In Her Boots Podcast

The In Her Boots Podcast celebrates the collaborative spirit of women farmers, sharing ideas and inspiration with each other, and champions women farmers in the sustainable and organic farming movement. Whether you’re a woman with a dream of starting your own farm or already have your hands deep in the soil, there’s something for you here.

 

 

Hosted by Lisa Kivirist, founder and coordinator of the In Her Boots project. A farmer herself, Lisa runs Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B with her family in Wisconsin and is the author of Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers. Audio engineer is Liam Kivirist of Techsocket.net.

Funded initially by NorthCentral SARE.

This podcast is available on iTunes and Stitcher.

 

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Susan Waughtal, Squash Blossom Farm, Oronoco, Minn.

Episode 67:  Susan Waughtal: Squash Blossom Farm’s Story
Today we kick off a fresh In Her Boots podcast series with Susan Waughtal of Squash Blossom Farm in Oronoco, Minn. Susan shares her inspiring story of the farm dream she had been brewing for over 25 years, which she brought to life right at her 50th birthday.

Susan and her husband, Roger Nelson, run Squash Blossom Farm, a 10-acre historic 1910 farmstead where their vision is to combine local food, art, and music. Squash Blossom includes a small vegetable CSA, an on-farm bakery for wholesale and farmers markets, and a pizza night and from their wood-fired oven and on-farm commercial kitchen.

 

 

Lauren Langworthy, Blue Ox Farm, Wheeler, Wis.

Episode 66:  Lauren Langworthy on Finding Farming Resources
We are wrapping up our interviews with Lauren Langworthy of Blue Ox Organics and MOSES. From training programs to working with farmers in Africa, Lauren shares how to strategically approach learning opportunities with an open mind and heart.

Episode 65:  Lambs 101 with Lauren Langworthy
In this episode, Lauren talks about a topic near and dear to her hearts: lambs! She shares how she read books and took workshops to prepare. But, eventually she just needed to jump in and learn by doing—something most beginners can relate to.

Episode 64:  Lauren Langworthy on Women Farmers Taking on Leadership
Today, we dig into how we can support more women farmers to engage in leadership throughout their community. Listen to Lauren Langworthy of Blue Ox Farm as she shares her story of running for District Director seat within the Wisconsin Farmers Union. We discuss the importance of asking women to run for roles like these and why the potentially uncomfortable nature of a contested elections isn’t inherently a bad thing.

Episode 63:  Lauren Langworthy: My Farm Story
Today we sit down with Lauren Langworthy, co-owner of Blue Ox Farm. She shares the story of how she ended up in agriculture and how the concepts of holistic management helped to re-frame the farm from annual vegetables into a grass-fed lamb operation. Learn how trial by fire can help you discover your values and passions. Lauren and her husband, Caleb, own 153 acres in Wheeler, Wis. Their farm centers on a rotationally-grazed 200-ewe flock of sheep, small beef herd, hay, and wooded wild areas. When she isn’t in the fields, Lauren is the Program Director at MOSES, and District 2 Director for Wisconsin Farmers Union.

Diahann Lohr, Adunate Word & Design

Episode 62:  Marketing Dos And Don’ts with Di Lohr
We wrap up our series with marketing entrepreneur Diahann Lohr who shares her best marketing dos and don’ts for women farmers. Learn about the importance of using your actual farm name frequently in conversations and how an old-school paper business card can still go a long way.

Episode 61:  4 Elements of Brand Building
Today we dig deeper into how we women farmers can brand our farm businesses. Marketing entrepreneur Diahann Lohr shares four tips to help you define your own unique brand. Remember to always ask the question: How do you want people to feel when they buy your products?

Episode 60:  Marketing 101 for Small Farms with Diahann Lohr
We continue our conversation with marketing entrepreneur Diahann Lohr as we talk about how simply sharing who you are and telling your authentic story can be the most effective form of marketing, especially for us women farmers. Her advice: be yourself, talk about what you are passionate about and sell that garlic along the way.

Episode 59:  Marketing 101 for Small Farms with Diahann Lohr
Today we kick off a special series with marketing entrepreneur Diahann Lohr, an inspiring example of a woman not farming yet still using her skill set to grow organic agriculture. In this episode, Diahann shares her own story and connection to the land and food. Plus, she offers some “Marketing 101” on the importance of strategic communication and how that can really be an advantage for those of us running small farms today. Diahann is a marketing professional with a love for healthy food. She owns and operates Adunate Word & Design (ah-doo-NAH-tay), which specializes in helping food and agricultural organizations grow their business.

 

Bridget Holcomb of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN)

Episode 58:  Bridget Holcomb on Embracing Vulnerability
If our guest, Bridget Holcomb with the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, could change one thing for women in the sustainable ag community it would be to stop that nagging voice inside our heads that says we are not doing enough. Listen in to hear how lifting the veil on this and embracing our authenticity and vulnerabilities can help us achieve bigger goals.

Episode 57:  Bridget Holcomb on Championing Women’s Leadership
We’re continuing on the women’s leadership front today with Bridget Holcomb, executive director of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network. With a learning model based on empowerment and connections, WFAN and its partners like MOSES support women through social interaction.

Episode 56:  Bridget Holcomb on Networking and Leadership
In today’s episode, Bridget shares her journey to her current role leading a nonprofit focused on women in sustainable agriculture. In her case, going to grad school, her commitment to service leadership, and taking advantage of opportunities—and connecting with women along the way—all add up to where she is today.

Episode 55:  My Story with Bridget Holcomb of WFAN
Today we sit down with Bridget Holcomb, head of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network. Bridget shares her journey to her current role running a women-focused nonprofit, and how she took advantage of opportunities along the way. Bridget received a Master’s of Public Affairs with an emphasis on nonprofit management from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has worked in sustainable agriculture advocacy at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. A native of Northern Minnesota, Bridget has focused her work on clean water, soil conservation, and making a sustainable living from the land.

Alison Parker of Radical Root Farm

Episode 54:  Alison Parker on Farming with Children
Alison and her husband run their farm while also raising two young boys. She reminds us to keep the fun factor in farming, cobble together a patchwork of childcare support, and enjoy those kids, especially while they are little.

Episode 53:  Marketing Advice from Alison Parker
We are back with Alison Parker of Radical Root Organic Farm talking marketing advice and tips. She recommends starting small and growing ideas based on what you’re passionate about. For Alison, that meant switching farmers markets to be closer to many of her CSA members, who were wanting to buy additional produce. It also meant following her passion and growing an herbal medicine business.

Episode 52:  Alison Parker on Innovative Land Access
Alison Parker of Radical Root Organic landed on an interesting way to get into farming. Today, she shares how she and her husband launched the farm by partnering with a land trust and nonprofit in a long-term rental agreement. This opened up more cash flow and gave them an incredibly strategic location in the heart of the Chicago suburbs.

Episode 51:  My Farm story with Alison Parker of Radical Root Farm
Today we kick off a series of interviews with farmer Alison Parker of Radical Root Organic Farm. Alison shares her farm start-up story and how, not coming from a farming or even an outdoorsy family, she found her love for growing things through literature. A self-taught, first-generation farmer, she launched her farm with her husband, Alex Needham, in 2009. It is a certified organic farm located in a Chicago suburb on land accessed through an innovative land trust where she is reinventing a 150-year-old farm through organic and permaculture principles.

Sylvia Burgo Toftness , Bull Brook Keep, Amery, Wis.

Episode 50:  Education as a Marketing Strategy
We are back with Sylvia Burgos Toftness today as she shares why education is important not only to grow our organic movement, also as a business strategy. You don’t have to be the ultimate expert to teach, just share from where you are, advises Sylvia. Listen in for sage advice from a former marketer-turned-farmer.

Episode 49:  Growing Women’s Leadership
We are talking women’s leadership today today with someone who has worn many hats leading our organic movement: Sylvia Burgos Toftness. Be involved, share your story and take hold of an issue you are passionate about because, as Sylvia has learned, it just might take a long time before things change.

Episode 48:  Amplifying Women Farmer Voices
Today, we chat with the inspiring Sylvia Burgos Toftness on ways we as women committed to sustainable an organic agriculture can amplify our voices. It’s all about “lifting the veil” as Sylvia calls it, and owning and using the title of farmer when introducing ourselves. A seasoned leader in the organic food movement, Sylvia produces and co-hosts Deep Roots Radio and serves on the board of MOSES. She and her husband, David, raise 100% grass-fed beef in Amery, Wisconsin. Sylvia has worn many hats before then, including begin a television reporter and working in public relations, all skills that partner well with her farm life today.

Episode 47:  My Farm Story with Sylvia Burgos Toftness of Bull Brook Keep
Sylvia Burgos Toftness shares her journey from the Puerto Rican community in the South Bronx to farming in the middle of Wisconsin, with sidetracks as a TV reporter and work in public relations—experiences that have helped her be a leader in the organic food movement. Sylvia produces and co-hosts “Deep Roots Radio” and serves on the board of MOSES. She and her husband, David, raise 100% grass-fed beef.

Joyce Ford, Blue Fruit Farm, Winona, Minn.

Episode 46:  Advice for Beginning Farmers from Organic Pioneer Joyce Ford
Joyce Ford, a pioneer in the organic movement, shares expert advice and tips particularly for women who are beginning farmers: Experiment small before you go big and take on debt, grow things you are passionate about and sometimes keep some of the best of your harvest for yourself. Listen in to our conversation for great advice and ideas!

Episode 45: Joyce Ford on Marketing Fruit
Want to grow and sell fruit? Listen in as we get marketing tips from an expert in her field, Joyce Ford of Blue Fruit Farm, a certified organic berry operation in Winona, Minnesota. Tip #1: teach people why they should eat your fruit. Who knew aronia berries have 4x the antioxidants of blueberries!

Episode 44: My Farm Story with Joyce Ford of Blue Fruit Farm
A real pioneer in the organic farming movement, Joyce shares her journey from the back-to-the-land movement to today running Blue Fruit Farm with her husband, Jim Riddle. Along the way, Joyce founded the Organic Inspectors Association, served on the MOSES Board of Directors, launched farmers markets, and has led the establishment of various organic standards, training and policy.

Clare Hintz, Elsewhere Farm, Herbster, Wis.

Episode 43 – Clare Hintz on Fallback Careers for a Solo Farmer
Farmer Clare Hintz has earned her Ph.D. in sustainability education as her “fallback” career in case she gets injured or needs to get out of labor-intensive farming at some point. Her dissertation focused on women farmers and permaculture. Clare Hintz runs Elsewhere Farm in Herbster, Wis., a 40-acre permaculture farm located near the south shore of Lake Superior. Listen in for a smart discussion on realistic planning for women farming solo.

Episode 42 – Clare Hintz on Farming Solo
Clare shares her insights and inspiration for women running solo operations. Clare’s 40-acre farm is located near the south shore of Lake Superior–“If you can farm here you can farm anywhere.” She uses organic practices and permaculture design principles and boasts about 700 fruit and nut trees, approximately half of which are in production. She also has a market garden with heirloom and open-pollinated vegetable varieties, and keeps bees and rare breed Icelandic chickens. Lots of work!

Episode 41 – Clare Hintz on Permaculture
Farmer Clare Hintz talks about a topic near and dear to her heart: using ecological design and drawing from a number of traditions to steward our land and produce healthy food to boot. Following permaculture design principles, Clare has planted about 700 fruit and nut trees, and has about half of them in full production mode.

Episode 40: My Farm Story with Clare Hintz of Elsewhere Farm
Today we welcome farmer Clare Hintz of Elsewhere Farm, a 40-acre farm near the south shore of Lake Superior. “If you can farm here, you can farm anywhere,” Clare says of the challenging soils. She uses organic practices and permaculture design principles for about 700 fruit and nut trees, approximately half of which are in production on five acres. Her intensively planted market garden features heirloom and open-pollinated vegetable varieties. She also manages bees and rare breed Icelandic chickens.

Kirsten Jurcek of Bratsett Family Farm in Jefferson, Wis.

Episode 39: Kirsten Jurcek on Ways to Learn about Farming
We wrap up our conversation with Kirsten Jurcek of Brattset Family Farm and get her advice on finding a mentor and harvesting a farming education amidst an abundance of resources. Her top pick? The annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference. Listen in for good advice from this seasoned grazing educator.

Episode 38: Kirsten Jurcek on Farming with Family
Today we continue our conversation with Kirsten as she shares how she returned to her family farm and built on the farming wisdom of her parents while shifting the farm from row crops to a rotational grazing operation for a grass-fed beef herd—in part to create a workspace to accommodate her role as a parent of young kids. Hear her insights on how she integrates 3 generations on her farm.

Episode 37: Cover Crops with Kirsten Jurcek
Get tips from Kirsten Jurcek on the importance of cover crops in all farming systems. She is a farmer champion for the National Wildlife Federation, teaching farmers about cover crops. Hear how cover crops help keep our waterways clean, protect fields from erosion, and build organic matter and fertility in the soil.

Episode 36: My Farm Story with Kirsten Jurcek of Bratsett Family Farm
Today we welcome farmer Kirsten Jurcek of Bratsett Family Farm in Jefferson, Wisconsin. Kirsten went back to the family farm she grew up on, reinventing the farm in partnership with her family to be an intensive rotational grazing operation and home to a grass-fed beef herd. Kirsten also works as a grazing educator, teaching other farmers to become better graziers through proper management of their soils, forage, and livestock.

Episode 35: Update on the In Her Boots Podcast Schedule
Just a short podcast to update you on the upcoming guests we’ll feature. Good news:  weekly episodes start this Friday, May 11!

Ali Berlow, author of The Food Activists Handbook and Mobile Poultry Slaughterhouse

Episode 34: Ali Berlow on Diversification
Ali shares how diversification can grow the financial outlook for our businesses and also give us multiple platforms for education and outreach. Ali is a writer, host of the weekly Local Food Report produced by Atlantic Public Media, and co-publisher of Edible Vineyard.

Episode 33: Ali Berlow on Working with the Media
Today we continue our conversation about ways we, as women farmers, can amplify our stories to market and grow our business and also get the story of organic agriculture out there to the media. One idea: organize a farm tour just for media!

Episode 32: Ali Berlow on Leading Food-System Change
The conversation continues with author Ali Berlow as she shares ideas to help us take a leadership role in our local communities to advocate for food-system change.

Episode 31: Ali Berlow on Collaboration to Get Stuff Done
Ali Berlow is a multifaceted entrepreneur, author, educator, and organizer shaped by her Wisconsin roots, growing up under the Aldo Leopold conservation ethic. She makes her home today on Martha’s Vineyard, bringing her community together around the potluck table for collaboration that yields results.

Kara O’Connor (Wisconsin Farmers Union)

Episode 30: Women Leaders with Kara O’Connor, Wisconsin Farmers Union
Today’s episode digs into the heart of what needs to happen to change our agricultural system: more women in leadership positions, especially elected office!

Episode 29: Farm Policy Part 2 with Kara O’Connor, Wisconsin Farmers Union
Join Kara O’Connor (Government Relations Director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union) and continue the policy discussion from our last episode to learn about specific strategies & tactics you can do on your own that will only take minutes but have huge impact.
Episode 28: Farm Policy 101 with Kara O’Connor, Wisconsin Farmers Union
Join Kara O’Connor, Government Relations Director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union, and learn why policy is important to farmers and especially how we as women farmers running operations that don’t always fit the expected agriculture mold need to amplify our voices.

Episode 27 – How to Build a Career Advocating for Agriculture with Kara O’Connor
Kara O’Connor, Government Relations Director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union, talks about how she got where she is, from idea seeds planted during travels in France to law school to always having a desire to fight for the underdog. Great tips for anyone looking to chart a career path championing family farms.

April Prusia (Dorothy’s Range)

Episode 26 – Farm to Table Dinners with April Prusia of Dorothy’s Range
Hear how April diversified her farm business plan to include hosting farm-to-table events to showcase her farm’s meat. From getting her catering license to successfully pulling off that first event, April gives insider advice for those who want to add an income stream from on-farm events.

Episode 25: Marketing Meat with April Prusia of Dorothy’s Range
Today we learn about heritage hogs and marketing meat with with April Prusia of Dorothy’s Range in Blanchardville, Wisconsin. April shares insights to help you research and identify what breeds might be best for your farm, successful marketing strategies, and how to increase the population of heritage hogs – and grow your business – through feeder pigs.

Episode 24: My Farm Story with April Prusia of Dorothy’s Range
Come sit around the kitchen table with April Prusia of Dorothy’s Range in Blanchardville, Wisconsin, as she shares her farm story. She started with vegetables and, thanks to advice from a fellow female farmer and a dash of serendipity, found her niche raising heritage hogs.

Episode 23: Updates on In Her Boots Podcast Schedule
Thanks for your support of our In Her Boots podcast! We will be continuing to post through the winter months — listen for an update and please subscribe.

Jane Hawley Stevens (Four Elements Organic Herbals)

Episode 22: Pioneer Women in Organics – Jane Hawley Stevens of Four Elements Organic Herbals
Jane has been raising herbs and crafting various herbal products since 1990. She has blended her passion for herbs with savvy marketing skills to build a successful enterprise. Hear how she has made it all work.

Katy Dickson of Christensen Farm

Episode 21: Building CSA in Rural Communities
Katy shares how she slowly and steadily built a CSA base in her rural community—it’s all about educating potential members. By sharing information on CSA with her local community, Katy built her business while strengthening other local farms.

Episode 20: Integrating Family in Farming
Katy Dickson of Christensen Farm offers personal insight into raising a family while growing a CSA farm business. Her older kids are now taking active roles in running their own entrepreneurial ventures from the farm.

Episode 19: Cover Crops with Katy Dickson of Christensen Farm
Today we’re focusing on cover crops with Katy Dickson of Christensen Farm in Browntown, Wisconsin. Learn about how she worked with her different levels of clay-based soil and rotating different cover crops to enhance fertility.

Episode 18: My Farm Story with Katy Dickson of Christensen Farm
Katy Dickson of Christensen Farm in Browntown, Wisconsin, came back to the family farm—something as a teen she swore she never would do. After stints in the Peace Corp and living around the country, she was drawn back to her home roots. Now she grows healthy organic produce for her community with her husband, Mark, and her parents.

Jen Miller of Prairie Wind Family Farm

Episode 17: Transitioning to Farming from a Full-Time Job with Jen Miller
We’re talking today with Jen Miller of Prairie Wind Family Farm in Grayslake, Illinois, about how she transitioned from a full-time corporate job to full-time farming, and how she uses skills learned on the job to help her farm—think “Excel.”

Episode 16: Farming with Kids in Tow with Jen Miller, Prairie Wind Family Farm
Jen shares how she integrates parenthood with the farm business (walkie talkies help), and how her children are learning entrepreneurial and life skills helping out at the farmers market and around the farm.

Episode 15 – Cover Crops with Jen Miller, Prairie Wind Family Farm
Learn how cover crops serve many purposes on windy land. Jen shares how she experiments to improve soil fertility.

Episode 14: My Farm Story with Jen Miller, Prairie Wind Family Farm
Jen Miller started farming at Sandhill Family Farms and now owns Prairie Wind Family Farm in Grayslake, Illinois. We talk about her farm start-up success strategies, the importance of mentors, networking with other women, and reaching customers through cooking and CSA add-ons. It’s all about building connections and systems thinking, shares Jen.

Kriss Marion of Circle M Farm

Episode 13: Stepping up to Leadership – Taking action with Kriss Marion of Circle M Market Farm
We’re digging in with Kriss Marion of Circle M Farm in Blanchardville, Wis. as she inspires all of us to take the time to get involved with issues we care about. From running for and winning a seat on County Board to serving as her Wisconsin Farmers Union chapter president, Kriss shares how being a woman from outside the conventional agriculture norm can spark conversations, community and change.

Episode 12:  Find Your Tribe – Growing Local Farmer Connections with Kriss Marion of Circle M Market Farm
Today we’re talking about the importance of connecting with other kindred-spirited female farmers in your area with Kriss Marion of Circle M Farm in Blanchardville, Wis. It’s all about collaboration and support, and, it turns out, eating really well at potlucks.

  • Episode 11: Farmstay B&B start-up tips with Kriss Marion of Circle M Market Farm
    Do you have a dream of hosting guests on your farm through running a B&B? That’s exactly what Kriss Marion of Circle M Farm in Blanchardville, Wisconsin successfully did quickly. Hear her marketing strategies and how diversification adds up to a savvy business strategy.
  • Episode 10: Success Strategies from Pioneer Women in Organics: Kriss Marion of Circle M Farm 
    Come sit around the kitchen table with the mighty Kriss Marion of Circle M Farm in Blanchardville, Wisconsin. Kriss may have started her farm operation as a new transplant from the urban confines of Chicago over 12 years ago, but she quickly learned the key ingredient to growing a successful farm business: it’s all about community.

    Dela Ends of Scotch Hill Farm

    Episode 9: Success Strategies from Pioneer Women in Organics: Dela Ends of Scotch Hill Farm
    Dela Ends of Scotch Hill Farm is a true organic pioneer, starting one of the first CSAs in Wisconsin. Dela raises more than vegetables on her land:  she’s committed to her family and the next generation of eaters, stepping up to the leadership plate to get things done.

    Rachel Hershberger of Clay Bottom Farm

    Episode 8: Keeping a Balanced Life while Farming with Rachel Hershberger of Clay Bottom Farm
    We’re digging in with Rachel Hershberger of Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana on how she and her husband, Ben Hartman, prioritize creating a balanced life on the farm, from shifting to a three season CSA so they can have some time off in-between to nearby regular camping trips with the kids.

    Episode 7: Farming with Kids with Rachel Hershberger of Clay Bottom Farm
    Join Rachel Hershberger of Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana as we talk about farming with young kids and how there’s no magic formula or master plan for integrating family, but a lot of adjusting and joy in the process.

    Episode 6: Cover Crops with Rachel Hershberger of Clay Bottom Farm
    Today we’re focusing on cover crops with advice from Rachel Hershberger of Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana. Rachel and her family have used a variety of cover crops on their farm to help build the soil from being so dense with clay that her husband could spin a pot to today with soil made up of twelve percent organic matter.

    Episode 5: My Farm Story with Rachel Hershberger of Clay Bottom Farm
    Gather around the kitchen table with Rachel Hershberger of Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, and hear how her market farm and young family are thriving. How does she do it all? Creative frugality, keeping things lean and debt-free. “The slow approach lets you not get in too over your head financially,” advises Rachel.

     

    Kathy Zeman of Simple Harvest Farm Organics

    Episode 4: Challenges & Opportunities of Farming Female with Kathy Zeman of Simple Harvest Farm Organics
    We’re digging in with Kathy as she imparts insights and wisdom on farming as a female and how to keep true to one’s values and integrity when you are outside the expected norm.  From her first ag job as a feed rep where she was the only female among 432 reps, to navigating regulations while working with agencies, Kathy offers pragmatic advice on being yourself with honesty, integrity, and transparency.

  • Episode 3: Women Farming Solo with Kathy Zeman of Simple Harvest Farm Organics
    Kathy offers personal insight into both the challenges and opportunities of running her operation as a solo woman farmer.  Be brutally honest with yourself, know what you are skilled at, and then admit what you’re not good at or don’t love and hire those out. Farming solo also gives Kathy the opportunity to learn new things she never would have otherwise.  Or, as Kathy puts it: “Plumbing is kinda cool.”
  • Episode 2: Cover Crops with Kathy Zeman of Simple Harvest Farm Organics
    Learn about how Kathy is working to continually add fertility to her highly erodible land and her mission to fight thistle with cover crops.  Kathy’s advice: “Bare land is bad.”  Use those cover crops.
  • Episode 1: My Farm Story with Kathy Zeman of Simple Harvest Farm Organics
    Kathy shares her story, from growing up in a family of 12 on a diversified dairy farm to running her own operation as a solo woman farmer. As Kathy says: “I find joy in doing things I haven’t done before.”


This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under an On-Farm Research/Partnership Project award number ONC15-006 through the North Central Region SARE program. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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