Patriots day brings us a guest who has worked a plethora of blue collar jobs and has solidified himself as a legend in multiple fields. Randy Nessman, aka. @master_pipe_layer, grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota, transitioned from the farm to becoming a firefighter while also being a pipe layer and considered a master at what he does. Randy gives us the run-down on farming, struggles of being a firefighter in a rural area, and just the everyday struggles of the tradesman.
Eric Girouard 0:00
This is bucket top, a weekly podcast where people who work in the trades and construction that aren't just trying to survive, but have the ambition and desire to thrive. The opportunity to trade and construction is absolutely ridiculous right now. So if you're hungry, it's time to eat. We discuss what it takes to rise from the bottom to the top with people who are well on their way and roll up their sleeves every single day.
Jeremy Perkins 0:28
So today, we have Randy Nessman, Master pipe layer on this episode of bucket talk, Randy, welcome.
Randy Nessman 0:36
Thank you glad to be here.
Jeremy Perkins 0:38
Awesome. Awesome. So Randy, your, your, your farmer, you deal with drainage out and in the in the farming community, also known as drain tiles. And then firefighter I really want to get into a day in the life of, of what you do. And I'm super excited for you to be on. So, you know, honestly, where you're based out of and, and what you do and how you got there.
Randy Nessman 1:06
So I guess so I'm from Kensington, Minnesota, down 300 people, west central Minnesota, born and raised dairy farmer, and then would have been about I would have been about 18 years old when when we quit the dairy farm. So moved on from that to a agronomy center, spraying fertilizer, chemical, custom harvesting, did that few years, then bounce straight into grain bins stuff sold and serviced. Grain dryers, grain bins, mill, right? Building the grain legs, all that. In about that same time, I suppose I was I was 19. And I joined the fire department. So
Jeremy Perkins 1:55
that's I mean, so I just recently got into the farming community, it's always been something that I wanted to do. I got into livestock I deal with horses, pigs, chickens, dogs, all that stuff. Right. And but for me the transition from from being, you know, dealing with horses to dealing with cattle, buddy man down the street deals with cattle and, and, and, and beef spheres and what have you. And I mean for you to make those transitions. Like you're going from I mean, it's all considered farming or agriculture, if you will. They're very different jobs. How, how do you adapt from one to the other? I mean, is it just is it just your upbringing? Or was it was it just on the job training, like, talk me through that transition?
Randy Nessman 2:44
I'd say all of it when, when we were still dairy farming, so I would have been 1617 years old, I was helping this agronomy center. As soon as I was 16 years old, I'd get a temporary CDL. So I can drive Class B, which should be like a tandem straight truck hauling fertilizer ready green cart, I think it started writing a comment and I was 19. And that was just kind of on the side, I have never been able to be stuck doing one thing for too long. Like to do them extra extra things. So then, when we could dairy farming, I just moved right in right into this full time. And then the grain bin thing was a buddy of mine started a business selling Sukup grain dryers screen, gray bins, grain dryers, same deal there, we get off work early, I'd go help him we'd deliver materials, I'd help them pour some cement on weekends, concrete, things like that. When I decided to finally make that transition, I'd already been working for the guy for a couple years. So I just slid into that. And, and then through that guy, it's how I ended up where I am now. Same type of deal. So that's,
Jeremy Perkins 3:56
that's an interesting point. So like, you have your day job. And then outside of that you take a little extra time out of your day to help your neighbor. You learn another skill. I guess I could say that, you know, as I'm in the horse world, I'm learning about livestock fencing and and you know, finishing beef and all that stuff. So it's a longer process because you're only devoting two or three hours, maybe a week it could be a little bit more than that. But so it's a longer process but you're at you're actually being immersed into that versus like coming into it cold so right
Randy Nessman 4:37
it wasn't it was never like walking into a job like what am I doing here today? You know, it was always a very been doing this, you know, and it just kind of move into that but I've always kind of been that way back when I was 14 years old. If I had a spare half a day on the farm in the summer, I had two or three other neighboring farmers I'd go throw hay bales, like I always liked But I was like to be doing something different with different people. It all it was all agriculture base. But
Jeremy Perkins 5:07
yeah, it's it's interesting up here too, like a lot of guys, they'll have livestock, but way to reduce costs is by, you know, working with your neighbor on hang their fields. So they're like, hey, you know you got this large piece of property, I'm gonna hate it I'll come over I'll Hey bundle and remove it for you you don't have to do anything but obviously we'll keep your cost down. So a lot of the farmers up in our area, do their own hang on other people's parcels, which is, which is pretty unique. So they're not actually using their own. They're, they're not buying their own property and using their own property. They're, they're actually helping a neighbor out, get rid of, or maintaining that property and then benefiting from it in that way.
Randy Nessman 5:52
Sure. Sure. Yep. And we're from a pretty desolate area. I mean, everybody knows everybody. So it's not like, I'm walking into this, this agronomy center, not knowing anybody, you know, they'd been doing stuff on our site. And so it's a, it's a, you know, we know everybody that we're moving around through. So.
Jeremy Perkins 6:13
So if you don't mind me asking, and, you know, it's one of the so I have goats, my wife, my wife wanted to, we have dairy goats. And so she wanted to get into the milking, we're still our flock is still young. So we're working on that. And but why did you get out of the dairy industry was that just like, you know, Mom and Pop decided to retire? And then it was just, you know, what's next in life? Or was it was it just not working out for anybody?
Randy Nessman 6:42
Kind of Yeah. So to back up even further, more. So we'd melt at cars and a Thai style barn, up until 9696, we'd moved to we built a 250 cow parlor system, so double, double six, so 12 cows at a time in a parlor. And right that 96, prices plummeted. Milk was well below our our margins are our cost per day, a cost per cow price. And we thought that until about Oh, two, and then 2002, we wrapped it up. So it was it was a we went out on our own terms, but it wasn't very far from not being our own terms. So that's all made that move.
Jeremy Perkins 7:30
What's interesting is I'm like a late 90s. Kid, early 2000s kid. And one of the biggest things that we had going during that time was the Got Milk commercials. Was that was that a representation of how the the dairy farm industry was going that that like, hey, we needed to draw a light to this? You know, dairy farmers aren't doing well. What what was kind of the push there? I mean, it seems like the timing lined up. Right.
Randy Nessman 7:59
Right. Yeah. And I don't, you know, I was younger than it didn't get as much into the, into the finance, yeah, things but, but I know, if I remember it Melka dip down around that, that 10 $11 per hundredweight. And at that time, like, cost per production was probably 1314, somewhere in there. And then I know what, like 2001 2000 Somewhere in there. It climbed for a little bit like almost where you had some hope. And then and then they they dropped again, and and they maybe even started coming up again at that point. But at that point, we're in such a hole. That's kind of that, you know, dad kind of come to us, you know, my older brother dirty moved on doing mechanic works for John Deere, as a mechanic. Yeah. And kind of what what do you guys want to do you want to? Is it worth the fight? And, and we're both at that time. We kind of had enough for the cows too. So so that was kind of the fight side effect? I guess.
Jeremy Perkins 8:56
So would you say would you say a it's rebounded and then B, do you think that it's more of a niche market now like so there was there was that monoculture mass producing, you know, way of doing farming right. So, like you, you had hundreds of head of cattle to milk right? And then you know, you're mass producing. So, obviously your your margins are are slimmer right? Because people are buying it. Bulk Do you think that like shifting to like a niche market that they have nowadays, like you see it with like, especially cattle, beef products and what have you where, you know, people are buying now half cows or quarter cows, and they're overpaying per steak, you know what I mean? versus you know, that mass production like hamburger and, and, you know, what, what have you so, they shed a little light on that,
Randy Nessman 9:59
that So I know there's definitely a few dairies that have that niche market going on. Or they couple up top my head that produced their own milk and sent truck their own milk out. And I think they were really well at that. Also, the dairies now have gotten to, you know, 5000 Cow, 10,000 Cow, you know, more, and that just, and it's not a bad thing, it's just the way progression works. But, you know, a 10,000 cow dairy can have a cost of production of, I'm just throwing numbers 12 bucks, you know, where we're at 250 cow dairy would have that cost prediction would be like, $14 you know, so in melts $13 That 250 guy's not hacking it. And that 10,000 guy is doing good. I think that's probably more the way that went in that's kind of sort of kind of going that way in farming in general.
Jeremy Perkins 10:54
Yeah, I mean, I've seen a couple of dairies up in our area that have now that have now you know, obviously, milk pasteurized, and then bottled and delivered to people's houses so that they're now getting the service, they're getting that organic, that, you know, high class, what have you and it's like, it's cool to see them adapting with the times. Like, how is how is a mom and pop operation that's been in business for hundreds of years? How do they how do they survive against the the hoods, the Oh curse, the really large, you know, large producing dairies out there. And then again, you know, I deal in hay, and grain and all that stuff. And I mean, there's years where we have hay shortages. So now you have malnourished animals, and I don't know, it's just, it's, there's just so much to it than just having the cows and milking them and then producing it. There's, there's way more on the other side that, that that is out of our control.
Randy Nessman 11:54
Right? Yeah, it is, in as far as like the small dairy, that's, that's pasteurizing and bottling their own milk and sending it out, you know, they can charge a premium for that. And if the consumer wants to buy that, if the consumer wants to spend more money on that milk, so that they know what cow that came from, or the actual deer came from, then great if that's what the consumer wants, you know, that's what the consumer is going to get. But then you do have these other guys that that can produce cheap, good milk. You know, on that side of it, also,
Jeremy Perkins 12:26
ya know, I mean, it's, I mean, you see with eggs now, I mean, eggs are, are through the roof and now you got these beautifully packaged, organic, cage free, you know, everything and I think it's just smaller operations, trying to trying to jockey their way to stay in business, to be honest with you.
Randy Nessman 12:47
Right. And we are now newly chicken farmers. I should say my wife is a newly chicken farmer. She's been threatened me about chickens for quite a while. And yeah, we're about six weeks ago, we had a 3am fire call house fire during a blizzard. So she's nervous and I was out on the roads, you know, hidden there. And so she's sitting awake at three four in the morning and, and lo and behold, ordered 20 baby chickens. So a week later these one day old chickens show up like the hell are we gonna put these? I mean, we got it was seven below zero this morning. And so we've got them living in the garage right now during the heat up in the garage and, and hopefully one day we melt here. You get them outside. But
Jeremy Perkins 13:30
yeah, I mean, I got I got 40 or 50 chickens now. And you know, it's been interesting because we had a broody hen that was laying on laying on some eggs. They weren't viable. They weren't fertilized. But she was killing herself to do it. So I was like, you know, just take the eggs away. And let's you have come to find out. I come home and my wife went to Tractor Supply and brought bought like 12 chicks. Put them in there. So the mother talked to him and I'm like, great. Now we have no chickens.
Randy Nessman 14:04
Right? Yes. Currently my wife she found on Facebook marketplace, whatever it is. Yeah, somebody who's remodeling their house and had a chandelier for sale like 20 bucks. So she's picking up a chandelier to put in her in her in her chicken house the chicken coop so she she's she's gonna be one of these crazy chicken ladies who's gonna put chicken pictures in her chicken coop with a chandelier? And I guess have at it?
Jeremy Perkins 14:33
I mean, it's good. I actually don't mind it. The only the only thing I have. That is constantly a problem is I gotta I always have a rooster problem. We just have too many roosters. Obviously, you got to call the call the herd if you want, but it's just it's like the roosters are fine until they're not fine, right? And then all of a sudden they wreak havoc and and so I We're at that point now where we, we have to take down a few roosters. But yeah, it's it's been it's been good. I mean, we got a couple of silkies which are they're like these bell bottoms, you know, really fluffy chickens and my wife loves them and I don't know they're there. What's funny is I don't know which because I'm like the worst farmer. I get green eggs now they're like a light blue green egg. I'm sure somebody will call me out on on what what breed it is. But it's funny because my son will only eat those eggs. So we have brown, we have white. We have everything but he only wants to have green eggs for breakfast. And I'm like,
Randy Nessman 15:46
so I think I think the green eggs come from she calls them Easter Eggers because she ordered 10 of these Easter eggs. They're supposed to give the blue the green. Whatever eggs. Yeah. And then can there yellow? Whatever. Yeah, whatever yellow chicken is.
Jeremy Perkins 16:02
Yeah, so that's yeah, that's the yellow chicks that I had were straight out of Tractor Supply they were and they end up being like, a nice white in there. They actually look pretty uniform versus like, we got some from a breeder that, you know, they all kind of look different and have great coloring. But the ones from Tractor Supply were really, like, they almost feel commercialized. all look the same. Yeah. So I'm sure I'm sure that breeding is streamlined. But yeah, it's been. It's been quite the quite the quite the journey I got. I got my pig Waylon right now he's trying to figure out how to how to mate with the three sounds that I have. And he's coming at it from the side and laugh enough. Try a little bit harder.
Randy Nessman 16:52
You have to you have to introduce him to the internet. Maybe he can yell?
Jeremy Perkins 17:00
Well, it's funny because I had them separated for a while because they were I think for a male, it's 18 months. And for a female it's a little bit longer than that, before you can start breeding them. So we just we just got to the point now where we've hit those timelines. And you know, we're not actively trying to breed them. We're just throwing them in there and seeing what happens and reaping the I don't know, just dealing with the repercussions after Yeah, no, it's been it's been it's been wonderful a lot a lot of life a lot of death on the farm. My kids are young six and eight. And it's been one hell of a one hell of a wild ride and and so that's been interesting, but I'd love to get into so right now for me it's mud season. I have pastures that are absolutely destroyed. You know, I got pooling I got I personally have culverts which they call swales up here. I'm doing everything I can for water mitigation, but then I happen upon your channel and you have drainage tiles I was like super jealous of like all the stuff that you do. So walk us through like pasture drainage and and some of the stuff you do and a lot of it's temporary to correct.
Randy Nessman 18:17
Some of it is yeah, yeah, and depending on what we're doing, so we don't get into a lot of pasture damage, no grime, yet we're pretty much row crop area is primarily work. But it's really the same I mean, water runs downhill and in certain soil types, or at least the water better than other soil types. And that's kind of what we do. We designed we designed through all that. So right now we are still full blown winter years ago, we were tiling ready we typically would start pretty early in April this year obviously, it's going to be a little bit later than that. But but all winter long I pretty much sit on the computer and do all my design work in the winter. We have we have LIDAR which is flown over they shot it basically lasers come down gives you a topography of the land. So I have I have the topography from all of our all of our area we do all the design work in the winter do all the selling springtime we start talking a little bit get into farming but the crop in all summer long we're working in the crap doing main some deep stuff, small projects and then and then after harvest then we go back and do that the more pattern tile that we call the grid tiling. So our areas where the pray Patil area. So the glaciers came through and and we have our land is like a golf ball. Basically you have a hill and the top of the hill be all these dimples. So 15 years ago, you know we were more kind of hitting those potholes, you know run a line here, run a line there. And now we've moved way more into the pattern, pattern style where depending on your soil types anywhere from every 25 feet, all the way up to about 6570 feet wide, we, we basically grid tile, you know this field. So you have a man runs into an outlet, all your laterals, sub mains come into that mean again water runs downhill at the bottom work your way up. So,
Jeremy Perkins 20:29
so now you use it, you use it for drainage, obviously but do you use it for re irrigation as well or no,
Randy Nessman 20:35
we don't vary very little in our area, we sit in too much elevation. So the guys that'll use it for both drainage and irrigation. So every two foot and elevation drop, they have uncontrolled structures so then so basically they have this whole system that will drain itself out and then they can add water at the top end and then every two feet that control structure will hold that water. So then you grant basically stair step your project and we sit in I mean a lot of our projects I'll have I'll have 30 feet 3040 feet of fall you know across a quarter across a half mile you know we we have we have big hills then we flatten out and then a hill and flat and and so we just sent a little too much elevation for that.
Jeremy Perkins 21:20
Yeah, yeah, no, it's interesting because you know, we're we're fortunate up here but there are areas you go out towards California and what have you and you know farmers are getting in trouble for for retaining water rainwater and what have you, I you know, growing up I thought that you know, if you can catch the water, it's yours but little did I know that because it because it affects everybody downhill. I don't really have a position on it. I don't know too much about it. So, but that but that is interesting that like any water runoff isn't technically owned by you just because it falls on your property. Right. So
Randy Nessman 22:00
see where we're kind of that we're the other end of that so we can't get rid of our water. So then so then you have everyone fighting below you. They don't want that water. Yeah, it's it's like the old saying, you know, whiskeys whiskeys for drinking waters for fighting. That goes that goes whether you want the water, you don't want the water. We deal with that all the time. And the we do a fair amount of we call me quit projects. They're they're federally funded projects. Was Cobb is the other one that people know him as water and sediment control basins. Yep, so we have that elevation. So we have these these large watersheds. I mean, all the way down to nothing new 160 acre watershed that runs across this field that has 3040 feet of fall. So we we come in with that it's all when we do those, it's all engineered by the NRCS natural gravitation. So they'll engineer it all. Put it in, you bring the pipes in we build dams or dikes, either fire mobile ones or, or non fireable. So the farmer ones, we just keep bringing in dirt until it's sloped enough where we can farm over it, you know, without being too steep. And it's It's all designed so that they'll design it for like 250 year storms. So not not a 100 year storm, but 250 year storms back to back. So then, you know, so they'll set it up for say, an eight inch rain in aid and train at 36 hours. And then this projects designed that it'll hold that water for 36 hours. And then it allow it to go down slowly so that you know fast moving water is what causes the erosion. So we can pull that up here and you know, we'll have 674 or five, whatever, I'm on a dam so we're holding all this water back. And all those ponds will draw down on the same time. And then they'll all go empty at that same time and and therefore it allows the dirt to settle out all your nutrients, your sediments everything settles out. And then you got you know, the clean water going out through a pipe rather than rather than just wash it across top of the ground. So we get into usually three for those projects here too. And then
Jeremy Perkins 24:18
oh, no, I was I was gonna say that there's there's a reason why you're called Master pipe layer because there's it's a well earned title based on the amount of work you've done with your engineer arrogation
Randy Nessman 24:31
and there's there's definitely I mean guys in our area that are that that Do you know, way more than we do? You know, the full time guys, that's all they do is the drain tile stuff, but we definitely mix into the farm, back and forth. Yeah, we stay we stay pretty busy.
Jeremy Perkins 24:50
So we've actually never gotten into this because we're trades in construction, but I think it's relevant. I think a lot in a lot of rural areas. You know, people are in a city and people are in densely populated areas. They have paid, you know, paid firefighters paid whatever. I moved, I moved north to Maine, we have a lot of volunteer services. Same with same with more rural areas and what have you. You're talking to talk a little bit about how you got into the fire department. And and, you know, what it does for the community? And, and why you will why you did it.
Randy Nessman 25:30
The fire department side. So, a lot of my friends so I had a lot of older friends with a dairy. We had a lot of high school kids that would, that would help out, you know, milk nights and different things. So it seemed like I kind of ended up hanging out with that little bit older crowd, you know, 345 years older than me. But that at the time, my brother was a firefighter, his buddies, three, four, my buddies had joined, so at the time, like, why not? I mean, I mean, what? Yeah, I mean, fighting fires fun, right? So. So that's, I'd say, that's kind of why I got into it is, is the rest of buddies are tight community. Again, our town is like 330 people, we, we actually are areas 100 square miles. And in those 100 square miles, there's about 500 residents. So that kind of tells you the size we're dealing with. So we get into a lot of agriculture equipment, fires, grass fires, crop fires, along with structure fires, generally. Usually one or two a year is about we get
Jeremy Perkins 26:39
we got chimneys fires up near us.
Randy Nessman 26:42
So I've been on plenty of them, but there's getting to be less and less wood burned in our area area. I haven't dealt with a chimney fire for about five years now. Wow. But we did just last Friday, we had the neighboring town, seven miles away, had an elevator fire. So we had we had 10 different departments on that. month ago, we had a house fire with another neighboring town. And then our towns were built by the railroad. So all of our towns are about seven miles apart, which is I guess they needed water about every seven miles. So they they dropped a water tower at town with seven miles dropped to our tower in town. So our towns are all spaced about seven miles apart around here. Okay. And they're all that 345 100 Alexandria, it's 20 miles from us. So that's the lakes area. So, there's about I think the town itself is like 18,000 people, but it's probably sleeps 40,000 Like in the summer in the lakes area. Okay, you know, so they, they've got a pretty big, they're still volunteer there. Their fire chief is full time. But so they have a big aerial so we'll we'll bring them in and we need them. We had a church fire last year, we brought them in for their at this fire in half in the neighboring town for the elevator. So we, we all work, work well together. And and it's all it's all volunteered on here.
Jeremy Perkins 28:09
Yeah, it was, it was interesting, because actually, the two largest fires we've had recently were at meat cutting facilities. So we, we actually had the the main, I forget, I forget who it's not USDA, but essentially, whoever's in charge of the butchers around here essentially said that we're going to have a hard time processing everybody's animals in, in Maine, because we've had two massive facilities burned down. So they actually called on the deer processors who usually operate like under a different under a different spectrum, but they're suited to, to be able to process meat. And so they called on them recently. And but yeah, I mean, well, to be honest with you, we've had the fire department up here checking our barn, we have a large 20 saw barn and you know, another one attached to the house. And, I mean, those are the most those are the most vulnerable to be honest with you. It's we had a ranger caught on fire because it had had some leaves in it, it was in the barn, quick action for my wife, she put it out. And then I had to deal with all the wiring harnesses and shit that were it's amazing how quickly how quickly it could you can get into a structure fire, right, actually, in a lot of these facilities.
Randy Nessman 29:35
The old, like an old dry barn like that. Yeah, you know, we've 1010 12 minutes, you know, that barn can be fully engulfed and down, you know, and especially in a rural area, you know, a lot of those don't get called in until it's pretty well fully golf. And you're sitting 15 minutes away, like Yeah, you got a real good chance, you know, you're pretty much there to protect the surroundings at that point. Yeah, yeah. Uh, but ya know, so, so I'm a pirate. Yeah, I joined when I was 19. I was training officer as a training officer, maybe 16 years now. And then, and then last year I moved to Assistant Chief. So I've been announcer solutions. Some of the 20 years I've been there. I think I've been an officer for at least 14 years anyways. I guess I'm not exactly sure on the dates, but 20 I think there's 22 Guys on apartment now. Are full rosters 28 Guys on it. And yeah, I don't know. It's just it's just kind of one of those things. You're most all my close buddies are on the department. And it's just kind of a it's just kind of a thing we do. I guess.
Jeremy Perkins 30:49
So you were talking about green earlier? Do you guys have like green fires? I mean, I've heard that they're super volatile. You know, fine particles, they're flammable. And you could have I mean, close to explosions like huge infernos? Do you guys deal with that recently? Or do you guys deal with that? In any way shape? Or form or trained or what have you?
Randy Nessman 31:14
Are you talking like, like stored grain or like, like a field of grain? stored grain actually, so that so that's what we had on Friday was was a grain elevator and
Jeremy Perkins 31:26
oh, that was a green. I figured, like, yeah,
Randy Nessman 31:29
no, so great. Like the like the big old Woodhouse, three nails, like, why
Jeremy Perkins 31:32
do they have 10? departments for, for regular?
Randy Nessman 31:36
Yeah, so the, and actually, they got that knocked out down really quick. And, wow, everyone did a phenomenal job. But the they haven't come all the parts yet what happened there, but but grain grain dust is explosive. It you know, you know how it works, everything has to be right and oxygen, the right motor fuels ignition source. But typically, a lot of times what will happen is something will be burning. And you'll have a little explosion or a little, a little puffer little bang, and it rattles all the dust off of everything. And then that once all that dust suspension, and then you'll have a big ol bank. And I'm quite certain that's what happened here. Because there was an explosion, it shook the town. And there was there was tin and wood and debris spread at least a quarter block, if not a half a block, you know, glass glass, it blew the windows out and, and, and that was in the scale, I was part of the elevator. So they actually got it out that the outside of the big wood, the old big wood house structure that had just started to burn on the outside and they got stopped at that point. Because if so,
Jeremy Perkins 32:47
how do you how do you protect against this? I mean, it seems like it's, I don't want to say it's like the cost of doing business or necessarily the, the, you know, the risk you have to take, but it's like, I mean, it's pretty substantial. I mean, we've seen fertilizer fires we've seen, we've seen a lot of of facilities recently, at least since I've started, started paying attention, whether it's ag whether it's, you know, livestock, or what have you, that we've had some pretty big issues. And I mean, how do we how do we mitigate these problems?
Randy Nessman 33:22
Well, the, as far as, like in a grain elevator, situation like that, you know, these old wood houses are built in, I don't know that the 60s 50s 60s You know, so they've been around a long time, a lot of lot of lumber, and they're, they're all cribbed because a lot of them, their, their actual bins inside of those. So it's all like two by six Caribbean or two by eight Caribbean through the whole thing. So it's a ton of wood in there. And, and I'd say things have actually gotten better. I mean, we're our, our electrical components are also intrinsically safe. So so they're, they're either protected from giving off little sparks, things like that. They gotta be unsealed cases are our electronic, it's got to be in, you know, good, good electrical boxes, you know, compared to what they used to deal with before in the electrical side of things. A lot of it's just cleansiness Keep in keeping that three inches, the dust off the walls. So when you have a little something, you don't have something, you know, turn it into more. But But yeah, I mean, things, things are definitely gonna happen.
Jeremy Perkins 34:27
Yeah, it's interesting, because, you know, again, I can't, I can't iterate it enough. I mean, our electrician came in to do a little bit of work. And he said, you know, you're our, like, our barn was built, I don't know, early 2000s. And so it's, you know, all the electrical is sealed PVC versus like Romax or what have you. And he goes, dude, yours Your stuff is so like, bomb proof. It's, it's insane. And until you actually just said that. It makes a lot of sense. Why? I mean, we have our hayloft has over, you know, 1000 bales of hay. You know, shavings within. I mean, it's just it's just one cigarette but away from being a huge issue.
Randy Nessman 35:13
Right? Yep. And then I'd say as far as grain storage and things like that, more the safety is the equipment they're working around, you know, the worker on agar is these been sleeps in there, loose? Well, then. And then. And then next other big thing is Grant entrapment, where guys are inside a green bin, and get pulled down and buried avalanched we've actually worked at So Zach Johnson, millennial farmer, and I, Yep, good buddies. We do the podcast after us. So he's ran a couple fundraisers, doing Green Bay and rescue and donating out to two departments. And I don't know if I want to say the dollar amounts that we've given away, or he's given away through that. But I believe it was like 60,000, the first time that he gave away in the second time, I think was like, 50,000. So he's, you know, he's over 100,000 donating to fire departments for green been rescued tubes, training, different things. If you go to one of his YouTube channels, he he came with us, our department, to a training facility. And we did that great men rescue training. He made a YouTube of it so people can see what that looks like, and, and some of the different equipment we use. Yeah, that's, that's great. Well,
Jeremy Perkins 36:33
it's on topic, but probably very, I don't know very rare for for the people that are listening, but how do you protect yourself, if you did fall in from, from a grain soft fixation, I guess, you would put it that way.
Randy Nessman 36:53
So if you were in that position, you were on your own, and you got pulled in, you gotta, you gotta keep swimming, gotta keep climbing. But eventually, it'll it'll pull you down to where you, you'll get locked up, and you're just not moving. You're, you are 100% at the mercy of everybody else around you. And a lot of these farmers work by themselves do dumb things climbing a bin by themselves, nobody knows they're there, you know, an hour later, someone's like, Hey, what happened to so and so, you know, and it gets too late. But it's, it's, it's really when, when you're in there, that that grain kind of going down and funneling down, and you can just kind of keep walking up and keep, you know, obviously, you shouldn't be in there in those situations. But if but if you get in those cases, the other, probably more than that is guys will get spoilage on their bins, and they'll get a crust over the top of it. And they will go in and they'll start their agar, and some grain all empty on underneath of it, and then something will go on, and I should go in that bed and see what's going on, they look in there and everything looks normal, but there's actually a crust over the top of this bin and a cavity in there. You know, they walk out there, don't realize that that trust is arrow, so you fall in, and then that grade, it's just kind of caused like an avalanche once it starts going, it just keeps flowing. And, you know, so, so probably just as many of the accidents happen, because of something like that, as far as being in there when it's just running and not being able to stay on top of it.
Jeremy Perkins 38:19
So So is is because for me machinery person in in confined space. Like that's just a no no in general. But not understanding anything like would would a harness in the situation. How would fare sure you know? Yeah,
Randy Nessman 38:38
yeah, I mean, you have a harness on you have, you have a tether line? You can only go so far. I mean, obviously have that line too long, you still get it pulled out, you know, they're gonna be able to follow the line to you, but you're still gonna be dead. Yeah, you know, but no, harness a rope. If you gotta go in a bin, you know, somebody in the outside of that been looking in from that manhole? You know, there's always a line of sight to everybody. You know, a lot of things like that.
Jeremy Perkins 39:04
Yeah. Cool. So I mean, we've touched everything from dairy, to drainage to structure fires and, and the dangers of having agricultural facilities and, and yet, we've touched on chickens as well. So with with your, your work, we completely wrapped up with everything. I'm sure there's not a little time for you to unwind. What do you do when you find a little bit of time to go hunting fishing like what's, what's your release?
Randy Nessman 39:39
Um, so recently hunting just because my boys are 1411 and really kind of got nice this year. So so just recently back into hunting, when I was a kid did a lot of hunting. Other than that, in the winter is a lot of our downtime, little bit of downhill skiing, snowmobiling. And then And then just just hanging out hanging out with friends. I mean, hanging out to have a few beers, play some cards. Yeah, that's just kind of I'd say, Yeah, hang it up.
Jeremy Perkins 40:12
That's awesome. And, you know, it's it's kind of funny because we had talked about this a while ago, we wanted to get together to do the podcast. But this actually really came together because of case construction case agriculture. We ran into each other again at at con ag con Expo. And we were both working the case, the case booth. And, you know, the case family really brought us together. And that's been been pretty awesome. But outside of that, do you have anything that you want to, to mention to talk about? Where can they find you if they want to get into firefighting, chickens, drainage, whatever, where can they find anything? Randy?
Randy Nessman 40:58
So I guess I'll start in the fire department thing. You know, so there's a, I think it's, I mean, nationwide, there's a huge calling for volunteers. It's just, people are doing things in their communities like we used to, and the volunteer fire service. You know, it's easy sometimes to sit back and poke fun at the volunteer fire department. But if you're not out there, joining them and helping them, you know, you're not you're not doing any good either. So, so get out, show up to meeting. Everyone knows somebody that's out a fire department, talk to them, figure out what their next meetings are, show up at a meeting and enjoying, give it a try. I mean, there's I don't know that there's a whole lot of departments that have a full roster right now that are that are going to turn someone down. We even show up for trainings, show up, talk to him, Go hit a couple of trainings. See if it looks like it's something for you or not. I guess that would be on their fire department side. By side, Instagram, tic tac little bit Facebook, just kind of what pushes from from Instagram, but master underscore pipe underscore layer off the house podcast off the Huskers. Millennial farmer podcast. Yeah, I guess that would that kind of sums that up?
Jeremy Perkins 42:13
No. And that's, that's, that's cool. And I really appreciate you being on I'm glad we got to connect and you know, busy schedules, kids, you name it. It's it's tough to coordinate, but we did it. And it's been excellent. So thank you for being on the show.
Randy Nessman 42:30
Can I add one more yet?
Jeremy Perkins 42:31
Are we done? You got? Yeah, no,
Randy Nessman 42:32
you're good. You're good. So I got my first pair of red boots. Two weeks ago. Yeah, two weeks ago, I think right for ConExpo. So I hadn't really worn them yet. The last week and a half now I've been wearing them. I have very very picky feet. I have high arches. Yeah, I know. But. And I've actually been in the shop pretty hard the last week and a half. And my feet feel phenomenal. Honestly, I'm a very picky guy. You're not telling me to say this. I just wanted to throw that out there. I know. I love the boots. And I'll be I'll be I'll be doing some more of this.
Jeremy Perkins 43:08
I appreciate it. Thank you very much. And as a special thanks to our loyal listeners, we're giving $10 off your next purchase of $60 or more at brunch workwear.com Use Discount Code bucket talk. That's bucket talk. 10
Randy Nessman was born and raised on a dairy farm that was run by his parents. The business was successful until the turn of the century and the family had to move on and start fresh. Randy tells us about life on the farm as a kid and the skills you pick up doing the tough work involving farms.
We get to hear what led Randy to becoming a pipe layer and eventually following the footsteps of his buddies and becoming a firefighter. We get an inside scoop on the dangers of these tough jobs and the major drainage projects Randy has been a part of.
Taking a step back from work we see what Randy does for fun with his family and friends and the fun times that come along with working in the trades. Randy is a proud firefighter and we thank him and all first responders for your service.