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Author: Kyle Barnett

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CropTalk #KyleTalksAgTech with Kyle Barnett is about shedding light on the controlled environment agriculture field and the technology that enables people to grow with a whole new level of precision and success.

Kyle Barnett speaks with CEA leaders, entrepreneurs, consultants, growers, and start-ups that are pushing the limits on how we grow. Whether growing in the greenhouse, vertical farm, or indoor grow operation, this podcast shines the spotlight on people moving the industry ahead and their unique journeys.

For newcomers to this emerging niche or established players looking for extra tips, motivation, and a view at what the future might hold for controlled ag., this podcast is for you!
219 Episodes
Our host, Charlie McKenzie, shares his passion for connecting with other growers in this kickoff episode of the CropTalk podcast. Charlie talks about why podcasting is important to the modern agricultural business leader and how he sees the CropTalk podcast as a tool to influence and innovate across the industry.
Charlie's former mentor, Ian Patric, is the guest on our first full-length episode of the CropTalk Podcast. Ian is a master poinsettia grower from Smith Gardens in Aurora, Oregon, and shares with us the top three things he’s learned from this year’s season. 
On this episode of the CropTalk podcast, our host, Charlie McKenzie, talks with John Morgan of Green Circle about the challenges he faces when growing long-term crops and his creative solutions to help nurture that process.
When it comes to GMO’s, there’s plenty of value to each side of the story. On this episode of the CropTalk podcast, Charlie chats with Joe Cunliffe, Assistant Grower at Smith Gardens in Aurora, OR. He shares the unseen value in GMO’s and just how they are changing the world for the better.
Are you a grower seeking a promotion? Start by understanding the ins and outs of the entire industry--not just your intersection with it. Chris Vande-Stowe, COO at Leaf Express, joins Charlie on this episode of CropTalk to discuss why it’s important to understand the entirety of your business. He share's his three H's of success: Humble, Hungry, Hustle and how knowledge of business development is your key to promotion.  Listen in!
On this episode of the CropTalk podcast, our host, Charlie McKenzie, talks with Chandler Bennett of Parabug about the challenges of biocontrol and how the solution of a flying drone is making it efficient and economical.
On this episode of CropTalk, Charlie chats to David Gilmore about the revolutionary benefits of installing green roofs. From economic savings to vital environmental returns, even community betterment, David shares critical insights about why green roofs are worth their investment. 
On this episode of CropTalk, Charlie talks with Aaron Fields about why crop scheduling is important, the risks and challenges associated with it, and how running an efficient schedule benefits your credibility and business.
Austin Kasso found his passion for agriculture when he was 16. Originally from New York, Austin worked with his cousins on a farm in North Carolina in the summertime, where they had hundreds of fruits, veggies and chickens, a few cows, seven goats, and a large pond of catfish. “That summer was all it took to solidify my career path. I was set on figuring out a way to bring this kind of abundance, experience, and healthy living to the masses”, said Austin. Our most recent guest on the CropTalk podcast, Austin’s mission is to grow the best quality produce locally while creating a sustainable foundation for generations to come. Austin also talked with us about benefits of vertical aeroponics, challenges facing the local food market, and expectations we can have of the local food market in the future.
Your pest control program is only as good as your worst scout. Your scout is your eyes, your ears, your nose in relation to your crops, so why aren’t more growers more committed to hiring great ones? On this special solo episode, host Charlie McKenzie talks through the 3 personality traits he’s found are common to every great pest scout.
Results are what count. On today’s episode of CropTalk we are joined by 4th generation farmer, Joe Swartz, whose growing techniques and outcomes prove his hydroponics expertise. Joe is celebrating his 35th year as a full time, year-round grower of herbs and vegetables, and is also the current VP at American Hydroponics, one of the leading hydro-systems equipment manufacturers in North America. Joe came on the show to share his time-tested core principles of growing production.
Agriculture education starts at the dinner plate and moves backwards. Teaching the next generation what they're eating and where their food comes from is invaluable to creating better food consumers and, ultimately, a healthier community.  On this week's episode, Charlie talks with Tim Downing, farmer and agriculture educator about the need for connection between consumer and producer and what role our education system can play in creating students who are informed and equipped to make better food choices.
Your business is limited by your capacity. Want exponential growth? Give people a mission around your business that they can believe in. Develop leaders who feel that mission in their DNA and let them take over the day to day details of your business so you can focus on the bigger picture. You can do more, but not without empowering others to do the same. Today’s guest on this special episode of the CropTalk podcast is Mick Donahue, co-owner of North Carolina Farms. Mick is a grower, but shares some amazing insight on leadership, business, people, and processes, based on his time working as a missionary.
Having a great team has more to do with you than you think. If you’re not actively seeking to better yourself, you’re not only cheating yourself out of growing as a leader, your team is missing out on the opportunity to grow, too. Leaders who seek to replicate themselves continually learning, while providing opportunity and example for their team to do the same, are creating a group of people who are as invested in their business as they are. And that, as a leader, is an invaluable resource. We’re back with part two of this special episode of the CropTalk podcast with Mick Donahue, co-owner of North Carolina Farms. Mick is a grower, but shares some amazing insight on leadership, business, people, and processes, based on his time working as a missionary.
Frances (Franny) Tacy is a hemp farmer, educator, speaker, product developer, and distributor of Franny's Farmarcy hemp products in Leicester, NC. Tacy has a background in forestry, education, and pharmaceuticals and runs Franny’s Farm with her family. It is a working hemp farm, goat farm, and agritourism destination designed to educate and inspire people. Tacy is a mover and a shaker in the movement to bring a wide variety of hemp products to a growing market.
Start clean. Stay clean. It’s more than a mantra; it’s the only way to grow. Jon Vaught, PhD, the CEO of Front Range Biosciences, is on today’s episode of CropTalk. Dr. Vaught is using his expertise in organic chemistry to rescue and strengthen orphan crops like coffee, hemp, and cannabis, from disease through clean stock technology. By growing plants using tissue culture and greenhouse practices like integrated pest management and fertility practices, Front Range is able to create crops that are free of pathogens, pests.
Agriculture is about inputs, yields, and profit margins--like any business, it is all about numbers. Fortunately, because the numbers on agriculture are so granular, you can easily create powerful data analytics models using tools like Microsoft Excel’s pivot tables.   To learn how becoming a pivot table master can improve your bottom line, I spoke with Gordon Rowe III. Gordon works as Special Ops at North Creek Nurseries and is the President at growE Solutions. Using data modeling techniques found on sites like, Rowe was able to make huge gains in his ag business, which is good news for all of us.
How do you recover an art and craft that has been lost to history?   After almost a century of laws prohibiting the propagation and use of all kinds of cannabis products, including hemp, generations of institutional knowledge have been lost.   Today’s producers are having to rediscover and relearn old techniques, or reinvent the wheel with new technology.   Andrew Bish is the COO of Bish Enterprises and the CEO of Hemp Harvest Works, and he is at the forefront of this exciting work.   His companies have been inventing large-scale hemp harvesting equipment to help resolve some existing bottlenecks in terms of separation of flour from stalk.   He also wants to keep people safe while still delivering a high quality result at a considerably faster pace.   He has exciting ideas for small growers and large.
Why are we still an extraction economy, pulling non-renewable resources, like gas and oil, from the ground?   Hemp can be grown quickly, with little water, using renewable energy.   Zev Paiss, director of Colorado operations for Universal Hemp Supply Co., a sustainability consultant educator for about 35 years, was on the podcast today and talked about the promising future of hemp.   Listen in as we chat about how hemp cultivation is moving our society forward into a more eco-friendly harvest economy.
Farming is a gamble.   Scott Propheter, VP of agronomy and outreach at Criticality, and ex-Marine, above and beyond, believes in transparency in agricultural traceability as means to increase your odds of a great crop and happy customers.   Criticality tracks the entire life cycle of the product, before it ever goes to a farmer to get put into a field. They gather several hundred data points throughout the growing season, working day-to-day with growers.   There are quality metrics at delivery and all through the processing phase, all the way through to the end products. This results in a comprehensive certificate of analysis per batch that is available on the Criticality website to the consumer.
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