DiscoverUnited We Ag: 50 States of Ag
United We Ag: 50 States of Ag
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United We Ag: 50 States of Ag

Author: Derek Brazda

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Listen along as we travel across all 50 states, speaking with state representatives, ag professors, growers and agricultural business owners learning what makes each unique. Each episode features a discussion around the facts and stats of the state's ag economy as well as an in-depth discussion with a local farmer or business owner.
31 Episodes
In this episode, we start off with the Assistant Commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Sandy Stewart to discuss how the Tar Heel state is one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the entire nation.In part 2, I speak with Linwood Scott, owner and vice president of Scott Farms in North Carolina. While Scott Farms might be internationally known as a producer of sweet potatoes, in this segment we learn all about how to grow tobacco.
Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson drops by to tell us about the surprisingly diverse agricultural landscape of Mississippi and touches on everything from catfish to world renowned watermelons.In part 2, Andy Prosser, operations manager for Simmons Catfish gives us the rundown on anything and everything you need to know to raise farm fresh catfish.
In this episode, we start off with a visit with the current Director of Agriculture for the Nebraska Department of Ag, Steve Wellman to learn about the current state of farming in NE.Later on, we discuss everything from irrigation, commercial vs seed corn growing and pigs with Lukas Fricke from Ulysses, NE.
In today's episode of United We Ag, I sit down with Russell Tolander, the managing director for the Dallas based firm Capital Alliance Corporation. Russ and I discuss a little about what makes the ag technology sector such a hot place for venture capital right now before jumping into a webinar put together by Oaklins that highlights the current state of ag investing from all over the world. A global team of investment bankers give us short snapshots from different regions as well as different segments of the agricultural marketplace.
In this episode of United We Ag, I visit with Joshua Hooson, founder of Bonsai-En and host of the Modern Bonsai podcast. Josh walks us through the intricate details that go into practicing bonsai and how he incorporates different modern horticulture principles into the ancient form of art. Joining me in studio is my brother, Jim, who has been practicing bonsai with Nebraska native trees for the past year. Jim, Josh and I cover everything from how to properly grow a bonsai tree, what resources are out there for people wanting to pick up the hobby and how bonsai can be a great outlet for achieving inner peace and mental relaxation.
Taken from a livestream webinar from the Metos Knows series, this episode brings back Dr Cale Bigelow from Purdue University to talk about some strategies around irrigation and fertility management to keep your turf grass green all throughout the season. Additionally, we are joined by Gottfried Pessl, Founder and CEO of Pessl Instruments. Pessl is an Austrian based IoT company that creates monitoring devices specifically for turf management. Gottfried talks a little about what tools that METOS offers to help golf course superintendents stay ahead of any environmental risks they face throughout the season.
On this episode of United We Ag, I get the chance to visit with founder and CEO of Tractor Zoom, Kyle McMahon, in his brand new office in Des Moines, IA. Tractor Zoom has taken the used equipment industry by storm in the past few years as they have created a comprehensive database of almost 500 auctions from around the USA. In doing so, they have empowered farmers from all over to have more visibility of what used equipment is available to them, regardless of location. Additionally, the Iron Comps platform has digested all the auction data and created one of the most accurate databases for assessing the valuation of used equipment available.
On today's episode of United We Ag, I sit down with Daryl Andersen, the Water Resource Manager for the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District in Eastern Nebraska. Daryl and his team work with growers to manage water level and quality throughout their district. With irrigation being such a crucial activity through this area, the Lower Platte North NRD hosts ongoing trainings and certifications around the proper way to manage water usage, fertility, as well as erosion and alternative farming practices. Listen to Daryl explain the role of the NRD as it works with both farmers and the local communities to conduct intuitive research and education around how we can be more efficient with our water supply.
In today's episode of United We Ag, I sit down with Andrew Minarick. Andrew is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and during the week, his day job consists of him working with small ag businesses throughout the state to locate startup money for their operations. While that in itself is enough to be featured in an episode, what we spend our time talking about is his side business - Flyover Whiskey - located in North Bend, NE. Set up as a "distillery as a service" operation, Andrew takes corn in from local farmers and turns it into whiskey. Offering growers a tangible product that came directly from their field, Andrew works with the farmer to design the bottle logo to make both the process and the end result a unique tribute for the season. 
On today's episode of United We Ag, I sit down with Brent Adams, host of FastLine Fast Track. Brent has been a journalist covering everything from sports to business throughout his career. Two years ago, he launched one of the best new podcast in the agricultural market called FastLine Fast Track where he brings in farmers, equipment manufacturers, policy makers, market experts and many more to dive deep into the many different topics that effect farmers today. As someone who has been a mentor to me, he agreed to stop by and tell us a litte about his career and offers advice learned throughout his career.
On todays episode of United We Ag, I sit down with Maggie Bridge from Sam Bridge Nursery in Connecticut. Sam Bridge Nursery has been a staple of their community for over 90 years, with ties to the land going all the way back to the colonial era. Maggie tells us a little bit about her family run business, as well as some of the finer points around running a nursery. We also spend time talking about her work as the newly named president of the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association and what its like to be a social media Plant Influencer.
On todays episode of United We Ag, i sit down with Dr. Cale Bigelow, Professor of horticulture at Purdue University to discuss the ins-and-outs of how to properly manage all kinds of turf from your back yard, to large scale golf courses and sports fields. Cale gets in depth with the fascinating research he does at Purdue and debunks the biggest myths we've all  been told about taking care of your yards.
On today’s show, I sit down with Katie Kramer. Katie is the superintendent of Dismal River Golf Club in Mullen Nebraska. In recent decades, the Sandhills of western Nebraska have been become world renown for being some of the most beautiful courses around. Dismal river is no exception with both of its courses having been designed by golf legends. Katie and I spend time talking about her role as a course superintendent, and how her day to day job is more similar to a farmer than we both realized. We’ll talk about how she manages to stay on top of one of the biggest courses in the country, and what its like to be one of the only female superintendents in the entire state. 
On today's episode of United We Ag, I visit with Hovav Lapidot of Manna Irrigation. Manna is an Israeli based tech company that specializes in water management solutions via extensive crop and weather modeling and powered by satellite imagery. Back again on the show is Guy Ash, agrometeorologist from Pessl Instruments to discuss the issues we face when making irrigation management decisions, as well as what the future holds for growers to maintain our most precious natural resource... Water!
On today's episode, I caught up with Julie Bushell and Jerry Prange of Paige Wireless. As we've seen over the past several months, having reliable means of communication and internet connectivity are more paramount than ever before. The internet is no longer a luxury item, but required for our daily lives. Paige Wireless has spent the last few years targeting rural areas with easy, reliable and inexpensive means of farm data communications as well as broadband solutions. We'll talk a little bit about the work they've done in establishing a nearly border to border LoRaWAN network across the state of Nebraska as well as what they've set their sights on next.
On today's episode of United We Ag, I sit down with Dr, Gioia Massa and Matt Romeyn of the Kennedy Space Center. Gioia and Matt are plant scientists working on both the VEGGIE and Advanced Plant Habitat for astronauts aboard the International  Space Station to use for growing fresh produce in space! We talk a little bit about the process of growing food in the zero gravity environment. The challenges, the obstacles and the great opportunities. Later in the show, we talk a little bit about how citizen scientists at your local schools can get involved in helping NASA research the future of farming in space.
On this episode of United We Ag, I sit down with Tim Vala, owner and founder of the amazing Vala's Pumpkin Patch in Gretna, NE. In the 35 years since its inception, Tim and his family have taken his passion for growing things and education from a small 'you-pick' strawberry patch and roadside pumpkin sales from the bed of his truck to a 450 acre theme park, filled with attractions and entertainment. Hosting over 350,000 annual visitors in the months of September and October, Vala's offers haunted houses, animal attractions, pumpkin picking hayrack rides, and much more! Additionally, Vala's has quietly established themselves as the largest apple orchard in the state and now offer a full line of apple related treats and drinks, including their own line of hard cider. A definite staple for fall activities throughout Eastern Nebraska, Vala's has been rated as a top 15 pumpkin patch in the nation by the Travel Channel.
On this episode of United We Ag, I sit down the Kelli Foreman of the Kodiak Baptist Mission in Kodiak, AK. At KBM, Kelli and her team do a little bit of everything. The farm is not only constantly filled with the sights and sounds of the goats, horses, cows, pigs, chickens and the island's one and only mule, but also that of children! Kodiak Baptist Mission offers a wide range of youth programs ranging from preschool and kindergarten, after school activities and summer / specialty camps. In addition, they operate the only certified goat dairy in the state of Alaska. With a herd of cattle on a neighboring island to manage, as well as the day to day duties on the farm, the students stay outside all day learning the foundations of natural stewardship, caring for animals and applying lessons in faith to their day to day activities.
On Today’s episode of United We Ag, I visit with Nathan and Jason of Deepdale Farm of the North Norfolk Coast of England. Deepdale Farm is the epitome of a diversified farming operation as they grow crops, operate a hostel and camp site, run multiple markets and play host to a litany of festivals. We spend some time talking about their regenerative agriculture strategy and how they are managing to incorporate native habitats for the wildlife throughout their operation for the benefit of the ground, as well as the tourists.
On today's episode, I visit with Henry Roberts of Henry is an advocate for farmers everywhere to recognize the signs of mental health struggles and seek out help. He also is passionate about learning about the farming industry. Henry goes out of his way to educate himself with correct information, directly from farmers and producers, to help bridge the gap in communication with the consumer.Additionally, during the drive, I run a donation drive for Feeding America. The more donations that pile up, the hotter the wing I am forced to eat. 
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