Damian Mason - The Business of Agriculture

Damian Mason - The Business of Agriculture

Damian travels all over the globe talking to audiences about trends in the business of food, fuel, and fiber. With his clever wit and down-to-earth delivery, he has turned these topics into an interesting (and sometimes controversial) podcast.

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Damian Mason - The Business of Agriculture
  • Are Chinese Drones Spying On American Agriculture? | Damian Mason

    The global Agriculture drone market is predicted to grow by 31.5% annually over the next four years. That’s good for Ag innovation but bad for American national security. Why? Because the dominant global manufacturer of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) for Agriculture, is directly linked to the C...

  • Agricultural Investment On The African Continent | Damian Mason

    Historically, investment in Africa has been extractive, as in, spend money to build mines or infrastructure to extract resources from the continent. Jeff Bordes with Acres Club says his company is changing that by deploying capital investment into Africa to build farms to nourish the local popula...

  • Ideas Agriculture Can Use & Ideas Agriculture Should Lose | Damian Mason

    Recycled freight containers turned into backyard hydroponic farms for suburbanites? Space farming to combat the perils of Earth-bound climate crisis? These are just two of the multitude of Agriculture-themed business ventures being pitched by their founders, investors and public relations consult...

  • Labor Cost: A Huge Factor in America’s Ag Trade Deficit | Damian Mason

    The U.S. is staring down its largest Agricultural trade deficit in history. One factor in that is the amount of off-shore produce and specialty crop imports from nations with significantly lower labor costs. Jamie Clover Adams, Executive Director of Michigan Asparagus joins Damian Mason to explai...

  • Older Poorer Customers-Influence of Demographics & Food Inflation | Damian Mason

    The demographics are actually quite staggering — we are getting old, fast. Which means our customer’s dietary choices and demands are changing. Is Agriculture changing with its customers? What about the food inflation situation, with grocery prices up 25% since 2020? Todd Thurman, of Swine Insigh...

  • Addressing American Agriculture's Trade Imbalance | Damian Mason

    For six decades, American Agriculture ran a trade surplus — meaning, we sold more dollars worth of Ag products to other countries than we bought. That’s changed. American Ag has run a trade deficit (bought more than we sold) four of the last six years. A record trade imbalance of $32 Billion is p...

  • The Value of Professional Peer Groups for Farm Operations | Damian Mason

    Farming is a business. Complete with a lot of moving parts, huge capital investment, and low margins. Adding in the trend toward farm consolidation, those larger farms that remain are left feeling a bit isolated. What’s a forward-looking farmer to do? Join a professional peer group where you get ...

  • Consolidation’s Limitations | Damian Mason

    Agriculture has been consolidating for almost a century. There were 6.8 million American farms in 1935, today, less than 2 million. About 160,000 of those two million American farms do the bulk of the heavy lifting, production wise, with more than 90% of farm revenue. Consolidation has been the n...

  • Consolidation in Corporate Agriculture — Who Benefits? | Damian Mason

    Big companies have gotten bigger in Agriculture, generally by acquiring, or merging with, other companies. Consolidation in the Business of Agriculture has been going on for decades and it’s likely to continue. The question is: Who benefits from consolidation in the Agriculture industry? Damian M...

  • Nutrient Content of Food — Agriculture’s Next Challenge? | Damian Mason

    For years Agriculture has prioritized production, transport-ability, appearance, and efficiency in the food we make. But what about nutrients? Did nutrient content of food get relegated to the back seat? Somewhat, and that’s changing, as consumers demand tastier, more nutritious food. University ...

  • Financial Outlook for Agriculture - Back to Normal | Damian Mason

    The last twenty years have been very good ones — financially speaking — for American Agriculture. The last three years 2021, ’22, and ’23 are the highest farm income years ever in both nominal and inflation adjusted, real dollars. Now, in 2024, we face a revenue downturn. While commodity prices a...

  • Technology to Mitigate Crop Loss Risk | Damian Mason

    In production Agriculture we tend to over manage for some pathogens — corn root worm for instance — while under managing for others such as Fusarium. Mike Tweedy with PatternAg cites his company's recent finding in a certain geography where Fusarium — a disease for which we generally under manage...

  • Money, Mergers & Cage Free Eggs — The Investment Climate in Ag | Damian Mason

    Money was pouring into Agricultural startups a few years ago. What’s the investment climate look like now? Damian Mason is joined by Business Transaction Attorney Max Bremer on this episode of The Business of Agriculture. They discuss money flow into Ag, the pace of mergers and acquisitions, and ...

  • Exchange Traded Funds for Agricultural Commodities | Damian Mason

    Most people don’t hold investment money in the Ag commodity space. That may be changing as investing in things like corn is made easier via ETFs — exchange traded funds. Jake Hanley with Teucrium explains the oftentimes complex commodities trading industry and how his company is simplifying — or ...

  • Purple Tomatoes, Taste, Waste, Nutritive Value & Much More | Damian Mason

    Fruits and vegetables have been bred over the past half century for the primary objective of transportability and shelf life. The tradeoff: taste and nutrient density. As marketplaces mature and consumers are afforded increasing food options in the produce section, might a play toward taste, nutr...

  • Technology to Maximize (Rather than Waste) Your Crop Input Investment

    Most of the fertilizer applied to fields, doesn’t actually get absorbed by the plant. That’s an economic as well as environmental liability for Agriculture. Technological advances in adjuvants, fertilizer amendments and biologicals aim to change farming. In this episode of The Business of Agricul...

  • Talking Taters (and Much More!) with Oregon Potato Company | Damian Mason

    Frank Tiegs started farming in the Columbia basin region of Washington in 1975. Then he bought an apple packing facility. From there, the operation has expanded mightily to involve 140,000 acres of farming and 15 food processing facilities. Upon Frank’s recent passing, his son Keith re-joined the...

  • Legislate Restricting Foreign Ownership of US Farmland? 25 States Say Yes!

    Indiana appears poised to become the twenty-fifth state to restrict — or outright ban — ownership of Agricultural real estate by foreign entities. Many people — from both within and outside of Ag — have been calling for such legislation. Currently, twenty four states have similar laws on the book...

  • Is the Migrant Crisis a Crisis for Agriculture or a Net Benefit? | Damian Mason

    A full three quarters of farmworkers in the U.S. are migrants and many are here illegally. Add in food service, meat processing, and the ancillary industries that feed the food business and you’re talking about a LOT of foreign-born workers who work to put food on America’s table. Is the migrant ...

  • Are We Wrong About Oversupply? | Damian Mason

    In the last episode Todd Thurman joined Damian to cover a topic most in Agriculture have never considered: Are we permanently over supplied with Agricultural commodities? Pointing out the reasons demand won’t outpace - or even keep up with - our productive capacity, Thurman and Mason painted a pi...

  • What Happens When Ag Increases Production While Demand Slides? | Damian Mason

    We in Agriculture love production! For example, we’re producing about 50% more corn, soy, and pork than we did just a quarter century ago here in the U.S. The playbook for decades has been: find more global markets to peddle our commodities so we can keep doing what we like doing, which is produc...

  • Farm Policy, Farm Income & Farm Bill With Jim Wiesemeyer | Damian Mason

    It’s setting up to be a challenging year for farm economics. Add to that: it’s an election year, Washington DC is as dysfunctional as ever, and we still don’t have a Farm Bill — which was supposed to have been passed last year. What’s the outlook financially for farms. What about trade policy? Do...

  • Cash Rent: Are You Paying Too Much? Charging Too Little? | Damian Mason

    Nationally, between 30 and 40% of farmland is rented to an operator from a land owner. But how are rental rates for this hugely valuable asset class determined? Are the rental rates fair? What causes variability in values? Howard Halderman of Halderman Real Estate and Farm Management explains the...

  • From $300 and A Google Search to a Mushroom Entrepreneur | Damian Mason

    Kyle Beaver is a self-admitted Jack-of-all-Trades who, at age 25, turned a Google search into a mushroom business. Six years later he’s refining Ten Mile Mushrooms and launched a subsidiary. The business still grows some fungus for consumption but has morphed into a supplier of ready-to-fruit sub...