Welcome to The Land Show, our weekly podcast where we discuss anything and everything related to land and investing in land. From farming to hunting, fun seasonal events to wild game recipes, we have a little something for everyone.
The first segment of this week’s edition is transcribed below, or click here to listen to the entire show online or subscribe to the podcast.
ON THIS WEEK’S SHOW
Narrator: It’s time for a new edition of the Land Show with Dave and Johnny. On the show today with the guys is Joseph Fureigh with First South Farm Credit. Peggy Sutton, founder and president of the To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company. Robert King with your farmland report. John Morris with some buyer and seller tips, and of course, the Wild Man himself, Tim Baker with your wildlife update. Sit on back, relax and enjoy a new edition of the Land Show with Dave and Johnny.
Dave Milton: Hey everybody welcome to the Land Show with Dave and Johnny. It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in the capital city of Montgomery, Alabama. I’m proud to be with my co-host and good friend, accredited land consultant. I could go on and on and on. The list is never ending. Food connoisseur.
Jonathan Goode: That’s it. Food eater. Consumer.
Dave Milton: Champion wild game cook-off guy. Johnny B. Goode. Johnny B. how you doing?
Jonathan Goode: What are you buttering me up for here Dave? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.
Dave Milton: I need you to sell some land.
Jonathan Goode: I hear that. Well it is good to be with you and hey, I want to give a big thank you to all the folks in our County Road departments around the state. This past year, and this past winter have been unbelievably wet. I mean we average about 56 inches of rainfall in Alabama. In my area we had 71 this past year, and so we’ve got folks that are trying to recover. Thanks to the Perry County Road Department. I had a hole open up five feet across and three feet deep in my road this week, and those guys came and fixed it the same day, so I appreciate the Perry County Road Department.
Dave Milton: You wanting some work done on your driveway?
Jonathan Goode: No, I don’t, but all these counties are small rural counties.
Dave Milton: You’re right.
Jonathan Goode: With dirt road infrastructure. It takes a lot to maintain the hundreds of miles of roads in each county.
Dave Milton: It really does.
Jonathan Goode: At five miles an hour on a road grader. It takes a long time.
Dave Milton: Well and the counties are all different. They’re all good, but some do a better job than others. Some are blessed to have more good base material to work with than others.
Jonathan Goode: For sure.
Dave Milton: We run into that. Some counties just don’t have the right material.
Jonathan Goode: That’s right. Some of them have some soupy gumbo.
Dave Milton: I’m not going to say the county, I don’t want to embarrass anybody. We bottomed out on what was supposed to be a …
Jonathan Goode: I want to say the county, but we’ll leave it out.
Dave Milton: No. We better not.
Jonathan Goode: Hey listen man, lets jump in. We’ve got a great guest with us this morning.
Dave Milton: Yeah man, I’m excited. We’ve got our good friend Joe Fureigh with First South Farm Credit. Joe’s and old friend and was been in the land business, around the land business here in Montgomery and really all over Alabama for many years. Joe welcome to the Land Show.
Joseph Fureigh: Guys, thank y’all so much for having me today.
Dave Milton: I’ll tell you what Joe. It’s really an exciting time to be in the land business. Your business and our business are so intertwined. We sell land. We list land. We deal with landowners and land buyers and you finance so many of the deals, and I’ll tell you without First South Farm Credit, without you guys as partners, we wouldn’t have the type of industry we do in Alabama. Alabama, a lot of folks don’t know it, but Alabama is really known throughout the United States as mecca in land sales. We do more volume and big deals, little deals in the whole southeast, but Alabama specifically is a place that people love to buy land.
Joseph Fureigh: Absolutely.
Dave Milton: Even though we’re not a huge state as far as geographical area, the vast, vast majority of our state is privately held, whereas out in the western states that are so big, some of those states are 60-70% federal land. We have a lot of private land to sell, and we’ve got a lot of folks that want to buy in Alabama. Our low taxes, our state’s doing fantastic. There’s so many growth areas. Really the state of Alabama’s never done any better, and I know your business is doing well. Our business is doing well. For our listeners that may not be familiar with our great sponsor, First South Farm Credit, thanks for sponsoring The Land Show, by the way. Tell us about what First South Farm Credit is, and what First South Farm Credit does.
Joseph Fureigh: Yeah, First South Farm Credit has been around for over 100 years. We spend a good bit of our time catering to the rural community. We like the rural community. We understand the people in rural Alabama and rural America, for that matter. It’s a group that does so much for us, and it’s a way for us to help them. If you’re looking to finance property. If you’re looking to finance recreational land, just investment land. If you’ve got a farming operation. If you’re looking to get out of the city, have your little country get away, or maybe a home on some smaller acreage, we can help you. We want to partner with you. We want to be that partner, that conduit for you that can get you what you need.
Jonathan Goode: Well you guys do a great job. On all the things that you just ran down, what does the farm mean to you, and all of those things, because it means something different to everybody, doesn’t it?
Joseph Fureigh: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, I mean the farm to one guy may be a 400 head cattle operation. The farm to another guy may be a house and five acres that I can just stretch out on. We like to cover it all and there’s nothing too big, there’s nothing too small.
Jonathan Goode: I personally, Dave and I both do a lot of business with your offices around the state. You guys do a fantastic job. The folks in Demopolis hooked me up with this great jacket, so shout out to Austin Outlaw and those folks over there. You guys. It’s just a real pleasure to work with and one of the things I know when I send customers and clients to your office, I give them a phone number to call, you guys are going to jump right on that. How long, just generally does it take to process somebody’s loan application?
Joseph Fureigh: Loan applications we can turn them around within 24 hours a good 90% of the time, even lots of times less than that. It just depends on what product they’re looking at, what we’re dealing with. Even from start to finish. I mean getting the deal done. Many times we can get deals done within a 30 day window.
Jonathan Goode: That’s great, because I mean usually 30 to 40-45 days is about what it takes to close a land transaction for the title company and all that. You guys, I’ve never had one be delayed because of First South. You guys always do a great job. For us, in this business, not being on a delay means everything, because our customers and clients are really to sell. They’re ready to purchase and then this is a question I get every week so help us out here. What is a typical down payment on a land purchase? What do you typically require? A range of what you require?
Joseph Fureigh: Typically, we’re going to be in the 15-25% range. Somewhere in there. Obviously it depends on what you’re buying. What’s the size? There’s a lot of factors that go into that.
Dave Milton: A lot of factors. What could be leveraged and maybe something else could be leveraged.
Joseph Fureigh: Absolutely.
Dave Milton: A lot of other factors, but one thing that’s exciting to me Joe is that rural Alabamians and farmers, and large timber operators have been familiar with your company for years, but more and more and more suburban Alabamians are becoming familiar with First South Farm Credit all over the state. It’s because of this mini farm product. So many people want to live out on the peripheral and on the edge and that’s a really growing trend with your company and our company. Speak to how you’re doing those. Outside of Montgomery, outside of Auburn and Shelby County. All over the state of Alabama with these smaller farms?
Joseph Fureigh: Yeah, like you say Dave, I think there’s really been a trend of especially … We’re seeing a lot of the younger crowd moving out and so they’re wanting their little piece of land, and getting away from the city. Having that home and five, 10, 20 acres.
Dave Milton: You are getting more aggressive about actually financing the construction now aren’t you than you used to be?
Joseph Fureigh: Absolutely. Absolutely. We can do that as well. You find your piece. You want to go ahead and buy you a five, 10 acres, and then build your house on it, we can handle that for you and then we can at the end of it, we can put it all into one.
Dave Milton: We’re getting close on time, but before we go off their air, I really want to speak to the cooperative way of doing business and your patronage program, and that’s just been a big part of our life. I’ve been involved with First South for years, and when you take out a loan with First South, you really join the team. You become a shareholder. You get a dividend, or a patronage back at the end of the year based on how the company performs and it can really lower your effective rate. It’s been in that 1% range every year. Somewhere relatively close and your rates are tremendous rates. Really haven’t gone up much over the last six months or so. It’s staying steady and speak to the cooperative program and the patronage.
Joseph Fureigh: Yeah. When a client comes in and does business with us, makes a loan with us, we have what’s called a patron’s refund, which is a dividend, and we like to think of them as members-
Jonathan Goode: Of your co-op. Yeah, they’re purchasing stock. Yeah, they’re purchasing stock of the co-op.
Joseph Fureigh: They’re purchasing stock and they’re friends. We think of them as friends. We think of them as family, and we give them a portion of the interest that they’ve paid back at the end of the year. Usually that comes along in the form of a check.
Dave Milton: That checks going to be showing up here pretty soon.
Joseph Fureigh: It’s going to be showing up right before taxes.
Dave Milton: My wife’s been asking about it.
Jonathan Goode: Yeah, everybody looks forward to that. If somebody wants to get information, what branch are you in specifically and then how can folks get information about First South Farm Credit?
Joseph Fureigh: I’m in the Montgomery branch and you can contact us there if you’re local at 334-265-8535, or you can go to firstsouthland.com and it will direct you to the office that is in your area. There’s a 1-800 number there as well to check out. We’re all over the state and we’d love to help.
Jonathan Goode: Well you guys do a fantastic job and I couldn’t let you go out of here. Taylor Hart does a lot of interviews with our show. Dave always wants him to talk about dunking a basketball. Can you dunk a basketball Joe? You going to do that for us today on The Land Show?
Joseph Fureigh: I don’t even know if you can slip a dollar bill up under my feet when I’m vertical.
Dave Milton: Taylor’s going. He’s a bionic man now. He had a knee replacement. He’s ready to go.
Joseph Fureigh: That’s right. He’s ready to dunk.
Jonathan Goode: Well Joe thank you so much for being on The Land Show today. Y’all do go to firstsouthland.com. Check out all the information there. A lot of great resources. Thanks for being a sponsor of the show and appreciate you being in today.
Joseph Fureigh: Man, thank y’all so much for having us. Thank you.
Jonathan Goode: Well Dave, I’m excited. We have a guest on the phone today. Something you and I don’t normally deal in. Our wives are very familiar with this project and product, but we have Miss Peggy Sutton. She’s on the phone. She’s down at Fitzpatrick, Alabama. She is the founder and president of To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company. Miss Peggy, thank you so much for being on the show today.
Peggy Sutton: Well thank you for having me.
Jonathan Goode: Yes ma’am. One of the things we love to do on The Land Show, we love to talk about all things farming that happen in our state, and then also we love to promote small businesses, and growing businesses that have happened around the state and you have a very interesting product. Some of our listeners, it may be new to them, but before we jump into talking about your sprouted grain products, just tell us about yourself and how did you get into the sprouted grain business, or really even find out about sprouted grains?
Peggy Sutton: Yeah, okay. Well, I was born and raised here in Bullock County in the community of Fitzpatrick. This is home stomping grounds for me. My husband and I after traveling and working in other cities and other states, came home and have put down roots hopefully for the rest of our lives here on some family land. This land is near and dear to me. So, my business got started, I didn’t have a business plan to get it rolling. What I was trying to do was take better care of me and my husband, Jeff and trying to feed us better. My daddy’s side of the family has such longevity. As a matter of fact, Aunt Florence is 102 and still independent.
Jonathan Goode: Oh wow.
Peggy Sutton: I started studying the old traditional ways of preparing food the way that they grew up eating. They ate what they grew, whether it was meat or vegetables or fruits. Sugar was certainly an extravagance back in those days. In studying the old traditional way of preparing foods, I stumbled upon sprouting grains that until the industrial revolution, farmers actually left the grains in the fields and precipitation would germinate it so it becomes a lot more nutritious that way. That’s how I discovered sprouting.
Jonathan Goode: Explain that to us a little bit. I mean we don’t have to dive too deep into the nutritional aspects, but I guess explain what makes that more nutritious than just your traditional dry grain?
Peggy Sutton: If you take unsprouted grain, or just regular grain and you mill it into flour, you’ve got flour, but there’s a natural barrier on the outside of all seeds, and it protects the nutrient inside the grain until you either plant the grain, or you apply water to it and break down that natural barrier. Once you do that you’re letting all of that nutrition out, and as the seed germinates it increases. The nutrition increases I mean a hundred fold on some of the vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin C. Vitamin B is produced during the germination so you all of a sudden have a much more nutrient dense bag of flour, if you germinate the seed first so it’s better for you and because that natural barrier has been broken down, it’s a lot easier to digest.
Jonathan Goode: Right. I’ll say this, it’s a lot more nutritious and I know that because my wife brings it into our home. Here’s the part that Dave and I are concerned about, it tastes great too. I really like it. My wife made some soup this week earlier when it was super cold, which was perfect. Then she uses your cornmeal to make cornbread. That is what she uses. That flour, or cornmeal and it’s fantastic. We’re going to post Whitney’s recipe of cornbread on our blog this week, but it really is a fantastic product. One of the things I love about it is it comes from our state. How many pounds, and I think a lot of our listeners may not appreciate the scale to which y’all are producing your products, but how many pounds a week are y’all shipping right now Miss Peggy?
Peggy Sutton: We are producing somewhere between 40 and 50 thousand pounds a week.
Jonathan Goode: It’s a lot.
Peggy Sutton: We’re shipping all over the world really. We’re exporting now I think to 14 different countries.
Dave Milton: Peggy, just explain the process. Are y’all growing some of the wheat? Are you bringing the wheat in somewhere else? How do you sprout it? How does it all work?
Peggy Sutton: I wish we were growing some of our grains, or I wish I could buy our grains out of our own backyard of Alabama, but all of our products are certified organic so we deal with suppliers and pull in what we call raw grain. Mainly, from upper Midwest and upper West. South Dakota. Even Washington. I think some from Oregon. Occasionally, we’ll bring in wheat and spelt from Canada. We’re the world’s biggest producer of sprouted organic grains. Besides the grains we also sprout legumes, or beans and several seeds like sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and we’re sprouting almonds now.
Dave Milton: Is this all down on the farm in Fitzpatrick? Have you got them in greenhouses?
Peggy Sutton: It is.
Dave Milton: Do you have them in greenhouses? How does it work?
Peggy Sutton: No. No. We have all of our raw materials shipped in to us. What we do here is we actually germinate everything and then dry it once it’s germinated or sprouted, then we dry the grains and legumes, and then we either package them whole or we mill them into flour.
Dave Milton: I see.
Jonathan Goode: Yeah, and you have what? 30 employees there at your business?
Peggy Sutton: Yes. We do.
Jonathan Goode: For Bullock County that’s a great size business. That’s a really big thing for a lot of our small counties. Is it possible … I mean I’m sure you’ve looked into this, is it possible to grow some of these products here in the state?
Peggy Sutton: Oh there’s so many of them that I could buy from an organic farmer in Alabama, and we have. We have bought some wheat from an organic farmer in Georgia. That’s as close as I’ve been able to get, but it would be great … I’ve been a big proponent for organic crop farming in Alabama and I’d love to say to a farmer that I would buy as much as he could grow on his acreage without him having to … before he grows it, so he doesn’t have to worry about where he’s going to sell it and of course, I’d buy it at fair market price. I think it would be great.
Dave Milton: We have a lot of farmers listening so let’s put a deal together today.
Jonathan Goode: That’s one of the reasons I wanted to have you on is because I think farmers in our area are always looking for those value-added things that they can grow to just take more advantage of the marketplace, and sounds like there is a demand but the supply is not local yet.
Peggy Sutton: That’s right. Well, there’s a huge demand because organic grains have had double-digit growth over the last 15 years and it’s not slowing down any and there’s so much support in Alabama. You’ve got the Alabama Sustainable Ag Network. You’ve got the Southern SAWG, which is Southern Sustainable Ag Working Group that can help. You’ve got the Organic Trade Association, and then there’s, of course, the Federal Cost Chair Program that offers reimbursement money to farmers for the outlay to get certified organic. Every year they can get a portion of that money reimbursed to them, so it’s great.
Jonathan Goode: Right. It sounds like there’s a great opportunity and we do want farmers to get the opportunity to grow for you. Then I know you supply Whole Foods with your products. They’re the fifth largest retailer in the world so I know y’all are sending products there. Where else can people get your products?
Peggy Sutton: Locally, we’re in Renfro’s in Montgomery and Tucker Pecan, Sweet Creek Farm. Whole Foods markets. We certainly are in Whole Foods markets around the region.
Jonathan Goode: Then people can get it off your website correct? You can ship?
Peggy Sutton: Off our website, yes. Healthyflour.com. Of course that’s F-L-O-U-R. We’re To Your Health Sprouted Flour on Facebook and @sproutedflour on Instagram.
Dave Milton: Miss Peggy, I got one more quick question before we’re going to have to close out the segment here. How do you germinate that much seed? What’s the process? Now if it’s proprietary you don’t have to tell me. You can tell me off air, but generally how does it work?
Peggy Sutton: Some of it is, but I can certainly tell you that it involves a lot of water and it involves time. It’s an old, time-honored tradition, as I spoke about earlier, and we’re just doing it in a clean, food-safe environment in specially designed machines.
Jonathan Goode: Right, and from what I read, y’all had to have machines engineered to do this sort of thing.
Peggy Sutton: We did. We did. We’ve got a room full of them.
Jonathan Goode: I have a food safety background and was AIB certified in some food safety stuff and so, when you talk about all those things on your label, I speak the food safety nerd talk. I get it. Y’all are producing a great product. My wife loves it, and I’ll tell you how we got introduced to it. We moved into a new house and somebody gave us a loaf of bread and then also a package of your flour as a housewarming gift.
Peggy Sutton: Wonderful.
Jonathan Goode: We’ve been using it for over four years now. My wife is a very big fan of your products, so she’s going to be tuning into this segment, so I didn’t say anything negative and really minded my P’s and Q’s, but Miss Peggy, thank you so much for being on the show. One more time, tell folks how they can find out information about your products.
Peggy Sutton: Okay, you can go on our website, healthyflour.com and purchase directly there. You can go to To Your Health Sprouted Flour on Facebook, and you go to @sproutedflour on Instagram.
Jonathan Goode: Wonderful. Well, Miss Peggy Sutton. She’s the founder and president of To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company down in Fitzpatrick and Bullock County. Thank you so much for being on The Land Show today.
Peggy Sutton: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Jonathan Goode: One of the cool things about this show is we get exposed to so many different types of things.
Dave Milton: Yeah, I’ll tell you what, that was fascinating. I was glad to see they’ve got it at Renfro’s because there’s a Renfro’s closer to Lake Martin. I have to get my wife some and check it out.
Jonathan Goode: Yeah, Miss Kelly’ll love it. Whitney absolutely loves it. Y’all stay with us. We’re going to take a quick break. We’ll hear from some of our sponsors. Come back for more of The Land Show with Dave and Johnny.