Wednesday, August 07, 2013

TBF 022 :: Listener Questions, an Interview with the Modern Farmer Boy, and a Hard Lesson Learned

The rain came and the Iowa State Fair is starting so there is a break in the work (for now) at the neighbors farm. All of that is to say that I am finally getting the podcast back on schedule ... basically releasing two shows in less than 24 hours! Today's episode is very cool though because I was able to sit down with a very special guest for an interview ... my son Caleb who is the "Modern Farmer Boy" ... his podcast will be coming out in the near future! Caleb is a nine-year-old who lives on the farm of course, but is also involved in the farm. To us family farming has always meant that all of the family is working together on the farm and not just living together on the farm. In this episode you will get to hear Caleb's "side" of our farming adventures and what he likes about the farm and his role on the farm.

Before the interview though I take some time to answer a couple questions that have come in through e-mail and on the blog. The first question deals with the Conservation Reserve Program ... what it's all about, how much the "rent" is, and how you go about getting out of the program. The second question goes all the way back to an early post about burning, grazing, or baling the standing grass on our farm when we finally made the move. I share some of my thoughts on both subjects, but I would love to hear what you think! Do you have any experience with CRP? If you had 30+ acres with quite a few weeds how would you handle (burn, bale, graze, mow, etc.)? Join the conversation by commenting below.

If you have an input on the topic be sure to leave a comment below or send us an e-mail.

The Beginning Farmer ShowAs 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 start rating and review (by clicking the link or the image on the right). 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 ... 

**Special Note :: A few users are experiencing issues downloading the show on iTunes. If you have any experience with podcasts and how they can play nicely with iTunes I would love some suggestions.**

(if you are interested in the music in this episode check out my brother's record label, Historic Records) 


Rich said...

A few years ago, I read (possibly in Progressive Farmer magazine??) about a family that bought some CRP land that they planned to eventually transition to pasture.

They didn't want to buy out the contract, so they were used some of the emergency grazing/haying provisions allowed to bale or graze 1/3 of the acres every three years. They got a reduced payment on the acres they grazed/hayed and were able to actually manage the pasture somewhat as their livestock herd grew (although they also owned some non-CRP land which was used for the time periods when they couldn't graze the CRP).

It might be a little irritating that someone would have to "manipulate" the system to get a little more out of the CRP program, but it might be an option instead of buying out the entire CRP contract. And, talk to the FSA before you follow any of my vague recollections to determine if I got any of that right.

Rich said...

"...If you had 30+ acres with quite a few weeds how would you handle (burn, bale, graze, mow, etc.)?..."

I had a wildfire go across an area of native grass on the farm once in late summer, and as soon as it rained it turned into an impressive stand of weeds. But, I've seen pastures that were burned in early spring that resulted in good stands of grass (if it rains soon after the burn). I'm not so sure that I would intentionally burn a pasture unless I was dealing with something like alot of little cedar trees.

I have a 2 acre weaning pen that's always had a weed problem. In the past, I would brushhog when the weeds got to the point that I couldn't stand it anymore, and/or I'd put cattle in there for day or so to really stomp down the weeds, but the weeds never really went away.

Last winter, I fed hay in that weaning pen at about 30-40 bales/acre (or bale grazing) to build up the fertility. Then in the spring, I mowed it with a riding lawnmower a few times to really keep the weeds down and let the grass grow (it didn't hurt that we actually got some rain this year). Now, it looks like there aren't that many weeds and the grass has really thickened up. It would take a number of years to cover 30 acres with that method if that's the entire farm, but it could be a long term project to slowly improve and weed-free-ify the pasture.

Tim said...

Awesome interview Caleb! Can't wait for you to start your own show!

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