Upstream Farms with Matt & Joe Brugger
Meet Matt and Joe Brugger, two enthusiastic and passionate farmer-preneurs from Albion, NE. After graduating in May 2019 with a minor in the Engler Program, Matt and Joe plan to return to their rural community where they will continue working on their business, Upstream Farms. Check out their story!
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[00:00:03.190]The quote is if you love what you do,
[00:00:05.012]you'll never work a day in your life.
[00:00:06.776]But saying you'll never work a day
[00:00:08.090]in your life is totally false.
[00:00:09.480]You're going to work 10 times harder
[00:00:11.540]then you ever would if you didn't love it.
[00:00:13.810]My name is Matt Brugger, I'm the Lead Livestock Speacialist
[00:00:16.220]at Upstream Farms.
[00:00:17.309]I am a co-founder as well.
[00:00:19.290]My name is Joseph Brugger.
[00:00:20.540]I'm a co-founder of Upstream as well as the Agronomist
[00:00:24.030]for Upstream Farms.
[00:00:25.220]There was kind of two sides of that.
[00:00:26.750]The first side of it is just boot to the ground,
[00:00:28.830]doing scouting, pretty much once a week,
[00:00:30.620]and making sure that not only are we raising
[00:00:33.050]our feeds in the most sustainable way possible
[00:00:35.810]but also consulting other farmers as well.
[00:00:39.190]My job is to take those high quality forges and
[00:00:41.270]feeds that we raise and turn them into the highest
[00:00:43.820]quality possible beef.
[00:00:45.530]We raise Angus cattle and then also on the business side
[00:00:48.270]sell retail beef right direct to customers as well
[00:00:50.690]as several breweries and the
[00:00:51.780]University of Nebraska Athletic Department.
[00:00:54.050]And then we raise hops and we market hops to
[00:00:56.740]those breweries as well so then they can locally
[00:00:58.560]source as many of their ingredients as possible
[00:01:00.620]straight from our farm.
[00:01:02.700]When we started this thing,
[00:01:03.533]we said hey, it's gonna be an intersection
[00:01:04.950]of everything that we love.
[00:01:06.438]I loved having the conversations about why does music
[00:01:08.440]and agriculture and this business really work well together.
[00:01:11.290]Well, I think it's us.
[00:01:13.640]Running your hand through the leaves, picking up that dirt
[00:01:16.020]and letting it fall through your fingers is the exact
[00:01:17.760]same thing as feeling the wood and the grains on your
[00:01:21.130]drumstick because you're getting ready
[00:01:22.440]to play that first downbeat.
[00:01:23.870]And people don't look at that that way
[00:01:25.690]but like I said, that is your craft.
[00:01:28.000]I went to college to learn how to learn
[00:01:29.530]and I'm gonna continue to learn for the rest of my life.
[00:01:31.060]I think that I don't know all of the answers.
[00:01:33.360]Being a professional has nothing to do with
[00:01:35.220]being perfect at what you're doing.
[00:01:36.750]You might have mastered your craft but mastering your
[00:01:38.750]craft entails a lot of continual education.
[00:01:41.950]For me, regardless whether that's playing my guitar,
[00:01:45.490]or trying to save a calf's life, when you're doing
[00:01:47.850]both of those things, you get the same
[00:01:49.010]feeling at the end of the day.
[00:01:49.940]And so, if I could create a business that allows me
[00:01:52.450]to feel that in every aspect and it's a complete reflection
[00:01:55.610]of those things that make me smile, that makes me a little
[00:01:58.430]more happy and that's all I really cared about when
[00:02:00.020]it came to starting Upstream was how can I feel that
[00:02:02.450]in everything I do the rest of my life.
[00:02:05.240]I think agriculture is a really beautiful thing.
[00:02:07.260]I think that farmers are the most talented people
[00:02:09.020]in the world, but there's also there's this other part
[00:02:11.040]that's not perfect.
[00:02:12.790]We're not always smiling at the end of the day.
[00:02:14.550]Sometimes we're crying.
[00:02:15.750]Whether that's the farm dog died
[00:02:17.420]or a crop got completely hailed out.
[00:02:20.290]We can't show people this grit, we're not first of all
[00:02:23.670]being authentic, but then people don't actually get
[00:02:25.650]to see every part of it.
[00:02:28.280]Either way, those experiences and being able to interact
[00:02:31.580]with those customers is super rewarding.
[00:02:33.380]And it's this consumer producer relationship
[00:02:35.760]that I've craved since we started talking about business.
[00:02:40.290]We've grown up together, you know, for 22 years knowing
[00:02:43.850]literally everything about each other and every button
[00:02:46.780]that you can push to make each other mad.
[00:02:48.907]But at the same sense, it's one of those things where you
[00:02:50.890]want people to see you as separate people.
[00:02:53.320]What came out of it was a business that
[00:02:55.250]used both of our strengths and complimented our weaknesses
[00:02:58.720]and we were able to have our own entities of it and
[00:03:01.440]be able to be focused in that, but also find something
[00:03:04.660]that we both are really passionate about
[00:03:06.030]and have that common goal to always come back to.
[00:03:09.820]The first part of our college career I think we
[00:03:11.860]thought we needed to start things just to start them
[00:03:14.030]because everybody else was and it was a competitive thing.
[00:03:16.250]And we went down a few rabbit holes
[00:03:18.340]trying to start businesses that we weren't necessarily
[00:03:21.060]passionate about and so honestly, starting Upstream,
[00:03:24.482]I could use adjectives like scary or exciting.
[00:03:27.520]What it was was more like a relief.
[00:03:29.580]Finally, we found something that we
[00:03:31.340]feel fits who we are as people.
[00:03:34.490]When we're in a room and working together
[00:03:36.000]and we are clicking, and we work quick and we work fast,
[00:03:39.280]and we work efficiently and I miss those things when I'm
[00:03:41.350]working on ventures aside from Upstream.
[00:03:43.370]So I think I feel like I have the best
[00:03:44.440]business partner in the world.
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