Checking In With a Dozen Farmers (Episode 311 Transcript)

March 23, 2022

On any day or any week, you will find farmers in the US doing the full range of activities. Someone is planting while another is harvesting a crop. A farmer is headed to help livestock give birth while another loads a trailer headed to market. Land in one area shows the signs of drought stress while somewhere else a farmer wonders when the skies will clear.

Since this is National Ag Week, we wanted to bring you some of the stories directly from farms near and far. We hear about weather conditions, field work and general state of mind from farms coast-to-coast and in the heartland and north to south. We even have a few ag stories outside the US!

Hear the entire episode Celebrating National Ag Week and the Start of Spring on our site or in your favorite podcast app! This transcript was created by



week, farm, farmer, grow, year, crop, agriculture, cows, day, cam, spring, uk, food, fields, national, ag, people, check, flower, prices

Janice Person – Grounded by the Farm 00:03

Food is more than just what’s on our plate. It’s the places where it’s grown. It’s the people who grow it and so much more. Join me, Janice person, your host on grounded by the farm every other week as we talk about the foods we love. I’m not sure about you, but how many times have you gotten on social media or seen on the news that today is National blank day, some day, you’re not sure what it is, you’re not sure why it’s happening or anything. But other days, it’s a day or a week that’s honoring something that’s really close to home this week is National Agriculture week. And what I wanted to do was check in with a number of different farmers, and just sort of understand what all is happening in different places and at different times, not only around the country, but also around the world. And so I’ve asked several people to provide us a bit of an update on how things are going in their area. And we have a few of our previous international guests who sent in things and we asked them about whether they have something like agriculture week or something there. And here I am on Monday morning, March 21. I don’t know about all of you, but oh my god, I’m so happy spring is here. And the sun is out. We’ve got some rain coming. But it’s typical spring. And in the midst of all of this, I got the heads up on had done the new presidential action. And this happens every year for National Agriculture day. But I thought I would just read this first paragraph about what it’s about Ag Day and ag week. This starts that quote from the statement it is from President Biden. On National Agriculture day, we recognize the invaluable contributions of American farmers, farmworkers, ranchers, fishers, foresters, and other agricultural workers who practice their craft for generations and touch the lives of Americans every day. Their tireless efforts, growing crops, raising livestock and distributing food, fuel and fiber, sustain America and the entire world. They put meals on our plates, clothes on our backs, and roofs over our heads. Along the way America’s agricultural workers serve as stewards of the land, ensure the safety and health of animals, plants and people and strengthen our rural communities with economic opportunities. Now President Biden’s quote, this statement goes on to talk about, you know, what’s been happening over the last couple of years and working on resiliency in the food system and things along that line. I will put the link in the show notes. So feel free to check that out. But I just wanted to see what are different farmers doing what are they what do they have going on some of the people you’ll hear from our people you’ve heard from on the show previously. And you’re also going to hear from a couple of farmers that maybe I haven’t had a chance to talk to yet, or maybe grow something a little bit different, that I’m not sure how I’m going to work that into an episode quite yet, but I’ll get there eventually. Before we start the episode itself, I do want to say we’re going to take a really short break in episodes for just a few weeks, we’re going to come back, it’s still going to be season three. But without the spring excitement. I also want to get out of the office a little bit and get out again and be able to do some video and visit some people see what they’re doing. And so we’re gonna take just a couple of weeks off and be back soon. So please make sure you’re subscribed, we’ll be back. We do have some other stuff going up on our website. So you can always check that out at grounded by the farm calm in between each segment from a farmer. I’m just going to put a little bit of music to transition between each other so that you know when we’re about to hit another person’s. Okay, and with that, we’re going to go ahead and get started with the first farmer update. Let’s see what part of the country or the world we’re go into.

Rebecca Larson  04:34

Hey Danis This is Rebecca Larsen, the Chief Scientist from Western sugar cooperative. You may remember me from the episode we did on sugar, far as the sugar beet world right now we’re just wrapping up our 2021 campaign, which is the slicing of the sugar beets from last year that we’re turning into sugar. And we’re just getting ready to plant our 2022 crop coming up this April 2021 is the most normal year we’ve had in a really long time no major weather disruptions and really Good storage conditions. So we’re really hoping for more of the same this year. For us Ag Day is really every day where we’re trying to continually educate the public about the environmental winds that our farmers are having around soil and crop health. But a few growers from across the cooperative will take advantage of some of the Ag Day at the Capitol events and postings on social media to talk about their specific stories around sustainability. Personally, for me, there’s another sweet holiday on the horizon. And I’m really excited about getting the work they came dozens of bunny themed treats for our annual brunch and Easter egg hunt. Thanks for reaching out, and I hope that Adweek treats you out. Have a great day. Bye. Hey, everyone, this is Rachel Singa with melon one, you might remember me from the episode all about watermelon. Our watermelon operation is in full swing right now. We have all of our planting completed in Florida and we’re just beginning to plant in South Georgia. So we will slowly make our way up the East Coast, planning all of our farms as we go which will lead to a staggered out harvest season through the spring and summer, all the way through Labor Day. So they’ll be plenty of grown in the USA watermelon in your store soon. We’re gonna start our South Florida harvest in about two weeks. We hope you’re excited for him the same way we are. We hope it’s going to be another great season. Bye, y’all.

Ben Cross  06:23

Hi guys. My name’s Ben cross over here the other side of the pond in the UK on the south coast of England. You may remember my podcast talking about my British flowers rock campaign. I’m a fourth generation flower grower here at Crossman’s Flower nursery, and thought I’d give you an update as it’s your National Ag week. We’re here at the moment I’m sat in one of the greenhouses, gorgeous sunshine in here in down here in Sussex on the south coast of the UK. And the alstroemeria area is looking pretty dang good loads of nice shoots popping up from the soil. And it’s Mother’s Day here in the UK next week as well. So we’re very, very busy harvesting the crop processing the crop and get it getting it sent out to all our beautiful, lovely, lovely customers. So that’s what we’ve been doing recently. Winter weather we’ve got through we’ve only had two Frost’s here over the winter. And now we’re in spring. And that’s when we’re really going to be in season. So we harvest all year round. But we’ll be harvesting seven days a week, very, very soon do millions and millions of stems throughout the year, and 1000s of bunches a day. So really, really going very well here. Hope you’re having a good ag week. And yeah, we don’t actually celebrate any sort of horticulture agriculture, this side of the pond, but I do my British flowers rock campaign all year round. And I also invite the general public and we actually have tools of the rancher the flower ranch here as well. I promote British sustainable blooms flowers all year round. So if you want to know more about me, you can find me on Instagram at AlstroemeriaBen or you can type in Ben Cross into Instagram and you can find me that way. Keep rockin sustainable projects. Take it easy, guys. Bye.

Lauren Arbogast  08:16

Hey guys, good morning. This is Lauren Arbogast, you may remember me from the podcast about chickens and geese, and all things farm here in Virginia. I am excited that next week is National Ag week. So as a teacher, we do lots of fun stuff in the classroom to tie it in. Sometimes you have guest readers. But we always do a lot of stuff to connect the kids with the food and their fiber and where that comes from. So you might hear some pieces in the background losers a little chickens. I’m currently checking chickens right now, making sure that they are alright making sure they’ve got their food and their water. The AC isn’t turned on yet. The heat kind of is we’re enjoying some mild temperatures here in Virginia right now. On the beef guide. We all the cows have calves and they are just loving the new green grass at seminar and we’re still feeding a little bit of hay to help supplement make sure they like that what they need. But the cows are really excited about the green grass and the warmer temperatures. And so am I so looking forward to some more springtime and athletes summertime activities coming up. But yeah, we’re also watching some prices rise across the board on the farm, which is something that happens in all aspects of life. So the farm is no exception to that. But we are we just take it day by day and adjust as needed. We’re super flexible. But we also realized that the cost that we absorb we also may have to tackle take a tumor. So that’s just something that we take into account as we look at our products and things that come off the farm. Happy National Ag week. You guys have a great week.

Farmer Tom  09:57

On its Farmer Tom here, you may remember me For the episode on sheep, cheese and farmer time. Anyway, we’re sending you our greetings from here in the East of England. We’re right on the Great North, the Great North row where nearly 1000 years ago in September 1066, King Harold marched his army for having won the battle of Stamford Bridge in the north right past us here to battle Hastings in October 1066. Well, of course, he famously got shot in the eye with an error, but we are sending you our blessings from from here in the UK, we’re having a lovely dry spring, getting ready for small spring planting. We’ve been putting some fantastic soil conditioning bacteria and some nitrogen fixers on the soil this week. In fact, just to my side you can see the beginning of our community vegetable patch where we’re pooling our resources for 20 families producing all our veg hopefully from back here food is so important at the moment and so I’m really excited about national agri. We don’t really have that here in the UK. We’re back British farming day, but it’s so important. Our food is so important. Agriculture is so important the environment so important. So I wish you all the best from here in the UK. Take care yourselves bye for now.

Marie Bowers  10:58

Hi, this is Marie Bowers in Oregon, I grow grass seed used in cover crops, lawns and pastures for the sheep and the cows and everything else that eats grass. Oregon’s known for growing grass seed because we have really dry hot summers and really cool mild wet winters. And so it’s perfect growing conditions for grass seed. And we just have to deal with the rain in the mud this time of year. And we’ve actually gotten less rain than normal. But it’s still you know, rain still here and still raining in the springtime like it does in Oregon. You can see right now in some of the fields, they’re getting more of a yellowish tint to it because they’re right on nitrogen. And so that’s why we go on this time of year and spread the fertilizer. So greens back up and start growing to be harvested in June July, this time of year would get like short windows of opportunities to spread our fertilizer hoping for another dry week to finish spreading, because we’d like to get on before the end of April. And it’s raining today and there’s water. So right out of the fields. This year fertilizer prices are almost double. I was looking at my numbers. And last year we paid $389 a ton for spring fertilizer and then this year it’s $837 a ton. So I’m like calculating my fertilizer granulars down to the exact granular practically so I don’t get too much. And then the price of diesel is outrageous. I think today I could buy 10,000 gallons for $4. And I felt sick to my stomach in November when I paid $2.70 for 10,000 gallons of diesel now I feel really smart. Our price of Grassi hasn’t changed really since last year. And so last year prices were decent, but the prices of all of our inputs have gone up drastically which is not sustainable. I’m looking forward to getting fertilizing done so that I can go camping with the family go Easter egg hunting with my son. And then as a weird side hobby. I dabble in politics and I’m excited for this year’s primary race because I want my candidate win win register to vote.

Brian Scott  13:00

Hey, this is Brian Scott. I am a corn soybean popcorn and wheat farmer from Northwest Indiana. It’s a beautiful 70 degree day outside about to go back to 50s and gloomy and rainy. We’ve been kind of wet here as much as the rest of the country to the west of us has been dry so we’re kind of waiting on drying out our planter is ready to go we had some fertilizer run. Last week we’ve been spending a lot of our time taking advantage of the grain markets hauling grain we have in storage or forward contracting it for this summer as well as locking in some profits on the 22 crop that’s yet to be planted so in a little bit of a holding pattern now waiting on weather to kick off the 2022 planting season and then we will be off and rolling before we know that spring break this weekend. Our oldest boy is actually with his cousin down in Florida. Checking out the beach and the ocean and all that good stuff down there and we are picking our youngest and another nice to Nashville. The second half of this week’s will be spring break and then back to the farm to the end of March.

Dr. Priyanka Gupta  14:20

Hello everyone. This is Priyanka Gupta. I recently moved from Morocco to Canada. Here I started working on a new project that is the protection of V across the America against the challenges of climate change. You may remember me from the episode which focuses on grass pea. The good news is this now grasp is growing in America. I would like to express my sincere thanks to spread awareness of this potential crop for climate change. And I would like to take opportunity to wish you all a highly happy and prosperous National Agriculture week particularly Do our growers, those who work in acres, not in ours? Thank you.

Bob Walker  15:07

Hey, this Bob Walker from Somerville, Tennessee, and I grow cotton corn, soybeans, and we have cattle. This week on our farm here in Somerville. We’re doing some dirt work for spraying preparations, fixing the peat terraces and such gentle drainage work. Biggest thing we’ve got going on here on the farm right now is going around the edges of the fields and pushing back where we had some ice storm damage from lots of trees down around most all of our fields. Were still feeding a few cows. We’re in the middle of calving season. We’ll finish that up the next couple of weeks. Just lots going on here. Hope everybody has a great week. And Jim says sometimes Thank you much.

Caroline Etsch  16:00

Hi, this is Carolyn, and I grow feed corn, hay and straw in New Jersey this time of year. We’re not in the field yet. That will come in May and June for us. So right now we’re selling last year’s crop. We have a retail hay barn so customers visit us six days a week for their animals fed feed and straw for bedding. We also sell quite a bit of Multistrada landscapers have they’re starting their spring cleanup and their neighbor’s yard is right about now. We do sell the corn and we grow to a broker in Pennsylvania and trucks come in weekly now to transport a tractor trailer loads to chicken farms. So we’re growing the corn for your chicken nuggets. And this week for National Ag Day, I’ll be teaching two workshops called teachers on the farm to state agriculture in the classroom organization has three of us. And we’ll be presenting this to teachers throughout New Jersey with lessons hands on programming, and a farm tour. Those will be the highlights. So that’s what’s happening on the farm for National Ag week. Thank you.

Derek Klingenberg  17:00

Alright, this is farmer Derek down here in Kansas. And I’ve been watching my life cams alter. After I put them up this summer. I’ve got a live cam for cows. There’s Katelyn a pin and people can watch them and also send a super chat of Elisa and then fetal food out of this live cam and then the cat come over and eat it. They also scratched so I built this count matcher and you can just type in spin in chat and it’ll start spinning and it’ll scratch them. They’ve currently destroyed it. So to fix that. Another live came I have is for whitetail deer and the deer come and you can troll the camera. You can type in left or right up and down in and out and the camera won’t move. I had to make it members only I had so many spammers messing up the camera. You can also see the deer the same way as the cow cam. And there is possums and canes that come and eat and we’ve had a bobcat a few times. My other cam is an owl cam. At this Eagleman the owls took it over and the owls came back late at age two got up there while bond without taking a break. The kin must have made a hole in the egg. Because eventually they aborted the egg and left it and then the kids came and ate some really sad owls. But you know life goes on nature’s crazy. Have fun. It’s going to be here in the next 10 to 20 years to see because I think I’m eventually going to have Eagles because there’s so many eagles moving down into this country. We have a lot of cattle on the farm right now. And then we will start shipping them out once the grass greens up out in the foothills and it’s awesome. It’s fun. And then I’ll probably start doing some more live cams. Of course we’ve got some crazy I stated and we’ll talk to you later bye.

Jon Dinsmore  19:00

Hey, this is John Dinsmore from the winter lettuce capital of the world how y’all doing? Just wanted to give you an update that we’re starting to wrap up the produce season for the time being and as we do, we’re making sure all of our wheat, alfalfa, Sudan grass and other summer crops are getting finished putting in the ground. It’s been a pretty busy season had a lot to learn. But that’s what makes this industry so great. We’re always doing something new and innovative. Hope y’all have a wonderful ag week. My kids are going to be learning a lot in their classes, and we’ll be talking to you all soon. Adios.

Grounded by the Farm  19:36

I hope you guys found that interesting catching up with a dozen people in different parts of the US and a few outside the US looking at what’s happening during National Ag week. It really is a time I think to more than Bank A farmer it’s to more discover what happens in this wonderful world of agriculture. That alone A lot of us aren’t lucky enough to live in, day in and day out. And yet, it’s where our food is grown and what comes from it. I hope you found the episode interesting and you want to share it on with other people. You’ll find a map on social media. You can find us on Instagram and Facebook, we have a nice map of where all these folks are from. If you’d like to check that out, share it with some friends, tell them what they’re missing when they listen to grounded by the farm the first time they’ll thank you. We’ll see you again in a few weeks. Remember, we’re going to take a short break before we come back and do some more of these. Thank you

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