18 episodes

Hosted by two commercial row-crop farmers, Field Work is a podcast that provides space for frank, realistic discussions about the benefits and challenges of sustainable agriculture. Hosts Zach Johnson and Mitchell Hora explore the successes and challenges farmers experience as they adopt new practices, without greenwashing over the difficulties.

Field Work American Public Media

    • Society & Culture

Hosted by two commercial row-crop farmers, Field Work is a podcast that provides space for frank, realistic discussions about the benefits and challenges of sustainable agriculture. Hosts Zach Johnson and Mitchell Hora explore the successes and challenges farmers experience as they adopt new practices, without greenwashing over the difficulties.

    Coming Soon: Field Work Season Two

    Coming Soon: Field Work Season Two

    Farmers Zach Johnson and Mitchell Hora are back with more honest and authentic conversations about the ups and the downs of sustainable agriculture. They’ll explore how farmers’ failures with cover crops and strip till can give way to revelations, and how producers on the frontlines are figuring out how to pay for costly technologies like bioreactors to make their farms more sustainable. This season, Zach and Mitchell also look beyond row crops and start examining trends in animal agriculture. The new season launches March 11, 2020.

    • 2 min
    Season Finale: Generational Perspectives on Farming

    Season Finale: Generational Perspectives on Farming

    For our last episode of the season, we bring you our first live show ever, recorded at Farmfest in Morgan, Minnesota. Zach and Mitchell round out the season by bringing back some pals you heard from in earlier episodes, including their dads. Nathan Johnson and Brian Hora reflect on how their challenges with farming have been different from their sons’ and how the new generation is leading the charge of experimenting with sustainable practices. Field Work friend Jodi DeJong-Hughes, a University of Minnesota soil scientist, also returns to the show. (With her usual wit, she says she’s just glad she didn’t get killed off after episode 1). She and cover crop expert Cody Nelson of Soil RX deftly answer tough audience questions about how and why to adopt sustainable practices. Finally, Zach reveals that he and Mitchell have, in fact, achieved their goal of procuring a helicopter. Be sure to listen all the way through to find out what happens to it.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Third Crops: Can They Pay?

    Third Crops: Can They Pay?

    We know that corn and soybeans are the most economically viable crops we have on farms, at least in the Midwest, and that’s why they dominate the ag systems here. But there are efforts underway to add in a third crop. Third crops can be helpful for breaking up weed cycles, fixing more carbon and nitrogen in the soil, and possibly even increasing yields. Zach and Mitchell talk with farmer Darin Voigt along with Nick Jordan, a professor of agricultural ecology at the University of Minnesota, about how to integrate third crops and what the roadblocks may be to doing so.

    • 31 min
    Cover Crops Part 3: Can They Work Up North?

    Cover Crops Part 3: Can They Work Up North?

    Field Work host Zach Johnson has tried planting cover crops a few times on his heavy clay soils in Central Minnesota, but has had nothing but failures. In this episode, Ken Franzky, an agronomist with Centrol Crop Consulting, gives Zach some insights into how to try again. Ken tells Zach and Mitchell that his recs on aerial applications, herbicide rotations, and seed mixes vary a lot by geography. “I haven't seen a cover crop system that's a one size fits all approach,” he says.

    • 21 min
    Beyond the Wind Break: Sustainable Ag at a Community Scale

    Beyond the Wind Break: Sustainable Ag at a Community Scale

    Many farmers care about soil health, water quality, and about being good neighbors to each other and to people in nearby towns and cities. But sometimes it may feel like what farmers do individually doesn’t make much of a difference. In this episode, Zach and Mitchell talk about what it looks like when farmers start working together, as well as with others in their watersheds. Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser, Texas A&M research scientist Liz Haney, and the ag director at the Environmental Initiative in Minneapolis, Greg Bohrer, weigh in.
    Resources:
    Cedar River Watershed Partnership
    Cover Crop Insurance Incentives
    Midwest Row Crop Collaborative
    Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP)

    • 29 min
    Consumers Want Sustainably Grown Food, But Who Pays?

    Consumers Want Sustainably Grown Food, But Who Pays?

    Consumers are demanding more sustainably grown food. So are big food companies. But how willing are they to offset the costs — and the risks — that farmers bear as they change up their practices? Zach and Mitchell talk with Jerry Lynch, the chief sustainability officer at General Mills, about supply chain incentives for growers.
    Resources:
    General Mills Regenerative Agriculture Initiative

    • 24 min

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