Dirt Rich

Dirt Rich

Seasonal conversations on food and farming. Produced by the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota. www.sfa-mn.org Follow SFA's work by signing up for our e-newsletter: https://sfamn.z2systems.com/np/clients/sfamn/subscribe.jsp?subscription=7&


March 27, 2024 59 mins
Click here to learn more and register for the upcoming workshop with Charlotte Smith.    Charlotte Smith swore she would never return to farming after a very difficult family farm bankruptcy while growing up. Spoiler: After some time working in the corporate world, she started a farm in 2009. She found that the time management, hiring, and interpersonal skills she had learned also really benefited her farm business. Others noticed ...
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Dan Kittredge grew up on a homestead with a family deeply engaged in the organic movement. Over the years, he worked on farms across the globe and learned from permaculture, biodynamic, agroecology, indigenous, conventional, and microbiological perspectives.

With a foundation in both the practical and the philosophical, he created the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) in 2010, who makes it their mission to "increase quality in the...

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Derek Schmitz has never dreamt of being anything other than a farmer. He also really doesn't like doing field work. An adaptively managed, perennial grazing dairy just makes sense. 

In this conversation Schmitz shares how fellow dairy farmers helped him get started, and how genetics, observation and building his own farm team through the Minnesota Dairy Initiative have been key to his success -- and has even reduced his labor by ab...

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Jeff Duchene is a Grazing Specialist for the Minnesota NRCS, which offers both financial and technical assistance to producers to help them meet their land management goals and address their natural resource concerns.

In conversation with host Jonathan Kilpatrick, Duchene shares how his formal education combined with years of learning directly from producers has been foundational in his career: "I think every producer I've worked w...

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July 27, 2023 52 mins

Five SFA farm consultants from across Minnesota discuss how they are approaching and planning ahead for drought conditions on their varying grazing operations. While conditions have changed since this conversation was recorded in early June 2023, their goals and decision-making strategies are evergreen.

Listeners are welcome to reach out with questions. Drop us a line! SFA also offers our members on-farm coaching and consulting. Ge...

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June 14, 2023 61 mins

Jonathan Kilpatrick and Jared Luhman return to the mic to explore farm financial health.

Doing a thorough business analysis can help you clearly identify specifically where your profits and losses lie across your enterprises, and in turn help you make confident decisions for your farm’s future. In their experience, the time you take to get a handle on your numbers usually pays itself back quickly in labor and input costs.

The pair ...

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May 31, 2023 46 mins

We’re switching it up today! Jonathan Kilpatrick moves into the host seat and interviews Jared Luhman about the history of farming in his family and about his time working for Sustainable Farming Association.

A pivotal moment for the trajectory of the family farm came when a visiting student told them they were working too hard. The listening and learning (and traveling!) that followed laid the groundwork for how Jared and his fath...

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April 5, 2023 50 mins

In 2022, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) opened the state's first Emerging Farmers Office. Lillian Otieno and Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey of the MDA Commissioner’s Office share how it came to be, the value it brings to our agricultural landscape, and the impacts they are seeing.

SFA’s Executive Director Lucinda Winter hosts this discussion, exploring the connections with SFA’s work and how individuals can pl...

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February 22, 2023 24 mins

Organic dairy grazier Angie Walter shares her experience using PaddockTrac, a grazing tool being developed by the University of Missouri. Angie's family runs a 100-cow organic dairy in Villard, Minn., grazing 80-100 acres at any given time. Theirs and 12 other Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship farms are piloting the PaddockTrac through an NRCS cooperative agreement.

The PaddockTrac device, which is in the prototype phase, mounts to the ...

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We're back! Dirt Rich kicks off its fourth season with the second part of Jared Luhman's interview with Dan Zimmerli (check out part one here). The two get into the business management side of the farm -- employees, task tracking, data management and record keeping -- and how the Zimmerlis have leveraged it all to improve efficiency, profitability, and quality of life for them and their staff.

Dan and his wife operate Cedar Crate F...

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This will be the last episode of season 3, and 2022! Thanks for listening, and we'll see you back in 2023 with another episode on vegetable production with Dan, conversations on new grazing technology, and other great interviews!

Jared Luhman and Dan Zimmerli in conversation about vegetable production logistics from planting to harvest on Cedar Crate Farm. They discuss equipment, planning tools, pack shed layout, seed bed prep, foo...

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December 2, 2022 48 mins

Jared Luhman, Doug Voss, Kent Solberg, and Jonathan Kilpatrick discuss what's on their mind in the ag world at this point in the season.

As we approach winter in the Midwest, folks are looking ahead and planning for next year. The team highlights the many opportunities for making changes on the farm in the next season guided by the principles of soil health.


Jared Luhman, SFA Soil Health Lead

Doug Voss, SFA Grazing Lead

Kent Solb...

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November 16, 2022 23 mins

Katie Feterl and Jared Luhman discuss SFA's on-farm consulting offering, how you can support our work, and highlight two big upcoming events: Annual Conference and Midwest Soil Health Summit.


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November 2, 2022 55 mins

Originally released November 16, 2020.

Winter can be the most expensive time to own a cow in the Midwest. As the season changes, five of our staff who also raise beef and dairy cows gathered to share the ways that they’ve found to reduce the cost (and labor) of wintering cattle on their unique operations. All five live in different parts of Minnesota and run pasture-based farms, some raising organic dairy, some grass-fed or grass-f...

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October 19, 2022 57 mins

Chad Crowley firmly believes that for those who want to get into dairy or farming in general, grazing is the way to go.

That route has certainly gone well for him. He was told many times that he couldn’t find success in farming because he didn’t grow up on one, but today he and his wife Melissa farm in southeast Minnesota as part of Enchanted Meadows Farms.

Enchanted Meadows is an organic, pasture-based dairy in La Crescent. The C...

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October 5, 2022 54 mins

Scott Haase farms in Blue Earth, Minnesota, raising crops with his brother Brent and raising pasture and woodland pork under Blue Dirt Farm. Their German ancestors “walked here from Wisconsin back in the 1860’s,” and they still farm some of the land where those ancestors homesteaded.

Like most in the area, the Haase family farm is still a fairly conventional corn and soybeans farm. They have made some changes, including going compl...

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September 21, 2022 40 mins

Following Dirt Rich's previous episode, 57: Fundamentals of Adaptive Grazing with Jonathan Kilpatrick, we thought it would be a great time to revisit our conversation on Adaptive Multi-Paddock grazing with Jared Luhman and Doug Voss.


If you enjoy Dirt Rich, consider supporting our work by becoming a member of SFA or donating at www.sfa-mn.org.


Over the years of establishing and fine-tuning their...

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September 7, 2022 43 mins

Today, a presentation that our Soil Health Specialist Jonathan Kilpatrick gave on adaptive grazing at a recent field day. He’ll bring you through the fundamentals, always keeping in mind the importance of context in grazing management. Jonathan believes that grazing is one of  the most powerful forces we can have to regenerate our soils. A topic overview:

  • Why we adaptively graze
  • How adaptive grazing plays a role in building soi...
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August 24, 2022 37 mins

Jared Luhman sits down with SFA's new Soil Health Specialist, Jonathan Kilpatrick.

Jonathan comes to Minnesota after several years in several states, where he built a diverse background in agricultural work. He grew up farming with his family, eventually building up a 250-300 member CSA vegetable operation with his brothers. Time in other parts of the country has been spent as an intern and apprentice at Polyface Farm, a manager of...

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August 10, 2022 58 mins

The Minnesota Garlic Festival returns to Hutchinson, Minnesota this Saturday, August 13! And that's got us thinking about seed garlic and planning ahead for the fall planting. Please enjoy this delightful conversation with two seasoned garlic growers, and consider joining us on Saturday for garlic food, fun, and conversations with farmers.

Originally released September 16, 2020.


“Minnesotans don’t like that ...

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