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
  • Reversing Sins Against Soil | Damian Mason

    As it turns out, we’ve not always been good to our soil. Fortunately we’re starting to better understand the living organism beneath our feet. However, we’re still mistreating this valuable asset that’s selling for $15,000 to $20,000 per acre in some areas. David Kleinschmidt of Progressive Agron...

  • Will the Marketplace Pay a Premium for “Grown Climate Smart” Designation?

    Using a $40 million federal grant paid over five years via USDA’s climate initiative, DeLong company created the “Grown Climate Smart” program. A 38 branch Ag retailer and grain elevator, DeLong has roughly 250,000 customer acres enrolled in the program that incentivizes wind breaks, cover croppi...

  • Is Ag Real Estate at a Peak? | Damian Mason

    Farmland prices have been on fire the last couple years. But are those prices peaking? Beyond the huge sale numbers seen on social media, Ag property has been selling well but…there are signs of a cooling off. What can we expect moving forward? Will the institutional investors remain in Ag land? ...

  • A SWOT Analysis for American Agriculture | Damian Mason

    Businesses are encouraged to conduct assessments of their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. In short: What are you good at, what do you suck at, where will tomorrow’s money be made, and what things could put you out of business? The most critical element of an effective SWOT Analy...

  • Machinery Market: Trends, Technology & Tomorrow | Damian Mason

    Used machinery markets are heating up earlier than normal. Is this because farmers in need of equipment recall getting shut out during the supply chain disruptions of Covid or is there a used equipment shortage? What are interest rates — more than double what they were just a year or so ago— doin...

  • Turning Wheat Straw Into A Value-Added Human Food Ingredient | Damian Mason

    Comet Bio is a technology-enabled food ingredient company that, after eight years, is finally ready to churn out food ingredients. The company extracts fiber — arabinoxylan to be specific — from wheat straw and turns it into an ingredient for food companies to use in food for human consumption. T...

  • Organic Poultry — at Scale — with Farmer Focus | Damian Mason

    Organic food sales growth still outpaces conventional, despite food inflation and even after nearly two decades of “organic” being a thing. Additionally, the margins are better for organic. So, how much longer can “organic” grow organically? How do organic chicken farms operate, is it the same as...

  • If I Had a Billion Dollars, Where in Ag Would I Invest It? Or, Would I?

    I was recently asked by two investor friends of mine, “Damian, if I handed you a billion dollars, where in Ag would you invest it?” The question, as well as the six weeks of pondering it inspired in my head, made me think this was a solid and stimulating topic for The Business of Agriculture. Loo...

  • Is The Future of Silage Bagged for Efficiency & Environment? | Damian Mason

    Silage — in case you’re unfamiliar— is high moisture forage chopped and stored for cattle feed, principally dairy animals. It derives its name from the fact we used to blow this forage into silos. That’s not done much anymore for reasons of safety, practicality, and scale. The most common method ...

  • Regenerative Ranching — For Environment AND Economics | Damian Mason

    Regenerative practices have become a new area of focus in production Agriculture. But what about our grazing lands — are we managing those lands for healthier soil, a healthier environment AND a healthier bottom line? Hugh Aljoe and Jim Johnson with Noble Research Institute, an Oklahoma-based ran...

  • What Happened to the Indoor Ag Revolution? | Damian Mason

    A few years ago there was a great deal of hype surrounding Controlled Environment Ag (indoor farming). Money was pouring into the space from outside investors. Along with the money came the media coverage, which brought more money and more hype. According to some, we were just a short time away f...

  • Is Your Field Infected? | Damian Mason

    My farmer friends at XtremeAg say, “The limiting yield factor isn’t the seed, it’s probably us.” Well, that’s not necessarily the case — another huge limiting yield factor is loss due to pathogens. With so many nasty diseases out there, our problem has often been misdiagnosis or a failure to trea...

  • Who’s Paying Farmers To Adopt Regenerative Ag, Why & For How Long?| Damian Mason

    We’re several years into various programs looking to sign up acres for such things as carbon sequestration, nitrogen reduction, cover crops, and other regenerative practices. Yet, there are still not very many acres signed up. Why is that and what will it take to get more acres involved with ecos...

  • Bridging The Farmer / Entrepreneur Mindset | Damian Mason

    If you’re in modern day production Agriculture, you are in business. Probably to the tune of millions of dollars of allocated capital. Yet, many farmers don’t flex their money mindset or think like entrepreneurs. This could make for real on-farm struggles moving into an era of high interest rates...

  • Is Agriculture Gonna Make Money in 2023? | Damian Mason

    Every Summer we begin to analyze crop reports, look at the markets and ask the question, “Will Ag make money this year? And if so, which sectors?” Jarod Creed of JC Marketing & Ag Financial Services joins Damian to discuss farm income, recent ag economic history, political winds shaping or shifti...

  • Is Supply Management in America’s Ag Future? | Damian Mason

    We produce a LOT of agricultural output here in the United States and the trend line for increased productivity isn’t letting up. So what happens when we run out of places to sell our output or creative ways to burn through our crops as we’ve done with ethanol or renewable diesel? Will we see cal...

  • Tackling Commodity Mindset For Higher Margins in Ag | Damian Mason

    As you’ve likely heard me say, we in Agriculture suffer from commodity mindset. When we think of growing margins, we think of reducing costs, getting bigger, and making more with less. But what happens when there’s almost no efficiencies to be gained, or worse yet when we make so much stuff that ...

  • What Are Biologicals, What Do They Do, and Why Do I Need Them? | Damian Mason

    The proliferation of biological crop inputs over the last several years has been almost overwhelming. I personally believe soil biology — understanding it and working with the soil versus against it — is the next frontier for production Agriculture. That said, the world of biological soil and cro...

  • Prime Time Pepper Production | Damian Mason

    Mike Way started his Ag career selling citrus upon graduating from Fresno State. A few years later, he hopped over to vegetables with a few partners. Today he is the CEO and half owner of Prime Time — a California-based grower / shipper / packer of produce specializing mostly in peppers. Mike exp...

  • Technology That Reduces Waste By Capturing What You’ve Already Produced

    North American farmers are losing valuable bushels of corn and soybeans at both the front and back end of their combines -- those bushels never making it to the grain bin. We in Agriculture have been conditioned to focus on increasing production. But what about the money being lost by losing yiel...

  • Farm Finances, Pivoting Due to Interest Rates & The 5 C’s of Credit

    In a year’s time, interest rates have more than doubled, commodity prices have declined by roughly 15 percent, while land and cash rent prices are in record territory. So, is everything alright with farm financials? John Maman with Nutrien Financial joins Damian to discuss Agriculture money and t...

  • Stubbornness: Why 77% of Farms Don’t Have A Succession Plan | Damian Mason

    If you work in the Business of Agriculture, you likely know of a dysfunctional family farming operation. Contrary to the pastoral vision of farming portrayed in children’s books, many farms are stress-filled places to work with family members in conflict, run by narcissistic owners. So says Andy ...

  • Are Outsiders Really Buying Up Farms? Trends & Truths About Farmland Investing

    Farmland values have been on a tear the last couple years. Who’s buying America's farms and why are they doing so? Is it true that institutional investors are keeping farmers from expanding ownership? Will interest rate hikes cause farm ground prices to plummet? Are foreigners buying the property...

  • Aerial Agriculture — A Bird’s Eye View of Drones, Manned Aircraft & Tomorrow

    Drone technology is evolving at a rapid pace. Will we see a future where unmanned aerial vehicles replace the traditional crop duster? Likely not for a number of practical reasons as well as the technology advancements being made in manned agricultural aviation. A more likely scenario is where dr...