Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TBF 074 :: Beginning a Farm - Research, Forgetfulness, and a Hard Lesson


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**



podcastview
"I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!" If you're used to waking up on Wednesday morning and finding a new episode in your podcast app you already know that this episode is a little late. But, on the flip side I was able to record an early morning episode sitting on the porch looking out across the farm. You can see the view from my "podcasting studio" on the right. One other thing you notice on this episode is a few more distractions that come from recording on the front porch ... distractions as in kitty cats and heifers on the loose. Hopefully though it gives you a small glimpse into the interrupted life of any farmer.


Beginning a Farm: Research

For most prospective beginning farmers the first stage is research. Anytime you are starting a new business, occupation, or venture most of us try to learn as much as possible so that we aren't jumping in completely unaware. That's the way it was for me at least. I read dozens of books, hundreds of magazine articles, countless blogs, and plenty of research papers. In fact I did so much reading that I'm not sure how much I was actually able to consume and retain! If I was going to do my "Farming Research Phase" all over again I would do it differently than I did over eight years ago. Here are my three steps ...

•Reading
•Connecting
•Doing
  • Sometimes (most of the time) it is important to just dig in and get our hands dirty. Find farm, almost any farm, and volunteer your time ... ask if they need a hired hand ... or even offer to pay for the experience (it's that important).
  • BeginningFarmers.org Jobs/Internships Links
:: Other Resources Mentioned in the Episode ::
As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I'm thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don't forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App.

It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show! I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with "The Beginning Farmer" and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

TBF 073 :: You Can't Farm, The Heat Wave, and a Hard Lesson


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**



haybales
If you're like me you read the latest books, find the best websites, and listen to the greatest podcast about your topic and then think you can go from 0 to 60 in no time flat. Sure, maybe you understand there will be a learning curve or some bumps along the road, but all in all you think it is totally doable and totally doable in your own prescribed amount of time. In some ways that is how I was when I started my farming journey. I read about the people that were doing it. I talked to beginning farmers that were making it work. I thought I had looked at every possible angle! But, what I didn't do (and what I still don't do from time to time) is do a quick reality check and compare apples to apples. If I had done that I don't think I would have actually changed anything other than my thoughts on how long it would take to get from "Point A" to "B" and so on.


On today's episode I want to talk about just those sort of reality checks. Today you can find all sorts of great books, videos, and blogs talking about a great way to make a living on the farm. In fact you'll find links to some of my favorites below. But, at the same time it is important that you understand that just because "Farmer A" is making $50,000 per year on 1/2 an acre doesn't mean that you can go out and do it tomorrow. You probably can do it, and for some of you it may happen tomorrow, but more realistically it will take some time and learning to get to that point. That's why my show has plenty of "Hard Lessons Learned" and most weeks I have multiple lessons to choose from!

 :: Great Resources for Those That Know They Can Farm ::
As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I'm thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don't forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!
I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show.

Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with "The Beginning Farmer" and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TBF 072 :: The County Fair, Farming for Kids, and a Hard Lesson


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**


It's Marion County Fair week for us at Crooked Gap Farm. That means that we are extremely busy and that our children are the centerpiece of the farm this week (actually they always are, but you get what I'm trying to say). With that in mind I thought it fit perfectly to take some time on today's episode to a question from Lisa on Facebook. The questions was about getting kids involved on the farm and specifically mentioned age appropriate chores, and while we didn't dig into that completely I do believe we have a great episode because I decided just to go straight to the horses mouth. On today's show my son and I sit down in the show ring stands to talk about the fair, his projects on the farm, and what gets him most excited. Of course I have plenty of "proud father" moments throughout my interview with Caleb, but above all I'm excited because of how excited he is when it comes to the farm.

If you do have any questions for Caleb about his life on the farm feel free to send an e-mail or leave them in the show notes and I think I can convince him to come on again!


:: Some Books Caleb Has Read ::

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I'm thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don't forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with "The Beginning Farmer" and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ...

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

TBF 071 :: Guardian Dogs, Rotational Grazing, Agricultural Degrees, Updates, and a Hard Lesson


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**

10462941_898984883462803_4552403669173984344_nHow do you know it's time to rotate the cows? Can an agriculture business degree be helpful to the independent farmer? Are Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs good with kids and family? Those great questions (and more details) came in from listeners (all The Beginning Farmer Show listeners are awesome blossom) over the past week. Below you'll find some links related to each of the topics that I touch on in today's episode. Plus, if you listen to the show you'll get to hear me ramble (because I'm a bit stressed) about the county fair. More on that next week ... 

:: Livestock Guardian Dogs ::
:: Rotational Grazing ::
  • Geared Reel for Polywire - In my mind a must have for rotational grazing.
  • Polywire for Rotational Grazing - Holds up in the weather fairly well and is easy to set-up and take-down. I don't have any connection with Powerflex other than I like their poly wire.
  • Grass-Fed Cattle by Julius Ruechel - One of many books that helped shape my rotational grazing ideals.
  • All Flesh is Grass by Gene Logsdon - My favorite farming author and small-scale implementation.
  • Quality Pasture by Allan Nation - If you want to get serious then get this book!
  • Comeback Farms by Greg Judy - In my mind this is the best plan out there if you want to follow a plan.
:: Agriculture Economics ::
  • I wish I had some great links on this topic, but I don't ... What are our thoughts? How can having a degree in Agriculture Economics degree benefit the independent small farmer?
As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I'm thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don't forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App.

It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show! I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with "The Beginning Farmer" and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ...

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

TBF 070 :: Live from the Farm and a Hard Lessons Learned


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**

registerblog
Sometimes things get a little wild and crazy on the farm even when you think you have everything planned out. That has been the case on the farm for the past week or so (or actually the last six years if I'm completely honest with myself). We've had lots of rain and even some wind storms to go along with it. The storms caused some large branches and smaller trees to fall on the electric fence in the woods shorting everything out. The pigs that just joined the party in the woods last week found a small hole in the fencing that was exploited while the fence was shorted out. We have had some great publicity on the farm thanks to an article in the Des Moines Register. And, all sorts of other stuff has been popping up from 4-H projects to hard lessons learned.


I say all of that to say that this weeks episode is very unique for a couple of reasons. First of all it was recorded in the comfy (slightly breezy and cool) confines of the hoop building, and secondly I sat down to record with out any plan at all. You may notice both of those things come out in today's show, but hopefully there are also some diamonds in the rough.

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I'm thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don't forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show! I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail!

As always you can follow along with "The Beginning Farmer" and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TBF 069 :: The Fancy Farm Dinner, Inside the Hoop House, and Hard Lessons Learned


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**

hoopcollageHosting any event on your farm is always stressful ... hosting a farm cookout can be even more stressful ... and hosting a full on seven course feast on your farm with five chefs, a crew of kitchen help, professional servers, and more might even cause enough stress to drive you a little batty! That is exactly what happened on our farm this past weekend, and although it was stressful at times (and caused me to be a little nervous) it was probably one of the most satisfying and humbling moments I've had as a farmer. The crew that came out to the farm was beyond professional and passionate about what they were doing. All of that made for a wonderful event that often left me speechless. If you're looking for a way to say thank you to your farm friends, connect with new customers, or build a relationship with the chefs and food movements in your area I cannot recommend a dinner such as this one highly enough. Just be prepared for a little stress ...

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I'm thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don't forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with "The Beginning Farmer" and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

TBF 068 :: Believe in Your Farm, A Hoop Update, and Hard Lessons Learned


**As I transition to www.TheBeginningFarmer.com I am quickly realizing I'm not as web savvy as I had hoped! In the meantime I will be posting here as well for those of you subscribed through RSS ... and hopefully will have that fixed soon.**

trappertractorThe importance of believing in what you are doing on your farm, why you are doing it, and the value of what you are producing is central to your farming journey. At least that is the case with my farm! I've always been a person that want's other people to like me, and when it comes to the farm sometimes I can doubt my farming plan or my products when people are turned off by the price, the way we raise our livestock, or any other sort of craziness. Over time though I have come to realize how valuable the customers (farm friends) we have are, and also to realize that we won't have everyone as a customer ... just the best ones ;)

Today's show is a little bit on the disorganized side I'm sure as I was working with back-up recording equipment for the first time. Although ... if the sound quality wasn't too awful let me know because there are a lot of other things I could do with this set-up in the future.

As always, I want to thank you so much for listening and supporting the show with your encouragement and reviews on iTunes! I am continually working to produce a better show, and I'm thankful for all of the listeners sticking with me as I learn.

If you do enjoy the show, don't forget that you can subscribe on iTunes and leave a five star rating and review (by clicking the link). If you are an Android phone user you can also subscribe on the free Stitcher App. It is so very encouraging to know that people are listening and enjoying the show!

I would love to hear your questions, show ideas, or comments about the show. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail! As always you can follow along with "The Beginning Farmer" and Crooked Gap Farm by checking out these links ...
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