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Between Ditches: The Journey of Modern Farming


Between Ditches: The Journey of Modern Farming with Kristjan Hebert

About the Episode

In this insightful episode of the Rural Entrepreneur Podcast, host Chris Herbert sits down with Kristjan Hebert, a leading figure in innovative agricultural entrepreneurship.


The episode explores Kristjan's journey from managing a family farm to establishing Hebert Grain Ventures, a testament to modern agricultural practices and business acumen.


Throughout the conversation, Kristjan shares his experiences, challenges, and the strategic decisions that shaped his venture into a successful and sustainable agricultural business.


Key Themes and Takeaways

  • Entrepreneurial Evolution in Agriculture: Kristjan's transition from traditional farming to a business-oriented approach exemplifies the evolution of agriculture into a sophisticated sector requiring both farming knowledge and business skills. This underscores the importance of adapting to changing industry dynamics.

  • Innovation and Sustainability: The discussion on integrating innovative practices with sustainability in farming highlights Kristjan's commitment to environmental stewardship and efficient resource management. This reflects the growing need for sustainable practices in the agricultural sector.

  • Community Engagement and Impact: Kristjan's initiatives, such as the Community Builders Alliance and the Deep Roots Foundation, demonstrate his dedication to community development and support. This illustrates the vital role of community integration and contribution in the success of rural businesses.

  • Mentorship and Education for Entrepreneurs: Kristjan's emphasis on the importance of mentorship, education in economics, accounting, and finance, and building a peer network offers valuable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs. It highlights the significance of continuous learning and community support in entrepreneurial success.

  • Future Aspirations and Vision: The conversation sheds light on Kristjan's future aspirations for Hebert Grain Ventures and his vision for the agricultural industry. This provides inspiration and direction for future entrepreneurs in the sector, emphasizing the need for innovation, sustainability, and community involvement.

This episode is a valuable resource for anyone interested in agricultural entrepreneurship, sustainable farming practices, and the role of community in business success.


Interview with pioneering farm innovator and business-savvy entrepreneur Kristjan Hebert.

00:00 - 14:41: Kristjan Hebert's Agricultural Evolution: From Family Farm to Hebert Grain Ventures

In this segment, host Chris Herbert engages with Kristjan Hebert, an innovative entrepreneurial farmer from Western Canada. They explore Kristjan's journey from growing up on a family farm to establishing Hebert Grain Ventures, highlighting the transition from traditional farming to a business-oriented approach and the entrepreneurial spirit inherent in agriculture.


Key Points:

  • Background and Transition to Business: Kristjan shares his upbringing on a family farm and his initial foray into pre-Med, followed by a pivotal shift to business and finance. This educational background, coupled with his farming roots, laid the foundation for Hebert Grain Ventures.

  • Challenges in Family Business Transition: The conversation delves into the dynamics of transitioning from a family-run farm to a more structured business model. Kristjan discusses working alongside his father, emphasizing the importance of delegating roles based on strengths and the challenges they faced during this transition.

  • Entrepreneurial Mindset and Team Building: Kristjan reflects on his approach to business as a sport he loves, akin to playing hockey. He highlights the significance of building a strong team, sharing an innovative method of ensuring operational discipline (hiding keys in the dipstick to enforce oil checks), and the importance of a supportive team in achieving business success.

This segment provides a comprehensive view of Kristjan Hebert's entrepreneurial journey in agriculture, illustrating how a blend of family values, education, and innovative thinking can transform traditional farming into a successful, modern agricultural business.


14:41 - 25:54: Innovations and Sustainable Practices in Agriculture

In this segment, host Chris Herbert and Kristjan Hebert discuss the integration of innovation and sustainable practices in agriculture. Hebert shares his philosophy on sustainability and innovation, emphasizing their importance in the agricultural sector.


Key Points:

  • Hebert Grain Ventures' Legacy Statement: Hebert highlights his company's commitment to leaving the land, financial statements, community, and industry in a better state for future generations. This statement reflects the core philosophy of Hebert Grain Ventures, focusing on sustainability and long-term impact.

  • Sustainable Practices in Western Canadian Agriculture: Hebert points out that Western Canadian farmers are among the most innovative and sustainable in the world. He mentions practices like zero tillage, variable rate, and sectional control, emphasizing the need for the agricultural community to better communicate these achievements globally.

  • Challenges in Sustainable Agriculture: Hebert discusses the challenges faced by farmers in adopting sustainable practices, particularly the lack of economic incentives and recognition. He advocates for a more robust carbon inset and offset market to financially reward sustainable farming practices.

  • Adoption of Technology in Farming: Hebert talks about the transformative impact of technologies like GPS and remote sensing on farming operations. He also expresses interest in emerging technologies like biologicals, sensory technology, and AI, while highlighting the need for reliable rural internet connectivity to fully leverage these innovations.

This segment provides insight into Hebert's approach to sustainable agriculture and the role of innovation in enhancing farming practices. He emphasizes the need for better communication of sustainable achievements and the integration of new technologies to advance the agricultural sector.

25:54 - 33:41: Community Impact and Future Aspirations of Hebert Grain Ventures

In this concluding segment, host Chris Herbert and Kristjan Hebert discuss the community impact of Hebert Grain Ventures and Kristjan's vision for the future. They touch upon the importance of community integration in farming and the initiatives undertaken by Hebert to contribute to community development and education.


Key Points:

  • Community Perception and Entrepreneurship: Kristjan acknowledges the mixed perceptions within his community towards his business's growth and progressiveness. He highlights the cultural differences in celebrating entrepreneurship between Canada and the U.S., emphasizing the need for more recognition of entrepreneurial achievements in rural communities.

  • Community Builders Alliance and Deep Roots Foundation: Hebert discusses his involvement in initiatives like the Community Builders Alliance and the Deep Roots Foundation. These initiatives focus on partnering with local governments and entrepreneurs to work on major projects and contribute to community development, particularly in sports, education, and healthcare.

  • Scholarship Program with Olds College: Kristjan elaborates on the scholarship program with Olds College, designed to support agriculture and agribusiness students. The program includes bursaries and work term opportunities at Hebert Grain Ventures, with the potential for tuition reimbursement, aiming to attract young talent to the agricultural sector.

  • Advice to Young Entrepreneurs: Reflecting on his journey, Kristjan advises young entrepreneurs to pursue education in economics, accounting, and finance, seek mentorship, and build a network of peers. He emphasizes the importance of having a support system for discussing ideas and challenges, highlighting that entrepreneurs across various industries face similar issues related to people, cash flow, and ideas.

This segment provides a comprehensive view of Kristjan Hebert's commitment to community development and his approach to fostering the next generation of agricultural entrepreneurs. His initiatives and advice reflect a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities in rural entrepreneurship.


About Kristjan Hebert

Kristjan Hebert is a Canadian grain farmer, public speaker, zero-till advocate, and ag-tech entrepreneur based in Saskatchewan. He is known for his contributions to agricultural practices, particularly zero-till farming, and his advocacy for sustainable agriculture and agri-technology. Hebert is also recognized for his role in policy discussions and his insights on agriculture's part in the climate change dialogue.


About the Rural Entrepreneur Podcast Series

The Rural Entrepreneur Podcast Series delves into the stories of rural entrepreneurs, exploring their struggles, triumphs, and the driving force behind their perseverance. The conversations are profound and insightful. If you're interested in being a sponsor or guest, feel free to contact us or book some time with Chris.

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