The Past, Present and Future of the Farm Cooperative
When I was a kid, we went to the co-op every week to get our feed ground. The highlight for me was a bottle of ice cold Choc-ola from the vending machine! Much has changed for the cooperatives serving farmers since then, just as much has changed in Agriculture. They’ve merged, expanded, and renamed, but co-ops still serve Agriculture. In this episode I talk to Stan Feekes, general manager of Farmers Co-Op Society for perspective on the past, present, and future of this unique aspect of rural American agricultural development.
Ag Innovation & GMOs
When Ford or Google advance humanity through technology, we hail their progress. So, why is innovation in food production treated differently? I sit down with Ag entrepreneur, businessman, and authority on genetic engineering in Ag, Rob Saik. We have a spirited, and informative talk about: the environmentalism of GMOs, how The Non-GMO Project proliferates ignorance via “butterfly bullshit,” and Rob’s assertion that we’re entering the era of Agriculture 5.0.
Making What We Can Make Vs. Making What Consumers Want
There’s an issue that all businesses in all industries face: Do you sell what you’re good at making or do you make what you can sell. The day I recorded this podcast a genetics company publicized a pig they’d developed with 24% less fat. But the marketplace didn’t ask for a low fat pig. Well heeled consumers are paying premiums for pork with more fat. Why? Because we spent several decades breeding the fat out of pigs during the era of “low fat” food marketing. When the fat left, so did the flavor and moisture. Joining me to talk about meat, flavor, and food innovations that sell is food author, steak lover, and all around foodie, Mark Schatzker.
The Future of Manure
Environmentalism is the latest weapon deployed by those who seek control over what people eat while putting animal agriculture out of business. One of the biggest arguments against meat, milk, and eggs is resource usage and management of manure. Jeramy Sanford, Nutrient Separation Specialist with GEA joins me to talk about the future of manure. We also talk money, nutrient management, and appealing to environmentalism in Animal Ag.
9. Ag Regulation with Eric Bream
8. Careers and You in the Future of AG
What areas of employment in Ag are hot? Where is the glut? What skills are employers craving in new hires? How do you set yourself apart from the competition to land your dream job? Tim Hammerich of Agri-Associates joins me to talk professional opportunities in Ag and much more. He should know, he’s a professional recruiter. He’s also a podcaster — “The Future of Ag”— which I’ve been a guest on twice, a former grain merchandiser, and past president of the National FFA. This episode offers advice and insights for everyone in Ag, from employers to job seekers to entrepreneurs.
7. Farm Misconceptions, Money, & Milk
My guest is Jack Britt, a scientist, teacher, entrepreneur, and prior to all that, Dr. Britt was a professor for 40 years. Jack is also a consultant and speaker to the Business of Ag, so I brought him in to discuss public misconceptions the general public has about farming. Why the masses think family farms are dying, the mistaken belief farms are going away, or that farms are tearing out timber to make crops (that’s only happening in other countries!). We also discuss the Ag economy with some historical perspective and, because Jack is a dairy farm kid like me, we talk milk. Stay tuned til the end, Jack has some good advice regarding the Business of Agriculture’s environmental footprint.
6. DAMIAN GOES ORGANIC?
While I have issues with how organic food is marketed, I don’t oppose organic farming or farmers. We’re all involved in the same business: Agriculture My guest, Andy Ambriole of BioSteward Farms, is a sharp young man who farms 1,100 acres of organic barley, wheat, soybeans, and corn. He’s also been actively engaged (sometimes enraged!) with me on social media. The organic sector expanded by 23% last year according to NASS. Let’s talk organic!
5.COMMUNICATING AG BETTER
We in Ag are commonly told to “improve our elevator speech.” Only problem, I hate talking to people in elevators. Worse yet, we in Ag are outgunned by highly paid, trained PR staffs from cause groups such as PETA and HSUS. I bring in former newspaper editor and communication expert, Mike Perkins, to help you improve how you talk, write, listen, and communicate your message to the world.
4. WHAT AG DOES RIGHT & WRONG
Admit it, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. So does our industry. I cover the 5 things we in Ag do right: Production, Innovation, Conservation, Accumulation, and Family. And I discuss the 5 areas where we need improvement: Commodity Mindset, Communication, Pushing Cheap Food, Fighting Poorly, and Thinking Ag is About Us (Hint, it’s not. We’re a consumer business!)
3. USED MACHINERY & BUSINESS TALK
My guest is Dave Pefley of Pefley Farm Equipment, one of the nation’s largest auction and used machinery companies. We discuss the Ag economy. What’s changed about selling machinery? Do Ag people love what they do more than the rest of humanity? Do you need a formal business plan to be successful? This episode IS NOT an update on equipment prices, it’s two business guys discussing what it takes to be successful!
2. LEGAL TALK, LEASES & RECREATIONAL LAND
Land is the highest valued asset most Agricultural people possess. Therefore, it’s imperative you protect it and attain a return on your investment. This includes recreational property too. In this episode I bring in friend, hunting companion, and attorney, Scott Reust. Why is trespassing on $200,000 of wooded acreage treated differently than in a similar valued vacation home? How do you protect yourself from liability? How can you profit from leasing your property to outdoorsman?
1. WELCOME TO THE BUSINESS OF AGRICULTURE: PODCAST
Looking for smart talk with entertaining commentary about the business of food, fuel, and fiber? You’ve found it. This podcast offers tips for success, ideas for self betterment, and mental stimulation for people who make Agriculture their Business.
Damian Mason is an agriculturist, entrepreneur, speaker, writer, and funny man. As he says, “You don’t need any more Ag people discussing weather or commodity prices, you have that information on your phone!”