We did the research and found the best.
We are living in a golden age of podcasts, but what does that mean for farming-related listening material? Curiously, finding new podcasts on a specific topic can be challenging: There are dozens of different podcast platforms and, in the absence of reciprocal sharing agreements across platforms, search functions behave in mysterious ways.
To address this issue, I reviewed my own collection, polled other farmers and scoured the Web for high-quality English-language agricultural podcasts (I excluded food and gardening podcasts, which are categories unto themselves). My priorities included the quality of the listening experience, the diversity of voices represented and an interest in questions of agricultural sustainability. Here’s what I found. (Remember: If you want to listen while operating noisy machinery, invest in a good set of noise-reducing headphones!)
This BBC Radio 4 program has been around for eight decades, and it shows: The presenters, production quality and topic selection are outstanding. Recent topics on this weekday program include animal welfare issues, farm-diversification strategies and the anticipated impact of Brexit on U.K. farming and fisheries. Podcast versions are available online for seven days (13 minutes).
Farmer to Farmer
The Farmer to Farmer Podcast was produced weekly from 2015 to 2018 by the late Chris Blanchard, a vegetable farmer and consultant based in northeast Iowa. Each episode features an in-depth phone interview with a Canadian or U.S. grower. All 176 episodes are available online (ads, one hour plus).
Lancaster Farming’s Industrial Hemp Podcast
Kudos to Pennsylvania farm newspaper Lancaster Farming for embarking on an original farming podcast series. LF digital editor Eric Hurlock has posted 19 weekly episodes to date that examine different aspects of the emerging industrial hemp sector (no ads, 11 to 55 minutes).
RNZ Country Life
This weekly program from Radio New Zealand features interviews with individual farmers, regional sector updates and reporting on a range of issues that affect New Zealand agriculture and rural life. Excellent production quality (no ads, 50 minutes).
Call of the Land
On air for the past 60 years, this weekday radio program, produced by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (a branch of the provincial government), is targeted at rural Albertans but regularly covers topics of general interest. For example, the January 22, 2019, episode describes a pilot program to recycle agricultural plastics (9 minutes).
Cal Ag Roots
This occasional podcast, produced by the California Institute for Rural Studies, examines issues and moments in California agricultural history with relevance to contemporary concerns. Topics include land tenure, immigration and “the politics of mole” (10 episodes from 2015 to 2018, 30 minutes).
Down on the Farm with Tom Willey
This monthly radio show features retired organic farmer Tom Willey of Madera, California, interviewing farmers, researchers and others with expertise in California agriculture. Recent topics include organic dairying, sustainable groundwater management and building soil carbon (55 minutes).
KDNK Community Radio in Colorado airs this monthly podcast from the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. Hosts Jerome Ostentowski and Stephanie Syson interview experts on topics such as community food forests, biodynamics and agroforestry (no ads, 30 minutes).
Young Farmers Podcast
Not just for young farmers, this weekly podcast from the National Young Farmers Coalition focuses on agricultural policy and politics. Recent topics include in-depth coverage of the U.S. Farm Bill, implications of the recent U.S. government shutdown and efforts to address climate change (30 minutes).
Irish Farmers Journal
This weekly podcast from the Republic of Ireland’s leading farm newspaper offers a window into the issues and preoccupations of European agriculture. These include climate change, the spread of veganism and (once again) the impact of Brexit (30 minutes).