Ep. #49: Eliminating Chemicals in Farming with Robotics
Ep. 49 Eliminating Chemicals in Farming with Robotics
Here’s a glance at this episode:
[01:30] Clint’s Background
[03:43] Greenfield Robotics’ Background
[09:38] Livestock and Robotics
[14:24] The Future of Robotics in Food
[17:58] Adoption of Regenerative Ag
[24:54] What Clint’s Most Excited About
Over the last several episodes, we have talked about robotics and regenerative agriculture. In Episode 49 with Clint Brauer from Greenfield Robotics, those two concepts come together as he shares his story and how he uses robotics to manage risk on the farm.
“I think regenerative ag, for it to scale, you need to have robotics involved,” stated Clint. “And for it to scale without chemicals, you absolutely have to keep the risk down. So [Greenfield Robotics] is a response to that, and so that's why we started it.”
Greenfield Robotics is a company that aims to eliminate the need for chemicals in crops. They have small robots (this video shows 2021 robots) that go in-between the rows to weed the fields throughout the growing season. Not only do they reduce the need for chemistry, but they also eliminate the weeds without tillage which can have a positive impact on soil health.
In addition to robotic weeding, Greenfield is working on integrating robotics into livestock management. While this is still in development, Clint shared that they are working on a solution to improve regenerative livestock grazing.
Clint predicts that there will be more attention paid to the nutrient density of our food when looking into the future. By improving soil health and eliminating the need for chemicals, robotics will be instrumental in moving the mark in the quality of our food.
“We really get back to what is the nutrient profile of the food, and what kind of food are you raising. And the nutrient profile is not just soil, but it's the seed,” said Clint. “So I think that's where it gets very interesting for farmers. You can start specializing down the road.”
Another aspect of Greenfield Robotics is its regenerative supply chain. They have been working on rewarding growers at a premium for their regenerative practices, specifically in pet food. As the pet food business grows, they are looking to expand into options for food for human consumption as well.
“We built a regenerative supply chain with Canidae Pet Food. We've been building it since 2015, and we're shipping over 10 million pounds this year,” shared Clint. “And we work with multiple farms, and farmers get a premium that works with us on that. So far, we grow oats, peas, barley, and sorghum.”
Robotics is a new and exciting part of agriculture. Currently, you cannot buy a Greenfield Robot outright, but they are offering farming as a service. To learn more, send Clint a message via LinkedIn, visit the website, or tune into our full episode above.
Clint Brauer - CEO / Founder, Greenfield Robotics
Clint is a third-generation farmer from Kansas. He spent the first decade of his career in Los Angeles in media and technology at various companies, including Sony, Universal Music, Fox, and US Web/w3-Design. Brauer returned to Kansas a decade ago with a personal mission to rid farming of chemicals. He launched MG Honor Farms on the family farmstead, where he has grown over 100+ crops without chemicals outdoors, in traditional greenhouses and hydroponic greenhouses. Brauer then started a regenerative farm network in partnership with Canidae Pet Foods. In this role, he works with farms to adopt regenerative practices in return for higher margins.
Frustrated with the limitations of current tools for regenerative farming, Clint decided to launch a company in 2018 to solve the scaling issues of regenerative broadacre systems. He recruited Carl Sutter and Steven Gentner, two talented engineers he met at W3-design, to co-found Greenfield Robotics and since has recruited many employees from the Los Angeles and Wichita areas. The company has been working on its small, autonomous robots for weed control for several years. The robots are currently in customer pilots.
Welcome to Precision Points, an ag-tech podcast, where we plant seeds of innovation to inspire informed decisions about precision technology and its impact for growers like you. We explore PrecisionAg tools in technology from the soil to the sky, with your host Morgan Seger.
Morgan Seger: (00:22)
Welcome back to Precision Points, an ag-tech podcast from precisionagreviews.com. I'm your host, Morgan Seger, and in each episode, we strive to bring you unbiased ag-tech information and ideas. And on today's episode, I am joined by Clint Brauer, the Co-Founder of Greenfield Robotics. This was a really fun conversation where we spend a lot of time talking about regenerative agriculture. His mission has been to help eliminate chemicals in farming. They have been successful in doing this by adding robotics into the operation. So he walks us through what those robotics are, and also talks about the future of regenerative agriculture and robotics. So here's my conversation with Clint. Welcome back to Precision Points. Today on the show I'm joined by Clint Brauer, the Co-Founder of Greenfield Robotics. Clint, welcome to the show.
Clint Brauer: (01:18)
Thanks for having me.
Morgan Seger: (01:19)
So I'm excited to have a conversation today about robotics, and regenerative ag, and the future of robotics. Before we dive into all that, can you kick us off by sharing your story?
Clint Brauer: (01:30)
Yeah. I grew up in South Central Kansas on both sides of my family farms, and I grew up, started helping with wheat harvest when I was little old, Gleaner, a combine and all that, I loved it, that part of it. And then my dad got into farming when I was in sixth grade, so I started farming with him, and we did the forage stuff, dairy cattle and all that shows.
Clint Brauer: (01:52)
And so I did all that, and then I went to K State and got into tech in LA. And I went to work for one of the first web developers in the world I think, and we were one of the best I think to be honest. And spent 13 years in the internet, in marketing, in software and became a data science guy. And so I did that. And then about 2010, came back to Kansas and was trying to decide what to do with the next chapter of life and decided to try to get chemicals out of farming, which a lot of people thought was crazy and I didn't blame them back then but we're making progress, so...
Morgan Seger: (02:34)
It's interesting. A lot of the people who we talk to are on the leading edge of new ideas because they're trying to solve a problem. So is that the main thing that you're after with Greenfield Robotics?
Clint Brauer: (02:47)
Yeah, it is. And in fact, I tried to do without robotics. For quite a while, I started in vegetables, I didn't want to deal with robotics or stuff, my dad was still farming, I didn't want to have arguments. And so I started vegetables and learned how to do Armory certified stuff, which is organic, I never certified but it went well beyond organic to be honest at times. And so I learned all the hard lessons there, but I figured out that at the end of the day what I wanted to do and a good friend of mine who has a PhD in Crop Genetics said, "Look, if you could do no-till no chemical, then you will have really figured something out." And I realized that after some testing and stuff, and then reading what other people were doing that it was not a very well solved problem, and you couldn't do it without robotics really at scale.
Morgan Seger: (03:37)
Okay. So tell me about Greenfield Robotics.
Clint Brauer: (03:43)
So Greenfield was started on this premise that regenerative ag. There are farmers who've been out there doing a lot longer than me but they have quite a bit of labor helping them, and they have a different type of operation than most farmers are going to do. And so they're not going to all vertically integrate and become marketers. And so I think regenerative ag for it to scale, you need to have robotics involved. And for it to scale without chemicals, you absolutely have to keep the risk down. So this company is a response to that, and so that's why we started it.
Morgan Seger: (04:16)
Clint Brauer: (04:17)
The first machine we built is called We Bought because we're real naming geniuses.
Morgan Seger: (04:23)
I like it though.
Clint Brauer: (04:26)
I used to be a marketing guy, how far are we falling? But it goes between the rows on 30 inch crops right now, soybeans, cotton, corn, sorghum, milo, and it mows within a few inches of the plants after you planted them. And mows about... Now we're down to about a quarter to a half inch. And so on soybeans, we'll run in there about three times after you plant it before the end of the season. And we found it's incredibly effective against pigweed and mare's tail, and those broadleaf weeds.
Clint Brauer: (04:59)
It does impact grasses, it's like scalping your lawn, but we still tell a farmer, "Look, you may need to spray glyphosate or something like that, post plant if the grasses start getting heavy in there." But it does reduce the risk for the farmers of runaway pigweed and mare's tail. These types of things, which I think most farmers do if you farm long enough you've had that happen, so...
Morgan Seger: (05:24)
Yeah, for sure. So you said that was your first machine. Do you have other machines that you have now?
Clint Brauer: (05:32)
Yeah, I came up with that idea in 2016, started Greenfield in 2018 and this robot which we can't see, we're doing audio here, but we'll run about 2000 paid acres this year, we ran 500 last year, and so we could probably run more in 2000 this year, but it's more about getting the machines ready to build a lot of them than it is to try to prove massive amount of acres at this stage. We have another bot in development. We came up with the idea three years ago with someone who is a former product designer at AGCO, and the two of us wrote the patent. And we basically start at pre-plant.
Clint Brauer: (06:07)
It works really well if you have some residue or cover crops, green or dead, we don't care. And it basically eliminates the need for herbicides before you plant. And so it works with these in a no-till environment. And so it works with this first spot, and so we're on a third single row prototype of that right now. We were just out Sunday afternoon testing, and we'll probably have a pretty good sized machine running out there late this summer.
Morgan Seger: (06:36)
Okay. And for growers that are interested, all of this right now is like farming as a service. They can't buy the robots today, is that correct?
Clint Brauer: (06:46)
No, and they don't want to.
Morgan Seger: (06:47)
Clint Brauer: (06:51)
Look, I mean, we did it this way for a reason. If we have problems, it's not the farmer's problem. And if anyone gets frustrated working on farm equipment, it's me, I get really impatient. I still have some old equipment. I decided not to upgrade most of it because I'm like, "Well, I'm going to replace quite a bit of it with what we're doing here." But so I still have things like a 6620 combine. If anybody's listening to this, it's a 20 series John Deere, did you have the one where you have the oil filter on the back of the engine? Isn't that fun? So anyways, yeah.
Morgan Seger: (07:23)
Yeah. Well, the thing with new equipment though, is it breaks too and it needs to work too. So I mean, I think there's a place to work-
Clint Brauer: (07:29)
I'm told it's easier to work on, but yeah.
Morgan Seger: (07:30)
Yeah, that's true.
Clint Brauer: (07:31)
No, it all breaks. I mean, I've had the conversation with John Deere, "Hey, we're going to run out of parts for this someday." And I'm like, "Okay, but..." They're like, "You could get a new one." I'm like, "Oh, a new one?" And I'm like, "Okay, and then how much is maintenance?" And 30%.
Morgan Seger: (07:47)
Okay. So I think that's interesting is the plan to continue farming as a service or like you were saying build more bots to possibly sell them, or is this something you think you'll keep in house?
Clint Brauer: (07:59)
I don't know. Robotics as a service for sure now. We're working not just to ourselves, with directly farmers that we worked with the last couple years, but we now have a partnership with MKC of our large farm cooperative here in Kansas. Actually they're all the way from, I think, Nebraska down to Arkansas. And so from their perspective and ours, if you call MKC, do you want to run a spray rig or do you want to run robots? It's just another thing that they sell, and so it's very useful as a service. Now this year they're going to be training with us, 2023 they'll be able to roll out the robots themselves. And so I think that the next logical step is guys that are used to providing a service to be able to do that service.
Morgan Seger: (08:40)
Okay. That makes sense, and-
Clint Brauer: (08:43)
Don't want them through to farmers? Yeah, maybe someday. I've had some really large farms, say they really like to go that way. But I will tell you this, in the early 2000s, SAS software came into being, and I was early in that and working at Sony at that time, getting them to adopt it, and I got a lot of pushback, but at the end of the day, most software is SAS now. So I don't know exactly how it's going to work with farming, but I don't think there's any harm as a service for now.
Morgan Seger: (09:13)
Yeah, I agree. And we've seen that trend. We've had a couple other companies in the autonomous basically industry lead that way. So it'll be interesting to watch and see if it continues.
Clint Brauer: (09:27)
Morgan Seger: (09:28)
One question I have about regenerative ag is how do you see livestock fitting into regenerative ag and do robotics play a role in that?
Clint Brauer: (09:38)
We have a third generation robotic system I didn't mention that deals with grazing. So yes, I run sheep in a regenerative way. And actually, I think it's hard to say you're a regenerative farmer if you're not grazing eventually. Today we're all making steps, but it's a process to get there, but it certainly accelerates it. And yes I think... Look, if you look at it this way, let's say you're investing in cover crops and let's say, who knows right now? But normally let's say 35 an acre if you want to do an eight seed cover crop and you didn't save any, you put that down, okay, you're out $35 an acre. Now you can say, "Okay, I'm making it up, I'm reducing fertilizer, I'm building up my carbon, my soil organic matter." But if you graze it, you can graze it several times, especially in the summer season.
Clint Brauer: (10:25)
Last year, I raise a cover mix that Kauffman Seeds gave us for three times with my sheep using this rotational grazing thing we have. And it grew back up to the third time and then we planted barley into it. So instead of just growing once, I grew it three times which they say you get more and more photosynthesis, more carbon and it accelerates the process, and you get of course the manure coming from that. And so I think that if you're a regenerative farmer, you really want to do that, but there are some serious obstacles, reintegrating animals isn't for everyone. And before we built the thing we have, I chased sheep around for about a year and a half because they defeated the electric paddock fencing we had in less than six months and kept defeating it from there on. And so it was a real nightmare. So you've got to create a system that makes it easier to expand, that type of stuff.
Morgan Seger: (11:20)
Sure. So with the robots that run in the rows, I think everyone can visualize what that looks like, and they almost look like little vacuum cleaners from what I've seen on YouTube. So I like that because-
Clint Brauer: (11:31)
They're more expensive than vacuum cleaners, but yes.
Morgan Seger: (11:34)
But they're cleaning the rows.
Clint Brauer: (11:35)
Well, you can see one behind me, so that was today. So that's what they look like now, so...
Morgan Seger: (11:40)
Got you. Can you walk me through what the process would be for keeping sheep in? I'm just having a hard time visualizing how it fits together.
Clint Brauer: (11:49)
We'll have to tread lightly because we haven't announced this thing, but the bottom line is you're keeping the sheep or the cattle or pigs and you're keeping animals out or their predators out. And so you can't do that with a collar. And by the way, I'm all [inaudible 00:12:02] collars, I think I'm pasture grazing on that, but for me personally, I don't want to have my arm in a cage trying to undo and put a collar on, that's just not where I want to be.
Clint Brauer: (12:11)
And I also think cropland, you really want to have a very focused approach to what you're doing and you need to be able to get them on and get them off quickly. And you also, when it comes to water on cropland, you need a way to take water to the animals because you don't necessarily have a windmill or a solar pump running out there in all the fields.
Clint Brauer: (12:31)
And so you have to take all those things into it. So that's what we did. I'm not going to tell you exactly how it works because it's not all completely done, but we know it works, and I learned from a farm called JCO Farms who was been a [robbed 00:12:47] area, I think I always say 35 years, maybe longer than that, maybe a little bit shorter, but a long time before it was fashionable to do that. And of course, it's very risky for them, they have to do it just right.
Clint Brauer: (12:58)
And so they don't need to do antibiotics or vaccines and they taught me how to do that. So what we're trying to figure out is how you do that, moving those animals all the time without needing to pick up fences or hit buttons on paddocks that swing open or all that. And so that when you're done that whole thing's gone and then you can bring your tractor, or your combine, or your robots on and do for your cash props. I'm being very vague on purpose, but that I think is the nexus of the problem.
Morgan Seger: (13:34)
Okay. That makes a lot of sense and thanks for walking me through that. I appreciate it.
Clint Brauer: (13:37)
I don't know if I did a very good job, but yeah, it's hard when you're trying to be a little bit vague.
Morgan Seger: (13:43)
Yeah. Well, and it's all new. So I think that there's going to be a lot of concepts and things that just as an industry we're going to have to wrap our minds around.
Clint Brauer: (13:52)
Yeah. We're like so at the beginning, so...
Morgan Seger: (13:56)
Yeah. One thing that I think is really interesting, so we've actually had several people on the podcast here recently to talk about regenerative ag. And if you think about it fundamentally, it's like, "Oh, we just have to do what we did a long time ago," but it's also the one space in agriculture where we're seeing just tons of technological advancements. What does the future of robotics look like?
Clint Brauer: (14:19)
Yeah. I mean, look, I think that if you're okay, I might broaden that a little bit.
Morgan Seger: (14:23)
Clint Brauer: (14:24)
What I think is this, what we're focused on with Greenfield right now is let's get the chemicals out and keep the carbon in and add more carbon through photosynthesis and regenerate just like any regenerative farm, we just need to supplement that. But I think once you're done with that, once you can say that, we really get back to what is the nutrient profile of the food, and what kind of food are you raising? And the nutrient profile is not just soil, but it's the seed. And so I think that's where it gets very interesting for farmers is you can start specializing down the road here once you... I mean, there's no point in saying this is nutrient-dense in something and it's full of chemicals. I mean, let's just be [blank 00:15:04].
Clint Brauer: (15:05)
But once you've checked that box, now you can say, "Okay, I can do..." And I was [holding 00:15:12] the carbon because everyone's worried about this now, climate change. And so once you've checked that box, those two boxes, then how do we grow more specialized crops and the farmers get a premium? And that's the world I want to get to as soon as we can, and I think as a farmer that is a lot more fun. And I think in that type of deal, you need a lot of flexibility in what your equipment can do, and the way you're farming, and that you can support different types of crops.
Clint Brauer: (15:39)
And so I think robotics however they can do that is very interesting. What I find less interesting that everyone talks about all the time is data. I'm a former data scientist and I don't get it. Because regenerative ag, you need less and less of the inputs from everyone else except maybe for seed. And so who are you going to sell this data to besides an audit trail for a consumer? And so it's mysterious to me all this data that we're collecting and why we think it's going to be so extremely valuable, this is not Google. This is not the internet, it is food. And so I'm not saying there isn't some relevance to that for robotics, but there's a lot of people who think there's going to be all this money and ag data and I don't see it, I just don't. [crosstalk 00:16:24] money it, not a lot.
Morgan Seger: (16:27)
And you're saying money for companies that are trying to consume the data or for the growers to be collecting it and analyzing it?
Clint Brauer: (16:34)
Well, the point is what are you going to sell to farmers? It's pretty hard to sell a regenerative farmer a lot of stuff, they just don't need it.
Morgan Seger: (16:46)
Okay. So it's just interesting-
Clint Brauer: (16:48)
I mean, when they're far enough down the road, they don't.
Morgan Seger: (16:52)
Yeah. Well, and this is going to be new for a lot of us. I mean, my husband and I farm, we haven't even quite got to data collection yet, we're a smaller type of farmer, so it's just an interesting thing to think about.
Clint Brauer: (17:07)
And I think a lot of times it's an advantage to be small, just like in any other industry where you're small, you're nimble and you could try new things when you're forced to. But at the end of the day, I think it's going to be very interesting. The question you ask is robotics and where do we see it going? And I think the answer is where do we see food and the future of food going? And the type of farming in my opinion is regenerative, my opinion is specialized for crops, in my opinion, is those specialized crops when you really build the soil regenerative, you need less and less of all the things to address symptoms of problems which are actual problems with the soil.
Morgan Seger: (17:46)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Do you think that that's the biggest hurdle for people getting into regenerative ag right now, or why do you think it's such a small segment of our industry today?
Clint Brauer: (17:58)
I think it's just a normal adoption curve, I don't think there's any problem here. And it's a system of farming, it's just something different, and I think when you're... I'm on the board of a pretty large farm here, and so they're really early in the regenerative thing, I mean, they're cover cropping, and we're working through it. My farm's full-blown but there's... Well, when you're a big farmer, you have a prescription. Before you start your year, you know what you're going to do, and then you execute against that, and you know you've got to keep moving. And there is a lot to do.
Clint Brauer: (18:36)
And the entire model is predicated on the efficiency of the machines and the people you have. And so you have to be very careful how many things you change, so you can still keep some of that efficiency. And so I think when we talk about why it takes a while to adopt some things at scale, that is exactly why, because it's not practical to change your whole organization whether it's a farm or a different one... Any other business, if you're a decent size organization, all right, it's just not realistic. So that's the way I see it. I don't know if you agree, but...
Morgan Seger: (19:08)
Yeah, well, and I didn't mean to say that there was a problem, but as people make these transitions, they have to be thinking about things like, "Okay, I'm almost ready, but there's this one thing holding me back." And maybe it is just the rate of change and all of the decisions that have to be made at once.
Clint Brauer: (19:25)
It is and I think if I was going to point at one thing, I'd point at cover crops. Cover crops are great, and I think most people understand now, or they're coming to the understanding that it doesn't create a water problem in the long haul. However, if you don't terminate them at the right time, it can create a water problem for your cash crop, especially if you dry land. And so I think that the timing and the usage of cover crops and understanding that, and the testing that you need to do to figure out what works for you, I think that alone slows it down a little bit for folks, and it should.
Morgan Seger: (20:06)
Yeah, I could see that. I know for our farm we're already no-till, but the thought of doing something else is terrifying because we could mess it up and have a big problem. So for us, a lot of it is like, we've considered cover crops like interceding crops, and we're just like, "But if we do it wrong, what are we going to do?" So it's just a mental thing, getting over how you manage those situations.
Clint Brauer: (20:30)
And that's the way we work with farmers too. It is with our robots, even there there's perceived risk. I mean, it's pretty obvious what the current ones do, but I never go into a farm, I'm always like, look, just give us a field or two, let's start there because I don't want that risk at the beginning stages, I want to establish a relationship and you feel good about, I don't want you to be waking up in the middle of the night wondering if Greenfield Robotics is getting the job done and that your whole farm hangs on that balance, that would be ridiculous. So yeah, I get that on the risk front, and that's why, I think most farmers are pretty practical, you go test in [80 00:21:06] year or something out there and see what happens, or maybe you start testing on irrigated. So if you don't get to termini A on time, you can water your way out of it a little bit, right?
Morgan Seger: (21:17)
Makes sense. So is there anything else you think our listener should know or would want to know about Greenfield?
Clint Brauer: (21:24)
Yeah, I do. I think that's what we're starting to do, especially in the South Central Kansas area, so we're just west of Wichita, and so we're in Sedgwick, Reno potentially Harper, Kingman County. A few counties around here are where we're going to have our footprint early on. We might do a little work in Nebraska this year but with specific farm partners. But we're not just selling robotic services. I built a regenerative supply chain with Canidae Pet Food. We've been building it since 2015 and we're shipping over 10 million pounds this year, which is not a huge number but might be one of the larger ones in the US, we don't know. And we work with multiple farms and farmers get a premium that works with us on that. So far we grow oats, peas, barley and sorghum.
Morgan Seger: (22:11)
Clint Brauer: (22:11)
So it's important for them to know that they get a premium, but they have to be doing regenerative practices. They have to be on that path, you got to be no-till, you got to be going down that path. And so we've been doing that since 2015, it's expanding pretty fast now. The reason I mentioned that is we Greenfield are working on deals on the human food side. And so people that sign up will basically do an order that they show up, and if they want to have that incentive to work with us, should we close a bunch of these deals over the next few years, it's a very good chance for them to be rewarded for being an early adopter. So you mentioned all the risk, well risk-reward.
Morgan Seger: (22:49)
There's the reward. Interesting. And if you don't have details on this then you don't have to share. But what would those types of practices look like for them to qualify? Is it just no-tilling or cover crops or is there more to it?
Clint Brauer: (23:05)
Yeah, it starts with no-till. It's going to be a little bit the piece by piece in terms of human food brands, and what they want to see to some extent, but I think it's are you on the regenerative path? And that will be the expectation that you continue on that path, and of course, you will need to use the robots obviously.
Morgan Seger: (23:26)
It all works together, the system.
Clint Brauer: (23:30)
But yeah, so I think I've always been an early adopter and I realize by the very nature of that statement, most people are not. But if you are someone who likes to try and get into new things, then I would highly recommend you get involved with us especially if you're in that region right now, and get on the reservation list and start working with us. I don't make promises we can't keep, we're doing our best, and it's not easy to build robots, we can only expand so fast, and so that's... But I'd like to get involved with as many as innovators as possible,
Morgan Seger: (24:10)
If someone is listening and interested in that, where would you suggest they go?
Clint Brauer: (24:15)
You can go to our terrible website and just drop us a line there. It really needs help. The great irony is I started my career in building amazing websites and we're just so busy. But yeah, there's a contact form there, or they can find me on LinkedIn personally and drop me a line if they want to, that's fine. And it's Clint Brauer, you just LinkedIn, look for Greenfield Robotics and you'll find me.
Morgan Seger: (24:41)
Clint Brauer: (24:42)
And don't send it via Facebook, I'm almost never on there. I don't do Instagram or any of that, so...
Morgan Seger: (24:48)
Got you. Well, we will link out to that. It's greenfieldrobotics.com, right?
Clint Brauer: (24:52)
Morgan Seger: (24:53)
Okay. Yeah, we'll link out to that
Clint Brauer: (24:54)
Our website is a lot better now
Morgan Seger: (24:54)
I think you're being hard on yourself but that's funny. One final question that we ask all of our guests is what is one technology that you're most excited about?
Clint Brauer: (25:08)
I'll tell you the one that excites me and I expect to see it this year and it may already be out there and they just haven't called me, but to be able there with a nutrient test right there at the edge of the field with a handheld meter, I think that is a game-changer. That's really exciting to me.
Morgan Seger: (25:24)
And you're saying nutrient test soil or plants?
Clint Brauer: (25:27)
No, the actual crop. That to me is when you can actually test it right there in the field and know what you got or you don't have, that's very interesting. And you can start tracking that, because we're all tracking all these other things in our soil, but we're actually not testing the nutrient of our actual product, which is actually where it should have started. But because it was very hard to do, and my understanding is it should become available this year from someone I've been working with. So we'll see.
Morgan Seger: (25:56)
Okay. And so just to clarify, not plant tissue, you're talking about the grain?
Clint Brauer: (26:02)
Morgan Seger: (26:03)
Clint Brauer: (26:05)
Yeah. So we'll see, if I understood correctly, and I think I did, that should be something realistic this year. So we'll find out, I need to call the PhD and ask the person, but yeah. I mean, you can see what a game changer that would be. I mean, really when you start measuring the end product, now you really are doing something even more interesting.
Morgan Seger: (26:27)
You had talked about nutrient density and food. I could see this being really interesting to be able to get it right out of the field, but then not to be devil's advocate, you're looking at data again. So how are you going to use that data?
Clint Brauer: (26:43)
Yeah, there's some data there, absolutely. But it's nutrient density data, so that's more pertinent to the consumer than it is to... I guess I'm referring to, am I going to put a whole bunch more chemicals on based on my data and I don't think so. I think things-
Morgan Seger: (27:00)
No, I got you. I was just making sure that was... You're still planning on using that and tying that into the end consumer and how it's going to be informed and marketed.
Clint Brauer: (27:10)
Look, your point is absolutely spot on. As I had mentioned before the audit trail, I think that'll be important too. I think there's a real trust issue. And I know there is a trust issue with the consumers. I spent 32 weekends in grocery stores with the best ration talking to people in whole foods and all the IVs in the Kansas City area, and I've spent a lot of time talking to consumers, and I have a lot of their opinions there. And then, I was at an MKC event talking about a month and a half ago and I ended up in the middle of a group of farmers and they were really excited about the idea of connecting to consumers and being available.
Clint Brauer: (27:44)
I think everyone in the farming community has worn-out feeling like being made the boogieman for just trying to produce what consumers have asked for in the past, which is the lowest cost product. And so now we're all trying to go towards what they want now, which is healthier and less chemicals, and more carbon in the soil, but you can't turn that train overnight until we're getting hyper critical about everything. And I think farmers that's weary, you don't farm because you're trying to become really wealthy. I mean, that's absurd. I mean you can, but there are a lot easier ways to do it.
Clint Brauer: (28:20)
And so I really think that this idea that we can connect all the way to the consumers and the farmers, and we get close to the same page. I think if there's a secondary purpose of Greenfield, that's really, really it right there is to help bridge that communication. And there's other people doing this, but I think in a way that people can comprehend. Because farmers and consumers, we're all the same, people have families, they have kids, want the same, no one wants to put kids at risk, parents at risk, themselves at risk, everyone wants to eat healthy, live a good life. We're not different. I lived in LA for 13 years, I'm back at Cheney, Kansas, people are not that different.
Morgan Seger: (29:01)
We're all humans.
Clint Brauer: (29:03)
Morgan Seger: (29:03)
Yeah. Well, I think that spending time in the grocery stores is a great way to get that grassroots understanding of what they need. So I'm excited to see where that takes you here in the next couple of years.
Clint Brauer: (29:15)
Yeah, me too. And we'll see, maybe I'll end up in one in 10 years and see how much people have changed.
Morgan Seger: (29:23)
Clint Brauer: (29:25)
Because the first thing you learn is about 20% care and the other 80 are price shopping. But that's okay. I mean, those are your tastemakers, you know that 20%, so...
Morgan Seger: (29:34)
Yep. Well, as you continue to work and develop on this, definitely keep us posted. I can't wait to really visualize your livestock component. So Keith has posted, "I'm excited to find a follow along."
Clint Brauer: (29:45)
You might need to wait for it.
Morgan Seger: (29:45)
Yep. That's fine.
Clint Brauer: (29:49)
Yep. But the good thing is I'm not chasing sheep anymore. The story I always tell is we had llama yet to have a protective animal out there, and so I got llama because when you're moving the paddocks all the time, apparently dogs don't like that. And so we had a llama and he would also escape.
Morgan Seger: (30:08)
Clint Brauer: (30:09)
And he liked to get on the high ground which was the highway. And so we would have stop traffic and this happened a few times. And he loved bananas, so you can imagine a line of traffic while I'm standing on the highway, trying to get a llama to eat a banana to get him off the highway.
Morgan Seger: (30:29)
I can't actually imagine it but I'm trying to, so...
Clint Brauer: (30:34)
I don't know, we have pictures of it but-
Morgan Seger: (30:35)
Clint Brauer: (30:37)
Because you're basically in a panic at that point, so you're just trying to get him off the highway. But I don't have to do that anymore, so...
Morgan Seger: (30:46)
Good, I'm glad. I have stopped traffic in a prom dress before when my pigs got out. So I can relate. That was also a scene, but we didn't-
Clint Brauer: (30:53)
Really, in a prom dress?
Morgan Seger: (30:55)
I was just trying it on, it wasn't prom night, but yeah. So that was a fun one for us. So we didn't have robotics back then to help us with that either.
Clint Brauer: (31:04)
Yeah. Well, pigs are... I've never had pigs, but they're a little rough, I've heard. Can be a little-
Morgan Seger: (31:11)
Mine were pets. So it wasn't a big deal, but I did have to stop a car in a prom dress to get my pig across the streets.
Clint Brauer: (31:19)
I'll tell you what, I'll give you a lot of credit for that. I think most people would have said, "Well, there they are, I'm going to go change." [crosstalk 00:31:25] That's a pretty dedicated farmer, that's pretty clear, yeah.
Morgan Seger: (31:30)
Oh, that's funny. We all are when it comes down to it, we're all just trying to do our best.
Clint Brauer: (31:33)
That's right. Honestly, my favorite part of this job is talking to farmers. I mean, that's the truth. That's what my dad did too, he worked with farmers and finance dairies and also farmed and he loved doing it, and I can see why. It's really enjoyable, so...
Morgan Seger: (31:47)
Yeah. Well, thank you so much for your time today, I really appreciate it.
Clint Brauer: (31:52)
Cool. Sounds good. Thanks for having me on.
Morgan Seger: (31:54)
Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Precision Points. We've been spending a lot of time talking about soil health and regenerative agriculture because we're seeing a lot of trends go that way, and we've had a lot of people asking questions about it. So we hope that these conversations can give you a little bit of insight into the progress that's being made there if you are someone who's been considering making changes like this on your operation.
Morgan Seger: (32:20)
For the show notes from this episode, go to precisionagreviews.com and we'll link out to the Greenfield website and also to Clint's LinkedIn profile. If you want to reach out and communicate with him directly while you're there, check out our grower-sourced reviews. At Precision Ag Reviews, we're working hard to give you real world experiences for PrecisionAg products and services to help you make more informed decisions when you're making those decisions on your own farm. Thank you so much for tuning in. Be sure to give us a rating or review wherever you find your podcast, and until next time, this has been the Precision Points podcast. Let's go together.
Thanks for tuning in to today's episode. To hear more podcasts like this, please rate, review and subscribe to Precision Points. Visit precisionagreviews.com for show notes from this episode, and read expert advice on the blog, share your experience with the PrecisionAg products you use and check out our network of pharma reviews. Let's grow together.