Future of Agriculture

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Commercial Greenhouses on Conventional Farms with Joe Swartz

Joe Swartz is the Vice President and Lead Horticulturist at AmHydro, a company recognized as a top innovator in the ag industry and focused on developing products that promote efficient hydroponic growing systems. Joe is also widely recognized as one of the leading consultants when it comes to Controlled Environment Agricultural industries that include commercial greenhouse farms. He specializes in crop production improvements, pesticide-free insect and disease control, and professional grower training, among other skills.

Joe joins me today to discuss the economic implications of fusing traditional farming with greenhouse technology. He shares why he is interested in greenhouse farming and how he initially tried it himself. He explains how controlled ag works and the factors required to make it work. He describes the benefits traditional farmers can reap from adapting greenhouse operations. Joe also shares some of the limitations of controlled environment agriculture.

“Incorporation of greenhouse techniques into an existing traditional farm is really a very natural and very positive progression.” – Joe Swartz

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • What Joe’s focus was before he became invested on greenhouse technology.
  • Where his interest in controlled ag came from.
  • The importance of the environment and location when it comes to controlled ag.
  • The practicalities of controlled ag during the winter.
  • Benefits of merging traditional farming and controlled environments.
  • The return on investment when it comes to greenhouse farming.
  • Encouraging the youth to join the ag industry.
  • Limiting factors of setting up a controlled environment type of farm.
  • Determining standards of practices for controlled environments.

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Joe Swartz

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

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. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on TwitterAgGrad on FacebookAgGrad on LinkedInAgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Finding a Niche in Endive Farming with Rich Collins

Richard Collins is the owner of California Endive Farms, a farming operation that specializes in growing endive, a vegetable of the chicory family that is so special, it’s grown twice. Due to the strict conditions and labor-intensive manner of growing it, the endive was deemed a rare crop to produce. However, Rich took advantage of this fact and decided to niche down and focus on building a farming business around it. Today, California Endive Farms is still the largest American endive grower.

Rich joins us to share the story of how he learned about the endive plant and what made him decide to grow such a complicated crop. He explains what endives are, why they’re difficult to grow, and the market potential it has. He describes the various factors they have to consider and how they manage to control them on their farm. Rich also shares why there’s hardly any competition for them when it comes to growing endive.

“There’s a huge window of opportunity for us to grow crops in a much more rational manner with respect to soil and water resources.” – Rich Collins

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Rich’s journey in the ag industry and the people who influenced his business decisions.
  • What endive is, why it needs to grow in the absence of light, and the difficulty in farming it.
  • What the market is like for endive, its uses, and its health benefits.
  • How marketable is it growing endive as a primary source of income?
  • The factors that influence endive growth and the conditions they control.
  • Finding a niche like endive farming today compared to what it was like decades ago.
  • The competition for endive growing and why they hardly have competition.
  • The costs of growing endive and why it’s not easy to automate.

Connect with Rich Collins

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

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. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on TwitterAgGrad on FacebookAgGrad on LinkedInAgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – The Treasure and the Measure of Regenerative Agriculture with Russ Conser of Blue Nest Beef

Russ Conser is the CEO of Blue Nest Beef, a regenerative agriculture and food startup. What makes Blue Nest Beef special is how they raise cattle from bird-friendly land, citing that the presence of birds indicates a healthy agricultural ecosystem. Russ specializes in soil health and regenerative agriculture, business strategy development, and managing highly creative people. He was also featured on the podcast two years ago, where he talked about the benefits of multi-paddock grazing.

Russ joins me today to discuss how Blue Nest Beef is promoting regenerative agriculture. He explains how birds indicate the health of the ecosystem and why it’s critical to farm on bird-friendly land. He shares data that indicates the benefits of raising cattle over not raising it from a greenhouse gas perspective. He shares the type of grazing system they want other farmers to adapt and why it benefits the soil. Russ also describes why regenerative agriculture is important to every person on Earth, regardless of your political affiliation.

“The birds are the treasure – and the measure.” – Russ Conser

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Defining Regenerative Agriculture and what it’s supposed to do.
  • The importance of bird presence in agriculture.
  • Informing consumers on how the food system works and how Blue Nest Beef plans to do it.
  • How Blue Nest Beef works and what sets them apart from other farms.
  • The grazing system they promote and how rotational grazing benefits the soil.
  • Why Regenerative Agriculture is an apolitical issue.
  • Resources and tools Russ is interested in using and working with.
  • Data that says producing beef through regenerative agriculture is better than not producing beef at all.

Resources Mentioned

Connect with Russ Conser

This episode is sponsored by Indigo Ag

What if surviving a drought began with just a microbe? What could accessing 10,000 buyers do for your agriculture business? Indigo Ag helps farmers improve profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health by working with growers to reimagine every aspect of the agriculture industry – from soil to sale.

To learn more about Indigo Ag and their mission to improve the environment and agriculture industry, visit IndigoAg.com/Questions

Indigo. From questions… we grow.

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

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. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on TwitterAgGrad on FacebookAgGrad on LinkedInAgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Dr. Ray Goldberg, the Father of Agribusiness

Dr. Ray Goldberg holds the title of George M. Moffett Professor of Agriculture and Business, Emeritus at Harvard Business School. He’s among the pioneers of modern agribusiness, coining the term himself. He is the author of Food Citizenship, a book that talks about the global food system and the many faces that are leading the charge in changing the way we look at food and agriculture forever. Ray has decades of experience in the industry, from authoring journal articles and teaching materials to holding seminars about climate and its effect on food systems.

Ray joins me today to share the progress the ag industry has made over the many years he has watched over it. He describes the need to form a group of individuals that represent different parts of the industry, the reason why he authored his latest book, and what readers can expect. He explains the relationship between capitalism and agriculture, and why the government needs to help small farmers more. Ray also shares his thoughts on millennials and why he looks forward to what they can bring for the next generation.

“Unless we get the food system done correctly, we won’t have the kind of productivity or the kind of lifestyle we want for future generations.” – Dr. Ray Goldberg

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Why his first meeting with those in the food and ag business was a disaster.
  • How they came to the decision to constantly renew ag information and relationships annually.
  • The need to limit the number of people in his group.
  • His criteria in choosing the people to be included in his book.
  • The relationship between capitalism in agriculture and the public good.
  • When he coined the term ‘agribusiness’.
  • Why he was adamant at bringing important people in agriculture together.
  • Living in an era of distrust in the food system.
  • His thoughts on millennials and their acceptance of change.
  • The big questions he’s always asking himself throughout his career.
  • Why small scale farmers should have more support from the government.

Connect with Dr. Ray Goldberg

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

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. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on TwitterAgGrad on FacebookAgGrad on LinkedInAgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – The Journey of an AgTech Entrepreneur with Colin Hurd of Smart Ag

Colin Hurd is an entrepreneur and the Business Development Manager at Raven Industries, a highly diversified technology company that provides innovative products and solutions to help feed, connect, and protect the world. Raven Industries recently acquired Smart Ag, a company founded by Colin. Smart Ag is a tech company that develops autonomous farming solutions, selling products that allow farming equipment and machinery to be operated remotely, similar to drones. Colin founded Smart Ag to address the growing labor crisis in production agriculture.

Colin joins me today to discuss why he formed Smart Ag and the kind of technology and solutions they offer to farmers. He describes how he was driven to start Smart Ag, the problems he wants to address, and the people who helped him put the company in the market. He explains the need for Smart Ag to be acquired by Raven Industries and the benefits it has received. Colin also discusses some of the challenges their company faced as a startup, and how he and his team solved them.

“What’s different about a startup versus a large company is everything is just hyper-compressed; things happen at light speed.” – Colin Hurd

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • The journey that led him to start Smart Ag.
  • Labor scarcity and how it became a large problem in the industry.
  • The people who inspired him to focus on autonomous ag technology.
  • Determining whether someone can be a co-founder or the first employee.
  • The challenges of starting a company that promotes autonomous tech.
  • The technical problems they focused on and solved for their company to become successful.
  • Differences between pre and post-acquisition of Smart Ag.
  • Comparing and contrasting a startup and a large corporation.
  • What it means to have an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age.

Connect with Colin Hurd

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

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. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on TwitterAgGrad on FacebookAgGrad on LinkedInAgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Data Insights for Farms of All Sizes with Mariana Vasconcelos of Agrosmart

Mariana Vasconcelos is the Founder of Agrosmart, a platform that brings digital agriculture to countries with low internet infrastructures under tropical agronomic conditions. The MIT Technology Review selected her as one of the Most Brilliant Innovators Under 35 and a Global Ambassador for Thought of Food. Being a farmer’s daughter, Mariana was aware of the problems that plague small farmers, especially when it comes to decisions about crops. To solve this gap, she proposed the idea to use AI and IoT to acquire more productive, sustainable, and economic agriculture which is what Agrosmart represents.

Mariana joins me today to discuss how Agrosmart works and the problems it seeks to solve for farmers in developing countries. She shares where her drive to start her company came from and the challenges of finding capital and investors. She describes how the data they collect can impact farming practices, especially in countries where farmers rely on instinct to make crop decisions. Mariana also explains why Brazil holds a lot of potential in terms of agriculture and the rising startup economy.

“We wanted to shift intuition-based decisions to fact-based decisions.” – Mariana Vasconcelos

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Where Mariana saw the problem that needed to be addressed in the ag industry.
  • The changes their data can impact on the current farm systems.
  • Why they shifted from irrigation to a digital ag platform.
  • The farmers that can benefit the most from their platform.
  • How farmers can adapt their practices to climate change.
  • The countries they’re currently working in and some of their future projects.
  • The crops they focus on and how their platform is universal.
  • Dealing with rural connectivity problems in Latin America.
  • The ag startup ecosystem in Brazil and the kind of companies that are rising.
  • The most challenging aspects of scaling a Brazilian startup.

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Mariana Vasconcelos

This episode is sponsored by Indigo Ag

What if surviving a drought began with just a microbe? What could accessing 10,000 buyers do for your agriculture business? Indigo Ag helps farmers improve profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health by working with growers to reimagine every aspect of the agriculture industry – from soil to sale.

To learn more about Indigo Ag and their mission to improve the environment and agriculture industry, visit IndigoAg.com/Questions

Indigo. From questions… we grow.

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

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. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Farm Tour with Shay Myers of Owyhee

Shay Myers is an onion expert and the owner of Owyhee Produce. Owyhee Produce is a 3rd generation family farm and one of the biggest vertically-integrated onion farms in the United States. Their farm grows enough onions to provide adequate supplies that reach about 6 million Americans annually. Other than managing an onion farm, Shay is also a produce industry influence and agriculture keynote speaker. He is currently working to provide asparagus, hemp, and sweet potatoes to American families on top of their onions.

Shay joins me today to describe how their farm differs from most growers when it comes to vertical integration. He shares how his dream to fly was granted when he returned to manage the farm. He discusses some of the early mistakes he’s made as the lead farmer and what he learned from them. Shay also explains some of the challenges in the ag industry, particularly when it comes to working with companies and people, and why the US safe practices system is broken and easily exploitable.

“You can’t expect the consumer to be willing to pay you a fair price for something if they don’t know what it takes.” – Shay Myers

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Pursuing his passion for flying by having a career in agriculture.
  • How his family responded to his desire to return to farming.
  • What vertical integration is in agriculture and some examples.
  • Some of the mistakes he’s made in the industry and what he learned from them.
  • The difference between a yam and sweet potato and why the US doesn’t grow yams.
  • What he believes is the most challenging hurdle in today’s ag industry.
  • Processing differences between mint oil and CBD oil.
  • His thoughts on growing our own food and importing them and why the US is at a disadvantage.
  • Eliminating labor and overhead costs with innovative technology.
  • Why the system surrounding safety practices is broken.

Connect with Shay Myers

This episode is sponsored by Indigo Ag

What if surviving a drought began with just a microbe? What could accessing 10,000 buyers do for your agriculture business? Indigo Ag helps farmers improve profitability, environmental sustainability, and consumer health by working with growers to reimagine every aspect of the agriculture industry – from soil to sale.

To learn more about Indigo Ag and their mission to improve the environment and agriculture industry, visit IndigoAg.com/Questions

Indigo. From questions… we grow.

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

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. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – Nematodes in Space with Dr Fatma Kaplan and Cameron Schiller of AstroNematode

Dr. Fatma Kaplan and Cameron Schiller founded Pheronym, an agricultural biotech company that provides safe, non-toxic, and innovative solutions to solve numerous agricultural problems. They also recently become involved in the development of space nematodes under the company AstroNematode. AstroNematode seeks to establish interstellar agriculture for Earth. The first launching experiment will happen this December and provide data to pave the way for sustainable agriculture outside of Earth.

Dr. Fatma and Cameron join me today to share their latest project, AstroNematode, and how it can help provide sustainable solutions for future generations. They describe the origins of this idea and the companies that helped fund the project. They discuss their tie-ins with private companies like Space-X and explain the experiments that will happen in space. They also share what it’s like to work on this project while running Pheronym at the same time.

“If you’re going to colonize the moon and Mars, we need to have agriculture.” – Dr. Fatma Kaplan

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • How the project got started and where they found funding.
  • The best qualities of the project and what it can provide data scientists.
  • Their contingencies when the project doesn’t work as planned.
  • The kind of animals NASA plans to take to Mars.
  • Why they think nematodes can survive and reproduce in space.
  • The upcoming launch and how the nematodes will be packaged.
  • Making sure the experiments are running smoothly while they remain on Earth.
  • How they manage to run a startup and the nematode project at the same time.

Resources Mentioned

Connect with Dr. Fatma Kaplan and Cameron Schiller

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

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. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – A New Ag Lending Model with Bill York of FarmOp Capital

Bill York is the Founding Partner, CEO, and Chief Credit Officer at FarmOp Capital, a lending company that provides funding primarily to farm operators. Their independent business model allows farmers to decide which suppliers to buy from. Bill has over 40 years of experience in the ag lending space and has held senior positions in various major ag lending companies. He specializes in business development, particularly increasing profits and assets of the businesses he works with.

Bill York joins me to describe what FarmOp Capital is and its efforts to provide farmers with a helping hand in receiving capital loans. He explains the trends that make their company ripe for the ag industry and the benefits of doing business with them from a farmer’s perspective. He also shares the criteria and requirements they have for their customers and explains what sets their company apart from traditional lending companies.

“If you’re able to get a loan that is timely and adequate to meet all of your operating needs, you’re better able to purchase inputs efficiently to buy the optimum level of inputs and actually reduce your costs.” – Bill York

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Converging trends that make the industry perfect for FarmOp Capital.
  • How FarmOp works and the services they offer.
  • How soon farmers should seek a loan to benefit the most from them.
  • The customers they are targeting for the loan services they offer.
  • The kind of crop materials they help farmers finance.
  • Working directly with the customer and the team they assembled for the job.
  • Transitioning from big agricultural lending companies to working with a startup.
  • Why it will be difficult to have competition in what they do.
  • The difference between the typical loan application and what they offer.
  • Assessing the current farm-risk situation and his outlook.

Connect with Bill York:

We Are a Part of a Bigger Family! 

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. 

Join the Conversation!

To get your most pressing ag questions answered and share your perspective on various topics we’ve discussed on the Future of Agriculture podcast, head over to SpeakPipe.com/FutureofAg and leave a recorded message!

Share the Ag-Love! 

Thanks for joining us on the Future of Agriculture Podcast – your spot for valuable information, content, and interviews with industry leaders throughout the agricultural space! If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please subscribe on iTunes and leave your honest feedback. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your favorite social media spots! 

Learn more about AgGrad by visiting: 

Future of Agriculture Website

AgGrad Website

AgGrad on Twitter AgGrad on Facebook AgGrad on LinkedIn AgGrad on Instagram

Future of Agriculture Podcast – AI for Precision Ag Decision Support with Anastasia Volkova of FluroSat