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8 Tips for Starting a Farming Podcast

When Illinois farmer Rob Sharkey launched his podcast, he originally planned on sharing hunting stories and some tales with friends he met through Sharkey Outfitters, his family’s outfitter business. Then he made the mistake of interviewing his Twitter pal @PlowWife, known to friends and family as Jennifer Campbell. 

In what he called a “dizzying interview,” Campbell, an Indiana farmer, and Sharkey had an honest conversation about farming, agvocating, and Yuengling (an East Coast beer) .

“That podcast took off on social, which helped promote my entire podcast,” says Sharkey, who grows corn and soybeans in Bradford, Illinois. “I realized then that I’m more passionate about farming than hunting, so that’s when I made the switch.”

Since then, Sharkey has recorded 36 more episodes for a grand total of 42 episodes for his weekly Shark Farmer podcast

His approach for each podcast is simple: find a farmer or person involved in agriculture and uncover his or her personal story. “A lot of people have something pretty interesting going on in their lives, which might have to do with agriculture – or it might not. If I can tap into that and get the real person, that seems to be what is resonating,” he says.

Podcast 101

If you’d like to start a podcast, Sharkey recommends following these tips:

1. Get a Skype account.

2. Get a free recorder for Skype. 

3. Call the person you are interviewing for the podcast via Skype and record the conversation.

4. Download the interview to your computer.

5. Use an editing program to make any tweaks, adding intros or outros. 

Sharkey uses Audacity on his PC; there is GarageBand for Macs. Both are free.

6. While it’s not a necessity, Sharkey recommends using a podcast hosting service. This will make it easier to post the podcast in multiple places, including your website, social media, and iTunes. There are multiple services available. Sharkey uses Libsyn, which starts at $5 a month.

7. Promote your podcast on your social media accounts and website, if you have one.

8. Repeat weekly (or however often you’d like to post). “The important thing to remember is, if you want to build an audience, you need to have consistency,” he says. 

Sharkey has made a few upgrades in workflow since his original podcast. He now uses Zencastr to record the conversations. It records his portion of the conversation and the interviewee’s portion separately. “This is nice, because in an interactive interview, you tend to talk over each other at times, which causes one person’s audio to drop out. If we’re talking at the same time, I can cut my part out so the audience hears the other person,” he says. 

To listen to Shark Farmer and other ag podcasts, go to the Farm & Rural Ag Network at FarmRuralAg.com. You can also hear Sharkey in an episode of the Successful Farming podcast at Agriculture.com/podcast.

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