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Dirt Road Discussions

Author: Idaho Farm Bureau Federation

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This podcast will surprise you! It is not your ordinary farm podcast. These are fascinating stories, from technology to human interest, where we talk to captivating people who are changing the landscape of the world around us. Hosted by the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation.
41 Episodes
We live in a world of information overload. Unfortunately, not all information is accurate. Farmers now have the added job of addressing misinformation on agriculture practices that fills our social media channels daily. Shay Meyers, CEO of Owyhee Produce and social media influencer, shares his experiences of leveraging social media to counter false narratives and promote his family's operations.
A Farm In The Bay

A Farm In The Bay


Clams and Oysters aren't your traditional farm operation. Your farm may be under 4 feet of water or 6 inches of water depending on the tide. Kyle Sturgis, Farm Manager with Shore Breeze Farms LLC, teaches us more about this aquatic venture to meet the needs of seafood lovers everywhere.
Bugs: Friend or Foe?

Bugs: Friend or Foe?


Why have we been taught to fear bugs in general? Is it a cultural thing, or DNA thing? Introducing Jason Thomas, a University of Idaho Extension entomologist. He loads his vehicle with all kinds of little creatures and takes them to schools with a mission to help people know how to interact with our bug world. He has a message for everyone the next time they pick up a shoe to squash anything that scurries near the house.Link to the Idaho Insect Identification Website: insectid.uidaho.eduFind out more about the Pest Friends Board Game by emailing Jason Thomas as
Whether you are spitting out sunflower seeds at a ball game or walking by a 13ft flower, running a sunflower farm has a fascinating story. Bethany Gotts, the owner of Quey's Maze, has a passion for sunflowers and wanted to bring that to the public for a different spin on agritourism. She hosted the first year of the Quey's Maze Sunflower Festival, where people can come to take photos among the flowers and even take some home with them.
Mushrooms are easy to grow, but hard to master. They find their way to your salad and burger, and yet over 50% of specialty mushrooms consumed in the United States are imported. Luc Lalire, CEO,  and Will Beeson, COO, with MycoLogic want to help Americans learn and be able to grow mushrooms locally. From Hollywood myths to unknown facts, you will be amazed at how much you never knew about this fungi.
Crowds have gathered all over the world to watch cranes lift an entire farm unit off of a semi-truck as it is being delivered to a city, resident, or school. Those who thought farming wasn't possible for them can now hook in water and electricity to these freight farms and it's time to grow food! Dave Harris, Head of Plant Sciences, and Brooke Smith Account Executive of Freight Farms tell us how over 600 of these new-age farms have been delivered all over the world.
Sherri Staheli with Staheli Farms never imagined parents would pay her to have their city kids come out and do chores on her farm.  This has led to "Farm Camp" where kids build memories, interact with animals, do chores, and learn to develop a work ethic. (Special rerelease) 
Restaurants need food from farmers and farmers need restaurants to sell their food, right? Sounds simple, but it all got a little crazy for everybody when Covid hit in 2020 and supply chains were disrupted. It was realized there was a gap between the farmers and restaurant owners.From those tough times came a new group called FARE Idaho that is working to bring local farmers and restaurants into one association. Three years later, Katie Baker, Executive Director, shares how far they have come and how they hope to change future connections between these industries
It Was Mint To Be

It Was Mint To Be


Fields of mint may look a little like hay, and get harvested a little like hay, but when one barrel of mint oil is the final product from four acres of harvest, you quickly realize this is no ordinary crop. From chewing gum to toothpaste, ice cream to candy canes, mint is part of our daily lives. Del Christensen, area manager for Labbeemint, takes us through the process of how mint makes it from the field to our store shelves.
What happens when you ask farmers and ranchers what they want in an ideal dream truck with luxuries such as boot washers, dog boxes, the works? This is where the Diesel Brothers make wishes into realities. They have not only made over 100 customized trucks but find ways to give them away for free.Hans Peterson, manager of Diesel Brothers, talks about working on John Wayne's truck, flying a Blackhawk helicopter, and most importantly working with partners like Pivot Bio to give away the Ultimate Farm and Ultimate Ranch trucks to a deserving farmer and rancher.
When you haul a 4-ton potato around the United States, people naturally follow you off the highway to get pictures of themselves with this spectacle. Everyone has the same question, "Is it real?" Laura Martin and Sue Kennedy, Tour Directors, take us on a journey of this famous Idaho potato truck from prom parades to barge rides around the Statue of Liberty. Hear how it all got started and what we can expect in the future.
Who would have thought a decade ago that farmers today can place a full 10-gallon tank on the back of a 225 lbs. drone to place applications on select areas of fields with farmers at the control. Taylor Moreland, the founder of Agri Spray Drones, tells the story of how this technology is advancing, how it is meant to work in conjunction with larger ground equipment, and how these new tractors of the sky are currently being accepted by farmers and ranchers. On a personal note, Taylor also shares how his love of mechanics led him to develop an apparatus for his son with spina bifida which is now a non-profit endeavor for others with the same condition.
Traditional farm fields stretch north and south and east and west, but some are looking upward to grow crops. Such is the case with Vertical Harvest Farms located in famous Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Nona Yehia, CEO and co-founder, tells the story of how they worked with city officials to design and grow food in the first vertical (3-story) greenhouse in the Northern Hemisphere. Despite getting down to 40 degrees below zero, this facility grows food 365 days a year with the help of a special workforce focused on individuals with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.
A phenomenon spreading across all demographics is video games that allow players to realistically experience farming. One of the most popular games is called Farming Simulator by GIANTS Software. This impact of this game has inspired some players who weren't in agriculture to become real-life farmers. Of course, some with agriculture ties are also getting in on the fun. Kermit Ball, Community Coordinator, takes us behind the scenes of this virtual farming world.
Five Marys Farms

Five Marys Farms


The Heffernan farm family (yes, there really are 5 Marys) dreamed of taking what they learned from the restaurant business and moved it into raising and producing beef among many other ventures.  This is their story of starting over 20 businesses while achieving their goal of raising four daughters with agricultural roots.
Once thought to be a wild horse that was domesticated, the White Horse of Black Daisy Canyon is said to have escaped a hunting camp 25 years ago and has since survived on its own back in the rugged mountains around Mackay, Idaho. Locals and out-of-towners watch every spring for this icon to reappear to add to the White Horse's longevity and legacy. Macky resident and White Horse admirer, Barbara Harp, tells us this amazing story and how they know it is the same horse.
Alex McCoy will be the first to admit that an ostrich farm or ostrich meat is not mainstream today and may conjure up some interesting conversation. People are more familiar with a traditional Fourth of July burger or chicken sandwich. However, after a culinary encounter in South Africa, Alex thought about it through the lens of nutrition. Ostrich meat is a red meat that is virtually fat-free and has more iron and less cholesterol than any other red meat. Along with husbandry manager, Sarabeth Henderson, they talk about what it takes to run an ostrich farm and take proper care of these quirky animals.
"Leaving The Tech Sector For Garlic, Goats, & So Much More"Real-life sisters Venise Cunningham and Belinda Kelly used to travel a distance to work in the tech sector, but life changed with the purchase of 10 acres of land. The problem: neither of them knew anything about farming, so off to Google and mentors they went to learn how to grow something to sell. Today, they have developed a host of companies. They tell their story of family, covid, learning, and small-business survival.TikTok: @simplegoodnesssis 
Ask any farm kid from the last 50 years how much they liked rock picking and see their reaction. Most would say it was pretty fun for the first 15 minutes and miserable for the rest. Today, farmers can't afford to have sizeable rocks damage their increasingly expensive farm equipment in the fields. As with all aspects of agriculture, farms are looking to automation. Trevor Thompson, President of TerraClear Technologies, takes us through developing drone technologies that see rocks from the sky and machines that extract them from the ground with minimal disruption to the soil.
Millions of books are sold every year with all kinds of glamorous tips and gimmicks to get people to think the food they eat will give them what they want. Unfortunately, many of these fad diets aren't sustainable. Sheri Glazier is a farmer and nutritionist known as the Dirt Road Dietician. On this podcast, she walks us through how people can live life, not be too extreme, and use basic principles of nourishment to have good health for themselves and their families.
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