Today I welcome a familiar face to Thirty Days of Food. Brian of The Farmer’s Life has cultivated a presence for himself and his farming operation online. He has a knack for compiling fun and informational UAV videos on Facebook as well as writing about some pretty hot topics in Agriculture over on his blog. Brian grows popcorn in Indiana and today he shares with us about technology and life on the farm, I share a recipe for this fantastic Honey Buffalo Popcorn. If you’re a lover of anything buffalo like me, you’ll love this!
BRIAN SCOTT OF THE FARMER’S LIFE
When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
I was born and raised on the farm. Before my last semester studying Soil and Crop Management at Purdue I decided I was not going to return to the farm. After about 6 years of managing Rural King stores I decided to return to the farm in spring 2009. Now that I’m back on the farm, I can’t see myself doing anything else but this.
What chores did you have growing up?
We used to raise hogs farrow to finish until the early 2000s when we got out of that business to become solely a crop farm. I often helped load up pigs for market on Monday mornings, and I would feed the pigs in the morning and evening.
Are there any differences between your farm now and when you were a kid?
We do not raise pigs anymore. When the market was in decline and our buildings were getting to be nearly 40 years old and under constant repair we decided it was time to quit or build new. We decided to get out of raising pigs at that time.
Who farms with you and what are their roles?
I farm full time with my father and grandfather. Dad and I make most of the day to day decisions now, and we split income and expenses 50/50. Grandpa works everyday. His income comes from us cash renting the ground he owns.
What has been the hardest part of farming for you?
The hardest part might be being patient when trying new things or new equipment. With crop farming many times you only get one chance to see the results of your work each year so waiting for that one chance to see if what you’ve done helps the operation takes a good deal of patience. And even then sometimes the weather interferes and overrules any results you might see.
What has been the most satisfying part of farming for you?
I learned from working in town that self-employment is the best fit for me. I prefer the freedom of working for myself. No time clocks, no corporate boxes to check off each day, etc. Farming gives me the freedom to succeed or fail and truly own those successes and failures while learning how to move forward.
What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?
We raise dent corn and soybeans because this is part of the Corn Belt so we are in an ideal place to do that. About half the corn we grow is waxy corn. With waxy we get a premium price over the corn market price. Most of the soybeans we grow are for two seed companies. It’s a little more work than commercial beans, but again there is a premium price in play. The same goes for popcorn. Many times we can make more dollars per acre with popcorn than regular corn. These specialty crops help us diversify financially, but don’t require specialized equipment apart from our other crops. We also make space for our seed dealers and others to grow test plots on us each year. They need to space, and it adds to our bottom line.
What do you think was the most useful advance in farming such as machinery, genetics, chemicals, etc.?
On our farm using precision ag to track everything we do in the field is a big part of our operation. Auto steer tractors is great, but that’s just the foundation for a host of other tech that helps be both more efficient and productive from a yield standpoint.
What is one thing you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do?
That we’re out here each day trying to improve our farms working with the land to make a living for ourselves and our families.
What advice would you give to anyone interested into getting into your field?
Visit some farms that raise the crops or livestock they are interested in working with. Talk to your local extension agents. They might know of programs for beginning farmers not just for education but possible financial assistance.
What is your favorite thing to do with the food crop you grow?
My favorite thing about popcorn is when we deliver popcorn from the field to the popcorn plant. They sample every truck that comes in, and part of their testing is to pop the sample to measure the expansion. They butter and bag the samples for the truck drivers to take home!
Any memories you want to share about this feature ingredient?
I’m surprised at how many people take notice I raise corn and popcorn. I’ve learned many people don’t know there are different types of corn for different uses.
I’ve been in a MUST. EAT. ALL. THINGS. BUFFALO. kick lately and my popcorn has been no exception. This Honey Buffalo popcorn is the perfect mixture of sweet and spicy. And if you’re feeling brave, feel free to up the Frank’s to add some more heat! And if more heat ain’t your thing, feel free to back it off a little bit.
- 10-12 cups popped popcorn
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 tablespoon Frank's hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt to taste
- While the popcorn is popping, in a small saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the honey, Frank's, and garlic powder. Once combined, set aside.
- Drizzle the Honey Buffalo sauce over the popped kernels. Toss to coat and enjoy immediately!
This post is part of my Thirty Days of Food series where I am writing about food and farming for the entire month of November, to find out more about it all or how to follow along, visit my Thirty Days of Food page to find more great recipes with farmer features!