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Alta. farmer’s podcast growing in popularity

Alta. farmer’s podcast growing in popularity

Katelyn Duban’s The Rural Woman podcast has been downloaded more than 200,000 times

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A Lethbridge, Alta. farmer is carving out a niche for herself in the world of podcasts.

Episodes of Katelyn Duban’s podcast, The Rural Woman, have been downloaded more than 200,000 times by listeners in more than 140 countries, including Zimbabwe, since she published her first episode in 2019.

“It’s mind-blowing to me,” she told “When I started this I didn’t know how many people would be interested in listening to all of these stories.”

Episode 101 of the podcast will be available to listeners Friday.

Duban spends between four and five hours working on each hour-long episode. She interviews, edits, uploads, publishes and promotes the podcast on her social media channels @wildrosefarmer.

The first-generation farmer used to have a 9-5 government job. Today she raises certified organic grains and oilseeds with her multigenerational farmer husband Justin, whom she married in 2016.

She came up with the idea for a podcast when she noticed a lack of ag podcasts focusing on women’s accomplishments.

“I was in the tractor and one thing I found while looking for podcasts in the agriculture space is there wasn’t anything specifically about sharing the stories of women in agriculture in a way they were celebrated,” she said. “They were more or less shared as a matter of fact story that’s nothing special. But in my eyes, women in agriculture wear so many hats and are amazing.”

To Duban, celebrating women in ag means showcasing the number of roles and responsibilities women play in agriculture. Some of the roles are visible while others may happen behind the scenes.

To support this, Duban doesn’t just interview women from one sector within agriculture. Nor does she solely interview Canadian women.

Her interviewees include a soil scientist from New Zealand and a rancher from Oregon whose story provided motivation for Duban on at least one occasion.

“In episode 99 I talked to Mickey Willenbring, a former combat veteran from the U.S. Army,” Duban said. “She was badly wounded in combat, came back home, picked up her life and is running a ranch as a wounded war veteran. The day the episode came out I was kind of struggling to get through the day. That episode came on and I had tears in my eyes thinking if Mickey can do it, I can do it.”

Visitors to Duban’s website will notice she has merchandise for sale and offers a podcast coaching class.

She has become a brand, which factors into some of her decisions surrounding the podcast.

“I want the podcast to be a direct reflection of who I am,” she said. “Inclusivity and mental health are close to my heart and those are things I will talk about even when they’re not trending online.”

Listeners appear to enjoy Duban’s work.

On Apple Podcasts, The Rural Woman had 101 ratings and has an overall rating of 4.9 out of 5.

Listeners find the conversations relatable.

“I stumbled upon this podcast on a long road trip,” one user wrote on April 2, 2021. “I have gone back and listened to a ton of the older podcasts. When I’m having a hard day and feeling frustrated – I find one of these podcasts. My feelings feel validated but also put things into perspective. Big fan!”

The Rural Woman is also available on Spotify, Stitcher and CastBox.

Looking for more ag podcasts? Check out this list of eight ag-inspired podcasts worth checking out.

Ciara Sandum Photography photo

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The Investment Opportunities of Industrial Hemp

Video: The Investment Opportunities of Industrial Hemp

The fledgling U.S. hemp industry is decades behind countries like Canada, France and China, but according to impact investor and this week’s podcast guest, Pierre Berard, it could flourish into a $2.2 billion industry by 2030 and create thousands of jobs.

To reach its potential, what the hemp industry needs most right now, Berard said, is capital investment.

Last month, Berard published a report titled “Seeing the U.S. Industrial Hemp Opportunity — A Pioneering Venture for Investors and Corporations Driven by Environmental, Social and Financial Concerns” in which he lays out the case for investment.

It’s as if Berard, with this report, is waving a giant flag, trying to attract the eyes of investors, saying, “Look over here. Look at all this opportunity.”

Berard likens the burgeoning American hemp industry to a developing country.

“There is no capital. People don’t want to finance. This is too risky. And I was like, OK, this sounds like something for me,” he said.

As an impact investor who manages funds specializing in agro-processing companies, Berard now has his sights set on the U.S. hemp industry, which he believes has great economic value as well as social and environmental benefits.

He spent many years developing investment in the agriculture infrastructure of developing countries in Latin America and Africa, and said the hemp industry feels similar.

“It is very nascent and it is a very fragmented sector. You have pioneers and trailblazers inventing or reinventing the field after 80 years of prohibition,” he said. “So I feel very familiar with this context.”

On this week’s hemp podcast, Berard talks about the report and the opportunities available to investors in the feed, fiber and food sectors of the hemp industry.

Building an industry around an agricultural commodity takes time, he said. According to the report, “The soybean industry took about 50 years to become firmly established, from the first USDA imports in 1898 to the U.S. being the top worldwide producer in the 1950s.”

Berard has a plan to accelerate the growth of the hemp industry and sees a four-pillar approach to attract investment.

First, he said, the foundation of the industry is the relationship between farmers and processors at the local level.

Second, he said the industry needs what he calls a “federating body” that will represent it, foster markets and innovations, and reduce risk for its members and investors.

The third pillar is “collaboration with corporations that aim to secure or diversify their supply chains with sustainable products and enhance their ESG credentials. This will be key to funding the industry and creating markets,” he said.

The fourth pillar is investment. Lots of it. Over $1.6 billion over seven years. This money will come from government, corporations, individual investors, and philanthropic donors.

The 75-page report goes into detail about the hemp industry, its environmental and social impact, and the opportunities available to investors.

Read the report here: Seeing the U.S. Industrial Hemp Opportunity

Also on this episode, we check in with hemp and bison farmer Herb Grove from Brush Mountain Bison in Centre County, PA, where he grew 50 acres of hemp grain. We’ll hear about harvest and dry down and crushing the seed for oil and cake.