Brothers Brian and Darren Hefty are a busy pair. From helping with day-to-day operations at Hefty Seed Company to running their own farm operations, hosting Ag PhD on television and radio and being active husbands and fathers.
Q: What do you like most about hosting on RURAL RADIO?
Brian: It’s the same thing I like about being an agronomist; working with lots of different farmers and trying to help them make the best decisions for their operations. It’s tough to be a farmer and if I can help in even a small way I feel like I have done what I am called to do.
Darren: I am always looking to learn more about crop production so I can get higher yields on my farm and help others do the same. Talking to other farmers and industry experts on Ag PhD Radio each day is a blast. I’m learning something all the time.
Q: How did you get your start in Radio/TV?
Brian: Darren, my Dad Ron, and I started the Ag PhD TV show in 1998. We felt that farmers had a need for more agronomic information, and we knew we could help.
Darren: We made the decision to start Ag PhD TV back in 1997 and I spent that summer with a cameraman filming everything I could think of so we could produce half-hour shows in the spring of 1998. I learned so much that summer and had a lot of fun, too.
Q: What was your favorite episode or guest of the first radio season?
Brian: We have had many farmers on the show who have raised enviable yields in corn, soybeans, and wheat. We farm too, and my goal is to get 400-bushel corn and 100-bushel soybeans someday, so it is a lot of fun talking to farmers who are currently doing it.
Darren: I have really enjoyed talking to the 400-bushel corn farmers about how they are achieving that level of production. There are only a handful of these guys so far. I would love to join that select group someday.
Q: What can listeners look forward to in the next year on your show?
Brian: More info on raising better yields profitably while at the same time improving the land and the environment. We don’t spend much time on farm news, grain markets, or the weather, because farmers can’t control those things. How to better control weeds, properly fertilize, or other agronomic topics may not be the most exciting things for some, but for those of us trying to thrive on today’s farm, they are exactly the issues we need to discuss and learn more about in order to turn a profit and feed our growing world.
Darren: I’m excited about our summer radio shows because we’re talking about what’s actually happening in fields and taking live calls from farmers who are going out today to stop a pest or feed a crop. Also, we’ll be at Farm Progress, Commodity Classic, and some other key events around the country during the next year.
They had to answer some fun ones too…
Q: Favorite food?
Brian: A smorgasbord of well-prepared meat…prime rib, chicken, pork loin, turkey, etc.
Darren: Brian and I are both pretty serious about fitness. I’m getting pretty famous in the Ag PhD studio for bringing in a protein bar to have right before or after the show. Our production staff ribs me pretty hard about that sometimes. Oh, speaking of ribs, I love to grill just about any kind of meat. More protein. Big surprise!
Q: Favorite vacation spot?
Brian: My wife and I went to Bora Bora a few years ago. It was one of those bucket list things, and it was amazing.
Darren: Lots of good ones to choose from, but my favorite vacation spot so far has been going to Yellowstone National Park with my kids.
Q: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Brian: Fantasy baseball. I love coaching baseball, too, but when it comes to my guilty pleasure I enjoy competing against some buddies from college for a traveling trophy that I have won four out of the last 12 years.
Darren: I have a sweet tooth and the trappings of summer like ice cream, sweet tea or lemonade, always get me. I can’t say no to that.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about summer?
Brian: Heat. This year we had about 8 months of winter, so I was so thankful when I could finally go outside with no coat on. Obviously it’s also great to see the crops growing and for all the things we have prepared for all fall, winter, and spring to finally come to life.
Darren: Getting outside. I love being out in fields while the crops are growing. Spending time outdoors with my family is great, too. We especially like going on bike rides and the kids are getting into geocaching which has been fun as well.
Q: I can’t help but turn up the radio when ______comes on…
Brian: Rural Radio aside, I am a big Minnesota Vikings fan, so if I ever hear something about them or one of their games, I’ll listen!
Darren: My favorite sports programs are on. This time of year I like to listen to baseball games mainly to hear the stories the best broadcasters tell.
Learn more from Brian and Darren on Ag PhD Monday through Friday at 3 p.m. ET! Brian and Darren discuss topics ranging from how to maximize your fertilizer program, stopping yield-robbing insects, crop diseases and much more. Plus, you’ll enjoy the weekly segments such as Farm Basics, Iron Talk and Weed of the Week. Follow RURALRADIO 147 on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with the AgPhD!
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