Down to Earth

Paul Neubauer worked on his uncle’s farm before he went to college, and developed a passion that led him to a life in agriculture. To build his skills he went through the Quivira Coalitions apprenticeship program, and now works for Vilicus Farms in Montana. He reflects on the challenges and rewards of working in agriculture, being both a mentor and a student, and the many kinds of skills——practical and personal——that it takes to build a thriving operation.

0’51 how Paul got into farming, misadventures in Tennessee, college farm
2’56 first apprenticeship in Colorado
4’00 low-stress animal handling
6’02 chosing the arid West
6’42 the concept of the “unfair advantage”
9’11 how livestock and crop land can work together
10’48 Quivira new agrarian program (NAP)
11’25 “graduating” to foreman, the agrarian life cycle
12’25 being on both sides of mentoring
14’02 the problem of getting people to work in isolated rural areas
14’48 cultivating community
16’55 challenges of living on a farm 24/7
18’29 working together as both friends and manager/worker
19’32 low-stress people handling
21’02 finding your direction as an apprentice
22’07 using a skill sheet
23’20 doing regenerative agriculture
24’32 questions of succession
27’39 being part of the Montana farmers union
28’16 getting more family farms
30’49 does regenerative ag’s non-use of synthetic chemicals help save money?
31’24 farming is not economically viable
31’37 climate uncertainty
32’36 farmers have greater risk and lower profits than processors or retailers
33’07 Vilicus is a certified organic operation
34’37 treating both land and people in a holistic way