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Farm & Rural Ag Network: Hub of genuine, unedited chats

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If you’ve just started tuning into a farm-related podcast here or there, you know it can be hard to find regular industry podcasters to follow. It can also take time to differentiate between which ones are legit and which ones are lacking. That’s where the Farm & Rural Ag Network comes in.

“When someone first discovers podcasts, they begin the endless search engine struggle. Typing in a search for ‘farming’ or ‘agriculture’ returns such a random assortment of podcasts that it makes it difficult to find anything more than mainstream media- urban farming, backyard homesteading, etc.” said Wendell Schumm, co-creator of the Farm and Rural Ag Network and the voice behind Ontario Agcast. “The Farm and Rural Ag Network will put high quality, relevant ag content in one, easy to find spot. Think of it as a one stop shop for ag podcasts. That way if a farmer tries podcasts for the first time, he/she will immediately have lots of interesting content readily accessible.”

Schumm, along with Tim Hammerich, The Future of Agriculture Podcast, and Rob Sharkey, Shark Farmer Podcast, came up with the idea for the network after the trio realized they were struggling with some of the same challenges in ag podcasting.

“We had the passion and creativity, but lacked the experience, contacts, and audience. We connected with each other via Twitter, shared ideas, and we realized that if someone listens to one of our shows, very likely they will also like the others,” Schumm said. “That realization, combined with the frustration of finding interesting commercial ag related podcasts was the genesis of the Farm and Rural Ag Network.”

Launched earlier this month at the Commodity Classic, the Farm & Rural Ag Network aims to have every show bring a unique point of view on farming and the ag industry. The lineup is curated so all who subscribe keep up to date with the latest material.

“Our goal for FRAN is to curate top quality ag content, so new podcasts will need to have good sound and production quality,” Schumm said. “We will be asking interested podcasters to provide us with some background to ensure that their shows are relevant and interesting for commercial farmers and the ag industry but also offer a pro-ag, pro-science message to non-farm listeners.”

In addition to the three podcasts, listeners can currently find Grow Smart with BASF and The Farmer & The City Girl podcasts. This month the network is adding  Girls Talk Ag  where podcasters Karen Corrigan, Angie Setzer, and  Jennifer Campbell navigate through current issues in commercial agriculture.

For those thinking about starting their own ag podcast? Schumm, Hammerich, and Sharkey are happy to provide feedback to new podcasters.

“There are lots of videos and ‘how-to’ resources on-line, but we can offer suggestions on content and reaching a specific audience,” Schumm said. “A number of people have reached out and we’ve had some very good conversations. There is tremendous talent in our industry.”

As Schumm points out, podcasts are a particularly good fit for farmers because they spend a lot of time working by themselves either in the tractor, barn, or on the road. With podcasts, you can choose when to listen, pause shows, and focus on content.

And podcasts are often very genuine conversations and are largely unedited.

“While our audience is mostly involved in the ag industry, by having more ag conversations, we hope that makes them more comfortable sharing that information in their own interactions with their urban customers,” Schumm said. “Committing to recording a weekly podcast means that we talk to others in the industry that we may not otherwise take the time to interact with. Talking with others who share our passion for agriculture has been both rewarding and motivational.”

“If we really want to help tell the story of production agriculture through podcast, then we need to make them easy to find,” Sharkey added. “Our hope is that FRAN will do just that.”

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