On the agriculture side of things, I’m team plants. I’ve always enjoyed house plants, gardening, and really just learning more about the little green things that grow. On this week’s episode, I get to geek out about plants with a certified plant expert, I mean he’s literally a plant professor and wrote a book on plants. Vikram Baliga is a professor at Texas Tech and host of the Plantrhopology podcast, where he interviews experts on plants, shares cool stories on how plants impact our lives, and even shares some lessons from his college classes. In our episode, Vikram and I will chat about his viral TikTok videos, how humans and even animals have helped plants evolve, and why Disney’s The Land is the best ride at the park (and seriously, if you haven’t already, go on the ride the next time you’re at Disney!). We’ll also chat about Vikram’s new book Plants to the Rescue and the inspiration behind his podcast.
Check out Vikram at the links below as well as a clip from the interview over on our YouTube channel.
The following is all from ChatGPT. Holy cow. This is so cool and so weird all at the same time.
If you’re someone who loves all things agriculture and wants to learn more about the industry, then subscribing to the Farm Traveler Podcast is a great way to expand your knowledge.
Hosted by Trevor Williams, the Farm Traveler Podcast takes listeners on a journey through the world of agriculture. From crop production and livestock farming to agtech and sustainable practices, each episode covers a wide range of topics that are sure to pick at your interests.
What makes the Farm Traveler Podcast stand out is its ability to connect listeners with industry experts and farmers who are on the front lines of the agricultural sector. Through interviews and conversations with these experts, listeners gain valuable insights and perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing modern agriculture.
But the Farm Traveler Podcast isn’t just for those in the agriculture industry. It’s also a great resource for anyone who cares about where their food comes from and wants to make informed choices about their diet and lifestyle.
In addition to its educational value, the Farm Traveler Podcast is also entertaining and engaging. Trevor’s enthusiasm for the subject matter is infectious, and his passion for agriculture shines through in every episode.
So if you’re looking for a fun, informative, and engaging podcast that explores the world of agriculture, then subscribing to the Farm Traveler Podcast is a no-brainer. Whether you’re a farmer, a foodie, or just someone who’s curious about the industry, you’re sure to learn something new and fascinating with each episode.
Today is a biiiiiig interview! I’m chatting with Joel Salatin, an expert and pretty much the face of regenerative farming. Joel has an amazing story about how he and his family developed the farm’s regenerative practices and how it’s transformed not only their business but also the local ecosystem. Joel will also tell us about how farms should be mimicking God’s design in nature and why transparency should be a top priority on the farm. We’ll also touch base on how we can get more people interested in farming careers and the importance of local food systems.
This was an amazing interview and certainly one I’m thankful was able to happen! Listen below and see clips over on YouTube (and below)!
Check out Joel and Polyface Farm at the links below:
00:00:00:18 – 00:00:19:06 Trevor So I’ve got to I’ve got to tell you how impressed I was by trying to schedule this podcast, by having, you know, bigger guests on. Usually you hear from their publicist, says their assistant, after like a couple of days or maybe a week. I heard back directly from you within like 2 hours. So I really appreciate that. That was great.
00:00:19:19 – 00:00:30:01 Joel Absolutely. Well, I do my own I kind of do my own scheduling, and I’m a bit of a Luddite, So, you know, I’ve got to I’ve got to keep up with it. Ah, it gets it gets go on.
00:00:30:15 – 00:00:48:12 Trevor Now, I can imagine. So I’m super excited to chat with you. Great to virtually meet Joel. We. So on the Farm Traveler podcast, I kind of interview farmers and ranchers around the country focused on direct to consumer agritourism and stuff like that. You know, where it’s kind of a better way to engage with the consumer. And you’re doing an amazing job of that.
00:00:48:16 – 00:00:55:15 Trevor Polly Face Farm And honestly, it kind of seems like you are, I don’t know, the face of regenerative. AG It kind of seems like.
00:00:56:07 – 00:01:22:05 Joel Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, our our foray into this, you know, we now have in, in last spring, spring a year ago, we built the LLC, the lunatic Learning Center course, and we built this lunatic learning center that seats 3 to 400 people, depending on how tight you want to sit in. But you know, so many good things in life.
Driver are serendipitous. You know, you don’t you don’t just sit down and have a focus group, you know, and come up with answers that you kind of bumble along and and then in the fall of 2020, All right you know we’re in lockdowns. All conferences got canceled the best doing anything and and western a price foundation you probably know western they price foundation maybe you do anyway they have a national conference they had one scheduled for Atlanta and and about three weeks before the conference, the big conference center called them and said, hey, we’re canceling you because we just got a chance to book out the whole place for like, you know, 90 days.
Well, you know, they were star for business, you know, And so they paid the whatever, $50,000 cancellation penalty that wasn’t a price. And was they prices? You know, I mean, three weeks out, you can’t you can’t resurrect that. So they’re sitting there, you know, in their office up in D.C., kind of kind of crying and crying on each other’s shoulders.
Somebody says, hey, you know, I wonder we all do something. I wonder if Joel, those come down to Polly Face. So they called me. I said, Sure, come on. So we we kind of cleaned up one of the hoop houses where chickens are in a winter time and and puts down some fresh, you know, fresh batting smelled clay and and they came and I mean, they fill that thing out in like 24 hours and came down.
And people again, this is like this is November of 2020 in the throes of the lockdowns, people came in here, no masks. They’re hugging, they’re smiling. I mean, we people levitated out of here. They were starved for that. And when it was all over, it was like an epiphany for me. I said, whoa, You know, I wonder how many other organizations are out there having this kind of, you know, issue.
So we we essentially that winter, I kind of put out some feelers and in 2021 we launched and we had six, six gatherings in 2021, different organizations, different kinds of groups. And and it was all great, except we could not get that hoop house cool enough in the summer. You know, I’m used to sweating, know, I don’t mind sweating, but you get people, you know, working in an office used to the air conditioning and throw them in a hoop house, even with shade cloth and all the sides rolled up or anything, it still was too hot.
So we had we had a kind of come to Jesus time there that that winter said, look, we think we’re on the tail of something good. Do we want to do we want to invest and move this forward or do we want to just. Well, you know, it was nice and we’ll just quit. Everybody said, Oh, this is fantastic.
Let’s move this forward. So we built a LLC and last year we did six. This year it was like we’re doing seven and it’s just been incredibly well received. We can, you know, one of the biggest one of the biggest bugaboos for people that that want to do a conference and want to care about the food is dealing with a conference center, you know, food requirements.
Oh, we can’t let that come in here. The underwriters won’t do that, you know, And it’s this big a big it almost becomes the tail that wags the dog for event organizers. If they care about food here, our biggest deal is they don’t even have to think about food. We got the best food in the world. We feed everybody and everybody loves it, you know?
And so we’ve taken that off of people’s plate. And okay, so, you know, you can’t spend the night here. You have to go, you know, 15 minutes away in town. There’s plenty of beds there. It’s a wonderful, you know, bucolic farm setting. And and it’s just it’s just been fabulous. And so suddenly we’ve stumbled in to a to another, you know, quarter million to to, you know, $300,000 enterprise.
The we we didn’t even conceive or think about just three years ago. It’s pretty cool.
00:05:22:22 – 00:05:34:20 Trevor It sounds like the people that are doing that the the LLC are they new to regenerative AG are they have they been doing it for a while? They want to learn from the master, like what’s the kind of demographics there are people that are joining it?
00:05:35:13 – 00:06:04:23 Joel Well, we haven’t done let’s see, we’ve done we’ve done one. We’ve done two gatherings that were stockman, grass farmer gatherings, but the rest of Trevor are are not, are not regenerative. AG Their, their wellness, their wellness summits they’re they’re they’re financial. We had man we’d do their first national conference last year here try it out it was fantastic.
It’s a kind of libertarian alternative financial outfit. So so you know we’ve got we’ve got different kinds of events, different kinds of groups. This this year it’s really cool. For the first time, the National Assoc of Nutrition practitioners in a NPT is coming here. They’ve never had a conference on the East Coast. They’ve always done their annual conference in California.
And, and and last year I you know, I was one of the speakers there. And I just, you know, I was there and I had the ear of the executive director said, Hey, have you ever thought about doing this on the East Coast? Well, no, we never thought about doing the East Coast. I said, Well, let me let me let me tell you a place that you could come, you know, planted the seed.
They’ve been working on it all winter and they’ve now given a complete green light. So they’re going to come with the ANP first time on the East Coast. The whole nutritional National Practitioners Group. So these are not regenerative ag things. They, they are, they are everything, everything that’s whatever out of the box. You know, we had, we had.
Chris Martenson Here with Peak Prosperity the first year and they did, they did a conference. So you know, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of outfits that would like that would like to get together. But in today’s climate, they love to get to a place that’s not a Sheraton Hilton, you know, or Marriott with the food issues and with the, you know, the air conditioning and, you know, the whole the whole deal is, you know, this is open air.
I mean, we’re under a shed. It’s a wonderful shed. It’s a it’s a three tier, three tier amphitheater. It’s it’s totally rustic. You know, we built it out of poles and our own milled lumber. So it’s it’s really cool looking. But but, you know, people love rustic. They love authentic. And we’re just really excited. And of course, you know, so so you have the events space but then then you have you have you have things that happen as a result of it.
You know, you build bridges, you have people come that wouldn’t normally have and and so it’s it’s pretty cool.
00:08:21:10 – 00:08:33:03 Trevor
I bet. I mean, you can only get so much from a conference center. I’m sure having it there on at you guys is is so cool and that name the learning the Lunatic learning center. Tell me, where did that come from? That’s very catchy. I love it.
00:08:33:22 – 00:08:59:21 Joel Well, yeah, so it’s the LLC, so. Yeah, so, you know, I’m known as the lunatic farmer. You know, back years and years ago, I just got tired of being put in a box and. And, you know, I’m pretty libertarian politically. I’m conservative religiously, and, you know, and so many times I got into situations, you know, where I’m doing a an organic farming course kind of thing.
And people assume, oh, you’re an environmentalist. Well, you must be, you know, for bigger government, more agencies, you know, more regulations. And I just got tired of being put in that box. So for for my own for my own sanity and fun, I said, you know what? I’m going to make a new moniker. I’m going to come in.
I’m going to say I’m the Christian, libertarian, environmentalist, capitalist, lunatic farmer. And it took off. And it takes that edge off of the stereotypes of the assumptions. And I guess instead of being frustrated with it, I can have fun with it and play with it. And everybody else smiles, too, because they you know, they like it, too. So it takes that tension out and I can just be who I am.
00:09:41:19 – 00:09:55:08 Trevor That’s such a good idea. I mean, I feel like that’s breaking barriers. Like I’m imagining that right now on a name tag and it would just be super long. I mean, you’re you’re poking fun at yourself and being honest about yourself and your viewpoints. And I feel like that’s a really good bridge building thing like you were talking about.
00:09:56:07 – 00:10:27:03 Joel Yeah, it it it is. It is very much a bridge building thing because. Because you know, the beauty of that, the Christian libertarian, capitalist, lunatic farmer, there’s something in there that almost everybody can, can, can appreciate. And there’s something in there almost everybody kind of cringes at. And so, you know, if if you can if you can kind of, you know, keep that, you know, keep that box open with a smile, you know, that’s a that’s a good thing.
00:10:27:09 – 00:10:46:00 Trevor I like that. And so talking about all that I was reading up on you and know I’m trying to be a good podcast host, I want to read up on you and my guests, but not too much. You know, where I can still be surprised that I was reading an article that you wrote on I think, Open Values on the website and was talking about your background, actually how you and your family got started in the farming.
And it seems like you guys and your dad especially were both all very, very intentional about what you’re doing at the farm. And you know, and you wrote a really great quote in the article talking about like, does God care about what we do at the farm? Does he care about what we put on a plate? And the whole article just really kind of made me think about just being intentional, like the intentionality of you guys of being farming.
And so can you tell us about that a little bit? Kind of like how you and your family got started in regenerative AG and then kind of how you’re bringing God and your faith kind of into this pure.
00:11:19:14 – 00:11:46:20 Joel So yeah, so so my grandfather, my dad’s dad was a charter subscriber in what, at 1948 to Rodale Organic gardening and farming magazine. And, and so he was an early proponent and his garden in Indiana, he always had, you know, big compost piles. He had a he had an old octagonal chicken house, chickens. And and it’s this wonderful tea trellis grape arbor that went around his garden.
And his garden was big. It was like like a quarter acre, which is, you know, a pretty big garden. And and he was a, you know, a master craftsman tinkerer, a little bit of an inventor. And and so dad, dad got this this kind of ecology, this environmental bent. I’m not going to use chemical fertilizer from him from from him.
And so, you know, I’ve I’ve never had a conversion experience. I mean, I just grew up, you know, being being a non chemical environmentalist. And what’s funny is growing up, you know, again, our family was was was pretty conservative. So, you know, you you go to church and and all these conservative Christians are are making fun of the environmentalist and tree huggers and all that stuff.
And our farmer friends are farmers and all all that smoking hippies, you know, this was, you know, like early seventies and and so, you know, all the all the farm stuff we went to was all about, you know, composting and and straw bale housing, you know, and all this stuff. So so I really appreciate that. I grew up kind of kind of spanning those worlds.
And it’s given me a deep appreciation for for, for number one, assuming that what another person believes is well-intentioned. Now, we can just I mean, and this does bodes well for me today. I mean, even I mean, my you know, my my greenie friends that they complain that that I don’t say Monsanto is evil. I don’t say Monsanto is evil.
I think it’s comprised of of a bunch of people that are misguided and I disagree with, but I think they’re well intentioned. I, I don’t think it helps the conversation to think to say that you’re bad intentioned, even if we disagree violently, I’m going to assume that your intentions are good. And we just we just come from two different perspectives.
And I find that that is much more helpful in having conversations and and and finding, you know, places where we can agree on rather than whatever, you know, cancel culture censorship and, you know, get out of there. So intentionality We when we came to the farm in 1961 with that background, we a dad was that dad was a he was an accountant.
So he was a numbers guy and he saw the chemical farming approach is like a drug addiction. You know, you get on this treadmill and you got to put on the chemicals and you’ve always got they’ve got they become more expensive. They become more toxic because you got to get the same kick. You got to get a bigger hit, right?
Oh, yeah. Yeah. And so, so so he kind of saw that as a as a, as a no in no win deal. And so, you know, we’re looking around and how do you how do you do this? And I remember like yesterday it was a Sunday afternoon drive. We went somewhere, I don’t remember whether it was north or south.
We went somewhere about an hour away to a farm that was using portable portable shelters. I don’t even remember what was in them. I don’t know if was Lamb’s pigs, chickens or what it was. All I remember was coming home. Dad. Dad was just just like. Like a child with enthusiasm over the idea. Just the idea that you could have mobile, portable infrastructure.
You didn’t have to build stationary stuff. And so portable portability mobility became a I mean, it became the foundation of everything that we did because animals move. They don’t stay in the same place. And and so, you know, he he he built a we raised veal calves, built the veal barn, built a a cow shed mobile. We built rabbit portable rabbit shelters that then became portable chicken shelters.
And that portability thing was just a really, really big deal. So our our intentionality was how can we mimic what we see in nature, the patterns in nature, God’s design in nature, How can we mimic that? And so, you know, it’s not that complicated. It’s, you know, animals, animals move and and soil is built with perennials, no soil more than annuals.
So we’re going to reduce tillage nature doesn’t doesn’t plow anything. And and the soil is built with carbon, you know, decomposition not not ten, ten, ten bags of chemical fertilizer. And so so you know, with those very basic principles, we just move forward with with the program and well, today it’s you know, it’s it’s pretty different.
00:16:45:09 – 00:16:59:22 Trevor I bet it is. I saw a video on YouTube. You were doing a tour and you were showcasing the the chicken houses and how they move. And so they’re there for a day or two and then you move them and it looks like a grid pattern, you know, as you’re moving them, they’re they’re stomp it around in the field, eating bugs, moving around manure.
It’s so cool. And I mean, I mean, it seems it seems better for the environment, but also it seems better for the chickens. You know, they’re not in this small barn. They’re actually an active part in nature.
00:17:12:06 – 00:17:31:24 Joel Yeah, absolutely. They’re they’re in small modules as opposed to one great, great big facility. There’s no know, there’s no flies, there’s no odor, there’s no fecal particulate, the manure going right on the on the grass. And then they get a whole new spot tomorrow. I mean, they get their bedding changed every single day. So, yes, it’s healthier for the chickens.
It’s happier for the chickens. It puts them in an environment that they’re you know, they’re they’re the allows them to fully express their chickens. Yeah. So so that’s a big deal. And you know what? It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. And when you start talking about building a local building a direct market clientele, a brand to get, you know, to get your value added through direct marketing, you’d better be as authentically and romantically sensually romantic.
I mean, you’d better be a place that people like to come walk around, look around, and you probably know we have we make a big deal that we have a 24 seven 365 open door policy. Anyone can come to the farm at any time from anywhere in the world unannounced and see anything anywhere that’s our commitment to transparency and and it really resonates with people and gives you a lot of street cred when you’re when you’re out there, when you say anybody can come and see anything any time.
There’s no locked doors, there’s no skull and crossbones. You know, we’re not putting anything on the soil that you can’t eat. I mean, you know, small quantities at least. Yeah. And you know, it it it’s so so those chickens out on pat and they are they are so attractively magnetic that that people it resonates with people. You know, they they’re you know they’re taking pictures, they’re doing social media pose they’re you know, it it needs to be beautiful.
Good farming should smell and look good.
00:19:17:18 – 00:19:30:13 Trevor I like that. Yeah. And I mean, that transparency is huge because I feel like especially with social media, we can see what’s going on in the farm and people have questions and they want to go see what’s going on. But, you know, sometimes I go to a farm and they see a practice and they’re like, I don’t know if I agree with that, but that’s awesome.
You guys have that transparency and you have that like you’re talking about. Like you want to create kind of a romantic atmosphere there where they really enjoy it. They really appreciate the agriculture and really also the practices. I’m sure you know that when you have people out there, are they like, Oh, I didn’t know it could be like this.
Like, I thought it could only be factory farming, quote unquote.
00:19:48:00 – 00:20:08:04 Joel Absolutely. The the probably the most common there’s two most common comments we get. The first most common comment is I’m here with all these animals and there’s no smell, there’s no odor, there’s no flies. You know, I can have a I can have a picnic lunch out here, you know, So so the smell thing is a big deal.
That certainly that’s certainly number one. And and number two, for us, this is almost you know, the other end of the spectrum is that the buildings and all we’re not we’re not flashy, we don’t have any white fences. But it’s it’s a bit of a threadbare look. And I don’t want to, you know, make it sound like it’s all run down.
It’s not run down. But my point is, we don’t show we don’t show off buildings and structures and machinery. What we show off is grass, earthworms, cows, chickens. I mean, come look, come look at the at the at the soil and the production of it. We don’t showcase it. We’re not showcasing equipment and buildings. If if that’s what you want to showcase, you know, you’re you’re probably not putting your money in the right place.
00:21:01:01 – 00:21:26:02 Trevor That’s a really good point. You should be putting it towards the livestock, towards the land. And, you know, I’ve interviewed like a bunch of people that are focusing more on regenerative AG, whether they’re ranchers or just regular farmers growing crops. And it seems like it’s this really growing trend of being intentional with the soil, whether you’re a rancher or a row crop or if you pay attention to the soil, you’re going to get better products, you’re going to get going to get better beef, better, chicken, better, whatever you might be growing, which is huge.
00:21:27:08 – 00:21:53:02 Joel Yes. And of course, that’s where we’ve put our our attention. A lot of people don’t realize when we came in 1961, we bought the I call it the armpit, the armpit of Lincoln. You know, it was the most worn out rock pile gully place in the in the in the area, probably mainly because it had been absentee owned for about 40 years.
You know what happens a lot of times when people lease land, they just they just take and take and take and don’t put back. And so our farm suffered from that. So when we came, we had large areas, Trevor, the size of oh they were, you know, a quarter acre in size that were just like round saucers in the field, solid rock, solid bedrock.
No, I mean no grass, no weed, no nothing, just solid bedrock. In fact we had so little soil when Dad started, he read Andre voicing grass productivity. So we got to move, start moving these cows around. He developed kind of electric fencing. How are we going to hold up electric fencing? We didn’t have enough soil to hold up electric fencing.
So he poured he poured concrete in old used car tires, stuck a half inch pipe down. And my brother and I, we were little kids and we could we could kind of heave these off the tractor platform as he drove out through the field. And then he’d go along and put electric fence stakes down and a half inch pipe that was in that concrete so we could put up electric fence.
And I’m I’m so I mean, I get teary at this point. The blessing of my life is and I’m not that old, but in my lifetime I’ve watched those areas. Now fill up with now about 12 inches of soil. Now, it’s not three feet like it was 500 years ago, but it’s 12 inches of soil. There’s no rocks there.
They’ve been completely covered up with soil. We didn’t haul that soil in that soil. That soil grew like new skin over a scab. And so literally when I was a kid, we could scarcely feed ten cows. Today we feed 100 cows on the same acreage. It’s just phenomenal What what a difference this has made. And so, you know, my my encouragement to people, when people ask, you know, what should I buy?
I’m getting ready to buy a farm, you know, buy some property, what I say, buy, buy, buy junk because the land is living and it’ll heal. It can heal like, like living things. And so, you know, don’t don’t buy somebody else’s stewardship by somebody who’s poor stewardship. And then you make it better, you know.
00:24:05:16 – 00:24:15:15 Trevor Where do you think that original thing came from, where people wanted to buy land and then just fix it up, like bring in all this dirt, bring in all these chemicals instead of being intentional with the land? Like, where do you think that originally came from?
00:24:17:07 – 00:24:50:04 Joel Well, I think I think there’s a general idea in the farming community that that’s fairly linear, kind of Western, reductionist, linear, where what does my farm need? And they can’t believe that the farm can generate what it needs itself. You know, I need to bring in I need to bring in the seeds, bring in the fertility, bring in the, you know, whatever the weed control, you know, it’s it’s this idea.
And I don’t want to just cheapen this by saying, but the factory idea but it’s it’s the input output thing it’s it’s we it we bring in the inputs from here and then we and then we send the outputs out over here. Whereas we see the farm as like a big reservoir and a big reservoir and of solar energy, solar power.
And what we’re trying to do is build more and more biomass. How can we capture more sunlight, how can we get more efficient decomposition and and close that loop so that the so that almost everything is in situ. So, you know, our so our and the beauty of this is that when when Putin invaded Ukraine and you know, fertilizer jumped like 400% fertilizer comes out of Russia, you know, that’s on the front page of all the news media.
Now, it didn’t affect us at all at all because we don’t buy any of that. You know, our fertility comes from you know, from from compost. So our fertilizer budget, we have a great big woodchipper. And so we upgrade the wood, we weed the junky and the crooked and stuff and upgrade the woodlot That becomes our carbon base for the livestock to build the compost to put back out on the fields.
So this is all this is all done, you know, on site. And and I think that idea of seeing seeing the farm as a kind of a self-contained whole where you have very little coming in and generally little going out, you know, where it’s this this, this building thing I think is it is not common among, you know, among Western farmers.
00:26:41:13 – 00:27:03:16 Trevor Yeah. It also I mean, just listening you talk about that, it also seems like it’s an age old problem or an age old issue of patients. Like some people want to fix the land right now, dump whatever they have into it, and others see the long term benefits of being intentional and focusing on it as your farm itself is an ecosystem instead of it’s part of the ecosystem like your farm.
If you focus on it, you can build up that ecosystem through very intentional practices like you guys are doing.
00:27:08:24 – 00:27:32:13 Joel Yeah, that’s right. I mean, I’ll give you another example. So probably the most unknown and unseen asset that we have here is for many, many years we’ve been pecking away at water. We’re on this piece of property here. We’re actually kind of water poor because we don’t have any big springs or, you know, we just we just don’t have so permaculture style.
We’ve gone up that we do have elevation, though. We have we have a lot of elevation on the farm. So we’ve gone up into some of these these valleys and have built ponds, you know, up higher permaculture style. So we now have about ten or 12 miles of buried water line with a with an access every hundred yards all around the fields.
So we have gravity fed, no pumps, no electricity, gravity fed, 70% water, which 70% water like a you know, like a fire hose. And so we have this this high pressure water coming from these high elevation permaculture style ponds that gravity feeds throughout the whole farm to give us water for the you know, for all the livestock that moves around.
And we’ve built enough ponds to actually store enough water from winter runoff and snows and things that we can use it for irrigation in the summer. So between the livestock water and the and the irrigation in a drought, we’ve we’ve invested in resiliency, resiliency in the system rather than asking for whatever for, you know, for insurance from off the farm.
Instead we’re building, we’re building our insurance right here. And you know, that’s it’s take it’s taken a long time to get where we are. But but man oh man to be able to to go out in a in a anywhere in a field and to be able to have high pressure, clean water without even any electricity is pretty cool.
00:29:09:23 – 00:29:18:21 Trevor And I’m sure that simplifies things, too. I mean, whenever it gets cold or whenever if something goes wrong, you’ve got to go out there and fix it. But because there’s no electricity, you’ve got the problem solved already.
00:29:19:02 – 00:29:33:16 Joel Yeah, exactly. So, you know, several years ago we had this derecho come through here. Power was out, you know, and our water just kept on going. I mean, is as long as gravity works, we’ve got water. And when gravity quits working, I’m out of here.
00:29:34:23 – 00:29:42:03 Trevor Yeah, true. If if your gravity is not working, there are much bigger problems to worry about. So you don’t need to worry about farming by then. Yeah.
00:29:42:17 – 00:29:43:13 Joel Exactly right.
00:29:44:03 – 00:30:00:00 Trevor So I know a lot of people, they love the idea of regenerative AG, but there’s a lot of people that have questions about it and if it can feed all of us, like I know this is a topic that you’ve talked with countless people, even on the Joe Rogan Show, about if this practice can actually feed us all. So what are your thoughts on that?
00:30:02:00 – 00:30:24:09 Joel Sure. So can this feed us all? So not only can it feed us all, it’s the only system that ultimately can and so let’s let’s drill down on that a little bit. First of all, first of all, realize that for the first time in human history, the world is throwing away 40% of its human edible food. We’ve never had this level of waste before.
Why do we have this level of waste? Well, because we have extremely long supply chains, long warehouse days. We have spoiled dates, we have spoilage. We have we have, you know, tractor trailer loads of milk being dumped because somebody didn’t wash their antibiotics. Right. You know, I mean, there’s a million there’s a million leaks, leaks within the system.
I mean, I was talking to a guy who was in it was in Zimbabwe. And, you know, green being green being processors, shipping green beans to Europe, you’re to someplace in Europe. And he said, yeah, we’re shipping two tons a day and we’re throwing away two tons. I said, thrown away two tons of green beans while he’s throwing away.
Well, they’re crooked, They’re too fat, they’re too thin, they’re too long, too short, you know, they got to fix the box and and throw them away. And that’s the kind of thing that happens, you know, all over the world right now because things are so centralized and and long, you know, long chains of long chains between the farming and the consumer.
So the world right now, we could increase the world’s population by 40% right now and still have plenty of food. If if we if we went to a less wasteful, a less wasteful system. So that’s number one. And number two is that that that biology. I mean, I can tell you on our farm we are far more productive per acre.
We get about four times the production break or that that the other that the county average is because doing this this you know mobs talking herbivorous solar conversion dignified carbon sequestration fertilization. You know we’re we’re moving that we’re moving the animals around all the time and we’re and we’re stacking. So the pasture is not just for so not only are we getting a lot more, you know, production on the herbivore, but then we’re stacking turkeys, laying chickens, broiler chickens, sheep ducks on that same acreage, permaculture, You start stacking all that on the same acreage, I mean, not on the same square foot on the same day, but but you know, staggered and you’re generating multiple, multiple enterprises on that. Then you add in the ability to irrigate in a drought that can hold your production through that through the hot time. That’s a game changer as well. And so the thing the thing that people need to understand is that the the biological, the biological or regenerative of understanding require is essentially depending on a carbon economy.
So the difference is, is life is life fundamentally, you know, a chemical or mechanical or is life fundamentally biological? And those are the two kind of competing schools of thought and and the mechanical really only came into use in 1837 when just as von Liebig, the Austrian Austrian biochemist, using his vacuum tubes, told the world that all of life is just a reconfiguration of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, that was the first time on a grand scale that people actually started viewing life as as actually inanimate or just, you know, protoplasm a structure without a without some without some sort of life mystery, you know, something that’s that special about life, whether it you know, whether
it’s an act, oh, my seat is in the soil or, you know, a person. And and that permeated through, well, World War One, World War two in peak nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus are the basis for for explosives, for bombs, ammunition. And so the two world wars financed the mining, manufacture, distribution, bagging and branding and marketing of npk. So you come to the end of World War Two and and you’ve got this farmer, you know, he’s expecting his sons to come back from the war.
Well, one of them is killed, one of them is maimed. And and and all he’s done all of his life is shovel, shovel, shovel, shovel. He doesn’t have a front end loader. He doesn’t have a chainsaw, doesn’t have a chipper. You know, he does he doesn’t have a way to to to feed the soil carbon to actually have a carbon economy.
And so he’s going to grab that bag of tin Tin Tin cheap. You know, it’s available when it comes. Now, in 1943, Sir Albert Howard brought to the world the scientific recipe for Arabic compost in his book, An Agricultural Testament 1943. But to do that efficiently, we needed chainsaws, chippers, front end loader, PTO, power, manure spreader. You know, we needed all that stuff.
And it took about 20 years from 1943 for those that kind of infrastructure to develop well in those 20 years, the mechanical chemical approach dominated our land grant universities, the USDA, you know, the food system. And and so it was like in about, you know, after World War Two, you know, there was a starting gun on a race went off.
But what the chemical folks had, you know, had a one lap head start and it took a while for biology to come up. Now, biology is spinning circles around chemicals, but chemical is so entrenched that the assumption is you can’t do it, you know, without these chemicals. The truth is, I’ll close to this with this idea. The truth is that if we had had a manhattan Project for compost, not only would we have fed the world, we would have done it without three legged salamanders, infertile frogs and a dead zone the size of Rhode Island and the Gulf of Mexico.
00:36:33:05 – 00:36:49:03 Trevor Mm hmm. That’s man, that is huge. And that’s a lot to unpack there. I mean, and it seems like luckily, we’re slowly coming back around to that biology thing like you’re talking about. And I don’t know, it still feels like a lot of people are hanging on to the fertilizer trend and just doing that because it’s worked for them.
I mean, they see it working, but maybe they don’t see that dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, which I’m here in the Florida Panhandle. So very much aware of the impact that it’s having here on the Gulf.
00:36:59:01 – 00:37:34:01 Joel Sure. Sure. Absolutely. Well, you know, nature is unbelievably forgiving. You know, most of us can take a few punches and stand up and that and so, you know, we can be thankful for that. But the problem with that is we often don’t see I don’t see acute acute results of today’s activities. Yeah. And so here we are, you know, dumping glyphosate, GMOs, you know, chemicals and whatever chemical fertilizers, we’re, you know, we’re depleting the organic matter, we’re killing earthworms.
But nature just keeps trying to, you know, it’s a survivor. You know, it’s like you look at these, you know, methamphetamine addicts, you know, and you hear their stories. You say, how are you standing? You know, how do we do this? How do you survive? And somehow, you know, people just people figure it out and nature’s that way.
And and which means that that nature does respond. It responds incredibly when when we stop abusing it and start to caress it. Instead, you know, we’ve got this notion that nature is a reluctant partner. We’ve got to dominate and control. And I’m going to you know, I’m will make you do this when actually nature is a benevolent lover just wanting to be caressed in the right places.
That’s a very different view.
00:38:29:24 – 00:38:36:00 Trevor That is very different. And say that there was a manhattan Project for compost. What would that look like?
00:38:36:00 – 00:38:59:22 Joel Oh, boy. You know, I don’t think he’s ever asked me that before. Yeah, Awesome. Very good for you. I’m excited too. So. So what would that look like? What that would look like is that that we would take all the money. I don’t know what these figures are, but let’s all the money spent on chemical fertilizer, which is a lot, especially now.
Oh, yeah. All the money spent fighting fires out west. Okay. I mean, I know that’s like $5 billion. All right, so we take those two figures, chemical, fertilizer and fires, all right? And we take that money. And that money then finances. And I’m not saying we take it. I’m not saying this is a government program. I’m just saying the marketplace does this.
Okay. And we simply substitute instead of all that, we we now start turning chippers loose. I mean, we’ve got we’ve got a BLM, land, national forest state parks. There. They’re weedy, they’re overgrown, they’re fire hazards. We need to be harvesting and thinning. I’m a big believer in permaculture. We need we need more trees, we need more forest and fewer trees.
Basically, the North American forests are weedy, they’re crowded, they’re overcrowded. I mean, I was out at the Yellowstone, Yellowstone Park during a conference two years ago, and I mean, I can hardly I can hardly get out of the park fast enough. It was horrible. I mean, the place these it’s it’s it’s way overcrowded with trees. Trees need room.
Okay. And and of course, you go up through Colorado. I mean, there are just square miles of dead trees. So. So we take that biomass, we upgrade our woods, we take the dead stuff, we chip it, and that becomes the carbon base for large scale composting. And that large scale compost thing that feeds our feed server. So well.
Now what this means is we’re going to reduce the size. I’m going to have, you know, factory farms, we’re going to democratize that, spread all those animals out across the landscape so that their manure, instead of being toxic, comes at a rate that is a blessing. I mean, it’s a culture. We have taken the blessing of manure and urine and we have turn it into a liability due to our concentration scale.
So you so you you get scale in my in my world, you get that scale not by centralization, but by duplication. And so you have you have thousands thousands of farms like us instead of just a few mega farms, you know, with with, you know, millions of millions of critters. So then you match up, you match up the biomass with the manure, large scale composting.
Obviously you don’t feel any herbivore grain that reduces the grain need by about 65 to 70%. Now, you don’t have to plow and you and even the tillage becomes crimping, crimping or pasture cropping, which are both ways to produce grain without tillage, without herbicides, without fertilizer. And and you, you simply move everything to a to a a perennial carbon centric, closely managed.
00:42:34:21 – 00:42:56:22 Trevor Decentralized system that decentralization is huge because, I mean, going back to the pandemic, we saw the strain that the food supply chain had because of, you know, there’s so few packing plants here, processing beef and chicken and everything. So it seems like it’s a great idea if we decentralize all of that. We have more farmers doing what you guys are doing and you have better access to food no matter where you are.
00:42:57:07 – 00:43:32:04 Joel Yeah, just imagine. Just imagine if in you know, if in 2020, the spring of 2020, if instead of instead of our country being supplied by 305,000 mega processing facilities spread, the country had been supplied by 300,050 employees already. And the process thing for the facilities, do you think we would have had as big a hiccup? It’s an obvious answer, of course not, because a speedboat, a speedboat going too much quicker than an aircraft carrier.
When you’re when you’re navigating unknown shoals and rocky waters, you don’t want to be in an aircraft carrier. You want to be in a speedboat.
00:43:40:17 – 00:43:57:03 Trevor That’s a really good analogy. I like that. And I mean, one of the things that I think is kind of, I don’t know, a bottleneck for that. There aren’t nearly as many people that want to get involved in agriculture. So how do you think we can change that to where we can have, you know, hundreds of thousands of farms like you guys, like around the states and around the country?
00:43:58:08 – 00:44:28:02 Joel Yeah. So, so we run a we run a professional formal apprenticeship program here. And every year we have about, oh, close to 100 applicants for 11 spots. So I really believe Trevor, I really believe that if, if young people thought that they could make a nice living on a farm there, there would be young people flocking to agriculture.
But they are, they’re told by family, by friends, by a school guidance counselor. Not only is farming a redneck hillbilly vocation for, you know, for for academically disadvantaged people, but but there’s also no money in it, you know, and money in it. And so you get it. You get the combination of those things. And so, yeah, I think I think if if you present the option of a white collar salary on a farm, I don’t think there’s any problem with young people coming to it.
But that is not the thing that’s been presented to them. And, and that’s a shame. And I’ll I’ll say this to the second thing would be that if marketplace if if, if, if consumers would buy intentionally and realize that their their dollar is the footing for a certain kind of of food and for for a certain kind of farm gate so that they take responsibility, I mean people say, well these farmers ought to do these farmers ought to do differently, they shouldn’t do blah, blah, blah.
Well, you know what farmers have always produced for the marketplace And when people want Lunchables Hot Pockets and squeezable Velveeta cheese farmers and and the cheapest food around farmers are going to produce to that, you know, to that standard. And so ultimately, ultimately, consumers set the farm scape standard. And if you want a different farm scape, i.e. young people coming in, better land stewardship, better animal, you know, better nutrient density, you know, all those kind of things, then you have to, you know, you have to invest in that kind of of foods.
Okay. The little picture I like to paint for people is imagine, imagine you’re sitting down to dinner. You have this plate of food in front of you looking through that plate to the other side of it. On the other side is everything from the farmer to the processor to the distributor. You know all the things well, when you squint and look through that plate of food to the other side of it, is that is that a a culture, a landscape, or is that a place for your children to inherit? That’s the question.
00:46:57:20 – 00:47:14:17 Trevor That’s a big question. I mean, yeah. And a lot of times you don’t know where that food’s coming from, but if you’re making more conscious decisions, you can learn and figure out where it’s coming from. And of course, if you live locally to those farms, you could go there and visit. You can see exactly the processes that are going on to raise your food.
00:47:15:04 – 00:47:45:03 Joel Right? Absolutely. Absolutely. So, yeah, we are we are at our most fundamental level. We are local food, you know, local food addicts. But, you know, in 2019, we began shipping nationwide because we started seeing an erosion of of people who well, why should even drive ten miles to your farm when I can get on, you know, get on somebody’s website and get stuff delivered right to my door.
And, you know, you hear that several times and you have some customers, you know, that don’t that aren’t coming for some reason. And you find out that that’s the story and you realize, you know, everybody wants to be nostalgic. Nostalgia is good. You know, sells. But let me tell you, nostalgia is only good until it becomes obsolete. And so you’ve got you’ve got to learn.
You got to learn the day to leave nostalgia right before you become obsolete.
00:48:14:08 – 00:48:38:07 Trevor And that’s really true, man. I love that you can use nostalgia, but don’t be obsolete from it. But yeah, I mean, consumers really drive the industry. If they weren’t organic food farmers are going to have to buy more organic. If they don’t want GMO, farmers are going to have to stop buying organic or stop growing GMO. And so consumers sometimes often forget that about how powerful they are and literally what they buy drives industry.
So if they want cheap food, we’re going to be producing cheap food. But if we want regenerative is sustainably raised, that’s going to dictate the market.
00:48:46:14 – 00:49:15:04 Joel Yeah, yeah. And the beauty of that is it’s not a bad investment because guess what? You’re going to get more nutrition. You’re going I mean, like, like, you know, we submitted our eggs to do a, an analysis, a nutritional analysis several years ago. And, and, you know, the USDA called us, but the the official USDA nutrition label on an egg is like an egg has 48 micrograms of folic acid per egg.
Our eggs tested 1038 micrograms per egg. I mean, we’re not talking about a little percentage of the differences. We’re talking about major differences. You know, grass finished beef has 300% more riboflavin than than than grain fed beef. I mean, these numbers are just huge. And so so, yeah, I don’t know. I don’t want to get down a rabbit hole here of of dysfunctional society.
But, you know, there are a lot of things to be concerned about today, you know, economically, socially, you know, crime in the cities. I mean, there’s there’s a lot of things to be concerned about. Well, depending on where you are on the on that spectrum of of do you think things are going down or not? You know where we are on that.
Let me tell you, if it if you if you are concerned about things. Well, we say that the wheels coming off, there’s one thing that you don’t want when the wheel when when you’re in in a societal, you know, societal breakdown, you don’t want to be sick, you want to be healthy. And so so eating well and investing in nutrition is one of the best things you can do today.
And and in preparation for what may whatever may come tomorrow.
00:50:38:04 – 00:50:55:01 Trevor Yeah. You know, I’ve seen so many people lately get, I don’t know, influencers on social media, whatever it might be, blog posts, people are starting to pay more attention to their food instead of, you know, just going directly to medication or something. They’re being more intentional about, you know, just worry about the nutrients you’re getting from high quality food.
And that can solve a really good amount of your problems, like with your health. Like if you’re being intentional. I feel like that’s the whole theme of this podcast, maybe just being intentional with how you’re growing, with how you’re eating and all that good stuff. So yeah, that’s a lot to unpack there though.
00:51:10:14 – 00:51:39:22 Joel Yeah. Yeah, it is. It is. And the other easy thing, the easy thing is to be is to not be intentional. I mean, we’ve been told now for decades you don’t have to be in your kitchen. You don’t have to have a. Well, we’ll take care of your food. We’ll take care. You know, we’ll take everything. And freedom comes from from from, from not doing, you know, not far.
You don’t you don’t have to participate any more. Just let us let us do it. And you’ll have more time for video games that full of excellent, you know, football game.
00:51:51:22 – 00:52:06:22 Trevor I mean, I’m super guilty of that, too. I mean, you know, like just we can DoorDash, whatever we can do, whatever. It’s so all about the convenience so we don’t have to worry about it. But you got to be intentional. Like, we’ve got to pay attention to what we’re putting in our bodies about how we’re growing it. I mean, what do you think we can do?
I don’t know, with local government or national government to kind of drive all this home Like we need to have more intentional farms, we need to have more intentional diets. Like how do you think we can combat all that?
00:52:17:03 – 00:52:43:05 Joel Well, anybody that knows me knows that my first answer to that is always we need we need freedom. We need to promote a food emancipation Proclamation. So we take the shackles off of the food system so that farmers and and consumers can can do can transact business together. You know, I’m not talking about import export. I’m I’m not even talking about Walmart and Costco.
I’m just saying if if I want to come to your farm as a as a voluntary, consenting adult and exercise freedom of choice to to to to get your whatever your rabbit, your tomato sauce, your charcuterie, we should we should be able to have that transaction without a bureaucrat being involved. And right now there are thousands and thousands of farmers ready to access the marketplace that don’t because of these these onerous these onerous regulations that are that were created by the consumer advocacy folks like Ralph Nader to protect them from the industry.
But a farm like ours, a small neighborhood farm, is not the industry. They’re there. There’s two different two totally different things. But but but government regulations are always scale prejudicial. And any any regulation that scale prejudice. So, I mean, for example, if I want to make skirt charcuterie and the the the government license in order to sell this our country says well you got to have a $5,000 thermometer to to keep 24 seven tabs on the temperature.
Mm. That’s nothing if you’re making a tractor trailer load of charcuterie of pepperoni. All right. But if I’m just making a five gallon bucket of pepperoni as a little side hustle in my, you know, as a cottage industry for my neighbors and folks at church, suddenly that $5,000 thermometer puts me out of business. I’m not going to buy the 5000 for a for a five gallon bucket.
So that’s where that’s where we need to be able to define either by volume, by type of transaction, i.e., you know, direct consumer producer by buy local, you know, only within a certain approximate area that you can sell. The there are a lot of ways to define this. But but somehow to allow a parallel universe of entrepreneurism to access the marketplace.
00:54:56:07 – 00:55:14:04 Trevor That’s a really take. I mean, because farms are just like the people that that work on them. I mean, there’s no two farms that are the same or the same size. They have the same practices. So why should a farm that, you know, this small have to follow the exact same laws that a much larger farm that can afford to purchase all the equipment?
Why do they need to follow the same thing? Like it doesn’t make sense. I mean, I get the intentionality there that the government is doing, but also it’s kind of like we need to fix that.
00:55:22:09 – 00:55:51:20 Joel Yeah, well, there are there are all sorts of scale exemptions. I mean, think about well, like here in Virginia, you can have an unlicensed daycare in your home as long as you don’t go over three kids in Virginia. Here, we can have an unlicensed elder care in our home. As long as you don’t go over three. And that’s reasonable, because if you’re keeping his three kids or all your keeping his three old folks, if it’s just three, there’s no bureaucracy there.
I mean, the the the family, the family that’s bringing up, they know you, They see you. It’s not like there’s there’s some nameless, faceless staff, you know, that is checking off boxes and saying things. And so the relation, the relational aspect, compensates for the bureaucratic paperwork. And and that’s the rationale. And that’s what I’m suggesting, that if if we yeah, if we had that kind of of, of reasonableness applied to the food sector, we would see an explosion of cottage industry, these neighborhood food transaction capabilities that that we can only imagine right now.
00:56:33:17 – 00:56:48:11 Trevor Well, hopefully this can happen because I feel like you and a lot of people like Polly Face Farm are really inspiring a bunch of farmers or or even, which is super exciting, like people that are outside of AG, but they see what you’re doing and they want to do it, which I think is huge because we need more people like that.
00:56:48:23 – 00:57:19:12 Joel Yeah, that’s exactly right. You know, when I talk like this, the non non farmers, they get it immediately, you know? Yeah, I get it. You know, I’d love to get, you know, Aunt Matilda’s quiche if I could. She makes great quiche. Like to buy it from her, you know, or food deserts, you know, in urban sectors, food deserts, you know, if, if a single mom of three kids could put in a garden and a vacant lot and make pot pies for the you know, for the for the neighborhood, you wouldn’t have a food desert.
And so so there’s there’s all sorts of ramifications. Ultimately. Ultimately, we need we need food, freedom. The and the courts, you know, they have ruled very specifically that Americans citizens do not have a right to choose their food. And I find that I find that at a time when we’re, you know, we’re we’re choosing we tell the government, I don’t want you to get in my bedroom and I don’t want to get you in my sex life and all that stuff.
And we’re saying you can, but you can get in my mouth. That’s fine. You know? And I say, I say, when the government gets between my, you know, my lips and my throat, that’s an invasion of privacy.
00:57:59:09 – 00:58:05:21 Trevor Oh, yeah, We don’t want him in our bedroom, but we we don’t mind when they’re controlling what we’re eating. And then you’re like, hold up, hold the phone.
00:58:06:15 – 00:58:08:23 Joel Yeah, It’s just. It’s crazy. Yeah.
00:58:09:06 – 00:58:28:20 Trevor It is. I mean, and you’re doing an amazing job, like talking to people all over the world. And you have been on the Joe Rogan show like, multiple times talking about that because he’s I mean, it seems like lately he’s been on a kick. He’s interviewed you. He’s interviewed white pastors, which is awesome. And so it seems like a lot of people outside the industry are getting more interested in stuff like that.
And also like those are huge platforms to be able to talk about all this stuff.
00:58:32:20 – 00:59:07:21 Joel Oh, yeah, Yes, they are. And it’s really going I mean, we’re in May, May 13th, we’re having the the Rogue Food conference. So John Moody and I have started this this kind of a little thing called the Rogue Food Conference. And basically the the moniker is let’s let’s not try compliance, let’s do circumvention. There comes a time when these laws, like I’m describing here become so obtuse and tyrannical that it’s actually more efficient to circumvent, to be creative enough to circumvent that than to try to comply.
And this thing’s gaining steam. We started this three years ago, and boy, it’s just gaining steam. The next one is going to be, you know, going to be here. And it probably will be one of the you know, one of the gatherings for the year. But yeah, we’ll have Congressman Tom Massie here, you know, the maverick from from Congress.
He’s fantastic. We’ll have Amos Miller, the farmer that you may be of, has faced all this USDA fining for having his personal membership, a private membership association. And so so the rogue food is idea is we’re taking people who are creative enough and have enough savvy to to basically circumvent the system and putting them on a stage and saying, how do you do this?
You know, how do you how do you do this guerilla marketing, this this under the radar stuff. And it’s pretty fun. So, yes, that is all part of this, of this. The parallel universe gaining steam. You know, it’s all part of the homestead tsunami. I mean, people are leaving the city, come into the country, and it’s a homestead tsunami.
So so, yeah, there are some really neat undercurrents going on in the culture right now that I think are very, very positive. Some stimulated by Coben, of which, you know, they always say that a crisis does not make a movement, but it simply either accelerates it or makes it more obvious to a movement that’s already happening. And I think these trends were already happening.
They were nascent, they were nascent, but but Black Swan, Putin, Ukraine, you know, burning down the cities, defund the police, all those things have stimulated a you know, a concern, a concern this big enough in the minds of a lot of people to jump ship.
01:01:08:04 – 01:01:39:17 Trevor Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I mean, it’s been weird because I’ve interviewed a lot of farms that they they did farm tours before the pandemic and they had some moderate success. But then after the pandemic, they skyrocketed to where they had to start selling tickets. They had to do like almost pivot their entire operations to fit consumer demand because people wanted to get out or maybe they wanted to homestead and learn from those farmers because people, you know, they’re locked up and then they’re free because the pandemic slowly but surely, you know, not as crazy as it was, but they’re like, I want to change up my life like I did.
I did not like being locked up. I want to be outside more. So how can I do that? But yeah, it’s been very weird, but it’s been very cool to kind of see the whole industry as a whole, kind of make a huge kind of rebound. Really?
01:01:49:23 – 01:01:52:12 Joel Yes. Yes. I couldn’t agree more. That’s exactly right.
01:01:53:00 – 01:02:07:05 Trevor Well, Joe, this has been amazing. So cool to chat with you. If people are in Virginia, how can they go in toward the farm? And also, you’ve got a lot of avenues where you kind of reach out and talk with people. Where can people follow you and follow Polly Face Farm?
01:02:07:05 – 01:02:30:03 Joel Yeah. So our website is Polly Face Farms, people. YFC If you just type in Pol Y, it’ll probably come up. Polly Face Farm We have a website and it has it has our summer tour schedule. We do eight or nine lunatic tours a summer. And so these are these are two and a half hour hay wagon lunatic tours.
We of course, we have our two day Polly face and sense of discovery seminars. Those are two day six mil. They’re worth coming just for the food, trust me. And then we have all these gatherings going on for you to come. And so, you know, there’s yeah, there’s, there’s, there’s a lot lot going on and we are, are honored and humbled and thrilled to to have folks come and see.
We we know that there is magic when you come and see and then when you add taste, when you taste it and you see it, you’re hooked. You’ll never be you’ll never be the same again. So we invite we know. We know that ultimately that is the that is the the whatever the the witness, the the the conversion, the conversion outreach that we that we need to do because many people don’t don’t believe it’s possible or it can be done at scale.
So we take that blind or off and then they’ve never eaten really really good stuff before. And you put that sausage egg that, that, that hot dog. When we make hot dogs, you put that in their mouth and I mean they’re you know, they’re done. Okay. I mean, you know, it’s fun. It’s fun to watch people have that that final tip over point.
So, yeah, visit the website Polly Face Farms dot com. I’ve written 15 books you can get books books on there you know there’s a lot and and if you’re not a farmer and you want good food we’ll be glad to ship to you do shameless plug there but it’s a great it’s a very comprehensive website and and you can go there and browse and see a lot of stuff.
01:04:13:07 – 01:04:27:14 Trevor Yeah it’s a great website that highlights everything that you guys are doing. And kind of like what you said. You guys are kind of taking like three blindfolds off like one. You can do it too. You can do it at scale. And three, the products are amazing and they are very superior as to what you could get doing it any other way.
And my wife and I are actually moving to DC for three months and then we’ll be back here in Florida. So we are definitely going to have to plan a visit and come see us.
01:04:35:01 – 01:04:40:05 Joel You sure? Well, you sure will. We’ll look forward to your event, to your visit coming out. Absolutely.
01:04:40:05 – 01:04:52:23 Trevor It’ll be safe and well. Joel, thanks so much for coming on the show. Thanks so much for what you’re doing. We really appreciate it. And best of luck as you continue to do all this amazing stuff and, you know, spread the message of regenerative AG and, you know, the amazing things that this industry can do.
01:04:54:01 – 01:04:58:02 Joel Thank you, Trevor. It’s been a delight and a privilege to be with you. Yeah, Blessings on.
Maybe you’ve seen his brother’s videos on Facebook or TikTok, or maybe you follow the duo on their YouTube channel. The likelihood is that you’ve probably definitely seen them before! Well on this episode of Farm Traveler, I’m chatting with Jim McArthur, just one of the brains behind FieldRows. Jim and his twin brother Randy grow peanuts on their family farm in North Florida, actually just about an hour away from me here in Panam City. In our chat, Jim and I talk about the family peanut farm, growing up in North Florida, and the impact Hurricane Michael had just a few short years ago. We’ll also talk peanuts, growing a YouTube channel, and just how Jim deals with Randy on the farm.
If you want to see more of Jim and Randy, be sure to check them out at the links below!
Marketing a business is hard. Marking a farm is even harder! It’s important to market your products, brand, and even yourself, but there is no perfect strategy that works for everyone. Our guest this week is Victoria Robison, the Farm Marketing Mentor that works with small farms on developing marketing strategies that work for them. In our chat, Victoria and I talk about how she got started with social media marketing, the importance of marketing your story, and how to build confidence when sharing online.
Bison Bison Bison. Not only is, Bison Bison Bison an accurate scientific name for American Bison, but it’s also a sign of what this episode is on: Bison! On episode 183, I’m chatting with David Noorloos from Copper Flats Bison Co. in Wyoming, Ontario. David and his family have done some amazing things for their local community and the bison industry as a whole. So far, they’ve raised a bunch of bison, opened a cool farm shop, sold their bison meat, and held several events at their farm for the community. In our chat today, David and I talk about how different bison are from raising beef cattle, the resurgence of bison meat over the last few years, and how they started their own farm shop to help sell their meat. We’ll also talk about several community events they’ve held at the farm, working with local chefs, and raising donations for local outreaches. David also has some great insights on some of the mental health struggles farmers and ranchers are facing and how more tools are becoming more readily available to farmers around North America.
Check out Copper Flats Bison Co. at the links below:
Regenerative Ag is doing some amazing things to help feed the planet and protect our environment. Some consumers have been going out of their way to support these farming practices as often as possible. The great news is that you might already be doing that with some of your favorite brands! Land to Market connects farmers with brands looking to support those farmers and ranchers focusing on regenerative practices. Land to Market has worked with brands like EPIC Provisions, UGG, Timberland, Honest Bison, New Balance, and many others.
My guest today is Wyatt Bell, a client success manager with Land to Market with a load of experience building bridges between producers and brands. In our chat, Wyatt and I will chat about how he gained interest in regenerative ag after his time in Portugal, how and why brands decided to work with regenerative farmers and ranchers, and how more consumer choice is a good thing.
This week, I chat with Ty Walker from Smoke In Chimneys, a Virginia rainbow trout farm. Ty has a great story to share on how he and his family started their trout farm, how farm-raised fish and wild fish can and should coexist, and the importance of faith. We’ll also talk about how Ty built a great partnership with White Oak Pastures. Learning about how Ty’s faith has impacted his business was super cool and refreshing to hear. In times of struggle and doubt, Ty relied on his faith and some pretty cool things started happening.
This week on the podcast, I chat with Sutton Ricks from Milking R Dairy in Okeechobee, Florida (also sad to say I’m a native Floridian that still can not spell Okeechobee…thank goodness for spellcheck.) Sutton and I talk about his 4th generation’s family farm, the importance of dairy in the state of Florida, and some cool tech that’s being used in the industry that many might not be aware of.
On todays episode is Cassi Hammerness from Range Market. What started out as an MBA project, is now an amazing online market place for farmers and ranchers to connect with consumers around the country. This marketplace allows for ranchers to have higher profits and consumers to find various products and even search based on production techniques (i.e., grass finished beef, grain finished beef, organic, etc.). In our interview today, Cassi and I will cover the inception of Range Market, how tools like this can help ranchers struggling to make a profit, and the challenges of juggling a full-time job with a passion project. We’ll also talk about the importance of shortening the food supply chain, how they got word out of this website, and the future plans they have! Check out Range Market at the links below.
Jess Pryles is the mind behind Hardcore Carnivore, countless viral cooking videos, and a lot more! On today’s interview, Jess and I chat about how American BBQ fascinated the native Australian, how to achieve the perfect steak crusts, and why grain-fed meat tastes different than grass-fed. We’ll also talk about her thoughts on hunters knowing where their food comes from, working with other online cooking personalities, and how she started Harcore Carnivore.
Can hydroponics help ranchers with feed issues? That’s the subject of today’s interview with Sean Short, a returning guest from Blooming Health Farms. Check out Sean and his new book, “Thinking Outside the Soil” at the links below.
Ok, does anyone else feel weird that we are almost in 2023? I’m still thinking it’s 2020!
But for real, another year has come and gone. A lot of things happened for this little blog called Farm Traveler! We hit over 250,000 downloads, had a couple of incredible farm tours, and even attended a trade show in Savannah, Georgia. This podcast and blog continue to grow thanks to the amazing support from friends, family, strangers, and everyone who continues to listen in. Thank you so much for an incredible year!
For 2023, I have just a few goals for the show. I’m not focusing on numbers, as opposed to years past, and instead focusing on things I think we all want from Farm Traveler. In 2023, I’m planning on more farm tours, YouTube videos, and some cool merch (more hats and T-shirts coming soon!)
That’s it. More great content, and more interviews with awesome farmers and ranchers that want to connect with you. I’m learning to not focus on numbers or downloads as much as years past. Which isn’t easy to do in the content creation game, but It’s certainly a great practice to keep your sanity. Like Kobe said, the dream is doing what you love, not reaching the hilltop.
Those times when you get up early and you work hard; those times when you stay up late and you work hard; those times when you don’t feel like working, you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself, but you do it anyway; that is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.
If you have any advice on guests or just want to say hi, as always, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, thanks for all your support! It means to world to us!
Tyler Dawley is the man behind Big Bluff Ranch, a farm-raising pasture chicken. Tyler and the ranch believe they can change the California Ag industry, and after our interview, I really believe they can. This is an awesome chat about how our diets should reflect our states’ ecosystems, the benefits of supporting local farmers, and a lot more. We’ll also talk about how the farm went from cows to pigs and then to chickens and why some small-scale producers struggle when it comes to processing their birds. And also, can organ meat be the next trend thanks to creatives like Mr. Beast and his new Mr Beast burger? Be sure to check out Tyler and Big Bluff Ranch at the links below!
Foodies to Farmers. Sounds cool right? Well in today’s episode, I’m chatting with Meg Neubauer from Pure Land Farm in McKinney Texas. A few years ago, Meg and her dad decided to start a u-pick farm in Texas, a few short years later, it’s an extremely successful farm! Meg will share details on their inspiration behind the farm, what went into finding the most ideal u-pick strategy (in terms of scheduling, payments, etc), and how important it is to listen to the wants and needs of customers. Meg will also share some cool news on how she is now writing a book that will help any farmer looking to get started at opening a u-pick farm.