Rural Perspectives Podcast

Advocating for Ag - Rural Perspectives Podcast

AgCountry's Rural Perspectives Podcast examines a diverse range of issues impacting agriculture and rural life.

Each episode features industry leaders, farmers and policy makers to give listeners a unique perspective. Join us as we bring you voices from rural America.


Episode 52 - Newly elected leaders will soon begin their terms across the country. We speak with AgCountry's Howard Olson, SVP government & public affairs, about the recent November election results and discuss what they mean for farmers and ranchers. We also preview of what's to come for the state legislators in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Episode 51 - It’s the holiday season. With that comes a lot of tasty food. Odds are good that among that tasty food is cranberries. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we're going to learn all about the cranberry industry and what makes Wisconsin the perfect place to grow one of North America's only native fruits. Joining us is Mary Brazeau Brown, owner and operator of Glacial Lake Cranberries and Honestly Cranberry.

Episode 50 - Farmers and ranchers have seen a host of government payments in the past year. From trade mitigation to COVID-19 relief, these payments are sure to have an effect come tax time. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we speak with Ashley Kieke of AgCountry about tax issues related to government programs along with Section 179 relief in Minnesota.

Episode 49 - Despite perceptions among the non-farming general public, farming is still very much a family affair. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we speak with Don Schiefelbein from Schiefelbein Farms about how his family established one of the most successful angus operations in the country and how they continue to add value to the operation each time a new family members joins the fold.

Episode 48 - Women have always played critical roles within farming operations. However, the perception of the role they play has changed over time. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we speak with Karolyn Zurn, president of the American Agri-Women, about her story and why more women are getting involved in the industry.

Episode 47 - When a commodity leaves the farm, it gets transported to locations around the state, the country and world. This is done using road ways, railways and water traffic. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we speak with the executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, Mike Steenhoek, about the current state of transportation within rural America. 

Episode 46 - The fall harvest is right around the corner. With increasing amounts of farm activity, now is a great time to keep farm safety in mind. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we speak with Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center Outreach Coordinator Megan Schossow about how everyone can stay safe on and around the farm.

Episode 45 - In part two of our two-part conversation, we continue our conversation with Tamara Nelsen, executive director of the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council. Take a listen as we discuss tariffs, nationalism, and how long it takes for a trade deal to go from idea to official policy.

Episode 44 - Access to foreign markets is critical for American farmers. International trade has come into focus as the Trump administration looks to renegotiate deals across the globe. In part one of our two-part conversation, we speak with Tamara Nelsen, executive director of the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council, about the current state of international trade.

Episode 43 - Election season is right around the corner and there are some major races that will determine the future of ag policy in Washington, D.C. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we'll get a recap of the political happenings in Minnesota, North Dakota & Wisconsin from Howard Olson, SVP government & public affairs at AgCountry, while discussing some of the largest races coming up in November.

Episode 42 - Sustainable and regenerative agriculture practices have gradually become more mainstream over time. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we speak with Jared Luhman of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota to learn more about what this all entails and what benefits farmers and ranchers might see by implementing such practices.

Episode 41 - We live in an increasingly visual society. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we speak with Katie Knapp, also known as the ag photographer, about her professional work telling the story of agriculture through the lens of a camera.

Episode 40 - With the explosion of craft beer, more and more varieties of unique-tasting brews are being created. Farmers like Eric Sannerud at Mighty Axe Hops are helping make it all possible. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we learn about how growing hops can be both risky and rewarding.

Episode 39 - Farming can be a dangerous profession, and grain bins oftentimes present real safety risks. On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we explore grain bin safety with Dale Ekdahl of Outstate Data, LLC. Dale travels around the Midwest training fire departments & first responders how to handle such emergencies.

Episode 38 - Greg "Machinery Pete" Peterson sees it all when it comes to the world of auctions. Find out how he came to be known as Machinery Pete and hear some of his favorite auction stories over the course of his career.

Episode 37 - Jim Wiesemeyer has spent 48 years covering agriculture policy in Washington, D.C. In this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, Jim gives his analysis on the changing landscape of politics and what it means for agriculture going forward.

Episode 36 - In this episode, we speak with Zack Nicklin, who serves as the program manager and UAS instructor at Northland Community & Technical College in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. Unmanned Arial Systems, also commonly known as drones, are becoming very popular for both personal and commercial use, including within agriculture.

Episode 35 - On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we learn all about the potato industry from Ted Kreis, marketing & communications director for the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association. Wisconsin, North Dakota & Minnesota each are among the national leaders in potato production.

Episode 34 - Wild rice is the only cereal grain native to North America. It also happens to be native to northern Minnesota. On this episode, we speak with AgCountry customer Peter Imle of Pine Lake Wild Rice, Inc. to learn more about this fascinating crop.

Episode 33 - We’re in an age of connectivity. From smart phones and computers to TVs and watches, people have become more and more reliant on all the cool perks that technology provides. But an internet connection is needed to make it all possible. On this episode, we speak with Broadband Development Officer Angie Dickison at the Office of Broadband Development in Minnesota about efforts to connect rural residents.

Episode 32 - In this episode, we speak with Carolyn Olson, who along with her husband, farm 1,100 acres of organic crops in southwestern Minnesota. The couple also raises conventional hogs. We'll hear about the organic process and much more! As a note, the Olson's are AgCountry customers.

Episode 31 - The world of agriculture, like most businesses, can require a great deal of capital to make it work. When someone doesn’t have enough of their own, financial organizations help fill the gap. Dustin Theurer, market vice president in Valley City, joins the podcast to talk about how the loan process works and the important financial documents that are needed within it.

Episode 30 - You might not think of the Upper Midwest when it comes to growing grapes and producing wine, but thanks to the development of some hardy grape varieties, this industry is taking off. The President of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association and co-owner of Round Lake Vineyards and Winery, Jenny Ellenbecker, joins us to talk about this fascinating industry and the flavors that come from the Bold North.

Episode 29 - When moisture issues get in the way of planting season, the Prevent Plant (PP) coverage in the MPCI policy can help fill some of the financial gap that farmers are left with. What is Prevent Plant? How does it work? Find out as Senior Insurance Specialist Kirsten Huschka breaks it all down for us!

Episode 28 - Veterinarians help support healthy livestock populations for farmers & ranchers. In this episode, we chat with Gerald Stokka, associate professor of Animal Sciences at North Dakota State University about the world of animal medicine.

Episode 27 - Health & nutrition play a vital role in all of our lives. What we eat impacts the food that farmers grow and raise. We're joined by Registered Dietitian Sue Dudding of CentraCare Health to talk about diets, proper nutrition & changing dietary guidelines.

Episode 26 - Renting farmland to plant crops or graze livestock is common practice within agriculture. However, this issue gets heightened within a tough commodity environment. Extension Educator David Bau of the University of Minnesota-Extension joins the podcast to discuss how to create a fair rental agreement for both the landowner and tenant.

Episode 25 - Hormel Foods went from being a small two story building in 1891 on the Minnesota prairie to a Fortune 500 company. Being home to over 50 different brands, we speak with Jeff Grev, vice president legislative affairs at Hormel, about the food processing business and how they've been able to continue innovating for more than a century.

Episode 24 - When you think of shrimp, you probably don't think of the Upper Midwest. However, that might soon change. We talk to Robert Gervais, senior director of operations at tru Shrimp in Balaton, Minn. about their work in establishing a new industry.

Episode 23 - With fewer people living on farms, education is a critical component to teaching students about agriculture. Sue Knot, education specialist with Minnesota Ag In The Classroom, joins the program to discuss the resources available to enhance student learning.

Episode 22 - American farmers have a rich tradition of passing along their operation to the next generation when it's time to step away. However, not everyone is prepared for that moment. We chat about this topic and what retirement planning all entails with Russ Tweiten, VP succession & retirement planning at AgCountry.

Episode 21 - Sunflowers are an iconic crop. These big, yellow plants are popular among gardens, but they're also grown commercially for a host of products. Kevin Capistran, board member of the National Sunflower Association, chats with us about the sunflower industry.

Episode 20 - Biofuels contribute significantly to the state and farm economies of the upper Midwest. Tim Rudnicki, the executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, sits down with us to chat about the industry, it's impact both economically and environmentally, and what the process of refining biomass into fuels all entails.

Episode 19 - Finding a niche market within agriculture can be both challenging and rewarding. We speak with Craig Dischinger, owner of the Hot Disch Farm, about what life is like running one of the few yak operations in the upper Midwest.

Episode 18 - On this episode of the Rural Perspectives Podcast, we chat with Alise Sjostrom, cheesemaker at the Redhead Creamery in central Minnesota, about the growing movement of value-added farm operations within agriculture. 

Episode 17 - June is celebrated as Dairy Month within the U.S. Kim and Ken Heiman of Nasonville Dairy, located near Marshfield, Wisconsin, chat with us about the cheesemaking process while also discussing the pride that dairy farmers take in their work.

Episode 16 - Congressman Collin Peterson of Minnesota's 7th District stopped by to talk about the political happenings in Washington, D.C. that are impacting agriculture and rural communities. He also addresses his legacy, bipartisan approach and the work he still wants to finish.

Episode 15 - May is National Beef Month. Ashley Kohls, the executive director of the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association, chats with us about the beef industry and the issues that are affecting it.

Episode 14 - As younger generations take over the farm, they're met with many challenges. One such challenge is connecting consumers long removed from the farm to those that grow & raise the food that we eat. Zach Johnson, better known as the Minnesota Millennial Farmer, shares his take on life as a young farmer & how to best connect with consumers in an interactive way.

Episode 13 - Crop insurance has become a focal point of the Farm Bill. Keith Wilson, VP Insurance with AgCountry, talks about how the program works and why it's so important to farmers, especially in a time of challenging markets. 

Episode 12 - The stress of challenging commodity markets and uncertainty within agriculture can lead to problems for the mental health of farmers. The Director of Mental Health Outreach for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Ted Matthews, joins our podcast to discuss this timely and important topic.

Episode 11 - Rural health care systems are facing mounting challenges. However, the advancement of technology is helping patients receive first-rate care. Nathan Blad, CEO of the Renville County Hospital and Clinics joins the podcast to talk about the changing environment of this industry.

Episode 10 - Elk once roamed freely across the upper Midwest. Now ranchers like Scott Groen are raising the animal commercially for meat, velvet and hard antlers, among others. Find out more about this fascinating animal as Groen walks us through the elk industry! 

Episode 9 - You may not know it, but Wisconsin is a world leader in producing high-quality ginseng. Bob Kaldunski, president of the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin, joins the Rural Perspectives Podcast to talk about what makes the state the perfect spot to grow such a fascinating crop.

Episode 8 - The end of the 2017 tax year is quickly approaching. Mike Ness, VP Tax with AgCountry Farm Credit Services joins our podcast to talk about tax options for farmers. In this episode, we also discuss the major tax reform proposal being debated by Congress and what it means for agriculture.

Episode 7 - Carl Wittenburg, chairman of the National Turkey Federation, joins our podcast to speak about the industry, the tradition of the presidential pardon and the impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. Two lucky turkeys from Carl's flock will be officially pardoned by the president.

Episode 6 - Millions of bison once roamed North America, but quickly disappeared once settlers arrived. Bison are making a comeback thanks to a combination of conservationists and ranchers. We talk all things bison with the Executive Director of the North Dakota Buffalo Association, Kevin Leier.

Episode 5 - October is Pork Month!  David Preisler, CEO of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, joins the podcast to talk all things bacon, foreign trade and industry trends.

Episode 4 - October is Cooperative Month in the U.S. Ethan Giebel of Cooperative Network discusses the celebration along with the impact co-ops make in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Episode 3 - Natasha Mortenson of Riverview, LLP joins the podcast to discuss agriculture education and advocacy. Natasha has previously worked as an ag instructor before transitioning to a full-time ag advocate in the dairy industry.

Episode 2 - In honor of National Honey Month, Zac Browning, co-owner and operator of the Browning Honey Company, joins the podcast to talk about his beekeeping and honey production operation near Jamestown, North Dakota.

Episode 1 - Perry Aasness of the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council joins the Rural Perspectives Podcast for its very first episode. We discuss a wide range of issues such as the challenges and opportunities with agriculture; political topics, like trade and immigration; and rural workforce development.