100 episodes

If you’re looking to build a profitable farm that works, The Thriving Farmer Podcast is for you. Learn the latest tricks and strategies from successful farmers, strategize with in-depth interviews with leaders in the industry, and connect with stories of farmers just like you. With over 15 years of farming background, your host Michael Kilpatrick has the experience and authority to bring you practical advice, ask the hard questions, tease out the gold nuggets, and help share what it’s really like to build a truly profitable, sustainable farm. In the interviews, we focus on building farms that last, setting up your systems, knowing your customers, building your team, and treading that ever-challenging work/family/life balance.

The Thriving Farmer Podcast Michael Kilpatrick

    • Business
    • 4.7 • 287 Ratings

If you’re looking to build a profitable farm that works, The Thriving Farmer Podcast is for you. Learn the latest tricks and strategies from successful farmers, strategize with in-depth interviews with leaders in the industry, and connect with stories of farmers just like you. With over 15 years of farming background, your host Michael Kilpatrick has the experience and authority to bring you practical advice, ask the hard questions, tease out the gold nuggets, and help share what it’s really like to build a truly profitable, sustainable farm. In the interviews, we focus on building farms that last, setting up your systems, knowing your customers, building your team, and treading that ever-challenging work/family/life balance.

    Melissa K. Norris on Modern Homestead Living

    Melissa K. Norris on Modern Homestead Living

    Has the homesteading movement finally peaked?
    In this episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, Michael explores this question and more with Melissa K. Norris who is a fifth-generation homesteader, author and educator in Washington state. Melissa inspires and guides thousands of fellow homesteaders through her website, podcast, and books on creating a self-sustaining home and kitchen to help further preserve the old ways of farm-to-table living. 
    Tune in to hear about the transformational power of sustainable living and the value of a supportive homesteading community. 


    Episode Highlights:
    Five Generations: More on Melissa’s family history in homesteading [1:05] Health Challenges: The Impact of Food Choices on Health and Holistic Living [7:59] Sharing with Others: About Melissa’s journey to educating others [15:21] Homestead Living: Learn about the magazine Melissa co-founded [17:45] Community Sufficiency: Melissa’s take on the importance of community [21:14] Spousal Support: Getting the Spouse on Board with Homesteading [32:38] Inspiring Others: Melissa’s advice to a new or aspiring homesteaders [42:16]
    About the Guest:

    Melissa K. Norris helps hundreds of thousands of people each month raise their own food and create a homemade and homegrown kitchen, home, garden and barnyard through her website, popular Pioneering Today Podcast, the Pioneering Today Academy and her books. She is a co-founder of the Modern Homesteading Conference as well as owner of Norris Farmstead.
    Melissa is a 5th generation homesteader and lives with her husband and two kids in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. 
     
    Connect with Melissa:
    Website: Melissa K. Norris
    Instagram: Follow on Instagram
    Facebook:  Like on Facebook
    YouTube: Subscribe on YouTube  
     

    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor, Growing Farmers!
    Are you ready to transform your strawberry growing skills? We want to share our 16 years of experience with growing and profiting from strawberries with you in our free 3-day Strawberry Workshop.
    Learn proven techniques for boosting yield and flavor, tips for managing your harvest and even developing your own U-pick operation.
    This workshop is perfect for farmers, homesteaders and gardeners looking to extend your strawberry growing season and make some money in return.
    The 3-day online workshop is offered weekly but register now as it’s only available for a few more weeks. Sign up at www.strawberrysuccess.com

    • 44 min
    Olivia Schoentrup on Farming Journeys and Innovations

    Olivia Schoentrup on Farming Journeys and Innovations

    Why is it important to share the stories of small-scale farmers?
    In this episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, Michael welcomes Olivia Schoentrup, a sixth-generation farmer who has transitioned from traditional farming to RV living and farm touring. Olivia shares her unique journey, shedding light on the challenges of scaling up a small farm and the critical importance of sharing the stories of small farmers.
    Tune in to learn more about Olivia's transformative journey and the innovative practices shaping the future of farming.


    Episode Highlights:
    Olivia’s Farming Journey: How Olivia’s farming endeavors came to be [1:02]
    Market Insights: What were the markets for Schoentrup Farms [7:14]
    Influential Farmers: Learn about some innovative farmers [15:46]
    Farm Visits: Hear about the smaller farms that Olivia has visited [20:21]
    Lessons Learned: Hear about what Olivia has learned through her journeys [27:21]
    Connect with Olivia: Follow Olivia on their travels [31:21]
    About the Guest:

    Olivia Schoentrup is a 6th generation farmer from Indiana. She and her husband, Paul, farmed together on 5 acres raising beef, pork, and chicken to sell directly to consumers. After farming for 6 years, they sold everything, moved into a 5th wheel camper, and are now traveling the country visiting small farms and homesteads to share their story on our YouTube Channel, Breaking New Roots.
     
    Connect with Breaking New Roots:
    Instagram: Follow on Instagram
    Facebook:  Like on Facebook
    YouTube: Subscribe on YouTube

     
    Don't miss this episode on Olivia’s experiences and perspectives on modern agricultural practices and the evolving landscape of small-scale farming across the US.
     

    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor, Growing Farmers!
    Are you ready to transform your strawberry growing skills? We want to share our 16 years of experience with growing and profiting from strawberries with you in our free 3-day Strawberry Workshop.
    Learn proven techniques for boosting yield and flavor, tips for managing your harvest and even developing your own U-pick operation.
    This workshop is perfect for farmers, homesteaders and gardeners looking to extend your strawberry growing season and make some money in return.
    The 3-day online workshop is offered weekly but register now as it’s only available for a few more weeks. Sign up at www.strawberrysuccess.com

    • 32 min
    Melanie Cunningham on the Power of Oxen in Farming

    Melanie Cunningham on the Power of Oxen in Farming

    Have you ever wondered how traditional oxen power can transform modern farming?
    In this episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, Michael welcomes Melanie Cunningham of Shakefork Community Farm in Northern California. Along with her husband, Kevin, they grow a variety of vegetables, strawberries, and pasture-raised livestock using permanent raised beds, low-till methods, and draft oxen power.
    Tune in to hear about this oxen-powered and diversified regenerative market & CSA farm!


    Episode Highlights:
    Melanie's Farming Journey: Hear how Melanie found her passion for farming [1:36]
    Shakefork Farm: How they run the farm [8:22]
    Draft oxen power: Learn more about how they incorporated oxen [11:04]
    No-till: More about their bed preparation process [15:04]
    Sales Outlets: Some of the places that Shakefork markets their products [23:17]
    Strawberry Success: Learn more about their growing strawberry process [27:30]
    Tips for New Farmers: Hear Melanie’s advice for new farmers [35:47]
    Tool Time: Melanie’s favorite tool on the farm [36:37]

    About the Guest:

    Melanie Cunningham farms 85 acres in the Van Duzen River floodplain in far Northern California with her husband, Kevin, 10 year old son, Clyde and a crew of committed farmhands. Shakefork Community Farm is a highly diversified CSA and market garden AND pasture based operation, growing a variety of vegetables and strawberries, pasture raised eggs, chicken and turkey, grass-fed beef and a home dairy. 
    Melanie moved to Humboldt County in 2004 to learn to farm, and within a week landed her first farm job. Shakefork was launched in 2008 and has become an anchor of their thriving rural farming community.
     
    Connect with Shakefork Community Farm:
    Website: Visit Shakefork Community Farm Instagram: Follow on Instagram Facebook:  Like on Facebook
    YouTube: Subscribe on YouTube
     
    Don't miss this episode on the innovative practices and inspiring journey of Melanie Cunningham and Shakefork Community Farm, from using draft oxen power to achieving strawberry success.
     

    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor, Farmhand!
    When it comes to buying a truck, you don't look for parts and try to build it yourself. You want something ready to ride. So why settle for parts when it comes to your farm management?
    In a world filled with parts vendors, Farmhand is the only all-in-one virtual assistant built by and for independent farmers. With one single platform, Farmhand helps ensure that even small, local farms can access the same level of support and technology typically reserved for larger factory farms.
    The best part? Farmhand’s ready-to-ride platform comes with zero startup costs or long-term commitments. Learn more and take the quiz to see how much you can save at farmhand.partners/podcast.

    • 42 min
    285. Ray Tyler on Balancing Family and Farm Life

    285. Ray Tyler on Balancing Family and Farm Life

    How do you successfully balance family and farm life?
    Find out in this episode of the podcast with Ray Tyler! Ray has previously been on the podcast and he also participated in our Thriving Farmer Vegetable Summit this past January. Ray is an inspiring figure in the world of sustainable agriculture and is a dedicated family man, self-made farmer, and innovative educator at Rose Creek Farms.
    Tune in to learn how to balance farming with family life and make a meaningful impact.


    Episode Highlights:
    All about Ray: Ray Tyler's start into farming [1:13] Essential elements: Basic principles to apply on your farm [6:27] It’s All in the Family: Practical Applications and Family Integration on the Farm [23:26] Sustainability: Transitioning to a Sustainable Farming Lifestyle [32:03]
    Q&A: Implementing Family-Friendly Farming Practices [36:59]

    About the Guest:

    Ray Tyler, along with his wife Ashley, embarked on a farming journey fueled by passion and determination. Despite starting with zero savings and facing numerous challenges, including navigating stringent regulations and their daughter's battle with cancer, they persevered. By transitioning to focus solely on produce and refining their farming practices, they tripled their income while working fewer hours. 
    Today, they operate a successful, near weed-free farm with year-round production, emphasizing quality and sustainability. Ray's story underscores the transformative power of resilience, innovation, and prioritizing what truly matters in life: love, family, and contentment.
     
    Connect with Rose Creek Farm:
    Website: Visit Rose Creek Farm
    Instagram: Follow on Instagram
    Facebook:  Like on Facebook
     
    Don't miss this episode on the importance of disconnecting farm problems from family life, engaging children without forcing them to work, and still increasing farm profitability.


     

    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor, Farmhand!
    When it comes to buying a truck, you don't look for parts and try to build it yourself. You want something ready to ride. So why settle for parts when it comes to your farm management?
    In a world filled with parts vendors, Farmhand is the only all-in-one virtual assistant built by and for independent farmers. With one single platform, Farmhand helps ensure that even small, local farms can access the same level of support and technology typically reserved for larger factory farms.
    The best part? Farmhand’s ready-to-ride platform comes with zero startup costs or long-term commitments. Learn more and take the quiz to see how much you can save at farmhand.partners/podcast.

    • 45 min
    284. Jim Sander on Community-Centered Nonprofit Farming

    284. Jim Sander on Community-Centered Nonprofit Farming

    How can shifting from profit-driven farming to a nonprofit model enhance food production and community well-being?

    In this episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, Michael welcomes Jim Sander of Wildflower Lane Farm in North Carolina. After a successful career selling to local markets and CSAs, Jim shifted his farm’s focus to growing produce exclusively for local food relief groups using regenerative techniques, increasing both food production and personal fulfillment.
    Tune in to hear how Jim has transformed his passion for farming into a powerful force for community good.


    Episode Highlights:
    Jim's Farming Journey: Discover how Jim’s farming journey began. [1:40]
    Challenging Beginnings: Hear about Jim’s first year of growing. [4:11]
    Evolution of Wildflower Lane: Learn how his farm evolved into what it is today. [9:02]
    Crop Planning Challenges: Discover the difficulties of crop planning at Wildflower Lane. [23:02]
    Soil Fertility Program: Understand how the soil fertility program works. [24:38]
    Starting a Nonprofit Model Farm: Get Jim’s advice for starting a nonprofit model farm operation. [29:33]
    Advice for Aspiring Farmers: Hear Jim’s advice for those looking to get into farming. [35:24]
    Favorite Farming Tool: Find out what Jim’s favorite farming tool is. [38:15]


    About the Guest:

    Jim began farming at Wildflower Lane Farm in 2010 after attending an introductory farming course at the Breeze Farm in Hillsborough. After successfully farming there for a year, Jim converted 3/4 acre of pasture land at his 24 acre farm into a small organic farm.
    For the first 7 years, Jim grew organically-certified produce and sold it to local markets, including Whole Foods, Weaver Street Market, Eastern Carolina Organics and numerous restaurants and CSA's.
    At the end of year 7, Jim decided to partner with Table to feed local kids who are food insecure. Jim now volunteers 20 hours each week supervising Table volunteers and couldn’t be more fulfilled doing just what he loves, farming and providing fresh produce to locals.



     Connect with Wildflower Lane Farm:
    Website: Visit Wildflower Lane Farm
     
    Don't miss this episode on how Jim Sander's innovative approach is transforming farming and making a significant impact on local food relief efforts.



    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor, Farmhand!
    When it comes to buying a truck, you don't look for parts and try to build it yourself. You want something ready to ride. So why settle for parts when it comes to your farm management?
    In a world filled with parts vendors, Farmhand is the only all-in-one virtual assistant built by and for independent farmers. With one single platform, Farmhand helps ensure that even small, local farms can access the same level of support and technology typically reserved for larger factory farms.
    The best part? Farmhand’s ready-to-ride platform comes with zero startup costs or long-term commitments. Learn more and take the quiz to see how much you can save at farmhand.partners/podcast.

    • 39 min
    Will Harris on the Shift from Industrial to Zero-Waste Regenerative Farming

    Will Harris on the Shift from Industrial to Zero-Waste Regenerative Farming

    How can a zero-waste ecosystem benefit both the environment and the local community?

    In this episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, Michael welcomes Will Harris, a fourth-generation farmer and the owner of White Oak Pastures. His regenerative farm maintains a zero-waste ecosystem that supports 10 species of animals and produces everything from high-quality meats to organic fertilizers, demonstrating their commitment to land, livestock, and community.

    Tune in to hear about Will’s journey from an industrial cattle operation to a zero-waste regenerative farm.

    Episode Highlights:
    Will's Farming Journey: Discover how Will’s farming journey began. [2:56]
    Joining Whole Foods: Explore how Will began his journey with Whole Foods. [6:56]
    On-Farm Processing: Discover the premise behind White Oak Pastures' on-farm processing [11:24]
    Their Commitment: Learn how White Oak Pastures implements its zero-waste policy. [21:01]
    The White Oak Team: Get insights into the size and structure of the White Oak team. [30:01]
    A Bold Return to Giving a Damn: Understand what inspired Will to write his book. [37:40]
    The Joe Rogan Experience: Explore how Will ended up on the Joe Rogan podcast. [39:12]
    Future of White Oak: Discover Will's vision for the future of White Oak Pastures. [44:36]

    About the Guest:

    Will Harris is a fourth-generation cattleman, who tends the same land that his great-grandfather settled in 1866. Born and raised at White Oak Pastures, Will left home to attend the University of Georgia's School of Agriculture, where he was trained in the industrial farming methods that had taken hold after World War II. Will graduated in 1976 and returned to Bluffton where he and his father continued to raise cattle using pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and antibiotics. In 1995, Will made the audacious decision to return to the farming methods his great-grandfather had used 130 years before.
    Since Will has successfully implemented these changes, he has been recognized all over the world as a leader in humane animal husbandry and environmental sustainability.
     
    Connect with White Oak Pastures:
    Website: Visit White Oak Pastures Instagram: Follow on Instagram Facebook: Like on Facebook Will's Book: A Bold Return to Giving a Damn
    Don’t miss out on this insightful discussion about the amazing transformation of White Oak Pastures!



    The Thriving Farmer Podcast Team would like to thank our amazing sponsor, Farmhand!
    When it comes to buying a truck, you don't look for parts and try to build it yourself. You want something ready to ride. So why settle for parts when it comes to your farm management?
    In a world filled with parts vendors, Farmhand is the only all-in-one virtual assistant built by and for independent farmers. With one single platform, Farmhand helps ensure that even small, local farms can access the same level of support and technology typically reserved for larger factory farms.
    The best part? Farmhand’s ready-to-ride platform comes with zero startup costs or long-term commitments. Learn more and take the quiz to see how much you can save at farmhand.partners/podcast.

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
287 Ratings

287 Ratings

surgite1971 ,

Hops Farm in Northcentral PA

Thanks for putting these together! Incredibly valuable to smaller, family-owned Farms like ours…particularly ones that are first generation ones trying to figure it out and make it work as we go…well done!

lmviv ,

Such a good find!

We’re Microdairy farmers in PA: 10 cows, 20acres: all direct to consumer sales. This podcast is right up our alley as regenerative farmers ourselves! So glad we found it!

Tmintner ,

Love it!

So much information on many topics whether you are a hobbyist or trying to make a living as a farmer.

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