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The Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT podcasts are available on our website and can also be downloaded on iTunes and Libsyn.

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Troy Bancroft discusses AgroExpo

AgroLiquid President Troy Bancroft discusses AgroExpo - going on Aug 13 & 14 in St Johns - what to expect at the show, his agricultural past, why he thinks farming education is valuable, and what he's personally looking forward to in...

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Dru Montri of Ten Hens Farm & MSU

Dru Montri runs Ten Hens Farm in Bath with her husband, Adam. She’s also the Director of Government and Stakeholder Relations for Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and College of Veterinary Medicine. She enjoys watching her two...

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Brian Lesperance of Fenn Valley Vineyards

Brian Lesperance of Fenn Valley Vineyards left his career in technology to start a second one at a winery. His wife Gwen, whose family started the business in 1973, their two daughters, and Brian love riding around the farm and enjoying nearby Lake Michigan.  Brian...

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Andrew Chae of Fisheye Farms

Andrew Chae of Fisheye Farms is an urban farmer in Detroit.  He grows a variety of vegetables in a farm-to-chef business that provides for local restaurants.  He’s a skateboarder, enjoys Brazilian music, and loves the first-generation farm he and his family have built...

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Matt Stutzman – Building machines and Legos

Matt Stutzman is a soybean, corn, and wheat farmer from Adrian.  When he’s not farming, he’s spending time with his wife Maria and their three young children.  He serves on state and national boards, has traveled all over the world (he even floated in the Dead Sea),...

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Mark Daniels – From the ground up

Mark Daniels and his wife Miranda manage Bonnie Plants in Ithaca, which is a greenhouse operation that grows 175 different vegetable and herb transplants.  Mark enjoys watching his sons play football, spends time chasing escapee goats, and loves going to his cabin in...

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Scott Maust – Setting sail

Scott Maust is an egg farmer who also races sailboats.  When he’s not on a boat, he’s figuring out how to best take care of chickens in new housing (heated floors!) and working with a team to give them the best nutrition.  Born and raised in Pidgeon, Scott runs Farm...

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Sharon Ostrowski – Raising plants, raising kids

Sharon Ostrowski and her family run SharKar Farms, (pronounced Share Care), an all-vegetable 10-acre farm in China, Michigan.  Sharon jokes that everything is grown in China, and she makes this a reality by offering “weird” vegetables like a cucumber/watermelon type,...

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Mike Noll – Diversified farm and interests

Mike Noll lives in the southern thumb with his wife Jordan and four children, where he farms with his dad and brother.  Not only do they milk cows, but they raise beef, corn, wheat, soybeans, sugar beets, alfalfa, and dry beans.  He coaches, serves on several boards,...

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Darwin Eisenga – The eyes have it

Darwin Eisenga is a potato farmer with 25 years of experience, and in his spare time, he loves tractor pulling competitions.  He just traveled to Indonesia to visit his daughter, he has a son in college, a son on the farm, and a wife that works alongside him.  His...

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Jennifer Wortz – Building and rebuilding

Jennifer Wortz and her family raise chickens in Branch County for Miller Poultry.  Their four children are learning the responsibility of taking care of 40,000 animals at once!  Jennifer and her husband travel, go to their kids’ activities, and eat chicken prepared in...

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Scott Powell – Left college for conifers

Scott Powell is the nursery manager at Dutchman Tree Farms in Manton.  Just before the dissertation for his PhD, Scott chose to go into business with his wife Laura’s family.  He’s had a great time working with nine family members, an entire crew of workers, and...

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Laurie Isley – Saying sure

Not only was Laurie Isley raised on a farm, married a farmer, and has a farm of her own, but she also loves educating people about them.  After a long career teaching agricultural education and advising for FFA, she moved on to teaching adult education and serving on...

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Mat Stutzman – No time to waste

Mat Stutzman of St Joseph County is both a poultry and crop farmer.  He and his wife are raising four young kids while working along many other family members.  He also works in high school sports media, and he does video outreach with his church. Listen as he talks...

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Stephanie Kipp – A mom growing for moms

Even though she didn’t work on her family’s farm when she was growing up, a love of science and a curiosity about how things worked led Stephanie Kipp home.  She grows potatoes, peas, green beans, corn, and wheat as the fourth generation on her Edmore farm.  She’s...

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Luke Marion – Growing a garden, growing a business

Luke Marion started MIgardener to give inspiration and information to people gardening.  He and his wife Sindy garden 365 days a year, including growing their indoor coffee and citrus trees.  Together, they have grown into a retail location, an online store, and a...

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Vicki Zilke – Celebrating What Matters

Vicki Zilke and her husband Tom own two businesses – Zilke Vegetable Farm and Zilke Farm Kitchen in Milan.  At their farm market, Vicki repeatedly heard from customers that they had great intentions on making healthy, tasty dinners for their families, but they had a...

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Andrea Boughton – Covering Land and Sky

Andrea Boughton of Marshall raises Angus cattle, corn, and soybeans.  She’s the president of Calhoun County Farm Bureau and spends a lot of time educating students about ag.  She also works for the Department of Defense (Northrop Grumman) as an operations lead, crews...

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Bryan Heffron – Farm-to-Market

Bryan Heffron of Heffron Farms Market raises cattle and crops and sells direct-to-market, in four retail stores, and online.  His wife Katie also owns a pie fundraising business.  They are the parents of three young children and are entering the sports phase of life,...

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Chris Heck – One Heck of a Party

Chris and his family live in Monroe County and grow corn, soybeans, wheat, plus some organic acres.  He also is a sales representative for Actagro.  Currently, Chris and his wife Rachelle spend a lot of time gazing adoringly at their 7-month-old daughter Adelaide.  As...

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Scott Ferry – Sparty On

Scott Ferry is a fourth generation dairy, beef, and crop farmer in Litchfield.  He was Sparty in college, and now he brings that same enthusiasm to his farm and family!  When he’s not working, he’s skiing, hiking, or keying his own farm truck. Listen as Scott talks...

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Luke DeHaan – Eat Berry Smart

Luke DeHaan is a blueberry farmer in Ottawa County.  After he graduated with an engineering degree and worked as a civil engineer for six years, he decided to join his wife and her family on the farm.  They now run a processing facility, a farm, a market - and during...

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Shelly Hartmann – Blueberry farmer at True Blue Farms

Shelly Hartmann of South Haven is a blueberry farmer at True Blue Farms. She and her husband Dennis, along with their family and like-family team members, run a blueberry farm that covers growing, packaging, retail, u-pick, online, and catalog sales. They have been...

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Gregg Smyth – From Cities to Orchards

Gregg Smyth worked at Phillips Orchards and Cider Mill as a hobby until he and Brian Phillips decided to make the family farm their full-time business. Gregg now runs the Gatehouse Market, enjoys the benefits of small-town living, and works as a flight attendant in...

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Matt Scramlin – On the Block

Matt Scramlin has had a lot of roles, like a regional rep for Michigan Farm Bureau, a trainer at American Farm Bureau, an auctioneer, a meatcutter, and a sheep farmer, but through all of it he’s been one thing – a Farm Bureau junkie. Listen as he talks about his...

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Ben LaCross – Working for It

Ben LaCross is a cherry farmer in Leelenau County, the cherry capital of the world. He and his wife Kelsey are competing in Traverse City’s half Ironman Triathlon, he’s working on solving agricultural issues, they’re raising three kids going in different directions,...

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Natalie Pennington – Stay at Farm Mom

Natalie Pennington is a “stay at farm” mom of two. She and her family have a farm market called Hearty Harvest, raise sheep, provide agtainment, and host dinners on the farm. She is the youth minister at her church, has gone on missions to Guatemala and Haiti, and is...

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Kelly Leach – All Give, No Quit

Kelly Leach is a fourth generation farmer on Avalon Farms in Climax. Her family grows hydroponic lettuce, tomatoes, and vegetables. Listen as she talks about her beloved Michigan State Spartans, new food trailer adventure, coaching cheerleading, and how she will cook...

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Keely Efaw – Michigan Miss Agriculture USA

Keely Efaw enjoys advocating for agriculture so much that she’s even earned a title - Michigan Miss Agriculture USA. She spends her time earning her associate’s degree in agriculture technology and spoiling her dogs, including a one-eyed bird dog. She’s looking...

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Michael DeRuiter – Loving What You Do

Michael DeRuiter is a tart cherry, apple, and peach farmer in Hart, Michigan. After getting his MBA – even though he originally planned on leaving after an associate’s degree – he returned home to farm with his family. He and his high school sweetheart are married,...

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Ed McBroom – Senator Farmer

Ed McBroom is both a senator and dairy farmer who hails from Vulcan, in the U.P. Listen as he speaks candidly about playing Rachmaninov, directing the Norway City Band, how farming and family intertwine, and what a perfect day on the farm looks like to him. He covers:...

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Kate Avery – Craft Beer Storyteller

Kate Avery is Director of Marketing & Sales at Brewery Vivant, a brewpub, restaurant, and microbrewery in Grand Rapids. Brewery Vivant is also the winner of the Michigan Grown, Michigan Great Restaurant Full Service Award. Listen as Kate talks about how her...

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Joe Ankley – Farmer, Teacher, Traveler

Joe Ankley is an ag educator in Huron County. He also dairy farms, grows crops, raises grass fed beef, and leads the North Huron FFA. He’s also the 2019 winner of the Michigan Farm Bureau Young Farmer Excellence in Ag Award. How does he have more time than everyone...

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Amanda Kutchey – Broccoli in the Wild

Amanda Kutchey from Macomb County runs a fruit and vegetable farm with her family, and she’s also a crop insurance agent for GreenStone Farm Credit Services. Aside from work, she likes to travel … and visit farms on her trips! Where do you find broccoli in the wild?...

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Emily Crambell – Crazy Horse

Emily Crambell is the Education and Outreach Manager at the IQhub, the learning center for agricultural history, innovation, and exploration, and she and her husband also operate a family dairy farm near Owosso. Throw in horses, kids, and roller derby skating … meet...

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A diplomatic farmer running through his 40-by-40

Meet Chris Creguer, a territory manager for Pioneer Seeds, plus a corn, soybeans,
wheat and dry bean farmer, in Michigan’s thumb region. He shares about traveling by way of family
roadtrips, running, football and faith, plus how a debate about GMOs turned into a date, a wedding, five
years and two kids.

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We’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s pretty nice

Dani Dryer farms fulltime with her parents and sister to grow about 900 acres of crops including corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. The family also works on custom-tiling fields for other farmers. She shares about places she’s traveled and snowmobiled, technology on her family’s farm and more.

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A Dutch dairyman pounding the pavement & presidential gavel

Meet Dirk Okkema, a dairy and sheep farmer from west Michigan. He also works fulltime as a member representative of a dairy cooperative. He shares about regularly used smartphone apps, traveling around his region for farm inspections, welcoming baby lambs and visitors at his family’s farm and more!

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Growing like hops with open relationships

Meet Sean Trowbridge, who spoke with us on a snowy day in Goodrich (near Flint). He started a farm with his dad a little over 10 years ago with pigs, bees, turkeys, a big garden and hops. Since then they’ve narrowed their focus, and he shares with us about qualities that may change the flavor of products, equipment and labor needed for a successful harvest and more!

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Quality time, productivity and warmer temperatures

Sarah Mathe farms with her husband and their two young children on her family’s centennial farm in southeast Michigan. They raise corn, soybeans and wheat, plus cattle and sheep. Listen in as she talks about her dream day, new ventures she’s working on including a business and a fun, unique dress-up experience of her four-year-old.

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Learning from saying “never”

It’s time to meet Carrie Preston! Carrie shares with us about lessons learned on the farm and through teaching about agricultural science. Topics include secret cooking ingredients, travel destinations and more.

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If there’s anything we are, we’re unusual

Meet Brian Preston. He farms with his dad, uncle and cousin to raise 1,500 acres of crops, plus 10,000 pigs per year AND milk 800 dairy cows in south-central Michigan. In this episode, we hear about activities that fill up his family’s days, why a family business is special, a technical conversation about shrink and more.

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I’m the cornguy

Mick Kokx retired from Michigan State University. He raises locally-grown produce and meat goats in southwest Michigan. He shares about the difference between goats and other animals, stickershock of making a move from Baltimore to the Upper Peninsula and more.

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A dairy farmer who’s not seeking life mulligans

Meet Jennifer Lewis, a dairy farmer from Jonesville with a husband, three grown kids and three grandkids. Her family also raises corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and blueberries. She shares about her household grocery staples, a reason she’s happy to eat her youthful words, a hobby she hasn’t had time for in three years and more.

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A teacher-turned-technician

Jodi DeHate is a Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) Technician based in Missaukee County. She grew up on a dairy farm, but now she and her husband raise fruits and vegetables and she milks cows every other Sunday. Listen as she talks about creative ways she’s built a business with used materials, hunting and fishing and what career changes led her to this point in her life.

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An apple-carrying frost man

Nick Schweitzer raises about 20 varieties of apples with his family in West Michigan. Learn more about him and why he’s the ultimate planner, how apples are stored for optimum fruit quality all year long, what he would serve dinner guests for dessert and more!

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A mom with questions, projects and new recipes

The Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Restaurant is celebrating 130 years of being in business! Amy Zehnder Grossi is a fourth-generation restaurateur and joins our podcast as a winner of the 2018 Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT restaurant award. Hear about what brought her back to her family’s business, partnerships and tours with farmers to supply the volume of food served in their local restaurant, their annual Michigan Dinner event and more.

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Farmer after five finds love in plane sight

Elaine Bristol works for the Michigan Ag Council during the day, but at night she transforms into a shepherd! Elaine, a fifth generation Michigan State Spartan, raises sheep with her family. Listen as she tells about how she ignored her instincts on a flight, the joy on people’s faces at Disney World, the beauty of a dead end sign and how many wool items of clothing she sports daily.

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A mat maid spreading truth about agriculture

Meet Annie Link, a multi-generational dairy farmer who milks about 2,000 cows and raises crops in West Michigan. Her family’s farm started in 1915 when Annie’s great-grandfather married the farmer’s daughter. She and longtime friend (and podcast host) Carla visit about cheese making, wrestling and running, a life-changing experience and what she’s learning around her laundry schedule.

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