Author Archives: FRAN

Future of Agriculture – Nerding Out About Soil Health with Dr. Abbey Wick of North Dakota State University


In this episode we go full nerd on soil health with Dr. Abbey Wick of North Dakota State University

Shark Farmer Podcast – Mike Manion making his own way

From choosing his education to building his own farm… Mike Manion has carved his own way

What the Farm Podcast – Andrea Hollak bourbon drinking vegetarian

Andrea Hollak is a bourbon drinking vegetarian that shares her views on eating meat.

Ontario AgCast – Colin Davis Apricot Valley Waterfowl

What would possess a hospital IT expert to start raising rare ducks and geese? Apricot Valley Waterfowl is not your typical poultry farm. In fact, one of Colin Davis’ goals is to be the exact opposite of a conventional farm. At the end of the day preservation farming still has to pay the bills to be sustainable.


Rock & Roll Farming Podcast – Sam Watson Jones

Today I’m heading over the border to Sunny Shropshire to talk to farmer and co-founder of Small Robot Company, Sam Watson Jones @samjwj @smallrobotco

We talk about his family’s farm near Newport where they’ve been for 4 generations, and the various enterprises they have going on there, and also Sam’s decision to become a farmer whilst studying english literature at Newcastle University.

We go into the various job’s he during the 5 years he spent away from the farm, including teaching at a tough inner city secondary school, and working for a global consultancy firm. We also discuss some of the changes he made after returning to the farm, including why he felt diversifying the business’s income streams was so important.

We then talk about Small Robot company at length, including how it initially came about, how the robots (Tom, Dick, Harry, and Wilma) work, what they’re trying to achieve with it, and how robotics are going to change agriculture sooner than we all think.

Will the robots rise up and murder him in his sleep? Who knows, but in the meantime, it was fantastic to talk to such an enterprising and entrepreneurial man as Sam, and learn more about Small Robot Company.

Check it out folks..


Episode Sponsors:

AFTP – Agrifood Training Partnership. Please visit to check out a wide range of agriculture-related online courses. For 25% discount on ‘poultry health online’ sign up now. To sign up for the free course ‘Understanding food supply Systems’ please visit

NFU Cymru – for more information please visit


Podcast Partners:

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Rock & Roll Farming is proud to be a part of the Farm & Rural Ag Network. To find more great podcasts and vlogs, please visit

Future of Agriculture – Different Perspectives on AgTech Accelerators with Georg Baunach of Hatch and Joel Harris of Ag Startup Engine

Georg Banauch is a molecular biotechnologist with extensive knowledge of synthetic biology and biofuels research. He is also a Co-Founder and Development Director for HATCH, an accelerator program focused exclusively on the aquaculture industry seeking to develop and scale disruptive aquaculture startups.

Joel Harris is Ag Startup Engine’s Co-Director. Ag Startup Engine is a privately-owned accelerator program that funds AgTech entrepreneurs and supports them through mentorship and funding. Joel’s responsibility includes coordinating investor relations and mentoring new entrepreneurs.

Georg and Joel join me today to discuss how their accelerator programs work, the type of ideas they want to support, and what makes each company unique from other accelerators. Georg explains how they developed the idea to launch HATCH, why they focused on aquaculture startups, and how aquaculture can help the world grow. Joel shares what their company is all about and the checklist they use when selecting companies as well as how Ag Startup Engine can help business owners. Joel also offers great advice when dealing with investors from a new entrepreneur’s viewpoint.

“For new entrepreneurs, a small pat on the back can go a long way.” – Joel Harris


This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:


  • What is HATCH accelerator and how it got started.
  • Their motivation in starting Hatch Accelerator.
  • How their accelerator program works and their interactions with startups.
  • An estimate on how many aquaculture startups are out there.
  • What Hatch looks for in startups and ideas they want to see.
  • What excites Georg on the future of aquaculture?
  • Joel Harris’ perspective as an entrepreneur and someone working with entrepreneurs.
  • Joel’s best advice on how to succeed in growing an AgTech startup.
  • Is Ag Startup Engine open to startups worldwide?
  • How Joel motivates budding entrepreneurs into achieving their goals.
  • Ag Startup Engine’s programs and how they help entrepreneurs.
  • Joel’s advice to new entrepreneurs when it comes to communicating with investors.

Key Takeaways:


  • Aquaculture is efficient compared to others in the agricultural industry.
  • Working with an accelerator is an opportunity, but where you’ll end up after that is up to you.


Connect with Georg Baunach:


Connect with Joel Harris

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The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today.


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Shark Farmer Podcast – Pam Smith Ag Media Legend

Pam Smith is one of the most respected ag media icons, of all times. She’s “been there/done that” and then wrote the story. Listen as she talks about being a woman reporter in the early days and how she sees ag media now.

Please visit our sponsors: Farmers Edge

WTF Podcast – Organic farmer Carolyn Olson

Ontario AgCast – Chris Crump

The Ontario Pork Congress is a celebration of the industry that gives us bacon! Chris Crump is this year’s OPC President and has spent 35 years probing, measuring and testing pigs all in pursuit of a better pork chop. I approve.

Rock and Roll Farming Podcast – Jones the Journo

Tonight I’m delighted to be travelling down to the bight lights of Bristol to talk to journalist, Anna Jones @Jonesthejourno

We talk about her early life growing up on her family’s beef and sheep farm in the Welsh borders, and her decision at an early age to become a journalist. We hear about some of her early reporting jobs and her experiences there, before going on to getting a job on popular BBC TV show Countryfile as a researcher in 2006.

We talk about her time on Countryfile and her experiences there in depth, including why it divides opinion amongst farmers, broadcasting legend John Craven nearly being squashed by a 30ft Christmas tree, and I also attempt to find out who the biggest diva amongst the presenters is!

We then discuss her time at flagship BBC Radio 4 programme Farming Today, and some of the differences between working in TV and Radio, and some of the amazing stories that she covered there.

We hear about her Nuffield Scholarship – ‘Help or Hinder? How the Mainstream Media Portrays Farming to the Public’ and what she found out along the journey, before moving on to talk about her new initiative – Just Farmers – that will actively seek out and train farmers how to talk to the media and improve communication skills, and help to increase the public’s understanding of agriculture.

All this and plenty more.

Anna’s passion for agriculture and rural life is evident throughout the interview, and it was an absolute pleasure to talk to her tonight.

Check it out folks..


Rock & Roll Farming is proud to be a part of the Farm & Rural ag Network. For more great podcasts and vlogs please visit

This episode is kindly sponsored by NFU Cymru. For more information please visit


For more info on Rock & Roll Farming, visit www.rockandrollfarmingcom