The Millennial Ag Podcast

Podcast Topic:

  • Education

The Millennial Ag Podcast is the brainchild of Katharine Lotspeich, a Utah dairy farmer, and Valene Lickley, a 5th generation beef rancher from southern Idaho. Both passionate agriculturists from very different backgrounds, we realized our diverse perspectives could play a role in helping to widen agriculture conversations.

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"Even though I'm over 50, I'm still the kid." Do those words ring true for you? Are you trying to start the succession planning conversation in your family but don't know where to begin? Paul Marchant will be the first to tell you that he still doesn't know, but that you have to start somewhere. The generational cattleman and writer for Progressive Cattle joins the podcast this week to share some hard-earned wisdom about the tough conversations that come with trying to plan out a farming or ranching operation's succession plan. Paul doesn't have a quick fix, or a one-size-fits-all solution, but he does offer some down-to-earth perspective and encouragement to fail your way forward on this hard topic. He also shares how humility and putting yourself in someone else's shoes can help make the road easier to travel, and how a sense of humor is oftentimes the most important tool of all. Follow Progressive Cattle online: Follow Millennial Ag online:

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you just...DID the thing? Let the excuses go, no holds barred, and dove straight into something? Whatever it may be - weight loss, starting a business, becoming an astronaut....let your dreams take hold and steer? Kiah Twisselman did just that...and she changed her life. Kiah is a generational ranch lady from California (yes, really), life coach, and beef advocate extraordinaire. Two years ago, she said to hell with the excuses that were holding her back in her life, and made some radical changes. Tune in to this episode to hear exactly where it all started but be ready for one wild ride - she's smart, she's funny, she's sassy, and she's exactly what this world needs right now. She talks about love - for yourself and for whatever you're passionate about (hey, agriculture!) and how the first must happen in order for the second to truly fly. She's warm, inspiring, and the friend you need for whatever challenge you're staring in the face right now. We're so excited to welcome this rockstar to the show, and even more excited for you to listen to her. You can find Kiah at Follow Millennial Ag online:

We're excited to welcome back Damian Mason,former political comic, agriculture economist and keynote speaker this week. What are we talking about? Agriculture subsidies. Damian takes us back to how subsidies in agriculture began, why we have them, and what they mean today. We talk about the recent farm payments the industry has received due to trade wars and COVD-19, and discuss what it might mean for agriculture producers moving forward, both in an election year and after. As always with Damian, we get a lot of information and plenty of laughs to break up the data. Join us this week as we talk about one of agriculture's hottest topics. You can find Damian at: Subscribe to Millennial Ag podcasts and follow us at:

Progressive. In this day and age, that word has many meanings, and leading up to a presidential election here in the United States, it’s even more loaded. But this week, we’re joined by a special guest from the dairy publishing world. Walt Cooley, Editor-in-Chief of the Progressive Dairy magazine gives us his own definition of progressive, how his magazine defines it, and how being open to new experiences is really the at the heart of the word. As the man whose job it is to make sure that dairy producers are up to speed and on the cutting edge of all things related to the industry, Walt shares how being confident enough in your past to embrace the future is the way forward for not just dairies, but ag operations of any size or shape as well as individuals to be successful as we move forward in these ever-increasing volatile times. Follow Progressive Dairy online: Follow Millennial Ag online:

What else is there to say besides YAY?! Listeners, we've made it to one year. One year of Millennial Ag, of no topic off limits, of questioning our own and others' perspectives, of not backing down from hard conversations. If you've been with us since the beginning, thank you. If you're just joining us now, welcome. We're so glad you're here. We reflect on where we started, how we've grown, and where we want to be. Most importantly, that includes you. What do you want to listen to in Year 2? Who do you want to hear from as guests? Where should we go? What topics should we cover? You know where to find us. We're ready!

This week’s conversation ranges far and wide, covering everything from agriculture’s diminishing representation in elected positions, particularly in executive branches, to how agriculture must remain engaged even in the face of what seem like David versus Goliath battles. We’re joined by one of rural Colorado’s finest, state Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling). As an agriculture producer himself, Senator Sonnenberg knows well the struggles the ag industry and rural populations face. His deep background and experience on Colorado’s Capitol Hill bring perspective to a lot of questions that Millennial Ag is constantly chewing on. We discuss how agriculture's inclination to give a little here, give a little there feels like we may soon be dying by death by a thousand cuts. We talk about the necessity of focusing on building relationships, rather than just stubbornly trying to continue to "educate people." We ask questions whose answers aren't readily apparent, but ask them anyway,and throw in a few laughs along the way. Join us for Episode 51 featuring an elected official with a real stake in production ag and a real desire to protect and promote our industry and America’s rural way of life. The Drovers article referenced in this episode can be found here: You can find Senator Sonnenberg by visiting or on Twitter @jerrysonnenberg

This week, we’re joined by Justin Lewton, a Millennial dryland grain farmer in northeastern Colorado. Justin serves on an industry board, and we invited him to speak with us about the topic we introduced last week. In his volunteer capacity, he’s noticed too that agriculture, and especially production ag, seems to silence itself to the detriment of its profit, for fear of backlash from any number of corners – fellow producers, larger agribusiness companies, other industry organizations, and consumers. Justin enthusiastically joins us in searching for more meaningful conversations and not taking “well, that’s just how it is” for an answer. He’s as frustrated as we are in trying to talk about this in agriculture but brings up the good point that relationships are key to making progress. After we finished recording, Justin shared a great lesson he has heard his whole life, passed down from his dad, “we can go further, faster together than we can apart.” A perfect place to begin to answer these hard questions we keep finding. Tune in to this week’s episode for a very balanced and educated conversation with an up and coming agriculture leader in Colorado.

When the same old techniques aren’t working, do you keep doing what you’re doing (Einstein’s definition of insanity) or do you start considering the problem from different perspectives? Over many conversations the last several weeks, Valene and Katharine have been discussing how agriculture taking a neutral stance against outside pressures is having an adverse effect on the viability and sustainability of our industry. Ag is losing its voice at every turn and one of the biggest reasons why is because we are silencing ourselves for fear of retribution. As the next generation of agriculturists (us) begin to step to the forefront and into the spotlight of our industry in the form of boards, organizations, and leaders, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the silence of the previous generations that worked through problems in the back room, is no longer making the progress that our industry exceedingly demands, whether that’s comfortable or not. We are Millennial Ag, and we are standing for what we believe.

Ranch kid. TV host. Fancy lady cowgirl. Meet Courtenay DeHoff, the rockstar guest we had the privilege of hosting this week. Courtenay is the whirlwind force behind the #fancyladycowgirl movement taking ag social media by storm. Courtenay shares with us her origin story, and how she tried to ignore her rural roots but found her strength and unique voice in the world by finally embracing those same roots. We talk about heels and lipstick, what #fancyladycowgirl means to all women, no matter our background, and her adventures in big cities like New York and Los Angeles and connecting with way more people than she ever could have imagined because she said hey, I’m a cowgirl. Nice to meet you. As the conversation goes on, all of our rural roots start to show, and we step into conversations about hard truths we’re trying to share in agriculture, how we need to tackle tough topics, and the mutual respect gained from making friends with other people who are trying to get loud and say hard stuff in this industry we love so much. Courtenay shows a streak of pride and open-mindedness about both her rural and urban loves that is refreshing, real, and straight up fun to listen to.

This week, our guest found us. A high school friend of Katharine’s, Emily Miller took advantage of all the opportunities 4-H and FFA afforded her growing up, including showing animals. Over the last several years, her food and eating perspective has shifted dramatically. Please welcome Millenial Ag’s first vegan guest! You may be thinking that we’re going to get loud and argue over whose science is more correct…but we’re not. We’re here for open dialog and honest conversations. Emily does a stellar job of explaining how she came to be a vegan, and where she sees a lot of misunderstanding between vegans and animal activists and animal agriculture producers. She’s not shy about sharing her opinions, but has a well-rounded approach to viewing veganism and animal product consumption side-by-side. This conversation has been one of our most authentic yet – all three of us were hesitant about taking on an issue with the magnitude that veganism and animal activism has on our animal ag industry. With a lot of grace and respect on both sides, we are proud to bring you this episode that explores how veganism and animal ag can, if not align completely on all issues, at least hear where the other is coming from and agree to mutual respect.