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Guest expert, Jeff Hake joins The Grower and The Economist to share his experience working in a multi-generational, multi-business, family farming and food production business. Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains is a specialty fruits and grains farm on historic Route 66 in central Illinois, using organic practices. Funks Grove Pure Maple Syrup se…
 
This is the second part of a two-part series on the end of Just-in-Time production. Businesses are used to operating lean, with little inventory. They could purchase the inputs they needed on short notice. After months of higher prices and supply chain disruptions businesses are not only facing higher prices but also lack of availability of critica…
 
"The pandemic might be winding down, but the disruptions are here to stay." To be successful in business many companies are lean. They don't hold excess inventory or supplies. This has worked for decades. For example, if the plastic on the greenhouse rips the grower goes to the hardware store and replaces it easily. Today, almost every industry is …
 
This week, guest expert Keith Bemerer an Inside Sales Representative from Prospiant, Inc. joins The Grower and The Economist to talk about greenhouses and more specifically why all greenhouses are not the same. Bemerer not only provides a brief history of greenhouse designs, but he explains which greenhouses are ideal for which farmers. When should…
 
The pandemic laid bare the two parallel food and agricultural supply chains that operate below the radar in the United States. Dr. Jeffery Dorfman’s research highlighted that most of the produce Americans eat goes through a restaurant or institutional supply chain, not through grocery stores. Adding further insights into why lockdown was so difficu…
 
Peter Konjoian and Thomas Ford met at the University of Maryland many years ago. They reconnected over Thomas’ recent article in E-Gro, titled Emerging Threat to Greenhouse Profitability and it is Not a Pest or Disease. He was referring to higher costs of production and supply chain disruptions that have left growers with the basic supplies they ne…
 
We continue our conversation with Greta Zarro and Ben Tyler of Unadilla Community Farm. In this bonus episode we dive a little bit deeper into permaculture practices, how agroforestry helps environmental and economic sustainability, and what steps farmers can take to create closed-loop systems in their region. This quick conversation is informative…
 
Peter describes the work of Greta Zarro and Ben Tyler of Unadilla Community Farm as “noble work”. In addition to having a beginning farming program, distributing a veggie box and growing over 230 different fruits, vegetables, herbs, and mushrooms, Unadilla is also conducting cutting edge research on dynamic accumulators. We learn that dynamic accum…
 
Decades ago, a professor told Peter to eat less meat and more plants. It might have taken 30 years, but now this message is coming from all different directions. On a recent trip to KFC, Peter tried their plant-based alternative-chicken products and mostly enjoyed it. There are more options today, but there are also more ways to grow crops today. M…
 
This week, Johann Buck is the Director of Technical Services & Innovation at BioAg joins The Grower and The Economist as our guest expert. BioAg offers biologicals that include soil amendments, biostimulants, and biologicals. Dr. Buck explains that we've gained a lot of knowledge about what soil is and how it is important to for the plants. Control…
 
Today, we finish our discussion with guest expert Zachary Grant on his work as a Cook County Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator. We explore the difference between low-capital and high-capital urban agriculture and how to convert the new farmers that take Zachary's classes into long-term producers. We dig into different ownership models, sc…
 
Guest expert, Zachary Grant join's The Grower and The Economist for this special two-part, 50th episode special on local food systems and small farms. Peter is always looking to increase the amount of local food communities eat. Zachary makes Peter's day when he shares that with urban agriculture cities like Detroit and Chicago could meet 75% of th…
 
Have you just recently found this podcast? This is a great episode to start with. Peter and Michelle talk about what they learned in 2021 and give a recap of the dozen or so amazing guests that joined the show. They also share the things they are looking forward to next year. If you hear about an episode you like, please go back and have a listen. …
 
This week, guest expert Chris Laughton joins The Grower and The Economist. Chris got is undergraduate degree in horticulture and his graduate degree in applied and resource economics, making him the perfect guest for our two-sided episode. Chris is the Director of Knowledge Exchange at Farm Credit East, where he writes and speaks on topics relating…
 
This week's guest expert is Dr. Maria Marshall. She is a professor at Purdue University and the James and Lois Ackerman Endowed Chair in Agricultural Economics. Dr. Marshall brings her expertise on rural business development to The Grower and The Economist. Many small businesses are family businesses, including the two businesses that your hosts gr…
 
Peter and I talk about the economics of farms donating excess. We cover the tax implications as well as the emotional value we get when we contribute to our communities. We touch on when it makes sense and when it might not make sense for a farm. As well as best practices. This episode is re-aired. It was produced before Thanksgiving 2020.…
 
Michelle and Peter continue their discussion about a Washington Post article about food inflation. Today, they explore how small and medium size growers can adapt to a high inflation environment. Small businesses are agile and able to adopt quickly, giving them an advantage over bigger players that take longer to adjust. We focus specifically on gr…
 
The Washington Post recently had an article titled: Here’s why your food prices keep going up, that impacts all growers and consumers. Peter and Michelle take the next two episodes to breakdown this article paragraph by paragraph and tell you what it means to you and your business. Learn the basics about inflation and what's driving up food prices.…
 
Andrew Ogden is this week's guest expert. He is a plant breeder and a horticulturalist by training, but didn't grow up on a farm. For over a decade he has owned and operated a farm in Costa Rica. He went back to school because he wanted to empirically test many of the organic methods, which would ultimately help growers. This summer he completed hi…
 
This week guest expert, Daniel J Jacques Grower Service Manager from Sun Gro Horticulture. Dan provides an overview of how growers can use superior quality peat moss, peat-based and bark-based horticultural growing products. First, we dig into the differences between these products. Then we talk about industry trends including use in sustainable ag…
 
Not every flower or vegetable that comes from the farm has equal value. The time of year, size of the fruit, and its grade factor into the value. With each item farmers calculate the crop's value and then decide what to do. Sometimes the best end up in the farmer's house. Other times, they choose to sell it for the highest profit. Other times, toma…
 
Michelle and Peter dig into resources that growers can depend on for up-to-date, verified information to grow and manage their businesses. We cover Land Grant Universities, Cooperative Extension, and Grower Associations. These tools and resources provide ongoing learning, cutting edge research, tools to improve your business, and networking opportu…
 
Guest Expert Michelle Jones of The Ohio State University explains biologicals and their role in improving plant quality during production and after harvest. The benefits for growers and consumers are large. We discuss the possibilities of lower fertilizer and water use as the federal government limits water withdrawals from the Colorado River Basin…
 
This week guest expert Dr. Bridget Behe joins The Grower and The Economist. Dr. Behe is a horticultural market researcher, a speaker, and the host of Podcast Marketing Munchies. She shares her research on why consumers buy horticultural products and why demand increased during the pandemic. Dr. Behe also shares valuable insights on how garden cente…
 
Farm and agricultural business constantly struggle to find unskilled labor. That's why over 250,000 visas are issued annually for farm work. While unskilled labor is a commonly discussed challenge within agriculture there might be a bigger issue that is not being discussed - the lack of skilled labor. This week, Peter and Michelle examine where ski…
 
This week's guest expert is Dan Miller, founder of Steward a is a private lending partner, financing the growth of regenerative farms and sustainable producers through simple, flexible business loans. Dan walks us through his connection to farming, how Steward works, and some recent success the company has experience. These loans help regenerative …
 
Guest expert Ariana Torres, Assistant Professor in the Departments Horticulture & Landscape Architecture and Agricultural Economics from Purdue University joins us to discuss diversification, marketplaces changes she's seen during COVID and non-traditional markets that producers can sell into. Ariana's expertise draws on her experience working on h…
 
After a short break, The Grower and The Economist is back! This week, we welcome guest expert Lee Wonders, the National Sales Manager for Dosatron International. Lee shares his 20+ years of horticulture experience with our listeners. Before working at Dosatron he was a nursery grower, owner, and manager. Lee explains what water powered dosing techn…
 
This episode of features guest expert Professor Alicia L. Rihn of the University of Tennessee's Institute of Agriculture and her research into what consumers want and what they are willing to pay for. Consumer demographics as well as regional influences impact what consumers are looking for from producers and what they will pay for it. Alicia's bac…
 
Peter and Michelle check back in with Brian Coppom, Executive Director of the Boulder County Farmers' Market. Nearly a year ago, the pandemic forced the market to reinvent itself. Farmers' markets are often a social outing where friends and families hangout outside, eat, and purchase local offerings. With COVID restrictions in place, Brian and his …
 
Growing crops is a journey that requires continuous learning, flexibility, and a roadmap. Growers can be beginners or experts, hobbyist or business owners. Regardless of where you are, there is always a next level. To find that next level, you have to know what your next goal is. Rene shares his goal of getting the most out of his garden. To achiev…
 
The Grower & The Economist welcomes Rene Rawhouser back for a two-part conversation about preparing for the 2021 season. Rene covers topics everything from crop scheduling, excitement around the newest seed catalogue, to his basement germination room. You will see that from home gardeners to commercial growers the tools are the same (a schedule is …
 
Growing and selling crops is a complex equation. Horticulture and business must combine to make a profitable business. Crop marketing means different things to different people, but in the industry all the terms are often combined. Michelle breaks down the different meanings of crop marketing and then dives into how growers can drive success by app…
 
In the last episode, Peter talks about the importance of having a greenhouse to add some control and predictability to your operation. The level of control that controlled environment agriculture may not be fully recognized by most people. With more than a foot of snow outside, Peter is growing cocoa trees in his Massachusetts greenhouse. This is i…
 
This conversation started as a look back at the last eight months of The Grower and The Economist. Peter and Michelle each highlighting some of the lessons learned from 2020. The conversation quickly evolves into thinking about 2021. We start the year off with a huge lesson from Peter. To be successful, farmers and greenhouse operators need to have…
 
Michael Cardenas and Jason Green from Heilux, Creators of LumaFilm® and GrowFilm® Brands of Products are this week's guest experts on The GATE. They share how a jewelry story light found it's way into agriculture and is now used by greenhouses, vertical farms, and even by home growers. It's used by growers of food and cannabis alike, because accord…
 
This week, Peter and Michelle are joined by the owners of Bartlett Instruments Company, Dave Bartlett and Molly Dishman. This family owned company has been a manufacturer of instrumentation equipment and controls for over 70 years. We discuss how a family owned business compete and thrive in this space. Plus, Peter and Dave reminisce about where te…
 
Beth Scheckelhoff is an Extension Educator with OSU's extension service and this week's guest expert. Beth explains the ins and outs of food safety. She works with farmers that sell everything from food to ornamentals. She gives them the tools, training, and advice they need to help keep employees and customers safe. COVID has increased our collect…
 
Many small farms donate extra produce to local food banks and other charities. Can this be a good business decision? Or do some growers use it to hide losses? Michelle & Peter dig into some of the benefits and discuss how to record the donates so you know how profitable your operation is. Happy Thanksgiving from The Grower & The Economist…
 
J. Paul Brentlinger is the CEO of CropKing Inc and our guest expert this week. He shares how CropKing works to educate growers as well as the 2020 trends he has seen this year. Some of the growers he works with had to pivot in March and April but were able to adapt and grow their businesses throughout the summer and fall. We also talk about automat…
 
Good bookkeeping is critical to running a profitable business. In the last episode, we covered fixed costs. Now it's time to understand variable costs. What are variables cost? When should you stock up on inputs that are on sale? When should you keep your money and cash and deploy it later? Michelle and Peter provide practical examples to keep this…
 
This is the first of a two-part discussion about cost accounting. We start with fixed costs. What are they? How do growers think about them? How can growers use better understanding of fixed costs to improve their profitability and make better business decisions? We include on-farm and off-farm examples to help better explain these concepts. Next t…
 
This week's guest expert is Brian Krug, Greenhouse Technology Leader at Corteva Agrisciences. When Brian & Peter met, Brian made the rookie mistake of taking Peter's advice without ever testing the new technique on a small portion of his greenhouse. Years later, they've presented together many times on why trailing is important for growers and best…
 
Labor Day weekend is the end beginning of the end of the summer season. Peter and Michelle look back at the last 6 months and discuss how the COVID pandemic changed the food system and created new opportunities for small and medium sized farms. It's been a difficult year, with a lot of transitions. Peter and Michelle learned a lot from recent Guest…
 
Guest Expert Mario Ortez is a PhD Student at Purdue University in the Department of Agricultural Economics. Mario joins Michelle and Peter to talk about his family coffee farm in Nicaragua and his decision to start producing and selling specialty beans. He grew up on a farm that grew commodity beans. After studying agribusiness and becoming the own…
 
Natalie Olofsson interviews her friend Sophie Gregoretti who is president of their high school bee club, a position she never expected to have before her freshman year. Sophie does not come from a farming or conservation background and she stumbled into the club. Now she teaches students about bees and their importance in our food system. Michelle …
 
Where do we learn about food and nutrition? Who's responsibility is it to teach our children about food and nutrition? The fact that 7% of American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows according to the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy found, suggests that there are information gaps. Formal education is limited, schools teach less than …
 
In Part 1 with Rene Rawhouser, she shared why he gardens and how he got started. When gardening there is always something new to learn. Rene shares a few of his favorite grower resources and some of the changes he's made over the last ten years to help meet the demands of his consumers. In the beginning Peter helped Rene accelerate his growing conf…
 
According to Brent Preston of The New Farm, a gardener grows food and a farmers grows and sells food. This week's guest expert is Rene Rawhouser blurs the line. He is an avid gardener, who feeds 15 people on his 2,500 square feet of land. Like commercial growers he needs to think about crop schedules, extending his crop season, and rapidly changing…
 
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