Convention is to see unbelievable stories of individual success.  However, it is also to see an incredible example of organizational success.  The 2021 National FFA convention is the 94th iteration of this great event.  Since 1928 the National FFA has been chasing a vision of unity, fraternity, education and inclusion in agriculture.  The result has been unbelievable growth in the number of chapters and students who choose to be part of this organization.

In the midst of the activities, music, lights and competitions of the National FFA Convention one tends to see the individual achievement only.  However, if you sit down and watch students walk by, reading the names of the states that they are from on the back of their jackets you see how this kernel of an idea that sprouted almost 100 years ago has transformed agriculture and the lives of millions of American youth since that day.

There is no hall of fame for youth organizations or non-profit associations.  When one is finally created, the FFA will be a first ballot, charter member.  There is room in the FFA for everyone, whether you live in a neighborhood or on a farm.  The FFA will teach you the skills you need to succeed and expose you to a career or aptitude that will allow you to thrive.

Find your inspiration, find your purpose and find it in the FFA! 

Direct download: OFI_1218_Tuesday_Episode_-_11121_6.03_PM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

So, what's in the water in Slaton, Texas?  Is it some sort of magical elixir that produces national proficiency and American Star finalists?  This is a question that I am pondering more and more.

Today's show features a repeat guest, Rachyl Kitten.  Rachyl first appeared on the show just over a year ago on episode #895.  The way that I initially found out about Rachyl was that she was a national proficiency finalist in 2020.  Well....she is a national proficiency finalist again, this time for 2021!  She has great entrepreneurial instincts, a great business, and a great supporting cast at Slaton.

What is incredible about Slaton?  Tune into this podcast to find out!

Direct download: Rachyl_Kitten_Revised_Episode_-_102921_11.25_AM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

If you employ people, learn about threat assessment

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1216_Rural_Crime_-_102521_5.13_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

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
Category:general -- 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

Lashawna Vogel has so many positive attributes and has accomplished so much already that it is impracticable to try and list them all here.  With that said, the thing that stands out to me, so big, is that she grew up outside of agriculture.  One of her aunts encouraged her to take ag classes and join the FFA because she knew how positive it could be for Lashawna.  Lashawna gave it a shot, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Actually, it is not quite history yet.  Lashawna is still competing and accomplishing a lot in the FFA.  Right now she is serving as a state officer for the State Of Wisconsin.  And, she is one of just four national proficiency finalists in the category of Agricultural Communications!  She has been working as a "media intern" in the FFA since her 8th-grade year when she was awarded that position in her middle school chapter.  She continued that throughout high school and has grown her skill set more and more each year.

Now, that exposure, the training, and the challenges are all culminating in national recognition.  She is also pursuing a degree in agricultural marketing and communications and plans on advocating for agriculture through the medium in the future.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1213-Lashawna_Vogel-101821.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On the day this episode comes out I am heading to my 3rd National FFA Convention, but I won't be going alone.  Actually, Hattie is already there with her Conduct Of Chapter Meetings Team as well as 32 other members of her FFA chapter.  And, because Hattie is competing there Autumm took the time off of work and is traveling with me to Indianapolis as my assistant.  But of course we will both be covering the conduct of meetings competitions very closely and are looking forward to seeing Hattie and all of her teammates perform.

Even though this will be my 3rd National Convention, there will be a lot of firsts for me.  This is the first time that any of my family members are going.  This is the first time that I will be going as a member of the advisory council for Kuna FFA.  This will be the first time that Autumm and I have ever visited Chicago.  It is going to be a great trip, and I have all of you in the his audience to thank for this!

If it were not for you supporting this show, there is a good chance that Hattie would not be in the FFA, I would not be on the advisory council and I would have long since abandoned the podcast and never gone to that very first National Convention!  Thank you!

Direct download: OFI_1212_Tuesday_Episode_-_102521_11.52_AM.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Behind every successful person, there was somebody who was pushing them or encouraging them, and today's interview is absolute proof of that.

Kami Holt is a National Proficiency Finalist this year in Ag Sales Entrepreneurship, but her journey didn't just start yesterday.  Growing up on her family's century farm in Southern Utah, Kami has been exposed to agriculture her entire life.  However, it was her older brother's membership in the FFA that sparked this interest and ultimately led her to join.  However, joining was enough for Kami, and when she was asked if she was going to compete for a leadership role she said "no".

Kami's grandmother and brother would not take "no" for an answer and really pushed or, as Kami put it, "coerced" her into filling out the application to join the officer team.  Ultimately she was selected, spend three years as an officer, and found that to be a very rewarding experience.  During this time Kami took over her brother's SAE project, selling corn stalks and straw bales, and continued to grow the business.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1211-Kami_Holt-101821.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

The truth is always a good way to go….

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1210_Rural_Crime_-_102221_3.58_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

is interview is so good, it is worth another play.

Hannah was originally on our show on episode #410 talking all about how she combines an eye for art with her knowledge of agriculture.  I am proud to say that her talents took her all the way to becoming an American Star Finalist in 2020, and it was my pleasure to profile her again.  Below are the show notes from the first time she was on the show.

Original Show Notes:

Have you ever heard of a starving artist?  Of course, you have.  How about that old cliche about the artist that created a solid business plan, developed a targeted market that would pay for their art, and designed a solid business?  Right.....that cliche is not as common.

Our guest today is that second kind of artist.  Hannah York has an eye for art.  Specifically, she crafts her vision into artistic holiday creations for businesses around Princeton, Kentucky.  She has one, VERY busy season where she must completely prioritize her business.  As her reputation grows, so does the demand for this service that she provides.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1208-Recap_Of_Episode_925-100521.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Kayla Rossi is a National Proficiency Finalist in the category of diversified livestock production this year.  And to look at what she is currently doing and what she has already accomplished might make you think that it has been easy.  If that is the case, it is only because she makes it look that way.

Kayla raises her livestock on her family's ranch in the high country of Northwest Colorado.  This brings challenges that many of the rest of us never have to deal with including harsh winters, drought, and predators.  In 2019, as Kayla was really getting ready to hit her stride in her herd of cattle, a herd of goats, and a flock of sheep she had a major predator loss.  That year her profit, or lack thereof, on her lambs was negative $29.

She did not allow this to stop or discourage her, however.  She made adjustments and persisted.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1207-Kayla_Rossi-101421_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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

As you all know this show is all about entrepreneurship in agriculture.  So, I almost never interview FFA students with placement SAE's except for American Star Finalists.  Guests like Duncan Patton definitely make me rethink this strategy.

It seems like I run into this same puzzle each time it is American Star Interview Season.  I come across a student who has risen to the top in agricultural placement, and I can see the extreme wisdom in what they have done.  Duncan Patton definitely has this wisdom.

Duncan has been working on his family's farm since he was five years old, and that is right where he wants to be. However, he has also worked for a number of neighboring ranches and farms, learning a myriad of other skills.  After high school, Duncan moved all the way to Ohio to study diesel technology, and while he was there he worked for a very large farming operation and learned about chickens and the different ways that farming gets done there.

During the interview, Duncan talked about these experiences.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1205_Duncan_Patton-101321.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

New methods of generating farm revenue can generate new types of problems

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1204_Rural_Crime_-_101521_6.01_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

Not much has changed when it comes to using the term "value-added" since the first time I aired this interview with Logan Schlauch who is benefitting from the trend in adding something a little extra or giving the consumer a little more while, in this case, a dairy producer can add to his bottom line. Here is the story of one small dairy operation that got creative and created a value-added product in order not only to help with profit margins but to also appease customer demand for greek style yogurts. Additionally, this project has served as an FFA learning experience for Logan Schlauch.


Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1202-Recap_Of_Episode_821-100521.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Interviewing FFA students I find myself constantly asking "what was I doing during high school?".  I think I was a pretty typical high school student way back in the 1900s.  I played sports, got decent grades, had a job, and focused on menial things outside of that.  I also wasn't in the FFA, and interviewing these students from all over the country makes me realize that there is a whole other level of achievement possible in high school.

To say that there is a whole other level of achievement seems like an understatement when describing today's guest.  Josh Heupel is an American Star Farmer Finalist, and his resume is unbelievable.  As a junior in college, majoring in agricultural business and political science, Josh has already accomplished a lifetime of achievements.  He is leasing and farming 97 acres of walnuts and 84 acres of almonds.  He has designed and patented a piece of equipment to improve nut farmers' harvests and encourage the use of cover crops in orchards.  He owns and operates his own custom spreading business.  And, he is soon to graduate from college and take up a role advocating for agriculture in the Central Valley of California that I think is going to be unprecedented in its effectiveness.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1201_Josh_Heupel-100721.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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

Our guest today is an American Star Finalist in the category of Agricultural Placement, and there is an incredible story that comes along with this nomination.

Caleb Peckham has grown up on his family's small dairy farm in eastern Connecticut.  In the latter half of the 2010s, low milk prices were harming dairies all over the United States, but smaller dairies in Connecticut seemed to be getting hit extra hard because they were so much more sensitive to the margins they were operating on.  As a response to these prices, Caleb's parents knew that something had to be done so that their family farm could survive.  The decision to start direct marketing products through a farm store they called Farm To Table Market in 2018.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1199_Caleb_Peckham-100121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Don’t mix business with personal relationships

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1198_Rural_Crime_-_10821_1.33_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

One of the things that I love about interviewing FFA students is coming across individuals that don't care what age they are and who will not take "no" for an answer.  Never has that been more true than in my interview with Mackenzie Camacho today.

Mackenzie is now a sophomore at Purdue University, where she is studying civil engineering.  She has been nominated an American Star Finalist in the category of agriscience research, and it has not been easy.  Mackenzie grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California around many different tree crops, and something about them and research took hold when she joined the FFA.

Mackenzie started studying different parasitic pathogens in tree crops and how they could be controlled either through specific management practices or by altering traditional management practices.  However, she was doing really advanced work while still in high school.  As a result, some of the researchers she took her findings to dismissed her without really hearing her out.  However, she didn't give up and continued talking to researchers about what she had found and what her conclusions were until she found somebody who would listen.  As a result, she has now presented to farmers all across the West, and she found partners to help her further her research.

Mackenzie now wants to focus on building infrastructure, like dams, that can help California agriculture.  I am very excited to see where she takes all of this!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1195_Mackenzie_Camacho-100121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30pm 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

I don't even know where to begin in describing today's guest or her accomplishments.  Emily Acevedo is a bundle of energy, confidence, and personality.  And with her combining a love for research with such incredible people skills, she is really going to climb to heights that maybe even she is not imagining right now.

At the age of 20, Emily is a hardened veteran in the world of agriscience research.  After all, she reluctantly joined the FFA in the 6th Grade and found herself on stage later that year as a state proficiency finalist!  And after an unexpected kidding incident at the fairgrounds, with no parents around when she was young, she has been obsessed with reproduction in goats ever since.  That has driven her research, and that is what will take her to Indianapolis later this month to go on the big stage as an American Star Finalist in Agriscience Research.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1193_Emily_Acevedo-092821.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

If you are new to the area, get to know your neighbors.

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1192_Rural_Crime_-_92921_4.05_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

On Today's show, I replay a fun and entertaining interview on how two FFA members teamed up to craft a unique FFA SAE. It is not just about the finished art products, it is also about unique marketing and forming a partnership using specific skillsets with a common interest in woodwork and art. More about how this idea for a "board art" SAE came about coming up in today's show. (Replay of Episode #316)



Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1190_Recap_Of_Episode_316-091121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

On multiple occasions, after interviewing FFA students who have started lawn care businesses, I have referred to this particular type of business as a "future millionaire maker".  It seems as though every single year there is an FFA student who is a finalist for the American Star in Agribusiness that is the owner of a lawn care company, and that is because this is such a strong and great business to have.

In today's episode, I get to interview Matt Rowlette, the owner, and creator of Rowlettes Lawn Care.  This company actually officially began when Matt was eight years old, and he was hired to trim weeds along his uncle's fence, bordering 150 acres.  His parents purchased his first mower and trimmer for him, and he has those still today.  However, he has been steadily reinvesting into his business and growing it since that time.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1189_Matt_Rowlette-090721.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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 guest, Chase Krug, first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in episode #203 when he was a freshman in high school in 2016.  Back then he was already doing research and had been awarded an SAE Grant to study the Colorado Potato Beetle as well as blight in potatoes.  Over the past five years he has continued his passion for both research and plant breeding, and has added 13 more research projects for a total of 15 (he had one before the potatoes).

If you are wondering, this is not the norm, this is exceptional.  So exceptional in fact that right after Chase graduated from high school he was sent to India, by himself, to work on plant breeding and research new varieties of mung beans through an internship he had been granted.  Chase has continued to be recognized and be awarded internships and jobs such as working for the the USDA - ERS and publishing recommendations for countries like Egypt.  And now, he has been nominated as an American Star Finalist in the category of Agriscience Research.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1187-Chase_Krug-090621_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Call police immediately, don’t delay wondering whether or not to make the call.

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1186_Rural_Crime_-_92321_6.42_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

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
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

I interview a lot of high school students on this show with great businesses.  Even with these fantastic businesses already started, many of them tell me that they do not plan on continuing as a business owner or they are going to go to college after high school and possibly continue the business on the side in the future.  For some reason, even though they have seen success as business owners during their time in the FFA they don't see it as a possibility as a future career.

Our guest today, Tyler Ertzberger, is not one of those students.  And, what has it led to?  He is an American Star Finalist in Agribusiness.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1181_Tyler_Ertizberger-090221.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

A few weeks ago my tip of the week was to use a forensic marking technology, such as Smart Water, to identify your property and to prevent the thefts in the first place.  However, this wasn't actually my tip.  This was a recommendation that a constable in the U.K. had made when he was interviewed about preventing sheep thefts in that country.

As I looked into what this technology was, I became very intrigued.  Going down this rabbit hole ultimately led me to Randy Butschillinger, who is our expert guest on today's show.  As you will find out in today's interview, this technology is actually very old and trusted, and it is being used in more places than you might think already.  The applications for this seem endless, and the crime prevention possibilities make me very optimistic!

Direct download: Randy_Butschillinger_Episode_1180_-_9_14_21_11.58_AM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

There is something very special about being able to interview all of the American Star Award Finalists every year.  It is definitely a time of year that is inspirational to me and that gives me the motivation to continue my quest into entrepreneurship.  And the only thing that can make that even more special is when one of those finalists has been a guest on the show before.

After 7 years of interviewing FFA students, and increasing the number of FFA students that I interview from 52 to 104 per year, that has been happening more frequently, and that is happening today!

Raegan Klaassen is an American Star Farmer Finalist, and she first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in February of 2017 on episode #251 when she was just a freshman.  I don't think I had enough experience to predict that she would have this level of success way back then, but looking back on what I wrote in the show notes for her episode I should have seen it coming.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1177_Raegan_Klaassen.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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

I try to interview every American Star Finalist, every year at this time.  To me, getting to spend 20-30 minutes asking these FFA members about their journeys is what it would be like for other people to get to interview a star athlete for that amount of time.  These students have risen to the top of an organization with a lot of talent.  When these students are finally named as an American Star Finalist they have overcome the odds and been selected as one of four students in their category out of a total population of students of over 700,000.  That puts them in the top .0005% of all FFA students.  Those are more difficult odds than making it to the major leagues, NBA, or the NFL!

Today's episode is another example of the talent level that the FFA holds.  Our guest, Wyatt Harlan, knew at an early age that other extracurricular activities like sports or drama were not going to be for him.  So, he chose the FFA based on his agricultural roots and lifestyle, and he poured himself into it.  Six years after joining he had found himself as a Texas State FFA Vice-President, a business owner, and now an American Star Finalist in Agribusiness

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1175_Wyatt_Harlan-082921.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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

On today's show, we are featuring an American Star Finalist in agricultural placement.  These are always great interviews because the students that make it to this level are so dedicated to whomever they are working for, family or otherwise, their talents and work ethic shine through.  That is definitely true with Jakob Weinheimer.

Jakob has grown up in Claude, Texas working on his family's farm.  In their portion of Texas, they are growing cotton, corn, wheat, and milo.  Some of this is done on the irrigated ground and some on dry ground.  Each poses its own challenges.  

Jakob is a pivotal part of this operation, and he has progressively been given more and more responsibility every growing season as he has got older.  Being recognized as an American Star Finalist is not the first recognition that Jakob has received.  In 2019 he was a national proficiency winner in grain production, so he has been to the big stage once already.  Interestingly he did this with a different chapter at Claude High School.  However, since graduation from high, he switched chapters to continue pursuing achievements in the FFA.  Jakob's sister is in the FFA through the Pan Handle Chapter, so he switched over to that chapter to make keeping up his record book seamless.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1171_Jakob_Weinheimer-082421.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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

Every year I am so fortunate to interview the sixteen students who are finalists for American Star Awards.  This year we are kicking it off with Grady Johnson.  Grady previously appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in episode #482 back in 2018.  It is always a significant thrill for me when a student who I have previously profiled comes back onto the show because they are accomplishing so much, like Grady is.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1169_Grady_Johnson-081021.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Consider tech like Smart Water CSI to protect your valuable equipment:

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys



Direct download: OFI_1168_Rural_Crime_-_9221_7.25_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

After 1,100+ interviews and 800+ interviews with FFA students you would think that I have seen it all, or at least most of it.  So, when I am surprised I am thrilled.  That is exactly what happened to me in today's interview with Annie Boomsma.

Annie is just entering her senior year of high school as her chapter's president.  She, her brother and her father run their families 3rd generation cattle ranch in Wessington, South Dakota where they raise commercial cattle.

Annie has her own project though, and it is impressive.  Annie currently owns 18 dairy cows that she purchased as either culls or springers.  She purchased all of them for their milk production and so that they could be "nurse cows".  Annie also owns 75 calves that she purchased to be raised by these nurse cows.  Every morning before school and every evening after, she heads out to the barn, brings the cows in, puts between 4 and 7 calves on them to nurse, and then turns them all back out.

Annie has found a niche in the market with calves that are sold early and dairy cattle that are culled because they don't produce enough for the dairy but still produce plenty to raise several calves.  This is a brilliant method of making money with cattle, and I have never profiled it even once in seven years of conducting interviews with farmers and FFA students.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1165_Annie_Boomsma-082421.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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

Today's interview is packed with interesting facts about our guest and tips from her.  There is almost too much to fit in to a just a couple of paragraphs of show notes, but as a professional podcaster I will get it done!

Way back in the 5th Grade, Kaylee Bosma discovered an interest in chickens and approached her parents with a request to obtain some to show through the 4H.  Although hesitant, 30 chickens were purchased, and a new project was begun.  Kaylee's parents had no way to know where it was going to be taking their aspirational daughter.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1163_Kaylee_Bosma-082321.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am 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

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing a fantastic achiever in the FFA, Baylee Brown, the president of the Mulhall-Orlando FFA Chapter at Mulhall-Orlando High School in Orlando, Oklahoma.  Baylee has her hands in a lot of projects.  So many in fact that it was difficult to talk about all of them in the interview.  She is just starting her second term as her chapter's president, she won a state proficiency for her pig business last year, just was awarded gold status for her national proficiency application and is also doing an agriscience research project.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1159_Baylee_Brown-081921.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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

The title of today's episode is probably the most serious title of an episode that I have ever written, but it is true.  Our guest, Austin Archer, started off the interview by declaring that he doesn't like school.  When I asked him why he joined the FFA, that was his answer.  Even as an incoming freshman he knew that if he did not have classes that allowed him to learn by doing, rather than reading, that he would fail.  So, he joined the FFA and never looked back.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1157_Austin_Archer-081721.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Consider using an alarm system with video incorporated to get a faster response from law enforcement.

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1156_Rural_Crime_-_82021_5.28_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

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
Category:general -- 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

What is it in people that makes them look at something and say "I'd like to try that?"  I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know that I don't have it!  Our guest today, Toby Barringer, does.  At a farm sale Toby and his father saw an old coal fired, blacksmithing furnace and decided to try it out.  Today, Toby has a blacksmithing business called Brother Bear Blacksmithing Shop, and he is selling products all over the United States as well as doing custom work for customers.  This all started with a natural curiosity, which Toby encourages you all to follow.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1151_Toby_Berringer-072621.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 4:30pm MDT

Tip Of The Week

Consider used storage containers as a means of rural crime prevention:

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1150_Rural_Crime_-_81321_12.18_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

Today's guest is Hannah Auer from Weld Central High School in Colorado.  There was a lot to talk about with Hannah in her interview, but one theme kept repeating itself, and that was how Hannah is looking forward, setting goals for herself and planning her future.  They say that you cannot get anywhere if you don't know where you are going, and that is not a problem for Hannah.  Even having just finished her freshman year of high school, she has a firm grasp on creating a road map to her future.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1147-Hannah_Auar-072621_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am 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

Abby Mitchell first appeared on the Off-Farm Income Podcast in March of this year.  At that point in time she was just in the brainstorming phase of the business she was developing for her supervised agricultural experience - "Goat To Be Kidding".  Today she is back on the show with an update!  She put herself out there again, and has been recognized again.  And, her business is progressing forward quickly.  I'm excited to have her back on the show.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1145_Abigail_Mitchell-072221.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Guard your equipment that contains copper.  There is a copper shortage coming which will drive the price up, and this will lead to more theft:

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1144_Rural_Crime_-_8621_3.26_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

Our guest today just graduated high school, and she has accomplished a lot.  She lives and works on her families cattle ranch in Montana which gives her a lot of responsibilities.  She is already certified to artificially inseminate cattle, and she helps her parents get their females bred every year.  She also runs a "heifer improvement program" for the family which takes up a lot of her time.  In addition to all of this, she has been involved in the FFA for four years, serving as historian, secretary and finally, chapter president.

What is amazing about Reace Lannen's story is that right in the middle of her journey through the FFA she developed an unknown problem that kept her from walking, let alone working on the ranch and participating in the FFA.  After a trip to the Seattle Children's Hospital she found out what the problem was - juvenile arthritis.

After a diagnosis was reached, a treatment was prescribed - a shot of chemo therapy to be given to her once she got back to Montana.  However, the shot caused her to have a severe, anaphylactic allergic reaction, so that was no longer an option.  Then, through the FFA, she met an advisor at an FFA event, whose wife had rheumatoid arthritis.  Information was shared, and Reace found a medication that continues to work very well for her to this day.

Once Reace did not have to focus so much on treating her arthritis so much, and she returned to what life was like prior to her first inflammation, she started reflecting on what she had gone through.  One of the worst parts of the ordeal was the six months in which she could not live her normal life.  She was unable to help out on the ranch or be around the livestock that she loves so much.

This reflection inspired an idea.  So today, Reace has purchased to miniature horses and a small, Corriente calf that she is training to be therapy animals.  Reace is actually in the process of becoming certified to do this right now.  She now has a mission of helping people who feel disconnected from the farm life and livestock that they love because of a medical connection, to be able to be around livestock again.  She knows just what it is like to smell a horse or a cow after you haven't been able to for a long time.  For somebody who loves livestock she believes there is healing in that, and she wants to help other people heal.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1141_Reace_Lannen-071521.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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

Kirsten Wood grew up on her families cattle ranch in Weldona, Colorado.  As she described the ranch to me, she talked about a lot of different niches that her family has explored to diversify their operation and keep it sustainable for a future in ranching.  These new ways of doing business include selling boxed beef to folks living in the urban areas along the Rocky Mountain front from Denver up through Boulder and beyond in Central Colorado.  It also includes partnering with some other companies to sell spices, sea salt and other products that compliment the beef that they sell.

The operation involves raising cattle on pasture, finishing cattle in a feed lot and growing the crops needed to feed those cattle.  And, in the scope of the operation some calves become orphans for one reason or another.  Either their dam dies or possibly rejects the calf, and the calf then needs special care to survive.

This is where Kirsten found her niche, within her families niche ranch.  Kirsten started purchasing these orphan calves from her families ranch and bottle feeding them.  She would raise them on a bottle and introduce them to feed as they grew.  Then, when they were ready to be weaned she would transition them to the feedlot, and pay her family for the space and feed that was required to keep them.  Ultimately they were finished and sold, and this was Kirsten's business.

In addition to this Kirsten has a love of horses that was developed by growing up around them on the working ranch.  Throughout her FFA career she has been raising and showing horses, and this led her to a proficiency award in equine science.

All of this has inspired her to pursue a future in agricultural business.  When we conducted this interview she had just graduated with an associates degree in Ag Business, and she was just preparing to start her final two years of college at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas.  Kirsten hopes to come home to the ranch one day, but she has been told to go out and make it on her own first.  Right now she is looking into an agriculture finance career with the hopes of coming back to the lifestyle that she loves in the future.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1139_Kristen_Wood-071521.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Get your brands registered…at least in Texas

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1138_Rural_Crime_-_72321_4.42_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

The other day an article about a young man with a trapping business popped up on my computer.  I took a look at it and thought, "this would be a good interview for the show".  Sam Terneus had just been awarded the Illinois State Proficiency Award for Agricultural Processing based on what he had been doing with trapping fur bearers and selling their hides as a business.  I thought that was going to be the whole story, but it was just the tip of the iceberg!

Sam has been trapping for years now, since he got exposed to the hobby/sport/business at an early age.  He has actually been living kind of a dream life really.  He and his parents live in town, and his grandfather has a farm out of town.  To get to the farm to help out grandpa and to go trap, Sam has been traveling through the backwoods of Illinois on his four wheeler for several years.  As Sam stated, "the farm is five minutes by car and twenty minutes by four wheeler".  Sam prefers the road less traveled.

Sam is constantly selling furs, and he is constantly reinvesting his money into more traps and expanding.  This is what led to him starting his own business called "Wilderness Design Company".  Among other things, Sam has created and sold Christmas wreathes made out of the furs that he has trapped.

Sam is very involved in working for himself.  He has been taking a course on entrepreneurship, and through that he has done some amazing things.  He came up with a business idea to become a nuisance wildlife trapper, which I wholeheartedly support, and began exploring that possibility.  It turns out that you need a special license to do that in Illinois, and you must be at least 18 years of age to obtain one.  Well, Sam is still 17, so he started trying to figure out what he could do to get around this law.  Ultimately, there was nothing that could be done.  However, thanks to Sam's efforts, there is now a bill before the Illinois State Legislature to lower the age of a person who wants to get this license!

If all of this were not a enough, Sam just received his state FFA degree, and he is getting ready to start college.  He plans to study forestry with an emphasis on fish and wildlife to increase his knowledge in the business that he has already started and loves.  In addition to that, he is planning to compete at the national level with his supervised agriculture experience and hopes to be a national proficiency winner very soon!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1135_Sam_Terneus-071121.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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

I really enjoy interviewing FFA students because I get to witness the transition they go through as they move to bigger projects.  In today's interview that statement is both literal and figurative.

Emily Spayd has just begun her FFA journey.  She is getting ready to begin her sophomore year of high school and her second year in the FFA.  She has been showing goats at her county's fair for several years, but just like she went big in the FFA, she decided to go big in the show ring.  So, Emily has now transitioned from goats to beef cattle for her fair projects.  This wasn't only a size increase in animal, but it was also a size increase in responsibility.  Emily began halter breaking her steer and heifer in the middle of Colorado.  Needless to say, this is cold and frustrating work, but it is necessary to show this large of an animal.

This seems to be Emily's style however.  In the interview she talks about being dragged to FFA events with her sister who is three years older than her, and being bored.  However, after deciding to give the FFA a try, Emily dove in 110%.  She participated in every competition that she could, and she has already been selected to be an officer.  She will begin serving as parliamentarian when school starts again this fall.

As this episode is published, Emily will be engrossed in one of the two county fairs in which she will be showing her beef projects this summer.  In her county you are only allowed to sell your project at the auction if you reach certain level of success while showing.  So, we've got our fingers crossed for Emily that she will be able to auction off both her steer and heifer this summer!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1133_Emily_Spayd-071121.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

We are a very large country, geographically and numerically.  Don’t forget your fellow citizens who are dealing with issues that do not happen in your back yard.

Rural Crime In The U.S.

Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1132_Rural_Crime_-_72321_4.31_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

Our guest today is just getting ready to begin her senior year of high school, and she has discovered a profession that I did not know existed as her future career.

Jaycey Lambert serves on the executive committee of the Weld Central High School FFA Chapter.  She has been showing sheep for years, and now she has added showing steers into the mix.  Earlier this year Jaycey had a lamb that was not acting correctly, and in trying to diagnose what was wrong with it she turned to a person with the profession of "livestock chiropractor".

The livestock chiropractor came to her farm, looked over the lamb with special equipment and determined that its back was out.  Once he was diagnosed, she was able to move its back into proper position, and voila! he was good as new.  This inspired Jaycey, and she has her sights set on this career in the future.  Jaycey is planning on attending South Dakota State University to study agriculture.  She has visited the campus already and found the class sizes and campus size to be just right for her.

I'll be excited to have Jaycey back on the show in a few years to profile her ag business of livestock

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1129_Jaycey_Lambert-070521_1.mp3
Category:FFA -- 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

Almost two years ago exactly I featured today's guest on episode #665 of the Off-Farm Income Podcast.  When I first interviewed Annamarie Stone she was just getting ready to start her sophomore year of high school, and she was raising meat chickens.  She had just approached to grocery stores and obtained contracts to sell her birds in both stores.

Since that time Annamarie has flourished in her FFA career. Today she is on the executive officer team in her chapter, and she is the Area IV President in the State Of Missouri.  Her business has also flourished and grown.  Now she is also selling turkeys, bacon, mums and poinsettias.  So, she had to change the business name to "Stoney Creek Meats & More".  While this caused a lot of work it was necessary and definitely worth it!

On today's episode we will catch up with Annamarie and update you on the incredible progress of this student.  Here are the show notes from her previous visit to the show:


Have you ever met somebody with no fear and a can-do attitude?  If not, you get to, today.

Annamarie Stone is just that type of person, and she is just getting ready to start her sophomore year of high school.  Why do I say this about this young lady?  In addition to starting her own herd of Charolais cattle, showing pigs and showing sheep she has another enterprise.

Annamarie started her own business called "Stoney Creek Country Fresh Chickens".  She raises pastured poultry and sells birds to customers who want their chicken raised that way.  Annamarie decided that she wanted to sell her chicken in grocery stores as well.  So, as a freshman in high school she got dressed nicely, walked into two separate grocery stores and requested to speak with the freezer case manager.

By the time Annamarie was done, she was selling her pastured poultry in two separate grocery stores!  When I asked Annamarie how she did this she had a very simple explanation.  The worst that they could tell you is "no", and if they don't like your idea the grocery store down the street probably will.

This is an enterprising entrepreneur in the making!

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1127_Annamrie_Stone-070521.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT

Tip Of The Week

Hire people slowly, and trust your gut when anything suspicious happens

Rural Crime In The U.S.


Across The Pond, Down Under And Up Above

Chalk One Up For The Good Guys

Direct download: OFI_1126_Rural_Crime_-_71521_6.36_PM.mp3
Category:rural crime -- 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

I've been talking about entrepreneurship and the transition from being an employee to a full-time entrepreneur on this show for almost seven years now.  From personal experience, I knew that the process I was explaining was correct.  However, nothing really brings it home like somebody else talking about experiencing the exact thing I have been explaining.  That is exactly what happens in today's interview with Dawson Boys.

Dawson just won a proficiency award in the State Of Illinois for agricultural mechanics & repair entrepreneurship because of the car detailing business that he began while in the FFA.  He is now a full-time entrepreneur with no job other than his business.  However, it did not start out that way.

Dawson's business got started because his first customer noticed how clean and polished he kept his own car, told him that he should detail cars for a living and then hired him to details theirs!  After that seed of an idea was planted, Dawson took off with it.  Today, the word of mouth has spread and he has lots of business.  Dawson understands the competition in his area, and he understands what his competitive advantages are.  Therefore, he is knocking it out of the park with his business.

As Dawson tells the story of growing his business, he talks about the fact that he was working two jobs when he started this.  And, as his business grew he entered what I refer to as the "crazy time" in which he was not ready to leave either of his jobs but the demands of his new business became larger and larger.  Eventually, Dawson left his first job, then his second and he found himself as a full-time entrepreneur.  He had to go through the "crazy time" first, and then things gradually mellowed out.

Dawson also had to convince his parents that his business would really work and that leaving his steady jobs would not be a mistake.  He did it just as I prescribe.  He worked a ton of hours to demonstrate his commitment, and he made good money to demonstrate the viability of the business.  Once he did that, there was no need for words to convince his parents.  He had proved the concept, and they gave him their blessing.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1123_Dawson_Boys-062821.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT