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New ideas, grower insights, research, emerging technology — The AgEmerge Podcast. Join our host, Monte Bottens and producer Kim Sheese, as they engage with guests from diverse agriculture interests to discuss experiences, practices and scalable applications for any operation.

Tune in to new episodes every other Tuesday to regenerate your ideas, soil, crops, livestock and livelihood.

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AgEmerge Podcast 119 Dr. Christian Krupke

AgEmerge Podcast 119 Dr. Christian Krupke

Dr. Christian Krupke is a professor in the Deptartment of Entomology at Purdue University where he focuses on insect pest management in field crops. His research has concentrated on illuminating the strengths and weaknesses of the primary pest management approaches used in corn and soybeans. And he has a special focus on Bt corn and neonicotinoid seed treatments. Dr. Krupke and Monte discuss the resilience of nature and how fast it bounces back. They discuss what we’ve learned about preserving the biology in the soil and how to reconsider those pest management systems. Christian Krupke is a professor in the Dept of Entomology at Purdue University. He completed his doctoral degree in entomology at Washington State University in 2004, and since 2005 has worked at Purdue with responsibilities in insect pest management in field crops (i.e. corn, soybeans, wheat and other small grains), where he leads active applied research and extension programs. Dr. Krupke also teaches a graduate level course in Integrated Pest Management (IPM). His research has focused upon elucidating the strengths and weaknesses of the primary pest management approaches used in corn and soybeans, with special focus upon Bt corn and neonicotinoid seed treatments of corn and soybeans. Dr. Krupke has published over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts and given dozens of talks on these subjects to fellow researchers, members of USDA, EPA, USFWS, and a range of stakeholder groups including growers of these commodities, beekeepers, and a wide range of conservation organizations. Purdue University Field Crops IPM Lab: Research Publications: Got questions you want answered? Send them our way and we’ll do our best to research and find answers. Know someone you think would be great on the AgEmerge stage or podcast? Send your questions or suggestions to we’d love to hear from you.
AgEmerge Podcast 118 with Anthony Corsaro
AgEmerge Podcast 117 with Erin Meyer

AgEmerge Podcast 117 with Erin Meyer

Erin is the Founder and President of Basil's Harvest (BH), a nonprofit sharing the message that soil health impacts human health by bringing people together in agriculture, health, and food systems to grow regional systems that are good for people and the planet. She is also a Clinical Associate at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Peoria, IL, where she enjoys training residents in the Food is Medicine experiential program she co-developed. Erin is a chef and registered dietitian with a Master of Sustainable Food Systems. Before founding BH, Erin developed on-farm experiential sustainable food system education and outreach to culinary professionals and health care professionals, owned a wholesale and retail food business that supported regional organic growers that created made-from-scratch goods, and was a certified diabetes educator. Erin loves to ride her bike, play pickle ball, cook with friends and family, and spend time with her husband and two daughters around the table enjoying lively talks and eating tasty food. Check out the links to Basil’s Harvest, the research Erin mentioned, as well as Janie's Mill. Got questions you want answered? Send them our way and we’ll do our best to research and find answers. Know someone you think would be great on the AgEmerge stage or podcast? Send your questions or suggestions to we’d love to hear from you.
AgEmerge Podcast Episode 116 Soil Health Medley

AgEmerge Podcast Episode 116 Soil Health Medley

We’re focusing on the soil health principles that so many of our guests encourage growers to adopt and where it’s so important for us to first understand our context, knowing what plants and animals flourish in our specific environments. From there we work to not disturb the soil, reducing and eliminating both mechanical and chemical disruption. Next, we focus on armoring the soil by keeping it covered at all times. As well as keeping a living root in the soil to feed that soil biology. Then we add diversity, including diversity of plants, insects, microbes, wildlife and finally adding livestock to the land. From understanding water and mineral cycling, to how energy flows Monte says often, the practices may vary from location to location but the principles remain the same. On the AgEmerge Podcast we strive to bring content that help growers understand how they can adopt, improve and regenerate their soils. After all, soils really are the foundation of the work we are doing and it’s also the life work of many of our podcast guests. Some of our guests have had major epiphanies when it comes to soil health. And the great thing is, they put their money where their mouth is and share what they’ve learned. This podcast is meant to whet your appetite by revisiting some of the great guests we’ve had to understand how they shifted their paradigms, how they’ve come to the conclusion that adopting these changes were and are necessary in our production systems. We’ve picked out some great highlights, with Dr Dwayne Beck from the Dakota Lakes Research Farm, Conservationist Jay Fuhrer, Entomologist Dr. John Tooker, Erin Martin founder of Conscious Aging Solutions, and Dr. Allen Williams from Understanding Ag. These folks are a powerhouse of knowledge so let’s jump right in. Got questions you want answered? Send them our way and we’ll do our best to research and find answers. Know someone you think would be great on the AgEmerge stage or podcast? Send your questions or suggestions to We’d love to hear from you. INTROS TO SPEAKERS We start off with Dr. Dwayne Beck from Dakota Lakes Research farm. Dr. Beck’s work on developing and promoting diverse no-till cropping systems plays an important role in allowing producers to dramatically improve their profitability while also protecting soil and water resources; enhancing wildlife habitat; reducing net carbon dioxide emissions; improving air quality and having other positive impacts. Another power hitter in the line-up is Conservationist Jay Fuhrer. Jay’s approach to solving the problems of soil health is, as he says, doing most of his work with a spade, in a field with his clients. From cover crops to water cycling Jay has it covered. Oh and don’t miss this important quote, Jay says, “diversity is the holy grail to go after. Next Dr. Tooker Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University discusses his research studying relationships among plants, invertebrate herbivores, and natural enemies, he’s challenging us to truly observe what’s happening not only in but around our fields, using the power of observation while pausing to explore all the possible factors affecting our system. We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about how soil health affects human health and that’s where our guest Erin Martin of Conscious Aging Solutions shares how she’s studying the soil health - human health connection. She has a powerful desire to uncover how food plays such a significant role in our aging process. Erin is passionate about soil health and exploring how food is medicine. Her successful FreshRX Oklahoma program is successfully helping people struggling with diabetes to source local, regeneratively raised food to address their health concerns. Finally we wrap up with Dr. Allen Williams a 6th generation family farmer and founding partner of Understanding Ag, the Soil Health Academy, and Regenified. Dr. Allen says the very first thing we have to do is transform our minds before we can start transforming practices because if we don't understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, we’ll be hard pressed to see success.
AgEmerge Podcast 115 with Tom Willey

AgEmerge Podcast 115 with Tom Willey

Tom Willey, along with his wife Denesse, operated T&D Willey Farms from 1981 until 2016. Their 75-acre Certified Organic farm is located in Madera, California, where they grow a wide array of Mediterranean vegetables all year. Tom says, “we've got to figure out how to live on agriculture without destroying the natural systems that support its productivity.” He says organic is all about living biology and the diversity of biology and and the all of the living organisms in your soil. Monte and Tom have a great conversation about all these things and so much more.   T&D Willey Farms produce was appreciated in specialty markets and fine restaurants up and down the U.S. West Coast as well as on the tables of over 800 weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription members. Tom was, for nearly a decade, Slow Food USA's governor for California's Central Valley and he passionately advocates for local food prominence through his writing, speaking, radio, and event organizing activities. Tom's monthly "Down on the Farm" radio interview program features the work of progressive farmers and others prominent in San Joaquin Valley's agriculture and food communities. Tom has served over the years on the boards of directors of the Ecological Farming Association (EFA) and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and presently is a member of CCOF Certification Services’ five-person LLC Management Committee. He currently serves as a Policy Advisor to The Cornucopia Institute which monitors integrity of the U.S. organic industry. He has been collaborating with several California organic growers to develop no-till and reduced-till organic vegetable production systems over the last three years. Follow Tom's work by clicking here:
AgEmerge Podcast 113 with Eric Fuchs

AgEmerge Podcast 113 with Eric Fuchs

Eric Fuchs is a consultant for Understanding Ag. Eric’s work and experience make for a great conversation. He lives in Southeast Missouri on a diversified livestock operation where they raise hair sheep and contract graze cattle. He’s been using Holistic Planned Grazing for over eight years and managed a grazing system on his operation for more than 20 years. In addition to that, Eric also works in the water and wastewater industry as a source water protection technician. He works with small and large small communities and with agricultural producers to help ensure community water protection. His efforts help save millions of dollars in costly water treatment system upgrades while also negating the need for long-term regulations. He has seen firsthand the problems with agriculture land use and its effect on drinking water. Eric’s journey into regenerative ag began on his own operation when he discovered how soil health focused practices could benefit water resources. He also realized that more regulation is never the answer but that the solutions for clean water are easily attainable by changing how we operate. Graduating from the University of Missouri in 1994 with a degree in agronomy, Eric served in the U.S. Air Force for five years, during which time he received a master’s degree in human resource development. Got questions you want answered? Send them our way and we’ll do our best to research and find answers. Know someone you think would be great on the AgEmerge stage or podcast? Send your questions or suggestions to we’d love to hear from you.
AgEmerge Podcast 112 with Frank Lessiter

AgEmerge Podcast 112 with Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter is the founder of Lessiter Media and editor of No-Till Farmer. Frank interviewed Monte for the No-Till Farmer Influencers and Innovations Podcast. Frank and Monte discuss soil health, no-till and the regenerative agriculture movement and much more. Frank is the son of a fifth-generation Michigan dairy farm father and ag engineer and whose mother, a high school English teacher, influenced his love of storytelling. His wife, Pam, a business education graduate, is the daughter of an elementary school teacher and an industrial education professor. Graduates of Michigan State University, Frank and Pam met on the MSU campus, where both were employed in the university’s information services offices. On March 6, 1981, Frank and Pam hung out their own shingle upon acquiring a magazine, trade show and newsletter (with a staff of 5) from Reiman Publications (now part of Reader’s Digest), where Frank was executive vice president and chief editorial director. With a new company formed at the onset of the worst farm recession ever, their first decade in business brought challenges, yet also forged and annealed a foundation for what would become a very different kind of publishing company. And principles that would serve it as it evolved still several decades later. Through those lean years and the period of growth that followed, the name “Lessiter” (which at one time depended solely on paid-subscriptions), became synonymous with words like “actionable, meaningful, practical and relevant” for the content it delivered to its highly targeted audiences. Not fluff, not advertorials nor PR-speak, but rather unbiased, independent information that its subscribers and attendees could weigh, and act upon. “Where content becomes knowledge” began to be woven into the fabric of the Lessiter name. The decades that followed attracted new talent, and brought launches, acquisitions, new events and digital media channels. And yes, a few divestitures, too, as the company focused on the segments in which it could most make a difference. But the content-first approach has never wavered since that day in 1981 and Lessiter Media impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of subscribers, marketers and employees — as well as their families and ensuing generations. The small company launched an independent, unbiased conference for farmers when Monsanto was going to control the message to farmers. It unearthed lightning-rod topics that had be addressed when others didn’t want to “rock the boat” —unscrupulous practices affecting equine health, attempts at governmental regulation of farriers, and the brand purity and other “unwritten” tactics taking place in the farm equipment industry. On more than one occasion, the company elected to walk away from business rather than yield editorial independence. “We’ve refused to compromise on editorial quality as we deliver practical, ‘meat-and-potato’ content in everything we do,” says Lessiter. “This means delivering content that readers need to advance their businesses and lives. This has allowed us to achieve number-one status as the information source in each segment of the Niche Markets we serve — because the needs of the audience are placed first.” The family company is now in its second generation under Mike Lessiter, who joined the firm in 2003 after 12 years of prior trade publishing experience in Chicago. He became president in 2007 and as a second-generation ag editor, retains his editor/publisher role today. Following the firm’s move into modern and new collaborative-style offices in the spring of 2015, the firm was renamed Lessiter Media to better reflect its evolution beyond only the print channel — and into social media, video, broadcast, webinars, search and mobile access. “Any company in this business is only as good as the people who make it happen,” says Lessiter. “Our group of over 40 hardworking professionals, and all those who came before whose shoulders they stand on today, have set the bar high. By working together and bringing our best every day, we’ll continue to share solutions in each of the niche segments we serve.” Still residing in their same Brookfield home they’ve been in since 1972 and just a bike ride away from the new offices, Frank (who continues as chairman and editorial director) and Pam (retired CFO and company director) are also the proud parents of three daughters (Debbie Hansen, Susie Grabow and Kelly Fitch - all professional educators) and 14 grandchildren. Got questions you want answered? Send them our way and we’ll do our best to research and find answers. Know someone you think would be great on the AgEmerge stage or podcast? Send your questions or suggestions to we’d love to hear from you.
AgEmerge Podcast 111 with John Strauser

AgEmerge Podcast 111 with John Strauser

John Strauser is a research scientist in the Department of Agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. John works with colleagues on the Grassland 2.0 project, where they explore what an agroecological transformation would look like in the Midwestern United States. In today’s conversation, Monte and John talk about those transformations and also about how it’s as much a head game as it is a management game. John’s background is in Human Geography. He earned a doctorate in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research and outreach focus on the social processes that drive bio-physical landscape change by employing the concept of place-making. While earning his bachelor’s degree at Purdue University, John played Defensive Line for the football team, where he was recognized as a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten. John has spent his entire life living in the Mississippi River Valley, and Great Lakes Basin. From those experiences, he has built a passion for Midwestern Landscapes through many trips fishing, hunting, swimming, and biking with friends. As a 6th generation Wisconsinite, John is committed to working with communities to have a future where agricultural landscapes throughout Wisconsin and the upper Midwest serve to enhance water quality, build soil health, respect the dignity of labor, and strive toward racial and social justice. Article by John Strauser: Got questions you want answered? Send them our way and we’ll do our best to research and find answers. Know someone you think would be great on the AgEmerge stage or podcast? Send your questions or suggestions to we’d love to hear from you.
AgEmerge Podcast 110 with Sarah Martello of Transparency Wise

AgEmerge Podcast 110 with Sarah Martello of Transparency Wise

Sarah Martello, is CEO and Co-Founder of Transparency Wise, a company created to help people connect with their food. Using a mobile device, shoppers can scan a Transparency Wise QR Code to access enhanced and verifiable product information. Monte and Sarah discuss the opportunities this technology provides in the food chain, from start to finish. Coming from a long line of generational farmers and growing up on a small farm in the Midwest, has inspired Sarah to help smaller producers get credit for a premium product by implementing technology that provides transparency into all their great production practices. Sarah started out her career as a tax attorney, gaining substantial experience representing small and medium sized businesses. What started as a solo practice turned into a multi-city firm, representing clients all over the world. After leaving private practice, Sarah’s focus shifted to working in-house and consulting for technology and agricultural companies, until co-founding Transparency Wise in 2020. With her legal and tech expertise, what started as a Covid project has grown into a business with a mission to utilize its technology to empower both the consumer and the producer through transparent product information. Got questions you want answered? Send them our way and we’ll do our best to research and find answers. Know someone you think would be great on the AgEmerge stage or podcast? Send your questions or suggestions to we’d love to hear from you.
AgEmerge Podcast 108 with Greg Gunthorp

AgEmerge Podcast 108 with Greg Gunthorp

Greg Gunthorp is a fourth generation farmer who is clearly a critical thinker. Greg has re-imagined what livestock production and meat marketing looks like on their farm. His understanding of the history of ag production and his ability to glean knowledge from that history has given him discernment and great perspective on how to manage and lead their operation. Greg says he likes to act locally and think globally and that really defines the way Greg sees things, he has both a 30,000-foot big picture view clear down to the minute details. In 1998, Greg Gunthorp was selling live hogs for less than his grandfather did during the Great Depression. It was then that he entered the meat industry-- all while still raising high-quality, pasture-raised pigs like his family has for generations before him. The Gunthorp family looks a lot different now but the way they raise animals has stayed the same. Gunthorp Farms is a family owned business and all members of the family chip in. Gunthorp Farms also employs approximately 30 full-time and 15 part-time employees. Gunthorp Farms specializes in quality meat that is a favorite among some of the best chefs in the Midwest. All of their animals are raised on pasture without the use of antibiotics. They have an on-farm USDA-inspected processing plant where they harvest, process, and package all of their animals before delivering to upscale restaurants and retailers. You can order their meats & have them shipped directly to your door. 435 N 850 E, LaGrange, IN 46761 Got questions you want answered? Send them our way and we’ll do our best to research and find answers. Know someone you think would be great on the AgEmerge stage or podcast? Send your questions or suggestions to we’d love to hear from you.

Hosted by
Monte Bottens


Produced by Kim Sheese

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