Farm Food Facts

Ep 45 Joe Koss UPDATE, Bo Stone, Cover Crop Benefits

October 08, 2019 Episode 45
Farm Food Facts
Ep 45 Joe Koss UPDATE, Bo Stone, Cover Crop Benefits
Chapters
Farm Food Facts
Ep 45 Joe Koss UPDATE, Bo Stone, Cover Crop Benefits
Oct 08, 2019 Episode 45
USFRA
Show Notes Transcript

Our thought leader is Joe Koss, CEO of Culver’s

Food News of the Week:
Cover crops could help protect our Food from the climate’s Severe Weather
•Tough planting season offers lessons for the future
•New grain could be a step forward for eco-friendly Agriculture


Farmer of The Week: Bo Stone, a North Carolina farmer from P&S Farms



Speaker 1:
0:01
[inaudible]
Speaker 2:
0:01
farm food facts where every farmer, every acre and every voice matter. Welcome to farm food facts for Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 I'm your host Phil Lempert. Today our thought leader is Joe cos president and CEO of Culver franchisee system, the franchisor for nearly 700 Culver's restaurants in 25 States with over 20,000 team members. We have an update Culver's and its thank you farmers project has raised 2.5 million to support agriculture education since its inception six years ago. So far this year in 2019 over 400,000 has been raised from their customers. To quote Joe, we're facing a turning point in agriculture and the responsibility to feed a growing population falls on all of us, not just farmers. In addition to supporting agriculture education efforts, Culver's is joining the efforts of national organizations in support of agriculture's future. Mr costs is a newly appointed member of the U S farmers and ranchers Alliance board of directors. USF RA represents farmer and rancher led organizations and food agriculture partners with a common vision to further our global sustainable food systems. Later in the podcast we'll talk to boast stone who along with his parents and wife, Missy, growed 2300 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans. They also raise approximately 10,000 pigs every year and have 60 cows. In addition, they also grow two and a half acres of strawberries and four acres of sweet corn that they sell at their own roadside market. But first Joe costs. Joe, thanks for joining us on farm food facts.
Speaker 3:
1:48
Thank you Phil. It's a pleasure to be with you today.
Speaker 2:
1:51
Culver's has a unique relationship with farmers. You've raised almost $2 million for ag education and develop the thank you farmers project. How did your connection with farmers get started?
Speaker 3:
2:02
Yeah, I think our connection goes back to our roots of where Culver's got its start. Uh, the cover family opened the, the very first a restaurant back in 1984 in the, the small Wisconsin, uh, rural community of SOC city. And uh, I think that that connection has just grown from there. We certainly have a great appreciation for the hardworking farm families and we really know that we wouldn't be a, the success we are today without the great farmers providing and then growing the delicious food that a restaurants serve each and every day.
Speaker 2:
2:36
Joe, I, I really have to commend you on the program because while we see a lot of supermarkets out there, you know, honoring the farmer, putting up farmer pictures and the like, it's really pretty unusual in the food service side to, to hear from, um, an operator such as yourself, really talking about, you know, the farmer this, this appreciation for food. Why is this program important to you?
Speaker 3:
3:01
Well, for us it's, it's just the natural connection. You know, we've supported various causes over the years, but this thank you farmers project really resonates with us as again, we understand, you know, we wouldn't be able to serve the high quality food that we do without the, uh, the farmers producing it for us. And, uh, thank you. Farmers project has been around about seven years now. And it continues to grow for us, but, um, it goes beyond just showing our appreciation for those farmers. It's also a way for us to, uh, better, uh, understand and learn about farming practices so we can talk to our guests about that, uh, but as well, uh, we understand that, uh, we want to make sure there's a sustainable food supply going forward. The trends are showing that that populations will continue to grow and, and there are limited resources. And so this is a way for us to really, uh, provide support for those future leaders in agriculture because we're all going to need them.
Speaker 2:
4:04
We are, that's for sure. Joe, I want to go back to something you said about sharing the information with your guests. Um, how do you do that? How does, how does you know a customer who comes into Culver's really understand where the food is coming from and the role of the farmer?
Speaker 3:
4:20
Yeah, I think we do that in a number of different ways. And it starts with our marketing program. We have a marketing campaign that we've been running for a number of years that we call welcome to delicious. And, uh, some of our TV spots were, we're able to feature a, our co-founder Craig Kovar along with many of our great suppliers as well as farmers, uh, in those spots. And, uh, they can tell the story directly, which we believe has resonated with our guests. But in addition to that, we're using certainly, uh, websites and social media to tell a deeper story about where our food comes from and how it's prepared and we want that to be honest and accurate. So the more we learn [inaudible] better we can tell that story to our guests.
Speaker 2:
5:07
So I'm going to put you on the spot for a second. Um, did you ever get like this really strange question from one of your guests about farmers that you just had to scratch your head and say, I have no idea. I better call the farmer.
Speaker 3:
5:23
Yeah, no, certainly today. Um, our guests are more curious about where their food comes from and they're, they're asking more and more questions and sometimes, you know, we have to say, let's, uh, let's check into that and, and get back to you. And, and you know, through this thank you farmers project, we've been able to talk directly to farmers, talk directly to ag organizations like USF, RA, uh, to learn more about where our food comes from. And, um, then we can then in turn better educate our guests on.
Speaker 2:
5:58
I want to delve
Speaker 3:
5:58
into that a little bit more. How and why is Culver's working with the U S farmers and ranchers Alliance? Yeah, so this I think is just a, a natural progression for I thank you farmers project. We want to continue to build relationships with the agriculture community and we've had relationships with farmers in the FFA and now with the U S FRA and just another great resource for us and this connection to directly to, to farmers and ranchers. And I think building those relationships is just very beneficial work. We're really all a part of agriculture there. They're growing it for us and we're serving it too to the guests. So let's, uh, let's continue to gain alignment and that's just beneficial for all of us.
Speaker 2:
6:45
Absolutely. Well, Joe, thank you for your commitment, your support of farmers and ranchers across the nation. It's important and, uh, you know, I'm looking forward to getting a call versed in Santa Monica soon.
Speaker 3:
6:57
Well, uh, who knows, someday we're in 25 States today and someday, uh, we'll, we'll get into a California as well.
Speaker 4:
7:15
[inaudible]
Speaker 2:
7:16
and now for the news, you need to know cover crops could help protect our food from the climate. Severe weather fifth generation farmer Brian [inaudible] called the spring of 2019 the wettest spring he'd ever seen in his 29 years of tending the land. These volatile Reni Springs are becoming the norm in the upper Midwest and will likely occur more often as the climate continues to warm, severe flooding trigger soil loss, which is a crisis on a grand scale when it occurs in the region that provides a vast amount of our food supply. The Midwest is home to one of the Globe's greatest stores of top soil, but more than half has been lost over the past 50 years. Top soil is the fragile slow to regenerate resource that drives agriculture. The soil's ability to trap water is crucial during summer droughts and heat waves which are also expected to become more frequent.
Speaker 2:
8:11
As the climate continues to grow. Warmer food ultimately draws its nutrients from the soil and degraded soils, produce crops with lower levels of protein and nutrients. What can make the difference is utilizing practices that holds soil in place and build up its carbon content and some growers are beginning to realize the value of sewing cover crops. Plants that stay in the ground over winter holding their soil when the hard rains come in the spring. For instance, when the heavy spring range lashed the farm this year, the rive buffered the soil from the rain's impact, the live roots plunge deep into the ground and provide an extra level of protection from erosion. And even though these bouts of severe weather can be extremely to deal with, there is still something to take away. Tough planting season offers lessons for the future. Midwest farmers light Corkill who endured an especially challenging planting season this year.
Speaker 2:
9:08
We'll take away several lessons. It is the first time in my life that I started planting in June. It was a terrible spring, said, Illinois farmer Brian Anderson, uh, planting window simply didn't open for Anderson until June. Although he worked the ground in April. He could not get into plant until 35 days later. Anderson hopes to get a green in as a cover crop and to continue his rotation back to soybeans. Next year. Seed is available, but it's expensive. This is the first year of a new study at the research farm on drainage and irrigation, constructing a retention pond that will hold water from heavy spring rains that can be recycled for irrigation during drier periods in mid summer, about 15 inches of rain poured down in April and another 15 inches in June, giving them plenty of water in the pond. However, because of the extremely wet weather, they were not able to install the tillings as they had planned to feed the pond.
Speaker 2:
10:06
Therefore construction is ongoing and an irrigation system is being set up so that it's ready for next season. And for those interested in grains as a cover crop, a new grain could be a step forward for ecofriendly agriculture. Cereals and craft beers are now being made with a new variety of perennial grain known as Kearns, though proponents say this marks a significant advance for new agriculture that procures from the wild Prairie and could help ensure sustainable food production in a warming world. The goal is to mitigate a lot of the problems inherent in annual grain farming systems. Said Tim crews were search director at the land Institute. Kerns is it domesticated wild grass intermediate wheat grass with a long slender head that resembles weed seeds, its flavors described as sweet, nutty, and it's being made into a cereal called honey toasted Kurds, uh, as well as a limited run beer called long root pale ale. It's time to hit to the [inaudible] farm with both stone and North Carolina farmer from PNS farms. So Beau, I understand you started farming when you were eight years old. What was that about?
Speaker 5:
11:19
Well, you know, growing up on a family farm, it was an expectation that as soon as you are old enough you, you started helping out. Uh, we were traditionally tobacco farmers and at eight years old I was old enough to help a little bit with the harvest and different things. So from the time I was old enough to walk and follow my dad around, I was, I was out there. But now at eight, I actually had a job and responsibilities to the hell.
Speaker 2:
11:43
So you've expanded from tobacco to now, you know, uh, over 2300 acres of corn, wheat, soybeans. You've got 10,000 pigs, you've got 60 cows, you've got two and a half acres of strawberries, you've got four acres of sweet corn. I mean, you have your own roadside market. So you've really evolved out of tobacco in, in a huge way.
Speaker 5:
12:10
We really have, you know, I like to pick and tell that we're diversified, not because we want to be, but because we have to be. But that's not really true. We like the fact that we use and grow several different crops and we're into a lot of different markets and it helps us spread our labor out. It also is ensuring that we have a farm that is diversified and large enough to bring that eight generation back into when, when they're ready. So everything that we're doing in the diversifying that we fill in has been with that ion to the future.
Speaker 2:
12:41
What's interesting to me is you do a lot of outreach and in fact you, you bring kids, uh, from school to the farm. Tell me about that. And how many kids have you actually brought to the farm so far?
Speaker 5:
12:55
Uh, you know, I don't even know the number there, but we do think that it's very important that children especially who understand where their food comes from and if they can relate back to what they had for breakfast that morning, that it could have been grown on a farm like farmer both has, you know, that that will stick with them and that will give them enough, you know, a little sense of, of how agriculture really works that farm to table process, you know, just lets him see that a little better.
Speaker 2:
13:24
Talk to me a little bit about your roadside market. What made you decide to have that, um, what's the reaction that you get from people who stop by there? Um, and again, you know, just building on what you said about, you know, kids understanding where their food comes from. Don't we have the same problem with adults that a lot of adults don't know where the food comes from?
Speaker 5:
13:45
You're exactly right. Not so many adults don't know either. We kind of tried to concentrate on those kids because we can bring a lot of kids in at one time and hopefully as they grow they'll remember that lesson and when they have children they'll continue to come back. We started growing strawberries. We were looking for an opportunity when [inaudible] first child was born and she's almost 18 now. We were looking for away from my wife to quit her off the farm job and we were looking for something that the entire family could participate in. I knew that we wouldn't be in tobacco forever, but I was looking for some things that everybody could participate in and could have a role in, could be a draw for our farm and the strawberries you've worked out whale. As far as our roadside stand, you know, that's been a really good marketing and market for us. We started out, you know, with less than a half acre of strawberries and just through, we'll call it word of mouth, you know, that folks like the quality and they like to be able to get the fresh berries. And so they come out and, and we've been able to expand their work. Okay. We're giving the consumer something that they won't, which is a high quality, fresh fruit,
Speaker 2:
14:56
you know. And, and what's interesting to me though is when I go into a supermarket, um, sometimes, um, versus a roadside stand and I pick up a strawberry, you know, it might be bright red on the outside, but then I take a bite and you know, it's sorta like tasteless and crunchy. So, you know, having, having a farm stand where you can get it, you know, as fresh as it was just picked on, that's a huge benefit.
Speaker 5:
15:23
It really isn't. A lot of that is the varieties that we grow. We grow something that's really good for that fresh market and it's going to be red and juicy all the way through and with a great taste. Uh, we try to make sure that everybody that comes to our stand that if they get a strawberry, it's letting the field last night. In other words, we only pick what we sell that day. We don't carry any over from day to day. So you can rest assured you get a strawberry from us that it is truly a fresh Berry. Some of the local supermarkets they buy directly from farmers like us and of course we'll deliver several times a week to make sure that they keep a fresh strawberry hand. I really like keeping it local is good for everyone in the community when you can make that happen.
Speaker 2:
16:06
Absolutely. You know, keeping it local means more nutrients, uh, better tastes that are price, you know, all, all of the above. Earlier in the podcast I was speaking with Joe Costes, who's the CEO of Culver's and I was fascinated by their program called thank you farmers, um, where they've raised, you know, millions of dollars for agriculture. Um, they really want, you know, everybody that visits their restaurants to know where the food comes from. Know about the farmers. How do you feel as a farmer about a program like thank you farmers from Culver's?
Speaker 5:
16:44
I think it's a great program and for a lot of different reasons. You know it's tying the food that you're getting there at Culver's back to a local farmer and I think that that's a wonderful opportunity and consumers want to know where their food is coming from is whale, they have questions about it and they can have a having assurance that Hey, I can put a face to that. I know where it comes from, I know that that's going to be a high quality. I know it's going to be a site for my family and, and all of those questions can be answered that way. I think it's a great campaign. I do appreciate them reaching out to the farmers and thanking the farmers and and all because at the end of the day, not only am I feeding my family, but I'm feeding yours too and I'm not going to do anything to, to harm either one.
Speaker 2:
17:27
Both. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast.
Speaker 5:
17:31
Yes sir. To use. Well.
Speaker 6:
17:33
Thank you for joining us on farm food facts. For more information on all things, food and agriculture, and to listen to our archives, please visit food dialogues.com under the programs in media tab and be sure to visit us on Facebook at U S farmers and ranchers or on Twitter at us FRA. Until next week.
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