As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to be doing a series on my blog once a month called, “Faces of Ag.” The whole purpose of this is to spotlight other people out there doing great things promoting agriculture. You may or may not be familiar with the people I feature.
My first “Face of Ag” is Rob Sharkey. Rob is from Illinois. He grew up a farm kid and is the 5th generation on his family’s corn and soybean farm. Rob says, “I love to farm, and then out of necessity I found a new love in deer outfitting. I’m lucky enough to be doing both still today.”
Rob has a weekly podcast that I’ve been only, slightly, addicted to. I learn so much from his podcasts as he features a different agvocate each week, whether it be how to share our story in agriculture or how a certain crop is grown in another part of North America.
Rob said he chose podcasting over blogging because “I hate reading and writing, always have. I’ve always been jealous when I see someone just relaxing reading a book. I used to write a weekly ag column for the local paper. I hated it. Podcasting is fun for me. I enjoy the recording and the editing. Plus, ag bloggers are a dime a dozen…. Podcasting is much less popular.”
Rob hadn’t planned on the podcast to be exclusively agriculture and agvocacy. He said is was originally going to be a mix of hunting and farming. Rob found himself liking the ag podcast more,as the interviews progressed. “I figure if I like them maybe other people will to.”
For Rob and his “Shark Farmer” podcasts the future is looking bright. Rob would like to improve the weekly podcast and work on better sound quality and editing. “I want to improve how I interview. I want the focus to be on who I’m interviewing and not me.”
Other than his podcasts, Rob is pretty active on Twitter. You can follow him @sf28430. He said for people new to social media or new to agvocating, “Don’t worry about following the “popular” accounts. A lot of time these accounts don’t interact with others… so screw em. Follow people that are fun to interact with. The rest will fall into place.”
As a farmer, Rob has seen his share of hard and trying times in agriculture. I asked him what advice he would give to new or young farmers experiencing hardship or trying times. He said, “Don’t be afraid to diversify. I had neighbors that made fun of me when I started the outfitter (business). There is always gonna be people that hate others trying to improve themselves. Focus on what’s best for your family and to everyone else…GFY”
Because I don’t want to be a spoiler with Rob’s podcasts, you’ll have to listen to them yourself. I suggest starting with the podcast where Taylor Truckey interview’s Rob. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll think to yourself, “What did I just listen to!?” But in all seriousness, Rob said that after this episode he received over 100 DM’s telling him that people related to his hardship stories.
You can listen to Rob’s podcasts here and I hope you enjoy them and learning more about agriculture as much as I do. Thanks also, Rob, for being my first “Face of Ag.”