By Kyle Barnett

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CropTalk #KyleTalksAgTech with Kyle Barnett is about shedding light on the controlled environment agriculture field and the technology that enables people to grow with a whole new level of precision and success. Kyle Barnett speaks with CEA leaders, entrepreneurs, consultants, growers, and start-ups that are pushing the limits on how we grow. Whether growing in the greenhouse, vertical farm, or indoor grow operation, this podcast shines the spotlight on people moving the industry ahead and their unique journeys. For newcomers to this emerging niche or established players looking for extra tips, motivation, and a view at what the future might hold for controlled ag., this podcast is for you!

Episode Date
219. The Importance of Civil Engineering in Greenhouse Site Selection & Planning w. Nick Long

So you want to start a greenhouse but don’t know where to begin? According to Nick Long of Livic Civil, one of your first steps should be contacting a Civil Engineer. On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAtech Nick and I discuss the importance of contacting a Site & Civil Engineer as early as possible to avoid headaches down the road, the crazy world of permitting, and how different the process can be depending on your state or region, and the importance of having a clear understanding of your timeline. (It may be longer than you think!) 


Mar 09, 2023
218. Growing Produce on Campus for on Campus Dining w. Daniel Wells & Glenn Loughridge

Daniel Wells and Glenn Loughridge are on a mission at Auburn University. Not only to empower students to learn about cultivation but to understand best practices when speaking to buyers such as chefs. Topics on this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech include the power of local produce and its impact on flavor, the potential for culinary / CEA hubs as the future of local produce production and utility, and future predictions for controlled environment agriculture and beyond. 


Mar 03, 2023
217. Food System Myths and Misconceptions w. Christopher Grallert

Christopher Grallert is the president of Green City Growers and believes we must respect conventional farming and farmers, dispel myths about our food system, and work together not to keep reinventing the wheel or “inventing the whistle”. Topics include creating more circular economies within the food system, the power of local, safe food, and how we must constantly keep an open mind and be on guard to not downplay the complexities of the world we live in.

Feb 22, 2023
216. Leveling Up your CEA Operation w. Luis Trujillo

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing” -Dale Carnegie

On this week's episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Luis Trujillo, President of Hoogendoorn America. Topics include the power of user-friendly tools for the success of your CEA grow operation, making work fun and "like a video game" to attract the next generation of passionate talent, and tackling your greenhouse and vertical farming challenges to make your business truly profitable. 

Feb 14, 2023
215. Combating Food Deserts through CEA w. Alaric Overbey

In this week's episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Alaric Overbey, Chief Farming Officer at GreenSideUp.FARM in Las Vegas. Using small-scale indoor farming & vertical farming systems, Alaric and his team are working to combat the food desert issue. Topics in our discussion include the importance of educating the community (teach a man to fish), the outdated stigma of what farming is and can be, serving food deserts by finding your community champion, and the power of grassroot movements to feed these communities. 

Feb 07, 2023
214. The Power of Highly Automated Greenhouse Leafy Greens Production w. Gus Brennan

Gus Brennan is a graduate of Cornell University with extensive experience within multiple avenues of CEA, including OnePointOne (vertical farming), Holistic Industries (Indoor Farming Cannabis), and now Greenswell Growers (Greenhouse leafy greens) using a Green Automation grow system with assistance from Crop King. Through these experiences, Gus instills some knowledge about the power of automation in all areas of your operation, the importance of giving the grower "superpowers" vs. replacing them, key lessons learned and his thoughts on the future of Controlled Environment Agriculture. 

Feb 01, 2023
213. An Unbiased Perspective on Vertical Farming Through Numerous Interviews w. Thea-Isabella Otto

Is vertical farming the end all be all for controlled environment agriculture and crop production? The short answer: No. But IT IS another addition to the grower's toolbox.

On this week's episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Thea-Isabella Otto, who works with the Association of Vertical Farming along with being a vertical farm research consultant. Thea has spent the last couple of years traveling to vertical farms across the globe, interviewing cea business operators for numerous research projects, and gaining an unbiased perspective about the collective industry.


Jan 24, 2023
212. Looking Back to Move Forward: Lessons Learned from Blue Thumb Farms w. Allison Driskill

In this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Allison Driskill of Signify about her past experience running Blue Thumb Farms, which closed its doors in 2021. In this incredibly honest and brave conversation, Allison talks about the lessons she learned from her experience, changes she would of make in the planning stages of the business, and taking what she learned to now assist growers across the country each day at Signify. 

I want to especially express my gratitude for Allison doing this recording with me.. The best way to move forward within CEA greenhouse vertical farming hydroponics etcothers' learn from other's experiences and adjust according. By putting yourself out there and talking about your personal wisdom, you have surely caused a butterfly effect. THANK YOU, Allison! 

Jan 17, 2023
211. Successful Water Management and Water Movement for Hydroponics w. Tim Reusch

Happy New Year! CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech has some exciting plans for 2023 and even more exciting guests on the roster. Starting the year off, I speak with Tim Reusch of DRAMM all about the ins and outs of successful water management and movement within a hydroponics CEA facility. Key topics include the challenges and solutions for excessive water discharge, pros and cons of reverse osmosis, and Tim's golden rule(s) for having the best possible situation with your aqua. 

Jan 11, 2023
210. Figuring out the Planning Phase of Vertical Farms w. Mario Gatineau

We often speak about the challenges of operating a vertical farm but what about everything leading up to your first harvest? On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Mario Gatineau, CEO of Potager Farms about his journey leading him to start down the path of vertical farming, the challenges and lessons he experienced during the ongoing planning and construction phases, and what is on the horizon for his operation scheduled to open in 2023 using an IGS system.

Dec 21, 2022
209. Organic Aquaponic Production w. Molly Stanek

"Large-scale organic hydroponics/aquaponics production is so easy!" said no one ever - On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Molly Stanek, VP of Growing & Operations at Superior Fresh all about their organic aquaponic production, some of the key challenges they've overcome and what the future of the CEA industry may look like.

Dec 13, 2022
208. #KyleTalksAgtech: Educating and Restoring Community Bonds through Indoor Growing Systems w. Alex Tyink

Alex Tyink is the president of Fork Farms, and he believes anyone can be a farmer. With their vertical hydroponic technology, Fork Farms is transforming the way schools, businesses, healthcare facilities, nonprofits, and home users can grow healthy food year-round. Topics in this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech include the power of community growth through indoor growing systems, the potential for farming and healthy food to improve mental health, and how recent lettuce price increases are improving the viability of indoor growing methods for institutions. 

Dec 01, 2022
207. #KyleTalksAgtech: Recession-Proofing your CEA Business w. Tobias Peggs

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Tobias Peggs, CEO at Square Roots indoor farms. With a unique partnership with Gordon Foods, Tobias and I discuss growing the business over the years, asking the question, is CEA vertical farming a bubble like the 2000 dotcom bust? and some key strategies to recession-proof your company as we prepare for a potential economic winter. 

Nov 22, 2022
206. #KyleTalksAgtech: Talking CEA Shop with O.G (Original Grower) Jennifer Waxman

Jennifer Waxman has been growing hydroponically for over 20 years and understands what it takes to grow quality produce. On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech we talk about some of the critical issues the industry is facing, the importance of keeping the grower experts in the decision-making process, and what the future of the indoor farming industry may look like. 

Nov 08, 2022
205. #KyleTalksAgtech: An Honest Look at Strawberry Vertical Farm Production w. Alexandre Van Deun

Growing strawberries in a vertical farm is hard. How do you pollinate? Can you automate your facility with robotics? Can I start my strawberries from seed? Can I use my own cuttings? Alexandre Van Deun, Founder of Urban Harvest and I discuss these questions and many more in this strawberry themed episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech

Nov 01, 2022
204. #KyleTalksAgtech: BioPharma Solutions via Vertical Farming w. Jacob Eisenberg

Jacob Eisenberg is the Director of BioPharma Solutions at OnePointOne, a vertical farming technology company specializing in high tech aeroponic systems. On this epsiode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech Jake and I discuss the power of vertical farming for medicine development, his global experience within vertical farms, and what to expect in the coming years within these industries. 

Oct 19, 2022
203. #KyleTalksAgtech: The CEA Water Episode w. Kyle Lisabeth

"Growing food hydroponically will save 99.999% water compared to conventional farming!" We've all heard this line, and while hydroponically growing greatly reduces water consumption compared to conventional farming, we must be on high alert to back up our claims with clear data.

On this "water" episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech Kyle Lisabeth, VP of Horticulture at Silver Bullet and I discuss, you guessed it- water, the importance of accurate data and predictions for the future of CEA. 

Oct 06, 2022
202. #KyleTalksAgtech: The Evolution of CEA and the state of the industry w. Paul Brentlinger

Paul Brentlinger is the second generation owner of CropKing. Being raised in an environment where hydroponics was a constant, Paul has developed a clear, honest and insightful perspective on the current state of the CEA Industry, what to expect in the future and some fundamental lessons learned along the way.

Sep 21, 2022
201. #KyleTalksAgtech: Talking CEA Shop with O.G (Original Grower) Armando Suarez

Armando Suarez is one of the first graduates of the University of Arizona's CEA program. On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Armando on a wealth of subjects within CEA and the lessons he's learned along the way. Topics include strawberry and cannabis production, tissue culture, the similarities between high-tech greenhouses and vertical farming, along with what the CEA industry may look like in the future.

Sep 08, 2022
200! #KyleTalksAgtech: Defining Impact Strategy within CEA w. Rebekah Moses

Rebekah Moses is their VP of Impact Strategy at Iron Ox. With a background of over 5 years at Impossible Foods, Rebekah is helping define what impact looks like within the controlled environment agriculture industry and beyond. Topics on this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech include advice on your grow operations energy usage, potential strategies to reduce impact in the future, and how the vast number of ways to grow continually expands. 

Aug 23, 2022
199. #KyleTalksAgtech: Vertical Farms assisting the Collective w. David Farquhar

David Farquhar is the CEO at Intelligent Growth Solutions Limited (IGS). With a mission to engineer sustainable solutions to enhance indoor environments across agricultural and commercial spaces, David is driven to not only assist CEA but growers from all arenas. On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech David and I discuss hands-free growing, vertical farms assisting deglobalized supply chains and the potential future separation of tech vendors vs. Growers. 

Aug 03, 2022
198. #KyleTalksAgtech: Pioneering Vertical Farming in Latin America at Agrourbana w. Cristián Sjögren & Pablo Bunster

Cristián Sjögren & Pablo Bunster are the founders of Agrourbana, the very FIRST vertical farm in Latin America. With backgrounds in renewable energy, these two pioneers are building the foundation of an entire LA industry beginning in Chile. Topics include understanding the Latin American marketplace, creating a highly effective business model with a focus on unit economics, key challenges experienced starting their farm, and how vertical farming is not only about fresh local produce, but creating food security for countries around the world.  

Jul 13, 2022
197. #KyleTalksAgtech: Europe vs. USA: A Market Comparison w. Timo Bongartz

Timo Bongartz is the General Manager for the EMEA markets for Fluence. In this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech we discuss some of the differences when comparing the European and US cannabis market, how working together is the winning strategy, some of the other main differences seen between markets separated by the ocean, and of course, Timo's predictions for the future of controlled ag. 


Jun 21, 2022
196. Roundtable - What You Need to Know June 2022: Adam Greenberg (iUNU) & Chuck Tryon (Bushel Boy)

Recorded June 2022, This #KyleTalksAgtech roundtable talks about the current pain points the CEA industry is currently facing, potential solutions to these issues, and predictions of what to expect next. Topics include:

  • State of the industry & future predictions

  • What are the biggest pain points

  • Prices & Profitability 

    • The Power of Trust

    • Supply Chain Issues 

  • Best ways to stay profitable during a turbulent time 

    • New cultivars

    • New crops

    • New tech/automation

    • The labor market 
    • New distribution

  • Consolidation in the industry

Jun 13, 2022
195. #KyleTalksAgtech: Empowering Plant Growth Worldwide w. Art Van Rijn

What grow system is best for you? The answer is not easy and is not the same for everyone. In this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech, I speak with Art Van Rijn we discuss steps to answering this question, what it means to grow in a vertical farm successfully and the potential of floriculture growers & conventional growers to embrace vertical farming to improve their means of production. 

Jun 09, 2022
194. #KyleTalksAgtech: Electrical Installation Success & Rebates for your Grow w. Christopher Hinshaw

How can I ensure my electrical installation is done properly for my grow? How can I maximize the rebates I receive for lighting and beyond? 

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Christopher Hinshaw, Director of Horticulture at Facility Solutions Group (FSG) all about the questions above. Topics include the importance of finding the RIGHT contractor (and listening to them), DLC standards, and preparing for failure properly when it comes to your electrical and lighting needs. 

Jun 02, 2022
193. #KyleTalksAgtech: From Venture Firms to Vertical Farms w. Arama Kukutai

"How often do you get the chance to be a part of a multi-generational shift in the way in which we feed the planet?" - Arama Kukutai

In this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Arama Kukutai, CEO of Plenty about the power of CEA on a global level, the financial landscape of vertical farms, the challenges we must continue to overcome, and what he believes the future of our industry may look like. 

May 26, 2022
192. #KyleTalksAgtech: The Science and Benefits of Nanobubbles w. Warren Russell
Nanobubbles are one of the many ways to improve the overall enviroment of your grow operations water. But what exactly is a "nanobubble"? What are the benefits of this water technology on your grow? On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Warren Russell, Co-Founder and Chief Commerical officer at Moleaer. Topics include a deep dive into the science of bubbles, growing in hot water temperatures, and how nanobubbles may be able to conserve your resources and help deter pathogens.
May 19, 2022
191. #KyleTalksAgtech: Vertical Farming Framing - View from the Helm of AeroFarms w. Marc Oshima
Marc Oshima is the Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer at AeroFarms. In this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech, I speak with Mark about the journey of AeroFarms, the current and future growth of the company in Virginia and the UAE, and the importance of advocacy within the cea and vertical farming industries. 
May 12, 2022
190. #KyleTalksAgtech: Indoor Farming Brokerage w. Eric Levesque

Eric Levesque, Co-Founder of Cultivatd want to help Indoor Farmers launch with success via the proper partners.

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Eric Levesque about the importance of finding the right supplier partners for your vertical farm or greenhouse, what it means to be a CEA broker and how Cultivatd plans to empower the indoor farming community via their FaaS (farming as a service) model.

May 05, 2022
189. #KyleTalksAgtech: Accelerating the development, advancement & efficiency of indoor farming at CEA 4.0 w. Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin is the director of CEA 4.0, a fully virtual conference focused on indoor farming.

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak in depth with Jonathan on what to expect at the event and how this can be another opportunity for the CEA community to come together.

The event will host up to 58 presentations from a range of indoor farms, operators, and solution & technology providers over two days providing you an insight into the latest developments and industry requirements. Learn more about this second annual conference at

Apr 28, 2022
188. #KyleTalksAgtech: The Dr. is in! The HVAC Conversation w. Nadia Sabeh

  The Dr. is in! On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with HVAC extraordinaire Nadia Sabeh all about, you guessed it- HVAC! Topics include the most common HVAC mistakes, the importance of air flow, how HVAC is absolutely NOT a one size fits all solution and Dr. Nadia's views on the direction the industry is headed and the importance of getting ahead of upcoming regulation.   

Apr 21, 2022
187. #KyleTalksAgtech: Real Estate and Infrastructure Strategy in CEA w. Rick Drescher
As controlled environment agriculture operations begin expanding across the country, what are some of the most important factors to consider when selecting your next site?

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgTech I speak with Rick Drescher, Corporate Managing Director at Savills North America. Topics include the importance of knowing your energy needs as accurately and as early as possible, looking at energy availability first to select the right site, and a friendly reminder that not all utility companies are created equal. 

Apr 14, 2022
186. #KyleTalksAgtech: Automation, Markets and Mechanical Wizards w. Eric Highfield

Will the controlled ag winners embrace high level automation? According to Eric Highfield of High Yield Horticulture, the answer is a definite yes.

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech Eric and I have a thorough conversation about the power of full automation systems in CEA, the need for highly skilled individuals to drive and maintain these "lamborghinis" along with the need for retail relationship development, market understanding and thoughts on the future of our industry. 

Apr 07, 2022
185. #KyleTalksAgtech: Challenges to overcome in CEA w. Murat Kucira

Murat Kacira is the Professor and Director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) at The University of Arizona. On this week's episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgTech we discuss the key challenges the controlled ag. Industry is currently facing, the importance of education to ensure successful long term growth and what Murat believes the future of our industry may look like.   

Mar 31, 2022
184. #KyleTalksAgtech: Using data to reduce waste in CEA w. Kylie Horomia
How can we contiunally improve revenue and decrease waste in controlled ag? DATA OF COURSE! But is the answer collecting as much information as possible? 

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech Kylie Horomia of WayBeyond and I discuss using data the right way, how small waste may be costing you much more then you think and how to maximize efficiency & production while reducing loss. 

Mar 24, 2022
183. #KyleTalksAgtech: A review of Indoor Ag Con & passion in CEA w. Erika Summer

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech Erika Summers and I talk about the recent Indoor Ag Con event and our takeaways, the importance of HVAC to ensure success in CEA, educating the younger generations on what exactly food and flavor is, and lessons from the industry for the industry. 

Mar 17, 2022
182. #KyleTalksAgtech: Innovation at Local Bounti w. Dave Vosburg

Dave Vosburg is the Chief Innovation Officer at Local Bounti. On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech we discuss "If you grow it will they come?" (Short answer, NOPE) the importance of unit economics in CEA, understanding what you don't know, you don't know along with the importance of creating industry benchmarking, investor and retail relations and the future outlook for the industry. 

Mar 10, 2022
181. #KyleTalksAgtech: Lighting talk and CEA stories w. Blake Lange

Blake Lange of Signify has been lighting vertical farms since the beginning. On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech Blake and I discuss the evolution of LED horticulture lighting, words of cation for buyers and some of our favorite stories (Spoiler: Don't eat the produce if you don't know the companies food safety standard and your lettuce shouldn't be covered in "seeds")

Additional topics include Signify's recent acquisition of Fluence, using lighting to control specific crop characteristic and what is on the horizon for horticulture lighting

Mar 03, 2022
180. #KyleTalksAgtech: What the heck is a Sustainability Specialist?! w. Kindall Brantley
What the heck is a sustainability specialist?! What exactly do they do in CEA? Why do I keep seeing job listings for this "new" position within controlled ag. pop up?! In this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Kindall Brantley, Sustainability Specialist at AmplifiedAg / Vertical Roots.

Our discussion answers the above question while also addressing what exactly is being measured (scope 1 - 3), what to expect in a Sustainability Specialist role, and what the future may look like in regards to carbon footprint and sustainability within our industry.

Feb 24, 2022
179. #KyleTalksAgtech: What to expect at Indoor Ag-Con 2022 w. Suzanne Pruitt

Indoor Ag-Con is the premier indoor agriculture trade show and conference for indoor | vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture.

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech Suzanne Pruitt, the Director of Indoor Ag-Con runs us through the history of the conference, what to expect at this years show and the group effort that has enabled this event to come together. 

If you are interested in attending this year's show in Las Vegas Feb 28th - March 1st use promo code "CROPTALK22" for 25% off full tickets via Indoor.Ag 

Hope to see you there! 

Feb 17, 2022
178. #KyleTalksAgtech: Growing Food and Medicine at OnePointOne Vertical Farms w. Sam Burtram
What does the future of vertical farming look like? Will we be able to grow not only food but medicine in the future using this technology? 

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech Sam Burtram, CEO of OnePointOne answers these questions and dives deep into some of the industry challenges and his experience developing a team and system to grow vetically using aeroponics. 

Additional topics include the add values of vertical farming for retailers,  the progression of accessible food over time, and how "your engineers customer is your grower."

Feb 10, 2022
177. #KyleTalksAgtech: Name Changes & Branding Expertise at Soli Organic (formally Shenandoah Growers) w. Don Helms
A few months ago Shenandoah Growers changed their name to Soli Organic. Why did this change happen? What is the leading provide of organic herbs doing to perfect their branding? What does it take to build a strong produce brand in CEA?  On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech Don Helms, Vice President of Marketing at Soli Organic Inc. does a masterful job of answering these questions, explaining what it takes to build a strong brand and the story of how and why this recent name change occured. 
Feb 02, 2022
176. #KyleTalksAgtech: From Banking to Aquaponics w. Tracy Nazzaro
Tracy Nazzaro is the President & General Manager at Traders Hill Farm. Before joining the farm she worked in banking and her background has proved priceless. Topics for this episode include the importance of branding (even if you are not going through retail) the challenges that come from aquaponic farming and lessons learned along the way.
Jan 12, 2022
175. #LeadersTalkCrops: Dynamically Steering Nutrition of Greenhouse Grown Hydroponic Leafy Greens Using SAP Analysis w/ Jenny Garley & Scott Wall

Buckle up. This #LeadersTalkCrops episode is packed with knowledge.

The first time Scott Wall, President and Owner of New Age Laboratories, joined as a guest on CropTalk he blew our minds by sharing the nitty gritty on SAP analysis and its impact on the way Cannabis growers manage their plant nutrition. 

This time he and I were lucky enough to be joined by none other than Jenny "Jenny-from-the-Crop" Garley, the Chief Science Officer at New Age Laboratories, and we dove deep into using SAP analysis to steer leafy green crop performance. 

The discussion is full of the following golden nuggets: 

- the details on dynamic nutrient steering using SAP analysis 

- the impact that balanced nutrition has on a farmer's profit margin

- how to take SAP samples for leafy greens, both mature and baby

- how to package and ship SAP sets for optimal analysis

Dec 21, 2021
174. #KyleTalksAgtech: A Pros guide to Investing and Finance in CEA W. Andrew Howell

Everyone knows finance and investing is the easiest part of any CEA venture.. 


On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Andrew Howell of Ceres Partners about navigating the wonderful world of investing and finance as it pertains to indoor farming, agtech and the collective CEA industry. Andrew paints a clear picture of some of the key attributes to look for when investing and what to expect as an investor in this space. (Spoiler alert: Patience) 

Nov 17, 2021
173. #LeadersTalkCrops: Welcoming the Newest Member of the CropWalk and CropTalk Team w/ Erika Verrier

Know Better, Grow Better. 

Erika Verrier is the newest member of the CropWalk and CropTalk team and #KnowBetterGrowBetter is her mantra. 

Words can't describe how pumped up the entire team is to have her spunk, positive attitude, emotional intelligence and technical aptitude on the squad. 

Outside of her unique tomato IPM and food safety experience, she brings a wealth of leadership and team development skills to our team. 

Did I mention she loves sharing knowledge, as well as connecting people and ideas so much that she's starting her own CropTalk podcast series called.....drum roll please...


Check out this conversation to learn more about Erika and what she's got up her tyvek sleeves!!

Nov 15, 2021
172. #CropCareConvos: Building a Cannabis Greenhouse from the Ground Up w/ Nick D'Amelio

Nick D’Amelio is the cultivation manager and head grower at TerrAscend, who built the first commercial cannabis greenhouse in New Jersey, the state Bobby Shearer grew up in. Nick assisted in the build-out of the facility he now runs and TerrAscend is producing premier cannabis flowers both indoors and in that greenhouse.

Nick shares what was required to plan the development of a customized cultivation facility, get it built, and then get it up and running with operations and cultivation plans. He and Bobby chat about the challenges he faced, what he learned along the way, and insights other growers can learn from.

Are you planning to scale up? Develop a customized facility? Building a greenhouse, production plan, and team from the ground up? This is the podcast for you.

Oct 28, 2021
171. #LeadersTalkCrops - Brute Force Fertilization is so 20th Century Agriculture w/ Michael Key

Crops are not nearly as gluttonous as we have traditionally made them out to be. 

It seems as if much of conventional agriculture shoves synthetic fertilizers down the soil's throat in an attempt to nourish plants with ever-diminishing returns on investment. 

As an industry, we are discovering more about the symbiotic relationships between soil microbiology and the crops that call soil home. 

With this knowledge, it feels barbaric to overlook some of our greatest plant health protagonists and the importance of their relationships with plants. 

That's why we had Michael Key the CEO of Impello Biosciences onto CropTalk podcast to share more about why he thinks brute force fertilization is so 20th-century agriculture and how growers can take a more collaborative approach to plant nutrition and health. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean




Oct 25, 2021
170. #KyleTalksAgtech: Large Scale Container Farming and Beyond w. Don Taylor

AmplifiedAg is taking container farming to the next level. With multiple locations (Their Columbia, South Carolina location housing 140 containers!) Don Taylor, CEO is delivering consistent, safe and delicious (I can vouch) greens to Publix, Harris Teeter, Food Lion and many more retailers. Take a listen to learn more about Don's journey in Horticulture, the evolution of the company and navigating the ever changing retail environment. 

Oct 18, 2021
169. #CropCareConvos - Biologicals for Plant Health: Best Practices & the Growing Market

Ever wish you could listen in on industry leaders talkin' crops on a casual call? Pam gave Surendra a ring to talk about biologicals and they accidentally hit record! Lucky us!

They define categories of biological agents before they discuss market adoption and the development of new products, best practices for farmers, and what benefits farmers can expect.

This isn't a #CropTalk #podcast to miss. These are two of the world's best minds in agricultural pest management. And somehow we happened to get our hands on this recording of their phone call! ;) no FCC laws were violated. But lots of IPM advice is shared.

Traditional chemical pesticides are being replaced by biologicals more each year, across ag sectors. Are you curious what two of the foremost authorities on the matter have to say when they connect to chat? #LetsTalkCrops on #CropCareConvos by #CropTalkMedia

Sep 29, 2021
168. #KyleTalksAgtech: Turning Data into Wisdom w. Jono Jones

Everyone loves collecting data for their grow operation, until it becomes a tangled web of nonsense. On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Jono Jones of BlueLab about the importance of not only collecting data, but putting it to proper use. Topics include using smart tools to collect the right data, turning that data into wisdom and learning directly from your grower customers.

Sep 28, 2021
167. #LeadersTalkCrops - What Produce Growers and Buyers Need to Know About Each Other to Do Better Business w/ James Williams

Growing a quality, desirable crop with palatable input costs is an accomplishment. 

But, growing a quality crop with palatable input costs that consumers demand and that sells consistently is a whole different beast. 

As a fresh produce supplier, it seems developing quality relationships and rapport with produce buyers is the secret sauce to selling through and is something that more suppliers should lean into. 

That's the reason we had James Williams, the Business Development Manager at Intergrow Greenhouses, Inc. onto the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast to share how, as a produce supplier, he develops and nurtures relationships with produce buyers. 

The insights James shares are extremely valuable, but even more so because he has served as both the produce buyer and supplier during his career.  

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean


Sep 16, 2021
166. #CropCareConvos: Demystifying the Research & Development Process for Crop Producers with Eli Zimmer

Let's talk research & development! #LetsTalkCrops. This episode features some incredible insights from the R&D Manager at Square Roots in Brooklyn NYC, Eli Zimmer. He's tasked with designing and executing growing trials to support new product development, recipe optimization, and plant treatments.

In this #CropTalk podcast, Eli and Bobby aim to demystify the R&D process by simplifying what's often perceived to overly complex. How can an R&D program be developed in a way that doesn't strain the operation and that provides clear, significant ROI on a path of constant improvement?

From setting up trials, to collecting data, to communication with stakeholders along the way, Eli shares some great tips that growers everywhere will be glad they considered.

Aug 27, 2021
165. #LeadersTalkCrops - What You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know About Cannabis Viroids and Viruses w/ Dr. Jack Munz

Compared to other crops, there is far less peer-reviewed research and diagnostic resources available for Cannabis plant pathogens; especially the viruses and viroids that infect and impact Cannabis production. 

When it comes to pathogens, Cannabis viruses and viroids are the typically the most misunderstood. 

That's why we had Dr. Jack Munz of Genie Lab onto the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast to discuss what we didn't know we didn't know about Cannabis viroids and viruses. 

Jack shares quite a few golden nuggets including: 

🌱 The difference between plant viroids and viruses. 

🌱 Some of the typical symptoms displayed by different viroids and viruses

🔬 Diagnostic and continuing education resources related to plant pathogens

Until next time, #StartCleanStayClean

Aug 25, 2021
164. #KyleTalksAgtech: Running the largest aquaponics facility in the world, Superior Fresh w. Brandon Gottsacker

There is no doubt, aquaponics is hard! Growing plants or raising fish as two separate businesses is hard enough, and I can assure you, combining them does not make things easier.

On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech I speak with Brandon Gottsacker, President of Superior Fresh in Wisconsin. If there is any example out there of someone doing aquaponics right look no further then this operation. Topics include becoming certified organic, advice for succeeding in aquaponics, and managing all the moving pieces that go into any CEA operation.

Aug 25, 2021
163. #LeadersTalkCrops - PART 2 - Fine Tuning Your Irrigation Practices May Not Seem Sexy - But the Input Conservation and Profit Sure Are w/ Adam Newby, PhD.


Fine tuning your irrigation practices may seem like a daunting and ambiguous objective.

It may seem futile because you tell yourself you've got plenty of water, and you're already growing quality crops.

Water is not an infinite resource.

Your bank account is not an infinite resource.

Crop inputs cost money. 

Herbicide. Fertilizer. Pesticides. Biopesticides. Biological Control Agents. 

They all cost money. 

Their use is impacted by your irrigation practices. 

What if you could save money on crop inputs by fine tuning your irrigation practices?

Then you'd be growing quality crops AND making more profit.

Profit per acre or square foot is the name of the game when you're in the plant production business.

In part two of this conversation, Adam F. Newby, Ph.D. a Production Efficiency Expert at Newby Horticultural, shares how you can fine tune your irrigation practices so that you earn more profit and use your resources wisely.

Taking a second look at your irrigation practices doesn't sound terrible at all now, does it?!

Until next time, #StartCleanStayClean

Aug 17, 2021
162. #LeadersTalkCrops - CropWalkin' with iUNU: a future vision for IPM and greenhouse success w/ Adam Greenberg

“Rising consumer demand is accelerating the growth of the greenhouse industry, but the massive shortage of both growers and manual labor requires a scalable machine vision solution to further produce supply. Having a renowned agronomy team, like CropWalk, to assist in deploying state-of-the-art technology like LUNA will have a profound impact on our constantly improving capacity to help growers increase quality, yields, and profits. 65% of growers are above the age of 55, and the shortage of qualified people is hitting the fast growing industry hard. Something has to give, thus the future is centralized management of distributed facilities.

- Adam Greenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of iUNU

The future of crop care in modern greenhouses that will feed families for generations involves both people’s expertise and the best available technologies.

The union of iUNU and CropWalk is great news for CEA crop producers seeking the advantage of cutting edge artificial intelligence, computer vision, and machine learning coupled with industry-leading IPM & biological services.

iUNU’s acquisition of CropWalk helps both companies become more effective in their work towards an important common goal: reducing the cost of nutrient-rich food reaching urban centers while helping growers thrive. 

In this episode of CropTalk, Charlie and Adam Greenberg discuss what all this means for growers we serve, the industry and the retail consumers that purchase the products our industry produces. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Aug 12, 2021
161. #KyleTalksAgtech: From aquaponics to hydroponics- Continually pivoting towards success at Revolution Farms w. Daniel Vukcevich

What does it take to succeed in CEA? On this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech Dan Vukevich COO of Revolution Farms talks about the companies journey in horticulture, the pivots they've taken, and what the future looks like not only for their operation but the industry as a whole.

Aug 03, 2021
160. #LeadersTalkCrops - PART 1 - Fine Tuning Your Irrigation Practices May Not Seem Sexy - But the Input Conservation and Profit Sure Are w/ Adam Newby, PhD.

Fine tuning your irrigation practices may seem like a daunting and ambiguous objective.

It may seem futile because you tell yourself you've got plenty of water, and you're already growing quality crops.

Water is not an infinite resource.

Your bank account is not an infinite resource.

Crop inputs cost money. 

Herbicide. Fertilizer. Pesticides. Biopesticides. Biological Control Agents. 

They all cost money. 

Their use is impacted by your irrigation practices. 

What if you could save money on crop inputs by fine tuning your irrigation practices?

Then you'd be growing quality crops AND making more profit.

Profit per acre or square foot is the name of the game when you're in the plant production business.

In this two part episode, Adam F. Newby, Ph.D. a Production Efficiency Expert at Newby Horticultural, shares how you can fine tune your irrigation practices so that you earn more profit and use your resources wisely.

Taking a second look at your irrigation practices doesn't sound terrible at all now, does it?!

Until next time, #StartCleanStayClean

Aug 02, 2021
159. #CropCareConvos - Step-by-Step Instructions: Greenhouse Cannabis From Clone to Market w/ David Polley

Cannabis growers tend to keep their cultivation insights very close to their chest and rarely do any share the details of their techniques as transparently as David Polley of Preferred Gardens in northern California.

David is the founder, CEO, and director of cultivation. And Preferred Gardens consistently distributes high-quality product across the state for the recreational market despite incredible competition from multi-state operators.

So, Bobby and David decided to hit record on a conversation that runs through a higher-level overview of the entire Preferred Gardens crop cycle process.

They cover planning topics designing the greenhouses, production topics like cloning, plant care, nutrient management, IPM, harvest and so much more, and they follow the product supply chain all the way to market, even discussing the best packaging availabilities.

You're unlikely to find another cannabis grower who will share their practices so candidly. So, enjoy this podcast somewhere you're ready to take notes.

Jul 15, 2021
158. #LeadersTalkCrops - Managing Your CEA Environment for Optimal Plant Physiology While Under Artificial or Supplemental Light w/ Marc van Iersel, PhD

Controlled environment growers have been inundated with advancements in light technology and new fixtures over the past decade.

Many growers have since installed supplemental light or artificial light in their greenhouse or warehouse.

Installing the fixtures and paying the energy bill is only a small piece of what a grower must do to get the most return on their lighting investment. 

That's why we had Marc van Iersel, PhD onto the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast.

Marc shares a whole mess of insights like..

- Plant physiologist should be the ones to define PAR and engineers should follow their lead when creating lighting fixtures.

- Far red light does not get the credit it deserves

- He is on a campaign to redefine Photosynthetically Active Radiation to 400nm to 750nm

- Adding supplemental CO2 when running supplemental lights will be an enormous benefit for your crop and will give you faster ROI on the fixtures.

- Dimming controllers for supplemental light are something you've got to consider

And, much more..


Until next time, #StartCleanStayClean

Jul 08, 2021
157. CropCareConvos: Blockchain Technology is Improving Agricultural Supply Chain Management with Brett Puffenbarger

Brett Puffenbarger, the VP of Corporate Initiatives at Multichain Ventures, breaks down what the 'blockchain' is and what it means to be 'decentralized' while providing context on how it applies to agricultural sectors.

Bobby and Brett and discuss the role that blockchain technology will have on the supply chain management of produce and plant medicines. And they dive into the broader implications of blockchain on ag and how/when we can expect to start seeing the wider implementation of technologies built on the blockchain.

Not the typical #CropCareConvos episode. But this sure isn't a #CropTalk #podcast that executive decision-makers and supply chain managers want to skip!

.#LetsTalkCrops on #CropTalkMedia

Jul 02, 2021
156. #LeadersTalkCrops - What Refusing to Automate Your Hanging Basket Production Is Costing You w/ Len Logsdon

If you've hand-watered ornamental hanging baskets in a greenhouse the couple weeks before Mother's Day, you know that it is impossible to give each hanging basket the TLC and water it really needs to thrive. 

Some are under-watered. Some are over-watered.

Some are missed completely and go to the dump pile in the days following.

Growing large amounts of ornamental hanging baskets to the quality specs that many retailers demand is a monumental feat in and of itself.

To grow hanging baskets consistently, with increased quality, reduced labor and reduced shrink is what many growers would describe as one of their wildest dreams.

Len Logsdon, Controls Engineer at Control Dekk, LLC has been working hard to help growers realize those wild dreams using OASIS, the automated hanging basket irrigation system that Control Dekk developed and markets to greenhouse growers.

We had Len onto CropTalk to share what refusing to automate your hanging basket production is costing you.

Until next time, #StartCleanStayClean

Jun 28, 2021
155. #KyleTalksAgtech: Succeeding in CEA through other industries lessons w/ Eddy Badrina

How can controlled ag. collectively succeed? According to Eddy Badrina, we should be looking to other industries to see what the future horizon for the CEA may hold and how to avoid future problems. 

Topics include the danger of silos, realistic expectations, the dramatically changing produce consumer and running a company with a modern vision and purpose. 

Jun 22, 2021
154. #LeadersTalkCrops - How Using Nutrients as Physiological Tools Improves Crop Performance w/ Kyle Lilly

Do you like BBQ?

Not all BBQ is made the same. 

Do you want to eat BBQ that is just sufficient in taste or BBQ that is mouth-watering and award-winning?! 

Most would say mouth-watering and award-winning. 

As a grower, should you provide your plants with sufficient nutrients to survive or should you dial in the details that make your crop award-winning and profitable on a per-acre basis

Kyle Lilly, a Plant Nutrition Product Developer, joined as a guest on the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk to share why he believes growers should ditch the sufficiency-based approach when managing crop nutrition. 

Kyle drops a bunch of actionable knowledge bombs in this conversation including: 

- What nutrients can be applied directly as seed treatments to get the crop off to a healthy start 

- How growers can use nutrients as physiological tools to steer plant growth and performance 

- What tools are available to manage ethylene levels in crop production 

Until next time, #StartCleanStayClean

Jun 16, 2021
153. #CropCareConvos: 3 overlooked aspects of controlled environment agriculture w. Kellie Walter

Professor Kellie Walters from the Univ of Tennessee researches controlled environment plant physiology and works to help growers improve their crop production systems.

Bobby Shearer and Charlie McKenzie had a chance to chat with her about what she considers to be the 3 most overlooked aspects of controlled environment agriculture (CEA).

From food production to floriculture, they get into environmental controls, flavor and nutrition management, and consumer preferences in an episode of #CropCareConvos that no CEA operator will wanna miss.

Jun 07, 2021
152. #LeadersTalkCrops - Refining Action Thresholds When Utilizing Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus Insecticides w/ Ben Arends

Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus is a mouthful.

It's a mouthful of tough to pronounce words for growers trying to use the novel tool and a mouthful of certain death for many Lepidopterans that consume it. 

Nuclear Polyhedrosis Viruses aka NPVs are baculoviruses -- pathogens that attack insects and other arthropods.

With ever-increasing resistance to conventional synthetic pesticides, growers are searching for alternatives to help them control the pests that cause economic damage to their crops.

That's why we had Ben Arends, Market Development Specialist at AgBiTech, onto the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast.

Just a taste of the knowledge that Ben drops:

- How growers can change their behavior and mindset to see the maximum impact when using NPVs for worm control.
- The cost of using NPVs vs. traditional synthetic pesticides
- What using NPVs can do to slow down the evolution of pesticide resistance

Jun 02, 2021
151. #KyleTalksAgtech: Passionately educating future farmers and inspiring the young and old w/ Stephen Ritz

Skip your morning cup of coffee before listening to Stephen Ritz's episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgTech!

Stephen is sure to inspire and entertain you as we walk through the impressive work he is doing educating students via the Green Bronx Machine and his PBS show. 

If you are looking for some inspiration, this is the episode for you!  

Jun 01, 2021
150. #KyleTalksAgtech: Starting Up to Grow Up on VegBed Bamboo Substrates w/ Albert Lin

Albert Lin has learned a great deal since starting VegBed bamboo substrates about entrepreneurship. Join us on this episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgtech as we discuss starting up, doing whatever it takes to succeed and lessons learned about running your own company. 

May 18, 2021
149. #LeadersTalkCrops - Reasons Why Radical Open-mindedness and Collaboration in the Agriculture Industry is Necessary w/ Zac Ricciardi of BioSafe Systems

If you've worked in agriculture for long enough, you've probably heard "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" or "that's the way we've always done it". 

Chances are the individuals expressing those kinds of sentiments are probably not the most open-minded. 

They probably don't collaborate or share information with other growers very much because they might think they "know-it-all". 

Growers that succeed or are able to continue farming over the next couple of decades will be those of the "learn-it-all" mindset. 

They will be radically open-minded and willing to collaborate with their peers. 

Zac Ricciardi of BioSafe Systems has spent much of the last decade collaborating with growers of many different crops and helping those he works with apply the knowledge he's gained through being open-minded about crop production. 

Zac joined the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast to share his thoughts on the reasons why radical open-mindedness and collaboration in the agriculture industry is necessary. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

May 11, 2021
148. #CropCareConvos: Micron size matters: pro tips for spraying w/ Mark Ledebuhr ft. Charlie McKenzie

We spend lots of time assessing how effective our spray treatments are. But how often do you consider how efficient your spray program is? Does every application achieve maximum coverage and ensure product viability?

The kinds of products you're using to apply agricultural inputs make a big difference. From low volume mists (atomizers, foggers) to hydraulic sprayers. What is best in what situation? What about when applying biopesticides which are living organisms? And what about nematodes?

In this #CropCareConvos episode, Bobby Shearer gets into all of that and more with Charlie McKenzie of #LeadersTalkCrops and their guest, Mark Ledebuhr of Application Insights LLC.

What is the most costly misconception growers have about fluid delivery systems? Mark says it's the "spray and pray" mentality. We agree!

You must find out what you don't know. Assess your coverage with water-sensing papers. R&D doesn't have to be complicated.

How much of your spray is wasted?

Biofungicides for roots: use low-pressure watering wands.

Nematodes: remove all filters, use a large spray nozzle and low-pressure.

Beauveria works well in hydraulic sprayers.

Botanigard and Cease: hydraulic sprayers or cold foggers

Bacillus subtlis: consider the K-22 BIOpulse fogger

Get as good as you can with the equipment you have before trying to upgrade, but never lose the "constant improvement" mindset.

So many insightful gems in this podcast!

Be sure to check out Mark's book at

Until next time, #StartCleanStayClean w/ #CropWalk #IPM

May 05, 2021
147. #KyleTalksAgtech: Vertical Farming and so much more at Green Sense Farms Holdings w/ Robert Colangelo

When is a vertical farm the right choice vs. a greenhouse? What is realistic when defining what success looks like in your CEA operation? 

On the latest episode of #KyleTalksAgtech Robert Colangelo, Founder Farmer of Green Sense Farms and I dive deep into the honest reality of vertical farming, what the industry is doing well (and poorly) and how we can collectively do better to build the proper foundation that CEA deserves. 

May 04, 2021
146. #CropCareConvos - Practicing Pesticide Stewardship and Preventing Pesticide Resistance w/ Gretchen Pettis, PhD at BioSafe Systems

What is "pesticide stewardship"?

How is it used to prevent "pesticide resistance" and achieve other IPM goals?

What are the different kinds of pesticide resistance?

How does this fit into the IPM paradigm?

What are some suggested practices and general approaches to pest management that consider pesticide stewardship?

Those are just some of the questions that arose organically when RobertCharlie decided to hit record on a Zoom call with CropWalk advisor and R&D entomologist at BioSafe Systems, Gretchen V. Pettis, PhD.

What are "modes of action" and "target sites" and what does it mean to rotate between them when applying #pesticides?

When you do suggest chemical control options, can you tell us about the 3-tiered approach (moderation, saturation, multiple attack)?

Are #biopesticides susceptible to resistance?

What's up with the 2021 #cicada emergence on the east coast?

#LetsTalkCrops ...Let's talk #PesticideResistance and the informed, intentional, and reserved use of pesticides... in #agriculture and beyond.

There are so many insightful nuggets in this #podcast.

Stream or download via the link in the comments and on

Apr 29, 2021
145. #LeadersTalkCrops - If You Ain’t Adding Value Through Products You Are Leaving Money on the Farm Table w/ Brian "Duckie" Watkins

Commercial agriculture has evolved over the past few decades in a way that has left many farmers with few sales outlets. 

A large majority of farmers work with distributors or marketing companies that contract with the farmer to take the farm's raw goods and process them and/or sell them. 

The farmer grows it and delivers it. 

Often the farmer has one or two, at the most, of these types of relationships. 

It typically leaves the farmer exposed and susceptible to commodity market fluctuations and to whatever the marketer has up their sleeve that year. 

How could a farmer diversify to protect their livlihood? 

Explore value added products (VAP). 

Value added products are raw agricultural goods that have been altered, enhanced or processed to have a higher market value and/or a longer shelf life.

My friend, Brian Watkins, joined as a guest of the #LeadersTalkCrops series on CropTalk podcast to discuss his journey with creating value added products on his blueberry farm in Michigan. 

This one gets way into the weeds. 

But trust me, these are weeds you want to venture through if diversifying and leveling up your farm is something you are intersted in. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean 


Apr 23, 2021
144. #KyleTalksAgtech: Designing and Building a High-Tech Platform for Vertical Farms via Netled w/ Niko-Matti Kivioja

On this episode of the CropTalk series #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Niko-Matti Kivioja, CEO of Netled. Topics include starting a vertical farm successfully, the current status of the CEA industry and what the future landscape of this industry may look like.

Apr 21, 2021
143. #CropCareConvos: What Sets the Most Successful Cannabis Executives Apart? w/ Steve DeAngelo

Steve D. is a legend in the legal cannabis industry. Famed for his successful litigation against the Department of Justice, which halted DOJ’s last-ditch 2011 campaign to shut down California’s medical cannabis dispensaries, he’s written a book, the Cannabis Manifesto, and was the feature of the Discovery Channel mini-series, Weed Wars, What else? If you’re not hip to the Last Prisoner Project, google it. Then, there are his successful commercial endeavors, like Harborside, Steep Hill Labs, the Arc-View Group, and the National Cannabis Industry Association.

Bobby Shearer took a few minutes to catch up with Steve and chat about the kinds of personal and professional characteristics and guiding principles that he believes sets successful cannabis industry executives apart. What drives their decision-making processes? What are the chief motivators behind their business?

Steve shares some valuable nuggets for #cannabis industry leaders who want to see their business still growing in ten years.

What do YOU think are the most important qualities in a #cannabisindustry executive?

Apr 20, 2021
142. #KyleTalksAgtech: Growing the CEA industry with news, supplies and advice w/ Chris Higgins

On this episode of the CropTalk series #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Chris Higgins, Founder of Urban Ag News and Co-Founder of Hort Americas. Topics include important tips for growing successfully, the current status of the CEA industry and what the future landscape of this industry may look like. 

Mar 23, 2021
141. #LeadersTalkCrops - Reasons to Consider Pest & Disease Susceptibility and Resistance When Selecting Your Next Commercial Cannabis Cultivar w/ Jeff Coco

The cost of IPM can be high in Cannabis production. 

Especially if your wholesale or dispensary customers' favorite cultivar is also incredibly susceptible to pest & disease. 

It is routinely observed by many different growers that certain Cannabis cultivars are more resilient and able to defend against certain pests or pathogens and prevent them from creating economic injury. 

The selection of cultivars is usually an involved process that has far-reaching implications for many aspects of the business. 

That's why we had Jeff Coco, an Applied Horticultural Entomologist, onto CropTalk podcast to share his insights surrounding cultivar selection through the lens of integrated pest management.

Jeff is also really into entomophagy and shares how he is helping folks shift their perspective on using insects as ingredients in cuisine. And, how he loves creating darn good, bug-filled, food. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Mar 22, 2021
140. #KyleTalksAgtech: Redefining taste, nutrition and product quality of fresh produce at Planet Farms w/ Roel Janssen

On this episode of the CropTalk series #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Roel Janssen of Planet Farms about his journey in Horticulture, vertical farming and the power of the industry to transform flavor and food across the planet. 

Mar 10, 2021
139. #LeadersTalkCrops - Think Twice About Doubling Production Before Doubling Down on Quality w/ Emily Gogol, PhD

"If you grow it, they will come."

"They" as in the buyer. 

That was what many thought when it came to hemp. 

Many farmers have a big appetite for scale. 

They want to grow it all! 

If they grew one acre last year, they want to try ten the next. 

I can't blame them. I love growing too. 

But...the tendency for farmers to bite off more than they can chew is why we had Emily Gogol, PhD, CEO & a Founder of Infinite Tree, onto the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk. 

Emily drops some serious wisdom as she describes reasons why hemp farmers should think twice about doubling production before doubling down on quality. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Mar 03, 2021
138. #CropDebates: Seeds vs Clones

Are seeds or clones better for a cannabis/hemp operation?

Let's Debate!

On this episode of #CropCareConvos, the second Crop Debate ever recorded, Bobby Shearer is joined by 2 CEO/founders who are leaders in the industry.

Dr. Allison Justice from The Hemp Mine, arguing the case of of the incredible clones (including liners and micropropagation)


Matt Haddad from Trilogene Seeds, arguing the case of the prized beans we all know and love

A few salient arguments:

Why SEEDS are better:
- Ease of access
- Breeding programs
- Vigor
- Ease of direct-sow
- Less disease (exception: TC)
- Cheaper

Why CLONES are better:
- Consistency, Guarantee of phenotype
- Faster
- Cheaper (exception: TC)
- Always female
- TC is the cleanest possible start


Feb 24, 2021
137. #LeadersTalkCrops - Trialing to Define Your Cannabis Cultivar’s Optimal Photoperiod Response w/ Rob Smallman

Cannabis is a short-day plant (with the exception of day-neutral cultivars). 

However, as the commercial cultivation of Cannabis explodes, growers are manipulating photoperiods attempting to create outcomes different from what the plant would produce under a 12/12 light cycle. 

That's why Rob Smallman joined the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk to share how he has been trialing different photoperiods with his Cannabis crops and what he is seeing from that production technique. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean


Feb 23, 2021
136. #LeadersTalkCrops - Reasons to Consider More Than CBD Potency When Selecting Your Hemp Cultivars for Production in 2021 w/ Jeremy Klettke

It seems some folks in the hemp industry think that all of the value in a hemp cultivar is related to its' CBD potency. 

What about its' feminization rate verified by a third-party?! 🌱 

What about its' minor cannabinoids?!? 💥 


Jeremy Klettke, the CEO & Head Breeder at Davis Farms of Oregon, joined the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast to describe why we've got to see past the glitz and glamour of CBD potency when considering which hemp cultivar to plant in 2021. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Feb 09, 2021
135. #LeadersTalkCrops - Reasons to Seek Unbiased Advice When Developing or Improving Your IPM Program w/ Sam Konchan

Would you let a pharmaceutical rep craft your preventative health plan?

I sure hope not. 

Similarly, you don’t have to settle for biased advice as you develop or improve your IPM program.

Sam Konchan, the IPM Manager at Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc., joined as a guest on the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast to share how he uses his resources wisely and whom he calls on for help when he continually improves his integrated pest management program.

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Feb 02, 2021
134. #LeadersTalkCrops - Cannabis Plants Don’t Judge a Nutrient By the Look of Its' Label, So Why Do You? w/ Andrew Varela

Don't judge a book by its' cover. 

It seems that everyone learns the above lesson at some point in their life. 

Andrew Varela, Director of Cultivation at Rocky Mountain High, joined as a guest on the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast to share why Cannabis growers might be overspending on nutrients. 

He shares insight on how he learned to lower his nutrition input cost dramatically.

And finally, he helps us understand why you should judge your nutrients based on the science and the formulator's experience in crop production, not the hype at the grow store or the design of the label. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean 

Jan 28, 2021
133. #KyleTalksAgtech: PART 2 - Developing a Center for Advanced Agriculture and Sustainability w/ Ian Kanski

On Part 2 of this two part episode of the CropTalk series #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Ian Kanski - Director for the Center for Advanced Agriculture and Sustainability at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Chairman of the Board for the FarmTech Society, and co-founder of INTAG Systems. We discuss his journey from tech to Controlled Environment Agriculture, the lessons he's learned along the way and thoughts on what the future may hold for the industry.  

Jan 27, 2021
131. #LeadersTalkCrops - Not Meeting Expectations?! Reasons Why Transparency and KPIs Drive Accountability and Success w/ Matt Marshall

Asking someone to go through the motions without expectations and purpose is enough to turn any passionate go-getter into an underproductive cog. 

Radical transparency in an organization is often what separates mediocre and great businesses. 

That's why we asked Matt Marshall, Owner of Qi Consulting Group, to join us for a #LeadersTalkCrops series CropTalk podcast. 

In this conversation, Matt details how setting KPIs created through the lens of your company's vision, mission, and values drive radical transparency and a sense of purpose. 

Ultimately it aligns each member of the team and what they are accountable for so that the team can achieve the common goal. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Jan 20, 2021
132. #LeadersTalkCrops - How Minimizing Turnover of Front Line Associates is a Major Advantage in Regulated Cannabis w/ Tim Nolan

As growers, we have the opportunity to grow more than plants. 

We can foster the growth of people. 

Growth in the people that we work with and especially those that work for us. 

Providing something meaningful, other than a paycheck, is part of the formula to retain front line associates over time. 

This is an important topic for the Cannabis industry.

That's why we had Tim Nolan, a passionate leader and the Director of Operations at Atlanticann Medical, onto the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast. 

We think you'll dig his leadership style and will want to hear his take on fostering front line associate growth and retaining their presence for the long term. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean



Jan 19, 2021
130. #CropCareConvos: Impacts of Supplemental Lighting on Crop Pests and Beneficial Insects w/ Laura Ingwell

What are the three fundamental dimensions of light?

How does different #lighting affect the various insects on your plants?

What are some leading hypotheses for her studies and how is she approaching them?

How can you send her your russet mites? Because, yes, she wants some shipped to her lab.

Bobby Shearer talks with Professor Laura Ingwell from Purdue University about her new line of research exploring a very interesting topic.

#LetsTalkCrops on #CropCareConvos

Jan 12, 2021
129. #KyleTalksAgtech: PART 1 - Developing a Center for Advanced Agriculture and Sustainability w/ Ian Kanski

On this episode of the CropTalk series #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Ian Kanski - Director for the Center for Advanced Agriculture and Sustainability at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Chairman of the Board for the FarmTech Society, and co-founder of INTAG Systems. We discuss his journey from tech to Controlled Environment Agriculture, the lessons he's learned along the way and thoughts on what the future may hold for the industry.  

Jan 12, 2021
128. #LeadersTalkCrops - Minimizing Fallow Periods to Decrease Land Erosion w/ Robert Masson

No, you don't have to let your land rest in between crops.

It's time to ditch the fallow period.

Leaving land fallow can result in significant land erosion, especially in the Southwest United States.

Robert Masson, Agricultural Extension Agent for Yuma County and the University of Arizona, joined as a guest on the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk, to explain the benefits of minimizing fallow periods.

This was a special treat of a conversation, seeing as we covered the challenges with fallow periods, AND some fascinating topics I didn't expect would creep up.

Hint: It involves popcorn.

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean


Jan 05, 2021
127. #LeadersTalkCrops - Going Back in Time a Century to Learn How to Use Less Pesticides to Produce Food in India w/ Bharath Dayananda

How did Indian farmers control pests and disease prior to conventional pesticides?

👉 Using the control methods of, what we now consider, Integrated Pest Management.

They did it without pesticides because they had no other choice.

With what we now understand about pesticide dangers and their use in food production, it seems that Indian farmers will eventually face the same dilemma with no other choice than to adopt natural and sustainable farming methods.

Bharath Dayananda, the Founder & CEO of Eat Neat Project, came on as a guest of the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast to describe how more Indian farmers can change production practices to save their environment, lower input costs, increase crop quality, and turn the profit they deserve.

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Dec 30, 2020
126. #LeadersTalkCrops - How a Food Safety Focus Helps Soft Fruit Growers Comply and Thrive w/ Gabe Jertberg

As a grower of a crop that has strict food safety standards, it seems you have a couple of options: 

You can look at food safety regulations with a fixed, the glass is half-empty, mindset while you just get by. 

Or, you can look at the glass half-full of opportunity for your company to be different. You can see consistent compliance as a way to set yourself apart.

To comply and thrive. 

Gabe Jertberg, a soft fruit grower and Owner of JSI Consulting has had unique experiences in following food safety regulations in a way that strengthened his business both internally and externally. 

He joined me for a conversation on the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast to share how growers of high-value crops can use compliance to thrive instead of just getting by. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Dec 28, 2020
125. #LeadersTalkCrops - What the Flush: Cannabis?! w/ Josh Chandler

Traditional horticulturalists and legacy Cannabis growers often don't see eye to eye on the definition of "flushing".

Seems they don't agree on what the purpose of "flushing" is either.

Some follow the "you've gotta flush for premium smokable cannabis" mindset.

Some say "it ain't gonna make a difference".

Seems it is one of the more disputed cultivation practices in the Cannabis industry and Josh Chandler, Master Grower at AerosourceH, was brave enough to take a swing at answering:

"What the Flush?! Cannabis."

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Dec 17, 2020
124. #LeadersTalkCrops - Simplifying Repeatable Processes to Rid Over-Engineered Waste w/ Ben Boo

There are so many variables associated with producing a crop. 

As growers, it is often our mission to control those variables to whatever extent we can. 

When it comes to how we control them, the options seem to be endless. 

The number of options can put a grower into "analysis paralysis". 

A state of mind where the waters of constant improvement get murkier and the details needed to be successful increase exponentially

Ben Boo, VP of Cultivation at Vireo Health, and I spent time, on this #LeadersTalkCrops episode, discussing how taking a fine-tooth comb to your processes and inputs with the lense of simplification, may give you the consistency you need to actually improve.. continuously. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Dec 14, 2020
123. #CropCareConvos - Alpacas on Your Farm: preparing for the alpacalypse

In this episode of #CropCareConvos, Bobby Shearer sits down with Patricia, co-owner of Sun Roots Farm, to explore the benefits of keeping alpacas on your farm.

So, why are alpacas good for your farm?

1. Their poop is basically compost
2. They don't pull plants up by roots, but they're great lawnmowers who don't munch your cannabis plants
3. Light on their, soft pads = minimal soil compaction
4. Fleece! Which is also great mulch.
5. Protection for chickens. They scare away bobcats, fox, mountain lions, etc
6. Hygienic, communal poop piles
7. Adorable!... am I right?

But what's the cost? Any challenges were not considering? When preparing for the alpacalypse, these animals are simply incredible!

🌱 #LetsTalkCrops 🌱

Dec 07, 2020
122. #LeadersTalkCrops - The Importance of Starting with the Ground and Moving Up: Orchard Floor Management w/ Thomas Macintosh

We've got to stop treating our soil like dirt. 

👆 I'm not that clever. I read it in a book somewheres.

It is easy to think that we are taking a step forward when till, we over mow and spray herbicide. 

Couldn't be further from the truth. 

In terms of crop quality potential, it is actually two steps back. 

This seems to be especially true when talking about orchard floor management. 

Thomas Macintosh, a Farmer in Southern Ontario, joined as a guest on the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast, to educate the community on the importance of putting your soil on a pedestal. 

After listening to this conversation, you'll understand why your soil..and your crop, deserve the focus. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean 

Dec 03, 2020
121. #LeadersTalkCrops: How Photoperiodism Could Make or Break Your 2021 Hemp Crop w/ Allison Justice, PhD.

Harnessing the power of photoperiodism is something that traditional horticulturalists have been doing for decades with ornamental crops such as Chrysanthemum and Poinsettia. 

"Fascinating! But, what does that have to do with Hemp?!" you may ask..

According to Allison Justice, PhD. - a whole heck of a lot. 

In fact, it could make or break your 2021 hemp crop. 

Allison shares that as an industry we are just scratching the surface of our understanding of how Cannabis is affected by the amount of darkness it receives in each 24 hour period. 

This conversation starts by introducing photoperiodism but then goes deep into what Allison has observed over the past couple of years and how she and the team at Hemp Mine are using those insights to empower hemp growers across the country. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Nov 30, 2020
120. #LeadersTalkCrops: How Rearing Methods Influence the Performance of Beneficial Predatory Mites w/ Andrew Maltby

Are you going to be more physically fit if you eat Kale or Ice Cream all day?

🤔 👉 Kale 🌱

Are your predatory mites going to be more physically fit if they were raised on real or factitious prey? 

Wait...there's a difference in predatory mite physical fitness based on their food source?! 🤯 

Andrew Maltby, Owner of Biotactics & Producer of Benemite™, came onto the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast, to share why he is focused on rearing type II predatory mites using spider mites, as opposed to factitious prey.  

If you use predatory mites in your IPM program, this conversation is right up your alley. 

If you nerd out on good bugs sucking the life out of bad bugs, this conversation is your cup of tea. 

Heck, if you enjoy good conversation, this one is for you. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean 

Nov 28, 2020
119. #LeadersTalkCrops: How Creating Laminar Airflow Gives You an Advantage When Managing Your Crop Climate w/ Stewart Maxwell

Do you enjoy air turbulence while riding on an airplane? 

Your cannabis plants don't appreciate air turbulence either.

What turbulence are we talking about here?! 

The turbulence created from oscillating fans in a controlled environment cannabis crop. 

It affects the crop microclimate and the photosynthetic activity of the plant much more than many understand. 

But...what's an alternative?!

Laminar airflow. 

Stewart Maxwell, Crop Consultant at Xylem Horticulture, joined the #LeadersTalkCrops series of CropTalk podcast, to give us the skinny on how and why you should employ laminar airflow in your cannabis growing environment. 

Nov 26, 2020
118. #LeadersTalkCrops - When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going: Reasons Why Hiring a Learn-it-all Legacy Grower Works to Your Advantage w/ Corey Lord

Looking to hire a Cannabis grower for your cultivation operation? 

Corey Lord, says that contrary to popular belief, hiring a "legacy" cannabis grower - one that doesn't have a degree in horticulture - might actually work to your advantage. 

Corey had to get going when the going got tough.

He attributes a lot of his accomplishments to being of the "learn-it-all" mindset. 

In this episode of #LeadersTalkCrops, Corey details why hiring for attitude instead of aptitude could really pay off. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean


Nov 23, 2020
117. #LeadersTalkCrops - Micropropagation: Considerations When Keeping Cannabis Cultured w/ Conor Stephen

The cannabis industry can't stop talking about tissue culture. 

But wait..what the heck is tissue culture?! 

Is it the same as micropropagation?! 

🤷‍♂️ 🤷‍♀️ is a typical response. 

That's why it was important to have Conor Stephen, a Masters Student at Cornell University, onto CropTalk to give us the perspective we need to better understand what this practice is all about. 

Here's a sneak peek. 

"...all micropropagation is tissue culture, but not all tissue culture is micropropagation."

Check out the conversation to learn a WHOLE bunch more (I know I did)! 👊 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Nov 17, 2020
116. #KyleTalksAgtech - Eden Greens Technology: Vertical Farming in the greenhouse w/ Aaron Fields

On this episode of the CropTalk series #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Aaron Fields of Eden Greens Technology where he's growing with a unique vertical system in the greenhouse. We also discuss his journey in horticulture and the lessons he's learned along the way.

Nov 16, 2020
115. #LeadersTalkCrops - How One Grower Put Their Sustainability Jargon Where Their Mouth Was and Kicked Single-Use Plastics w/ John Harrison

It seems there are two things that drive John Harrison. 

Passion and determination. 

John Harrison, the Founder of AGR1, was a guest on CropTalk under the series #MyFirstCrop. John was in the pre-production and capital raise stage of the AGR1 journey. 

Since then, a lot has happened.

Including growing quality produce and kicking single-use plastics on the AGR1 farm. 

John is passionate about his reasoning for why single-use plastics have got to go. 

Take a listen and consider the possibilities. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Nov 12, 2020
114. #LeadersTalkCrops - How the Use of Wetting Agents and Adjuvants Make Your Inputs Go Further w/ Drew Guffey

Growing up in the family floriculture business, Drew Guffey, learned a thing or two about stretching his father's dime. 

Input costs are what ultimately drive the bottom line in most horticulture businesses. 

The same applies to the cultivation of Cannabis (low THC hemp or medicinal/recreational). 

Crop health and protection products are typically a large line item in the cultivation budget. 

In this episode of the #LeadersTalkCrops series, Drew, the Alternative Segment Lead at Winfield United, shares how the use of adjuvants and wetting agents allow you to be more efficient and cost-effective when using certain crop protection and nutrition products. 

Nov 09, 2020
113. #LeadersTalkCrops: Developing a Clean Plant Program for Your Nucleus Cannabis Stock w/ Douglas Klier

What makes a cannabis cultivar commercially viable

How can someone utilize and then preserve legendary and heirloom cannabis genetics that they've had for decades?

What can an individual do to control their own supply of personalized medicine that works specifically for them?

Those are just a few of the questions that Douglas Klier, Founder of Elite Phenos, answers, in detail during this #LeadersTalkCrops episode. 

Before that though, the goosebumps kick in. Doug's provenance with cannabis use in his life and what he's done to help others like himself, is inspiring to say the least. 

This one gets technical, but has more warm and fuzzies than the typical deep dive into micropropagation. 😉 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean


Oct 29, 2020
112. #CropDebate: To Honey Bee or Not to Honey Bee w/ Dr. Wu-Smart and Dr.Evans

Each #CropDebate brings together two experts in a particular field of study to debate a controversial position. Each may or may not agree wholeheartedly with either position and most often will probably see value in both. But for the sake of entertainment in education, they're going to argue it out with facts!

Our first #CropDebate is expected to bee a real buzz!! This is a common debate in applied entomology and pollination ecology: " to honey bee or not to honey bee?"

Are #HoneyBees invasive to North America and ecologically detrimental, competing with native bees for resources and spreading diseases? Or are honey bees ecologically naturalized, performing unparalleled pollination services, and economically critical?

Honey bees are incredible study subjects for eusociality, just about everybody loves honey, and when we say, "#SaveTheBees," what bee do people imagine? And that waggle dance!? C'mon! They're amazing!

However, there are over 20,000 species of #bees in the world with over 4,000 species in North America. #Apis mellifera is just one of them. And there is a case to be made for their being a detriment to biodiversity.

On this #CropCareConvos episode, the first #CropDebate, by #CropTalkMedia, Dr. Judy Wu-Smart from University of Nebraska-Lincoln argues the position of "to honey bee," and Dr. Elaine Evans from the University of Minnesota argues the position of "not to honey bee."

🐝 #LetsTalksCrops

Oct 20, 2020
111. #KyleTalksAgtech: PART 2 - Creating superior plants and ensure maximum yield for growers via SIGS w/ Ricardo Hernandez and John Jackson

On the second of this two-part episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgtech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Ricardo Hernandez (North Carolina State University) and John Jackson (The University of Arizona) about their new company SIGS (Sustainable Indoor Growing Systems). Learn how these two are helping growers create superior plants and maximize yields using vertical farming technology.

Sep 29, 2020
110. #LeadersTalkCrops: Five-Decade-Career Entomologist, Farmer and Leader's Perspective on Biocontrol and Agrotourism

Milton Ganyard PhD. was employing integrated pest management practices before the term "integrated pest management" was coined. 

As a career entomologist and farmer who's been at it for over fifty years, he's seen a whole mess of problems. 

He's also come up with a slew of solutions. 

In this conversation, Milton shares how he came to understand integrated pest management, how it has evolved in his time, and what it means to him today. 

He doesn't stop there though. Milton gets into growing pumpkins in the southeast and what he's learned from inviting the public to join him on his farm for so many years. 

History tends to repeat itself. 

That is unless you learn from someone like Milton and prevent a problem before it starts. 



Sep 27, 2020
109. #KyleTalksAgtech: PART 1 - Creating superior plants and ensure maximum yield for growers via SIGS w/ Ricardo Hernandez and John Jackson

On the first of this two-part episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgtech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Ricardo Hernandez (North Carolina State University) and John Jackson (The University of Arizona) about their new company SIGS (Sustainable Indoor Growing Systems). Learn how these two are helping growers create superior plants and maximize yields using vertical farming technology.

Sep 22, 2020
108. #SmokableHempFlower: Cutting Edge #SmokableHempFlower Genetics w/ Matt Haddad

Climbing CBD mountain with prize-winning #SmokableHempFlower genetics, breeding and sewing feminized hemp seed nationally and internationally, planning and designing your hemp crop's THC compliance, navigating the total THC IFR halloween trainwreck, low MOQ for boutique and craft #SmokableHemp cultivators, free sample seeds, millions of seeds for agriculture at scale; a lengthy, rich and intense discussion with a leader in CBD rich, minor cannabinoid and THC compliant industrial hemp seed breeding, Matt Haddad of Trilogene seeds.

Sep 11, 2020
107. #CropCareConvos: Best Practices for Thrips Biocontrol w/ Dr. Rose Buitenhuis and Charlie McKenzie

Tips and tricks for successful thrips biocontrol from extraordinary experts on this #CropCareConvos episode.

👍🏼Dr. Rose Buitenhuis (Vineland Research Innovation Centre) and Charlie McKenzie (#CropWalk) share insights into ordering, receiving, applying, scouting for, and supporting populations of the common #biocontrol agents used to manage #thrips.

👍🏼Rose and Charlie discuss quality control of biocontrol shipments with Bobby Shearer. They offer their best biocontrol advice to growers in this 3rd installation of a special 4-part thrips management series by #CropTalk. This one's a #podcast. The previous two were videos (with different guests).

So, #LetsTalkCrops ! 🌱🎙🎧

Check out for the webinars in the series (and lots of other quality content)!

Sep 09, 2020
106. #CropCareConvos: Science-based Trials of Row Crops Integrated with Prairie Strips w/ Matthew O'Neal

Dig into the details of integrating prairie strips into row crops with Dr. Matthew O'Neal from Iowa State University on this Crop Care Convo.

LetsTalkCrops! 🎙on this #CropTalk #podcast, Bobby Shearer gets into the details of a very cool research program with his guest, Dr. O'Neal, who has worked with over 300 farmers implementing #NativePlants into their fields for some incredible results.🌾
PrairieStrips reduce #Soil #erosion, improve #water #WaterQuality, and provide #wildlife habitat, including for #pollinator #biodiversity, like #bees and the #MonarchButterfly 🌻

Stay tuned to for all upcoming releases.

Aug 28, 2020
105. #LeadersTalkCrops: You Can’t Manage or Improve, What You Don’t Measure: The Importance of Objective Crop Scouting and Monitoring

Traditional scouting efforts can keep you aware of what is going on in your crop, mostly at a macro level.

What you really need is the ability to see on both a macro and micro level.

Not every scouting program is made the same.

Some growers haphazardly waltz through the crop with no real objective, turn over some leaves, peek at a few sticky traps and call it a scouting trip.

The understanding they have of their crop on a macro level is probably relatively sound.

The same cannot be said for their understanding of the pest management details.

A grower practicing objective scouting and data collection can see into trends at both a micro AND macro level.

Check out this episode of #LeadersTalkCrops featuring Sebastien Leroux to learn more about how you can optimize your scouting program to give you the insight you need to control your pests and fine-tune the economics of how you do it.

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean #LetsTalkCrops

Aug 27, 2020
104. #KyleTalksAgTech: The importance of post-harvest data and horticulture product branding w. Frank Pica

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Frank Pica of Native about his journey from startup to co-founder, focusing his energy on giving the grower access to data after their product leaves the farm. We discuss how branding is a highly important component to success for the modern agriculture business and knowing thy customer is key.

Aug 24, 2020
102. #SmokableHempFlower - Dry, Trim, and Cure: Quality or Ruin w/ Jesse Porter

Growing a great smokable hemp flower crop is one thing. 

Drying and curing that crop so that the plant can share its' full phenotypical expression all the way through to consumption, is vastly different. 

Jesse Porter joins series host, Pat Jack, and Charlie McKenzie to share his pure inspiration and insights as a member of the team.

Inspiration is the vehicle driving Jesse to actualize his devotion and passion for the development of expert and efficient #SmokableHempFlower drying and curing methods and procedures.

In this conversation, Jesse shares a ton of his insights and experiences in drying and curing high-quality smokable flowers. 

Kick back and let series host, Pat Jack, and our guest, Jesse (with the occasional comment from Charlie) guide you to a successful drying and curing of your #SmokableHempFlower. 

Jul 31, 2020
103. #KyleTalksAgTech: Farming the Future with Automation, AI and DATA! w/Alastair Monk

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Alastair Monk, Vice President Digital Services at Priva about how he got involved in horticulture, moving from a startup to a larger company and the changes he experienced. We discuss different technologies that may be used in future controlled agriculture, including AI, VR and automation. Alastair also gives his tips on CEA investing and the importance of doing your homework.

Jul 28, 2020
101. #CropCareConvos - Insect Pests on Hemp Crops w/ Melissa Schreiner

Inventory of pest pressure is the first stage in developing the details of a well-understood cropping system (of which hemp is still not), part of the development phase. Melissa Schreiner, Colorado State University's Horticultural Entomology Lab manager, shares what she's found surveying arthropod pests on US high plains and Rocky Mountain hemp farms over the last five years.

On this episode of #CropCareConvos, Melissa and Bobby Shearer also talk about native predators she found, surveying techniques, gaps in research (which are extensive and exciting), and citizen science opportunities (submit your photos of insects on hemp to the CSU hemp insect website. Google it. Incredible resource.)

This episode is even greater since Melissa and Bobby are raising funds for BUGS! Black Urban Growers. Who are committed to building networks and community support for food growers in both urban and rural settings. Through education and advocacy around food and farm issues, they nurture collective Black leadership to ensure historically underrepresented leadership potential has a seat at the table. And opportunities to put food on other people’s tables! Check out black urban growers dot org and, please, consider donating.

#LetsTalkCrops 🌱 #StartCleanStayClean

Jul 24, 2020
100! The CropTalk Podcast Host's Discuss Insights Gained From Talking Crops

On this special episode of #CropTalk our series hosts sit down to discuss the insights they have gained from their respective series (#KyleTalksAgTech, #CropCareConvos, #SmokableHempFlower).

Get the low down from the man that started it all as he explores his journey through the growth of #CropTalk Media as a #podcast, and as a platform.

💡Learn about what our hosts find valuable about spending time discussing crops with leaders within their niche of our industry.

💡Learn what the most significant and actionable pieces of advice our hosts received from guests on their show, and how that knowledge is helpful to YOU (our community).

💡Learn what you can expect from our series hosts and their guests this coming year as they continue to boost ideas, share knowledge, and build up the agricultural community.

In the end, we reveal a new beginning for our host Charlie McKenzie on his new series #LeadersTalkCrops!

👏🏼We're all so #grateful for all of YOU #listeners 🎧 from around the #world 🇺🇸.🇨🇦.🇹🇯.🇨🇴.🇧🇷.🇵🇪.🇨🇱.🇪🇨.🇳🇦.🇺🇬.🇳🇬.🇿🇦.🇪🇬.🇲🇦.🇦🇪.🇸🇦.🇯🇴.🇹🇷.🇵🇰.🇮🇳.🇨🇳.🇰🇷.🇯🇵.🇹🇼.🇻🇳.🇲🇾.🇮🇩.🇵🇭.🇦🇺.🇳🇿.🇷🇺.🇪🇸.🇵🇹.🇫🇷.🇬🇧.🇮🇪.🇮🇸.🇳🇱.🇩🇪.🇨🇭.🇮🇹.🇭🇷.🇭🇺.🇩🇰.🇸🇪.🇫🇮.🇱🇹

🌾#LetsTalkCrops 💬

Jul 21, 2020
99. #KyleTalksAgTech: Rockin Grodan Rockwool Substrates w/ Austin Smith

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Austin Smith, US Commercial Account Manager at Grodan about how he got involved in horticulture, rockwool substrates and what the future of hydroponics may hold. 

Jul 13, 2020
98. #CropCareConvos - Fighting a Spotted Lanternfly Invasion with a Parasitic Wasp w/ Mark Hoddle, f. Matthew Gates

The Spotted Lanternfly is likely to become a terrible pest for California's grapes, fruit trees, nuts, and other high-value crops.

Luckily, Dr. Mark Hoddle (University of California Riverside entomologist) is conducting biocontrol research. He's looking into a parasitic wasp. Very cool stuff. And important work to protect farmers from this devastating invasive species already wreaking havoc in the northeast.

Dr. Hoddle chats with Bobby Shearer, and #CropTalk Content Collaborator, Matthew Gates, about what he's up to on this episode of #CropCareConvos. Let's talk biological control!


Big thanks to the UCANR, the UCCE, Dr. Mark Hoddle, and his research team.

Jul 10, 2020
97. Moving from Pre-Harvest to Post-Harvest supplies w/ Kyle Barnett & Charlie McKenzie

On this special episode of CropTalk, Charlie McKenzie and Kyle Barnett (#KyleTalksAgTech host) talk about Kyles career move from Hort Americas to WestRock, from a focus on Pre-Harvest supplies like substrates, fertilizers and LED lighting to a new focus on Post-Harvest supplies like tags, labels, clamshells, and all sorts of unique packaging solutions for grow operations everywhere

Jun 30, 2020
96. #CropCareConvos - Screening Pest Populations for Insecticide Resistance Using a Molecular Test Kit w/ Scott Ferguson, f. Matthew Gates

Wouldn't it be great to screen pest populations for insecticide resistance to best select your last-resort chemical control?!

Well, it's in the works! In this episode of #CropCareConvos, Bobby Shearer is joined by CropTalk Content Collaborator Matthew Gates for a conversation with Dr. Scott Ferguson from EntoGenomics, who is developing a molecular test kit for common pests starting with the serpentine leafminer (Lyriomyza trifolii) and specific the insecticide group. They discuss what #PesticideResistance is, how it happens, why it matters, why this new test is important, and how the test works.


Jun 26, 2020
94. #CropCareConvos - The New Integrated Pest Management Paradigm for the Modern Age w/ Surendra Dara

What's are the components of a solid IPM program? How do they work together and with other aspects of operational plans? 🌱🐞

On this episode of #CropCareConvos, Bobby speaks with Dr. Surendra Dara (University of California Cooperative Extension Integrated Pest Management expert and CropWalk scientific advisor) about his 2019 publication, "a new IPM paradigm for the modern age," which was the most downloaded article for 52 weeks in a row on the open-source website of Journal of Integrated Pest Management.

Jun 23, 2020
95. #KyleTalksAgTech: Parus-Europes "spectrum" on Horticulture Lighting w/ Sandro van Kouteren

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Sandro van Kouteren, Managing Director at Parus-Europe about LED horticulture lighting spectrum, efficiency, his advice for buying LEDs and what the future may hold for LED lighting & indoor farming.  

Jun 23, 2020
92. #CropCareConvos - Biocontrol with Beneficial Insects: Augmentation vs Conservation Approaches w/ JP Michaud

Releasing beneficial insects vs attracting biodiversity to your crops is a controversial biocontrol topic, but on this episode of #CropCareConvos, Bobby brings the passion out of JP Michaud (Kansas State University professor and CropWalk scientific advisor) as they discuss conservation (attracting insects) vs. augmentation (releasing insects) approaches to biological control in Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Jun 20, 2020
93. #KyleTalksAgTech: PART 2 - Defining Horticulture LED Reliability w/ Robert Spivock

On the second of this two-part episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Robert Spivock, Director of Technology at GE Current about what makes an LED horticulture light truly reliable, using cars as a reference point and what the future may hold for LED lighting. 

Jun 16, 2020
91. #KyleTalksAgTech: PART 1 - Defining Horticulture LED Reliability w/ Robert Spivock

On the first of this two-part episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Robert Spivock, Director of Technology at GE Current about what makes an LED horticulture light truly reliable, using cars as a reference point for the listeners.  

Jun 09, 2020
90. #CropCareConvos - Regenerative Farming for Abundant, Diverse Crops in a Small Space Over Extended Seasons - Part 2 of 2

Part 2 of 2. 🌱

Casey O'Neill from HappyDay Farms shares how his family achieves their farm's goals using regenerative agriculture practices.

They maximize growing season length, crop diversity, and productivity using techniques he shares here. He and Bobby Shearer discuss principles relevant for all farm managers in this episode of #CropCareConvos.

Jun 09, 2020
89. Growing Hemp Agriculturally vs. Horticulturally: What to Consider w/ Andrew Bish

Much of the hemp crops grown thus far in the United States have been grown using horticultural practices. 

Many tobacco and vegetable farmers have adapted their practices and equipment to grow quality cannabinoid-rich hemp crops. 

As hemp crops become more prevalent in the US, farmers will work to mechanize and scale production, especially in traditional largescale mechanized row crop farming regions. 

I sat down with Andrew Bish, COO of Bish Enterprises and CEO of Hemp Harvest Works, to learn what a grower should consider when planning their crop production strategies. 

The bottom line is each farm and farming scenario is contextually different. Growers must evaluate what makes the most practical and economical sense for their unique situation. 

Andrew shares a ton of quality knowledge and his thoughts on the agronomic future of hemp. 

Gotta check this one out folks! 


Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Jun 04, 2020
88. #CropCareConvos - Regenerative Farming for Abundant, Diverse Crops in a Small Space Over Extended Seasons - Part 1 of 2

Part 1 of 2. 🌱

Casey O'Neill from HappyDay Farms shares how his family achieves their farm's goals using regenerative agriculture practices.

They maximize growing season length, crop diversity, and productivity using techniques he shares here. He and Bobby Shearer discuss principles relevant for all farm managers in this episode of #CropCareConvos.

Jun 03, 2020
87. #KyleTalksAgTech: Managing Startup & Launch at Bowery Farming w/ Benjamin Kant

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Benjamin Kant about his journey in farming and how he is helping shape the future of food at Bowery Farming in his current position as Manager of Startup & Launch as the company expands. 

Jun 02, 2020
86. #KyleTalksAgTech: Large Scale Vertical Farming at Fifth Season w/ Danielle Ferreira

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Danielle Ferreira, Grower Lead & Plant Health Specialist at Fifth Season, powered by Robotany in Pittsburgh. Danielle speaks about how her experience in conventional horticulture has assisted greatly in her work at the vertical farm, the importance of company culture and taking care of the local community & the advice she has for vertical farms everywhere. 

May 26, 2020
85. How the Super Plug and the Bulk Separator Allow Key to Life to Reduce Variability and Increase Profitability w/ Tate Dooley

Throwback Saturday! 

This is a conversation recorded during #MJBIZCON2019. 

It features Tate Dooley, the CEO of Key to Life. 

During the conversation, Tate describes how their Super Plug and Bulk Separator allow them to reduce variability and cost, as well as increase profitability. 


May 23, 2020
84. What is Six Sigma and How Can Cannabis Growers Apply It w/ Maxwell Cranford

Consistency is powerful. 

Consistency in crop time, yield, potency, terpene profile, as well as the reduction of input costs, is what will keep your cannabis cultivation facility in business, long-term. 

Creating a Six Sigma culture and adopting its' principles is one way that your cannabis businesses can gain the edge in this rapidly commoditizing market. 

That's why I had Maxwell Cranford, of Crannabis Consulting (, onto CropTalk.

Maxwell shared details on what the Six Sigma methodology entails and what it takes to increase the efficiency, as well as the consistency of your operation. 

If you enjoy this episode or any of the other CropTalk podcasts on this channel, it would mean the world to me if you left a review on your favorite podcast player or sent us a DM on LinkedIn or Instagram. 

As always, I am #grateful for you listeners! 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean


May 20, 2020
83. #KyleTalksAgTech: Successfully Pivoting Through COVID-19 at Profound Foods & Profound Microfarms w/ Jeff Bednar

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Jeffrey Bednar, Founder of Profound Foods and Profound Microfarms. Jeff speaks about how he's been able to pivot his businesses to have success through the COVID-19 pandemic from mostly restaurants to a residential delivery model & the advice he has for struggling growers on how to get through this tough period. 

May 19, 2020
82. #CropCareConvos - Common Agricultural OSHA Violations: High Time for a Safety Meeting w/ George Walker

In this podcast, the first episode of #CropCareConvos with CropTalk's newest co-host, Bobby Shearer, he speaks with George Walker, a retired OSHA inspector who has run Safety By George for the last couple of years, auditing cannabis farms and training employees in safety protocols and legal requirements.

George has some incredible insights from his decades of experience in workplace safety.

In this episode, he shares about the 3 most common OSHA violations observed in California cannabis operations.

In the last 2 years, he's visited nearly 200 farms. So, if you're an owner, operator, or employee at any kind of farm or cultivation facility, you'll stand to benefit from George's candor (and a great sense of humor).

Check out

... and stay tuned to #CropTalkMedia for more digital content for agricultural leaders.

May 12, 2020
81. #KyleTalksAgTech: Strong Data through Artemis & Strong Leadership through COVID-19 w/ Allison Kopf

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Allison Kopf, Founder & CEO of Artemis. Topics include the importance of traceability through refined data, the future landscape of growers day to day duties and overall logistics, and tactics Allison is using to lead her team through the COVID-19 pandemic.  

May 12, 2020
80. #MyFirstCrop - Applying Past Entrepreneurial Lessons During the 2019 Hemp Season w/ Hayden Fulstone

Applying lessons learned from past experiences is crucial to constant improvement and long-term success.

Hayden Fulstone joined me on CropTalk to discuss how he applied his experiences as a founder of Liquid I.V. to the hemp business and crop he grew on his family farm in NV 2019.


The sage wisdom shared in this episode includes:


👂Listening to what the consumer and the demand tells you about the retail placement of your product.


🤝 Understanding your vendor and supply chain partners true capabilities and how that affects your product quality.


🌱Discussion on how the two apply to the hemp industry and its' supply chain.


What lessons did you learn in 2019 that you are applying in 2020?

It would mean the world to us if you left a review on your favorite podcast player or shared our podcast on your favorite social media site. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean




May 08, 2020
79. #KyleTalksAgTech: PART 2 - The Japanese Plant Factory Association & The Future of Vertical Farming w/ Eri Hayashi

On the second of this two-part episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Eri Hayashi, Vice President of JPFA in Japan about her journey, the Japanese Plant Factory market, successful marketing and what the future of vertical farming may look like around the world. 

May 07, 2020
79. #KyleTalksAgTech: PART 2 - The Japanese Plant Factory Association & The Future of Vertical Farming w/ Eri Hayashi

On the second of this two-part episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Eri Hayashi, Vice President of JPFA in Japan about her journey, the Japanese Plant Factory market, successful marketing and what the future of vertical farming may look like around the world. 

May 07, 2020
78. #KyleTalksAgTech: PART 1 - The Japanese Plant Factory Association & The Future of Vertical Farming w/ Eri Hayashi

On the first of this two-part episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Eri Hayashi, Vice President of JPFA in Japan about her journey, the Japanese Plant Factory market, successful marketing and what the future of vertical farming may look like around the world. 

May 05, 2020
77. #KyleTalksAgTech: An authentic & transparent look at Vertical Farming via YesHealth Group w/ Jesper Hansen

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Jesper Hansen, Vertical Farming Expert at YesHealth Group in Taiwan with global ambitions. Topics include what it means to run a vertical farm transparently and authentically, creating realistic expectations in vertical farming, and what the future of this global industry looks like. 

Apr 28, 2020
76. Introduction to Newest CropTalk Co-Host, Robert Shearer!

Robert Shearer is a dear friend and also a business partner that I respect and admire immensely for the work he has put into making our businesses, CropWalk and CropTalk Media, what they are today. 

This episode is about introducing Bobby (what we affectionately call him) to the CropTalk listener family.

It also gives you listeners the low down on how he is going to contribute to the knowledge-sharing and community building on this platform. 

Do you have ideas of who Bobby should have #cropconversations with on the show? Ideas for topics? 

Hit us up on LinkedIn with your feedback! 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Apr 28, 2020
74. #SmokableHempFlower - What does the future of this nascent market look like? w/ co-host Pat Jack

Let's growwwwwww!!!

Pat Jack coming in hot with another dive into the industrial #SmokeableHempFlower industry weeds, if you will. 

Pat and I sit down to discuss what he sees on the horizon for this budding (couldn't resist) niche within our industrial hemp industry. 

Holler at Pat Jack or me with feedback,  thoughts on show topics, or potential guests for the #SmokableHempFlower series on CropTalk. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Apr 23, 2020
75. #KyleTalksAgTech: PART 2 - A lifetime of growing & running the largest Vertical Farm in Dubai w/ Grahame Dunling

On the second of this two-part episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Grahame Dunling, CEO of Uns Hydroponic Farms in Dubai about his journey growing and how a lifetime of experience has set him up for success in the Vertical Farming arena. 

Apr 23, 2020
73. #KyleTalksAgTech: PART 1 - A lifetime of growing & running the largest Vertical Farm in Dubai w/ Grahame Dunling

On the first of this two-part episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Grahame Dunling, CEO of Uns Hydroponic Farms in Dubai about his journey growing and how a lifetime of experience has set him up for success in the Vertical Farming arena. 

Apr 21, 2020
72. Harnessing the Power of Peroxyacetic Acid to Stay Clean w/ Eric Smith

Although the active ingredient, Peroxyacetic acid is difficult to pronounce, as evidenced by my incorrect pronunciation of it, it is one of my go-to's in crop production. 

I have been using PAA since I started as a young plant and stock grower in the bedding plant industry. 

It was a staple in our sanitation and pest control programs and has since become one of my most recommended products.

There are reasons why PAA works so well and I wanted to have someone I consider a friend, share that information. 

This episode of CropTalk features Eric Smith of BioSafe Systems. 

Eric is a good dude and someone who understands what challenges growers face on a daily basis. 

In this episode, we dive deep into what PAA is and what it can do for growers from "Field to Fork". 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Apr 20, 2020
71. #KyleTalksAgTech: Growing Cannabis at Holistic Industries with a focus on data w/ Nick Denney

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Nick Denney, Cultivation Manager for the Maryland facility of Holistic Industries, a multi-state cannabis indoor grow operation. Topics include the importance of understanding local laws and having refined data to better understand your grow across state lines, educating yourself constantly and the future of the cannabis industry from Nick's perspective.

Apr 16, 2020
69. #KyleTalksAgTech: Creating & Predicating your growing success via Refined Data w/ Kayla Waldorff

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Kayla Waldorff, Business Development Manager of AutoGrow about the importance of collecting refined data to maximize your bottom line, Kayla's advice for succeeding in the AgTech industry and the effects she is seeing due to COVID-19. 

Apr 14, 2020
70. You Don't Like the Rules?! YOU HAVE THE POWER TO INFLUENCE THEM!!

Now this one kinda felt like a hemp gospel session. 

In a really good way. 

Amanda Carter, an authority in Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance, formerly with Artemis, spoke some sage truth in this episode of CropTalk. 

Amanda described the fact that growers and business owners that are most intimately affected by new regulations actually have a significant influence on how those regulations come to be. 

To be honest, this knowledge was news to me and is something that makes me feel empowered and equipped to influence the regulations that we essentially have to live by as growers in this nascent cannabis industry. 

Shout out to us on social media if you appreciated the insights from this episode or if you have anything to add. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean


Apr 13, 2020
68. The Rollercoaster Ride That Was the Hemp Business in 2019 and Opinions on 2020 w/ Joe Frey

What is better than sitting down at small mobile coffee trailer in Tulare, CA during the World Ag Expo? 

Sitting at that same spot... and talkin' crops with Joe Frey! 

Joe Frey is the Owner of Western States Hemp and has been growing hemp for a few years in Nevada. 

Joe and his partner, Adrienne Snow, became friends of mine this past year and I really enjoy chopping it up with those two. 

In this episode of CropTalk, Joe and I talk about the rollercoaster ride that he (and every other participant in the industry) has been on the past few years and what he sees coming down the pike in 2020. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean


Apr 10, 2020
67. #KyleTalksAgtech: Ensuring Success for your Indoor Cannabis Operation w/ Mark Doherty

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Mark Doherty, Executive Vice President of Urban-Gro about the importance of properly planning out your facility before starting your cannabis operation. 

Apr 09, 2020
66. #KyleTalksAgtech: COVID-19 Solutions for the Horticulture Industry w/ Michelle Klieger & Peter Konjoian

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Michelle Klieger & Peter Konjoian about the current state of horticulture due to the COVID-19 pandemic with some potential solutions for small and medium growers to help them through this uncertain period.

Apr 07, 2020
65. Managing a Cannabis Crop's Environment w/ Mack Lewis

Mack Lewis of Headie Horticulture and I sat down at #MJBIZCON19 to discuss managing cannabis crop environments and why VPD is an important variable to consistently consider. 

Apr 02, 2020
64. #KyleTalksAgtech: The BEST HR Guidelines for Corona Virus w/ Michael Maggiotto

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Michael Maggiotto of BEST Human Capital & Advisory Group about how business can best handle the COVID-19 pandemic with HR strategies and solutions everyone can use to get through this uncertain period. 

Apr 02, 2020
63. #KyleTalksAgtech: Turn Key Vertical Farming with a Mission w/ George Carter

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with George Carter of SananBio about his journey in growing, his passion for social reform via farming, and the current state of vertical farming. 

Mar 31, 2020
59. Introduction to CropTalk's Newest Series #SmokableHempFlower and Co-Host, Pat Jack.

If you ain't into #SmokableHempFlower, this episode is most definitely NOT for you. 

If you have a tinge of curiosity or see the #SmokableHempFlower niche as your swim lane in this uncertain industrial hemp environment, then you gotta listen to this one.

I sit down with Pat Jack, CropTalk's newest Co-Host, to learn more about who Pat Jack is and what he stands for.

This is also the introduction to our newest CropTalk series, #SmokableHempFlower. 

Pat Jack, as the co-host of this series, will dive deep into the niche he has been laser-focused on for over a year. 


Mar 26, 2020
62. #KyleTalksAgtech: A Critical look at Vertical Farming w/ Glenn Behrman

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Glenn Behrman of CEA Advisors about his 50-year journey in selling & growing plants, his perspective on the current state of vertical farming and what needs to be done for the industry to succeed. 

Mar 24, 2020
60. How Growers Can Do More of What They Love and Less of The Necessary Evils w/ Adam Greenberg

In this episode of CropTalk, I sit down with Adam Greenberg, CEO  & Founder of iUNU.

This was recorded DEEP in the back halls of #MJBIZCON2019 and was a bit delayed in getting published.

That being said, this episode is FIRE! 

Adam and I get philosophical and admittedly a little heady, but bring it back down to earth to relate it to what growers are facing and present some potential solutions to their on-going problems. 

What are your thoughts on the topics brought up in the podcast? Send me a DM on LinkedIn or give me a call so we can discuss it. 


Mar 18, 2020
61. #KyleTalksAgtech: Growing by values at BrightFarms w/ Nick Chaney

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Nick Chaney head of R&D at BrightFarms about his journey in hydroponic farming, his current research work at BrighFarms and how the company grows by there core values.

Mar 18, 2020
58. #KyleTalksAgtech: Advancing the Hydroponic Industry through Experience w/ Joe Swartz

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Joe Swartz of AmHyro about his journey in farming, the lessons he's learned with over 30 years of experience and how he is setting up future generations of hydroponic farmers for success. 

Mar 10, 2020
56. Understanding the Principles of Producing Quick-Turn Crops w/ Nick Greens

Microgreens, sprouts and baby leafy greens are becoming a staple in our culinary options. 

While the time from start to finish of many of these crops is relatively short, there are unique considerations that a grower must take to manage their production efficiently and effectively. 

In this episode of CropTalk podcast, I sit down with Nick Greens, a crop consultant and a team member at Dohmen Company Foundation, to discuss some of the finer points regarding the principles of managing crops with short production windows. 


Mar 06, 2020
EP 57. #KyleTalksAgtech: Exploring big ideas in Controlled Agriculture w/ Mark Horler

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Mark Horler about commodity crops in the future of controlled ag, vertical farms as a potential tool to solve global issues and the power of humanity to dream big and succeed. 

Mar 03, 2020
55. #KyleTalksAgtech: Consulting the Urban Farming Industry Around the World w/ Henry Gordon-Smith

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Henry Gordon-Smith about his journey in urban farming, his advice on getting started in the CEA industry and what it's like to run Agritecture. 

Feb 25, 2020
54: How To Start Measuring Your Cannabis Crop's Performance Using Repeatable Metrics and Objective Data-driven Analytics w/ Brett Strauss @ MJBizCon 2019

What does a stock portfolio and a cannabis crop have in common? 

"More than you can ever imagine!" exclaims Brett Strauss of FolioGrow. 

Brett and I sat down (in a back alley/hall somewhere in the Las Vegas Convention Center) during MJBIZCON 2019 to discuss the unique ways that he and his team are helping growers make better decisions and allowing them to ditch their whiteboards forever. 

Brett has an idea of where he thinks the market is headed and sheds light on how data driven analysis will give those that use it the edge that is needed to stay in business long-term. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean



Feb 24, 2020
53. #KyleTalksAgtech: Giving Back and Growing Up w/ Penny McBride

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett speaks with Penny McBride about her journey giving back & working in the urban & vertical farming space, from her work at Vertical Harvest to her current role at Second Chances Farm. 

Feb 18, 2020
51. How The Hemp Pavilion at The World Ag Expo Came to Life w/ Kevin Nowell

I am so excited I’m going to wet my plants (hemp plants that is)!!

The World Ag Expo is here!

Today through Thursday I will be hanging out at The Hemp Pavilion looking to learn about alllll sorts of Hemp Happenings.

I had Kevin Nowell, of HiLo Seed Company, onto CropTalk to discuss how he and his partners were able to bring the The Hemp Pavilion to life.

Tune in and get yourself to the World Ag Expo! You won’t regret it!

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Feb 11, 2020
52. #KyleTalksAgtech: Touring the vertical flavors of AGreen Fams w/ Adam Green

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett takes a tour with Adam Green through AGreen Farms in Philidelphia, exploring the exotic flavors of crops they are growing while discussing Adam's philosophies on starting a vertical farm. 

Feb 11, 2020
50. CropTalk's 50th Episode - #Gratitude

Whoa...I never imagined this podcast would evolve into what it is today. 

I am so grateful for SOO many people that have been instrumental in this podcast growing into what it is today and what it will be years down the road. 

This episode is celebrating and thanking those folks that helped CropTalk and me get to where we are today. 

I am truly grateful for all of you. 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean

Feb 10, 2020
49. Data Collection in Cannabis Production - What Data and Why w/ Jason Scott Arnold

Consistently producing quality crops starts with understanding what you're doing, what you've done and what you're going to do in the future. 

On this episode of CropTalk podcast, featuring Jason Scott Arnold of Henry's Original, we dive deep into why every cannabis grower should have some sort of slight addiction to data. 

Too little data is like growing in the dark.

Too much data is a burden and is muda. 

Narrowing in on what data you should be collecting and how, is critical for you to feel confident in replicating results of a successful crop or learning from the lessons of a poor crop. 

As one of my favorite mentors told me before "You are allowed to make any mistake in horticulture once. If you make it twice, then you didn't learn from the first one. That ain't ok."

Collecting and analyzing the right data empowers growers to learn from their mistakes and consistently repeat their success. 


Feb 07, 2020
48. #KyleTalksAgTech: Small Scale Indoor Farming Systems - The Future of How and Where We Grow w/ Alexander Olesen

On this episode of the CropTalk series, #KyleTalksAgTech, Kyle Barnett sits down with Alexander Olesen of Babylon Micro-Farms, to understand the ins and outs of small scale indoor farming systems. 

Alexander shares some unique perspective and what makes Babylon's growing system and service for their clients, special. 


Feb 04, 2020
47. Reverse-engineering the Hemp Cultivation and Post-Harvest Process to Determine Your Infrastructural Capacity w/ Josh Ludgate

When it comes to understanding how many acres one should grow as a hemp farmer, two of the most important questions to ask oneself is: 

1. Will I have a buyer or biomass purchase agreement for my crop, before I intend to plant it? 

2. How much infrastructural capacity (harvest equipment, drying or curing capacity, mechanization) do I have?

The second question is to make oneself think long and hard about the scale of cultivation they can ultimately handle. 

How many acres of crop can I adequately dry and process to a marketable form, with my current infrastructure, is a crucial question to answer before determining the actual acreage to plant in 2020. 

Josh Ludgate, Co-owner of Natural Bridge Farm and Natural Bridge Products, and I dive deep into the topic of reverse-engineering the hemp cultivation and post-harvest process to determine your infrastructural capacity. 

Josh and I had quite the conversation and it includes much more than what is described above. 

Could not be more grateful to have had this conversation with Josh. 

Grateful for all of you listeners as well! 

Until next time, #startcleanstayclean


Jan 30, 2020
46. Fighting Microbes at the Microbial Level in Cannabis Production w/ Jason Hadley

Fighting microbes at the microbial level in cannabis production is easier said than done. 

There are a laundry list of potential microbes and mycotoxins that could leave your finished cannabis product worthless.

Jason Hadley of Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions is focused on helping growers understand the nuts and bolts of growing clean cannabis. 

In this episode, Jason and I dive deep into microbial contamination and how to prevent it from happening. 

As you might guess, it takes a diligent and multi-pronged strategy to accomplish consistently clean production of cannabis. 

Tune in to this episode of CropTalk to learn how to better protect your crop. 

If you enjoy this episode, it would mean the world to me if you could leave us a review on your favorite podcast player. 

Jan 23, 2020
45. #KyleTalksCrops - How The Hemp Mine is Preparing Farmers for the 2020 Season

Choosing the right genetic varieties for your hemp crop could mean the difference between success and failure in 2020. 

While many claim they have superior genetics and that they understand what the farmer needs to be successful; Travis Higginbotham and the team at The Hemp Mine prove it day in and day out. 

CropTalk's newest co-host, Kyle Barnett, talks crops with Travis in this enlightening episode centered around hemp and what is on the horizon for The Hemp Mine in 2020. 

Pull up a chair and grab a notebook because this episode has knowledge worth taking note of. 


Jan 17, 2020
44. Changing the Way you Manage Your Plant Nutrition Through SAP Analysis w/ Scott Wall

Growers have often struggled with understanding where their crops stand with regards to optimal nutrition.

Optimal nutrition is often the difference between a bumper crop and a break even year.

Soil testing and plant tissue analysis are traditional ways for growers to attempt to understand how their plant is taking up needed nutrients and regulating its overall health.

Those techniques offer more objective information than growers have had in the past and are much better than a visual subjective analysis.

That being said, there’s a new technique in town. It’s been used in Europe for some time and has migrated to the States for use in high value crops.

It’s called plant SAP analysis and my guest on this episode, Scott Wall of New Age Laboratories, is performing the technique for growers around the county.

It reveals how and what the plant is taking up in terms of nutrients, in the present moment.

Instead of guessing on what might happen in between a soil test, a leaf tissue analysis and a potency test on your flower, you can see into the plant’s day to day nutrient uptake activity.

Listen to this episode to learn more about how SAP analysis can change the way you manage nutrition.

Jan 11, 2020
43. Starting a Commercial Cannabis Production w/ Joey Bedard-Brunet

Managing the startup of a large-scale operation of any kind can be overwhelming.

Add in stricter regulations and a relatively uninformed market and you’re in for a ride, my friend.

In this episode of CropTalk, I catch up with lifelong farmer and founder of The All-Natural Farming Group, Joey Bedard-Brunet. He shares all the ups and downs of managing the startup of a commercial cannabis production in Canada.

Plus, we talk about:

  • Navigating the regulations required for commercially growing cannabis.
  • The main reasons why growers fail at starting a commercial cannabis production.
  • Joey’s biggest career-defining moment in organic growing.
  • Moving agriculture and industry knowledge forward.

To listen to this episode and more like it, subscribe to CropTalk on Apple Podcasts or tune in here.

Dec 10, 2019
42. How Educating Regulators Will Drive the Cannabis Industry Growth w/ Kimberly Stuck

It’s clear that a lot of people in the U.S. are still wary of cannabis products being regulated.


Even regulators - like the FDA and USDA - are still uncertain of how to handle the regulation process of the commodity.


In this episode of CropTalk, founder and CEO of Allay Consulting, Kimberly Stuck, fills listeners in on how her team is educating regulators about cannabis.


She covers topics such as:

  • Driving industry growth through education.
  • Normalizing cannabis in the U.S.
  • Differences between cannabis and other regulated commodities.
  • How the FDA and USDA are currently handling cannabis regulation.

To listen to this episode and more like it, subscribe to CropTalk on Apple Podcasts or tune in here.

Dec 03, 2019
41. How Variety Selection Impacts Cannabis Growth w/ Dr. Allison Justice

How does variety selection impact growth from Oregon, to California, to the Carolinas?


On this episode, we invited Dr. Allison Justice to share her expertise on variety selection with cannabis.


Dr. Justice is the Founder of The Hemp Mine, Co-Founder of SC Botanicals, and a Board Member of the California Industrial Hemp Advisory Board.


What we talked about:

  • Variety selection
  • How geographies impact growth
  • Vegetative liners
  • Clones
  • Feminized seeds
  • Stabilization and risk mitigation

You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to the CropTalk podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Nov 22, 2019
40. #KyleTalksCrops: Building Relationships in Ag Tech w/ Todd Downing

As horticulture recovers from a generational gap in recruitment, it’s important to emphasize the value of building relationships - and trust - in the industry.


In this episode of CropTalk, co-host Kyle Barnett talks with Todd Downing, managing partner at Best Human Capital & Advisory Group, about recruitment in the ag tech industry.


They also discuss:


  • The best ways to break into the ag tech industry.
  • The importance of building professional relationships.
  • Advocating for training and development in ag tech.

To listen to this episode and more like it, subscribe to CropTalk on Apple Podcasts or tune in here.

Nov 13, 2019
39. Why Growing is Only Half the Battle w/ Kyle Barnett

You know what you want to grow. You know how you’re going to grow.


Do you know your market?


This is the question Kyle Barnett, regional sales manager at Hort Americas (oh, and CropTalk’s brand new co-host!), asks all his clients.


In this episode, Kyle and I discuss:


  • The biggest problem for growers
  • Consistency in growing
  • Building a network of distribution
  • Horticultural lighting


Resources we mention:




To listen to this episode and more like it, subscribe to CropTalk on Apple Podcasts or tune in here.

Nov 08, 2019
38. Break the Cycle of Tribal Knowledge in Growing w/ Bill Turner

In the age of information, it’s hard to believe there are still knowledge silos in the growing industry.


How can we work together to halt the cycle of tribal knowledge?


Head grower at Van de Wetering Greenhouses and 40+ year growing veteran, Bill Turner, shares his method of eliminating knowledge silos in growing.


In this episode, we discuss:


  • Passing along information to new growers
  • Developing a growing guide
  • Learning from industry mistakes
  • Advice for new growers

To listen to this episode and more like it, subscribe to CropTalk on Apple Podcasts or tune in here.

Oct 24, 2019
36. One Extraction Artist's Favorite Methods of Extraction w/ Shane Smith

So, you’re getting into the cannabinoid extraction business.


How do you know what methods and equipment are the best to invest in?


Shane Smith, cannabis and hemp consultant at CEID Consulting, fills us in on his favorite cannabinoid extraction methods and products.


Plus, he goes over:


  • Gaining knowledge and experience working in multiple labs
  • Reasons why it’s important to invest in good equipment
  • Solvent-based extraction
  • Mechanical separation

To listen to this episode and more like it, subscribe to CropTalk on Apple Podcasts or tune in here.

Oct 11, 2019
35. The Future of Integrated Pest Management w/ Vince Livengood

In the last 10 years, IPM (Integrated Pest Management) has evolved rapidly.


Now, there’s a lot more to consider than just pests. IPM has become a holistic approach to growing.


To fill us in on where IPM is going is Vince Livengood, Technical Services Manager for Kemin Industries.


In this episode, we go over:


  • How to get the most out of biopesticides
  • Keys to building an effective IPM plan
  • Changes in the IPM industry

To listen to this episode and more like it, subscribe to CropTalk on Apple Podcasts or tune in here.

Oct 08, 2019
34. Root Aphids: Controlling the Ultimate Cannabis Pest w/ Bill Cook

Root aphids are the stuff of horror movies.


They’re born pregnant, and some of them can mutate into flyers. When you hit them with pesticides, they send a lot of flyers out. 


They just don’t go away. You’ll think you’re clean, then they’ll come back stronger out of nowhere. They’re “borderline supernatural,” according to Bill Cook, a cannabis consultant and today’s guest.


In this episode, Bill talks about how to control root aphids, which is one of the most significant topics facing cultivators of THC or CBD cannabis.

Sep 20, 2019
#FirstCrop Ep 1: Why the Future of Farming May Not Involve Soil w/ John Harrison

Hydroponics is the art of growing produce without the use of soil, using water and nutrients instead.

Many people think it’s a new science/technology, but we now know that the science dates back to the ancient Chinese, Aztecs, and Egyptians, the latter of which farmed on rafts in the Nile.


Today’s guest is John Harrison, Founder and CEO of AGR1. John was classically trained as a chef, which spurred his passion for what he’s doing now.


In this first episode of our new series #FirstCrop, John explains why he got involved in hydroponics and gives a dire warning about how farming should be done in the future.

Whether you’re growing in soil or growing hydroponically, John has something you need to hear today.


Sep 09, 2019
32. The Leading Women of Horticulture w/ Arielle Van Wingerden

In a predominantly male industry, Arielle Van Wingerden has made her mark.


A multi-generational horticulture grower, and a student of business, Arielle has a very unique perspective on what it’s like to be a female and a leader in the industry. 


“There’s this common misconception that women are trying to take over. But really, all we’re looking for is collaboration.”


On this episode of CropTalk, Charlie chats with Arielle on why bringing more women into horticulture will bring a new level of growth to the industry that’s unprecedented.

Aug 29, 2019
31. Systemizing Your Operations w/ Allison Kopf

Allison Kopf, Founder and CEO of Artemis, joins the show today to talk about systemizing your growing operations.

Whatever your system, whether it's binders, clipboards and paper, or state-of-the-art analytics and software, having something is better than nothing and gives you a foundation to work from.

Start with what you have and look for areas that can be automated--what manual or time-consuming task is taking you or your grower away from more critical work?

Listen in as Allison shares her journey of seeing need for automation as a grower and how she turned it into a business that helps other growers get real-time insights to transform their crops--and their futures.

Aug 08, 2019
30. BCAs and the Evolution of the Predatory Mite Sachets w/ Ronald Valentin

“We’re no longer trying biological control. We’re applying biological control.”

So says Ronald Valentin, Director of Technical Business for BioWorks. In this episode, Ronald talks about using BCAs as a first line of defense as well as the evolution of predatory mite sachets. It all comes down to this:

A lot of growers want to dabble.

But when it comes to BCAs, dabbling is a terrible strategy.

Aug 02, 2019
29. Finding Patience in the Short and Long Term w/ Charlie McKenzie

A different understanding.


It’s what you get when you step back and give a problem some space to breathe.


From growing to pest management, finding the patience to step back and see the bigger picture before acting almost always results in a better long term outcome than making a rush decision.


On this solo episode, Charlie McKenzie shares his journey of learning that patience can bring clarity and a holistic solution for most any situation.

Jul 09, 2019
28. The Locally Sourced Meal Kit Model w/ Emily Golub

Is your meal kit locally sourced?


Do you even know where the produce comes from?


Emily Golub is the owner/operator of Garnish and Gather, an Atlanta-based meal kit company that’s also an online farmers’ market.


Like a lot of us, Golub wanted to eat locally, but she struggled with how to make it happen.


So, she started Garnish and Gather, which sources as much local produce for the meal kit service as possible. She is committed to building relationships with the farmers who produce the food, which means she can guarantee all of her products’ sourcing, all while creating an incredible customer experience.


She visited the podcast lately to talk about her business model and her core mission and values.

Jun 20, 2019
27. Controlled Environment Agriculture & Technology: Bringing AI Into the Growing Space w/ Danny Ackell

Danny Ackell's love for agriculture began 20 years ago as a flower grower in the Hamptons.

He grew snapdragons, sunflowers, you name it before moving to packaging and learning how to move product on the streets of NYC like a hustler.

Ultimately, he ended up choosing to be a leaf grower because he didn’t want to be "another broke farmer."

Founding LeafGrow, he's become one of the go-to experts in a field that two and half years ago didn't even have a Wikipedia article.

That field? Controlled environment agriculture.

Danny came on CropTalk to share his first-hand experience with CEA in special 2 part episode. In part 2, he shares some of the innovations that are being made in the CEA space because of technology and artificial intelligence.

Jun 11, 2019
26. Controlled Environment Agriculture: Economically Maintaining the Perfect Weather Conditions w/ Danny Ackell

Danny Ackell's love for agriculture began 20 years ago as a flower grower in the Hamptons.

He grew snapdragons, sunflowers, you name it before moving to packaging and learning how to move product on the streets of NYC like a hustler.

Ultimately, he ended up choosing to be a leaf grower because he didn’t want to be "another broke farmer."

Founding LeafGrow, he's become one of the go-to experts in a field that two and half years ago didn't even have a Wikipedia article.

That field? Controlled environment agriculture.

Danny came on CropTalk to share his first-hand experience with CEA in this first of two special episodes where we deep-dive into what it takes to "perfect" weather conditions.

Jun 07, 2019
25. How to Train Your Cannabis Plant (For Maximum Yield) w/ Brian Herrmann

Coming up short with your cannabis yield?

Brian Herrmann, a long tenured cultivation consultant, is an expert in maximizing yield. He's on today's episode, sharing that same expertise with us.

Plant training is the foundation for high quality cannabis production. It can make a massive difference in your crop’s output, even if you don't change anything else.

The key? Energy diversion.

Why wait for the whole plant to grow unfettered, eat up nutrients, time, space, and risk, having bugs or mold in there?

Prune it early, get it out of there, create that air flow, create a clean environment, remove the energy.

Route the plant’s resources to where they’ll give you the most ROI, not just pretty leaves.

Jun 04, 2019
24. From Rural Missouri to Cannabis: How This Horticulturist Found His Way Into a Brand-New Industry w/ Tristan Lonberger

Tristan Lonberger fell in love with agriculture growing up in rural Missouri.

He went to the University of Missouri to study it. In college, he studied crop research, greenhouse production, and flower production.

Then, six months before graduating, he decided to pursue a career that few people from his hometown would have expected: cannabis production.

A risky move when you’re from Small Town, USA.

Now, he’s living in Denver and almost three years into his cannabis career.

He’s got an awesome story that anyone looking to step out and do something new needs to hear.

May 30, 2019
23. The Hoffman Nursery’s 7 Commandments of Success w/ Martha Hamblin

Commandments weren’t just found on Mt. Sinai.

They’re in nurseries, too.

Martha Hamblin, senior director of HR and legal at Hoffman Nursery in Rougemont, NC, was on today’s episode of CropTalk.

She talked about how defining your company's core values drives employee engagement and satisfaction, and how a large part of business has to do with taking care of people, giving them a purpose, and a mission that unifies them while driving company success.

Every decision at Hoffman, on an individual or company-wide basis, is governed by these company “commandments”:

  1. Celebrate success
  2. Be nice
  3. Embrace challenges
  4. Do the right thing
  5. Be curious
  6. Make it count
  7. Be enthusiastic
May 28, 2019
22. Zap Crop Pests with a Multi-Tier Approach to Pest Management w/ Matthew Gates

Spidey senses tingling yet?

As we curb the use of more noxious pesticides, there are fewer options available for chemically fighting spider mites, which are found in cannabis crops, as well as commercial crops, food crops, and landscape crops.

These little buggers are remarkably adaptive.

They’re resistant to chemicals for the same reason they’re able to get around so many different plants’ physiologies and natural defenses.

Matthew Gates, an integrated pest management specialist in San Diego, CA is concerned about the proliferation of the spider mite’s resistance to pesticides.

To maximize your defenses, Gates encourages farmers to check pest resistance levels and pesticide coverage in fields.

Also, to use a multi-tier approach to IPM. If you have a multi-prong arsenal, losing one tool still leaves you with backup options.

May 21, 2019
21. Cannabis and the Rush For Genetics: Who Owns the Intellectual Property? w/ James Bennett

James Bennett has a theory that it really only takes four things to be successful — good water, good soil, good genetics, and a good farmer.

Obviously the farmer is responsible for providing good water, soil, and expertise.

But who’s responsible for the good genetics?

James says it’s the farmer’s custodial duty to take care of the plants and try to refine those genetics as best they can.

But does that mean the farmer gets to own that intellectual property? Should anyone even get to own it?

James, CEO of Yeomen Farmers Brand, came on the show this week to talk about cannabis, the rush for genetics in 2019, and issues surrounding IP.

May 14, 2019
19. Transparency in Growing Practices Adds Value to Your Crop and Your Customers w/ Scott Propheter

Farming is a gamble.


Scott Propheter, VP of agronomy and outreach at Criticality, and ex-Marine, above and beyond, believes in transparency in agricultural traceability as means to increase your odds of a great crop and happy customers.


Criticality tracks the entire life cycle of the product, before it ever goes to a farmer to get put into a field. They gather several hundred data points throughout the growing season, working day-to-day with growers.


There are quality metrics at delivery and all through the processing phase, all the way through to the end products. This results in a comprehensive certificate of analysis per batch that is available on the Criticality website to the consumer.

May 10, 2019
20. Integrity and Adaptability Drives Success in the Tropical Color Nursery Business w/ Sandy Stein

Meet Sanford (Sandy) Stein, co-owner of The Jungle Nursery in Homestead, Florida.


He’s a career horticulturalist… and occasional psychotherapist.


He visited my podcast recently, and shared some profound insights on his unusual career path.


Stein is a walking testament to the saying what doesn’t kill you (ahem, Hurricane Andrew) makes you stronger. He has taken an unexpected side path into advocacy for his profession, overcoming his discomfort with public speaking.


He is one of the few nurseries to have stayed ahead of the curve when big box stores started selling plants at cut-rate prices. He diversified and started fulfilling unusual but profitable orders for off-the-beaten-path clients that have allowed him not just to survive, but to thrive.


Stein also talked about integrity and how you can’t be truly successful if you’re not a person of your word and respected by your peers.

May 10, 2019
18. Hemp Might Just Save the Planet If We Let It w/ Zev Paiss

Why are we still an extraction economy, pulling non-renewable resources, like gas and oil, from the ground?


Hemp can be grown quickly, with little water, using renewable energy.


Zev Paiss, director of Colorado operations for Universal Hemp Supply Co., a sustainability consultant educator for about 35 years, was on the podcast today and talked about the promising future of hemp.


Listen in as we chat about how hemp cultivation is moving our society forward into a more eco-friendly harvest economy.

May 03, 2019
17. How Innovations in Hemp Harvesting Drive Crop Scalability and Employee Safety w/ Andrew Bish

How do you recover an art and craft that has been lost to history?


After almost a century of laws prohibiting the propagation and use of all kinds of cannabis products, including hemp, generations of institutional knowledge have been lost.


Today’s producers are having to rediscover and relearn old techniques, or reinvent the wheel with new technology.


Andrew Bish is the COO of Bish Enterprises and the CEO of Hemp Harvest Works, and he is at the forefront of this exciting work.


His companies have been inventing large-scale hemp harvesting equipment to help resolve some existing bottlenecks in terms of separation of flour from stalk.


He also wants to keep people safe while still delivering a high quality result at a considerably faster pace.


He has exciting ideas for small growers and large.

May 02, 2019
16. How Data Analytics Reap More Profits for Your Ag Business w/ Gordon Rowe III

Agriculture is about inputs, yields, and profit margins--like any business, it is all about numbers.

Fortunately, because the numbers on agriculture are so granular, you can easily create powerful data analytics models using tools like Microsoft Excel’s pivot tables.  

To learn how becoming a pivot table master can improve your bottom line, I spoke with Gordon Rowe III. Gordon works as Special Ops at North Creek Nurseries and is the President at growE Solutions.

Using data modeling techniques found on sites like, Rowe was able to make huge gains in his ag business, which is good news for all of us.

Apr 25, 2019
15. Start Clean Stay Clean: How Science is Saving Coffee and Cannabis w/ Dr. Jon Vaught

Start clean. Stay clean.

It’s more than a mantra; it’s the only way to grow.

Jon Vaught, PhD, the CEO of Front Range Biosciences, is on today’s episode of CropTalk. Dr. Vaught is using his expertise in organic chemistry to rescue and strengthen orphan crops like coffee, hemp, and cannabis, from disease through clean stock technology.

By growing plants using tissue culture and greenhouse practices like integrated pest management and fertility practices, Front Range is able to create crops that are free of pathogens, pests.

Apr 23, 2019
14. Agrotourism and the Importance of Small Hemp Farms w/ Nature Mama Franny Tacy

Frances (Franny) Tacy is a hemp farmer, educator, speaker, product developer, and distributor of Franny's Farmarcy hemp products in Leicester, NC.

Tacy has a background in forestry, education, and pharmaceuticals and runs Franny’s Farm with her family. It is a working hemp farm, goat farm, and agritourism destination designed to educate and inspire people.

Tacy is a mover and a shaker in the movement to bring a wide variety of hemp products to a growing market.

Apr 18, 2019
13. How Investing in Your Team Makes You a Better Leader w/ Mick Donahue

Having a great team has more to do with you than you think.

If you’re not actively seeking to better yourself, you’re not only cheating yourself out of growing as a leader, your team is missing out on the opportunity to grow, too.

Leaders who seek to replicate themselves continually learning, while providing opportunity and example for their team to do the same, are creating a group of people who are as invested in their business as they are.

And that, as a leader, is an invaluable resource.

We’re back with part two of this special episode of the CropTalk podcast with Mick Donahue, co-owner of North Carolina Farms. Mick is a grower, but shares some amazing insight on leadership, business, people, and processes, based on his time working as a missionary.

Apr 16, 2019
12. From the Mission Field to the Farm: Principles for Building People and Processes w/ Mick Donahue

Your business is limited by your capacity.

Want exponential growth?

Give people a mission around your business that they can believe in. Develop leaders who feel that mission in their DNA and let them take over the day to day details of your business so you can focus on the bigger picture.

You can do more, but not without empowering others to do the same.

Today’s guest on this special episode of the CropTalk podcast is Mick Donahue, co-owner of North Carolina Farms. Mick is a grower, but shares some amazing insight on leadership, business, people, and processes, based on his time working as a missionary.

Apr 09, 2019
11. The Importance of Agriculture Education w/ Tim Downing

Agriculture education starts at the dinner plate and moves backwards.

Teaching the next generation what they're eating and where their food comes from is invaluable to creating better food consumers and, ultimately, a healthier community. 

On this week's episode, Charlie talks with Tim Downing, farmer and agriculture educator about the need for connection between consumer and producer and what role our education system can play in creating students who are informed and equipped to make better food choices.

Apr 02, 2019
10. The Core Principles of Production Haven't Changed For Four Generations w/ Joe Swartz

Results are what count.

On today’s episode of CropTalk we are joined by 4th generation farmer, Joe Swartz, whose growing techniques and outcomes prove his hydroponics expertise.
Joe is celebrating his 35th year as a full time, year-round grower of herbs and vegetables, and is also the current VP at American Hydroponics, one of the leading hydro-systems equipment manufacturers in North America.
Joe came on the show to share his time-tested core principles of growing production.

Mar 11, 2019
09. Three Personality Traits You Need In Your Next Pest Scout w/ Charlie McKenzie

Your pest control program is only as good as your worst scout.

Your scout is your eyes, your ears, your nose in relation to your crops, so why aren’t more growers more committed to hiring great ones?

On this special solo episode, host Charlie McKenzie talks through the 3 personality traits he’s found are common to every great pest scout.

Mar 04, 2019
08. How One Producer is Using Vertical Aeroponics to Change the Way We Eat w/ Austin Kasso

Austin Kasso found his passion for agriculture when he was 16. Originally from New York, Austin worked with his cousins on a farm in North Carolina in the summertime, where they had hundreds of fruits, veggies and chickens, a few cows, seven goats, and a large pond of catfish.

“That summer was all it took to solidify my career path. I was set on figuring out a way to bring this kind of abundance, experience, and healthy living to the masses”, said Austin.

Our most recent guest on the CropTalk podcast, Austin’s mission is to grow the best quality produce locally while creating a sustainable foundation for generations to come. Austin also talked with us about benefits of vertical aeroponics, challenges facing the local food market, and expectations we can have of the local food market in the future.

Feb 04, 2019
07. Why Crop Scheduling is Vital to Greenhouse Production w/ Aaron Fields

On this episode of CropTalk, Charlie talks with Aaron Fields about why crop scheduling is important, the risks and challenges associated with it, and how running an efficient schedule benefits your credibility and business.

Jan 28, 2019
06. The Revolutionary Benefits of Installing Green Roofs w/ David Gilmore

On this episode of CropTalk, Charlie chats to David Gilmore about the revolutionary benefits of installing green roofs. From economic savings to vital environmental returns, even community betterment, David shares critical insights about why green roofs are worth their investment. 

Jan 21, 2019
05. Increasing the Efficiency of Beneficial Insect Application w/ Chandler Bennet

On this episode of the CropTalk podcast, our host, Charlie McKenzie, talks with Chandler Bennett of Parabug about the challenges of biocontrol and how the solution of a flying drone is making it efficient and economical.

Jan 14, 2019
04. Why Growers Need to Understand Business Development (Hint: It Can Prepare You for a Promotion) w/ Chris Vande-Stowe

Are you a grower seeking a promotion? Start by understanding the ins and outs of the entire industry--not just your intersection with it.

Chris Vande-Stowe, COO at Leaf Express, joins Charlie on this episode of CropTalk to discuss why it’s important to understand the entirety of your business. He share's his three H's of success: Humble, Hungry, Hustle and how knowledge of business development is your key to promotion. 

Listen in!

Jan 07, 2019
03. GMO’s in Horticulture: Changing the Way We Feed the World w/ Joe Cunliffe

When it comes to GMO’s, there’s plenty of value to each side of the story. On this episode of the CropTalk podcast, Charlie chats with Joe Cunliffe, Assistant Grower at Smith Gardens in Aurora, OR. He shares the unseen value in GMO’s and just how they are changing the world for the better.

Dec 17, 2018
02. Finding Solutions to the Challenges of Long-Term Crops w/ John Morgan

On this episode of the CropTalk podcast, our host, Charlie McKenzie, talks with John Morgan of Green Circle about the challenges he faces when growing long-term crops and his creative solutions to help nurture that process.

Dec 10, 2018
01. What One Poinsettia Grower Learned From This Year’s Crop w/ Ian Patric

Charlie's former mentor, Ian Patric, is the guest on our first full-length episode of the CropTalk Podcast. Ian is a master poinsettia grower from Smith Gardens in Aurora, Oregon, and shares with us the top three things he’s learned from this year’s season. 

Dec 03, 2018
Welcome to CropTalk, the Podcast For Today’s Agricultural Business Leaders w/ Charlie McKenzie

Our host, Charlie McKenzie, shares his passion for connecting with other growers in this kickoff episode of the CropTalk podcast. Charlie talks about why podcasting is important to the modern agricultural business leader and how he sees the CropTalk podcast as a tool to influence and innovate across the industry.

Nov 19, 2018