Welcome to Episode 51 of the Indie Business Podcast! In this episode, I introduce you to Mike Neustrom of Prairie Lavender Farm in Bennington, Kansas, and of the United States Lavender Growers Association. Mike’s lavender business is an outgrowth of a promise to his wife to settle wherever she wanted, after he ended a distinguished 20-year career in the United States Navy. Their destination was near her hometown, and after he got there, Mike needed “something to do.” The next thing you know … he’s a lavender farmer. (Of course!) Over the years, Mike continued to see a need to support and promote lavender as an official “crop” in the United States, and to connect “lavender-preneurs” in a more formal way. Along with some of his lavender producing colleagues, he launched the United States Lavender Growers Association, and today, he serves as its president. In this episode,Mike talks a bit about how lavender is grown and harvested in this country, and how you can become involved as a grower, producer, or just a lover of lavender. You’ll also hear how you can meet Mike and me at their upcoming lavender conference in Mesa, Arizona, where I’ll be speaking on the topic of Effective Marketing Strategies in an Age of Too Much Technology. If you’ll be there, leave a comment below so I can be sure try to meet you personally. Enjoy my interview with Mike NOW! Listen to the Audio Episode Show Notes * The beginnings of Prairie Lavender Farm and a bit about how lavender is grown and harvested. (starting at 3:30) * Mike’s pre-lavender life, and how he stumbled upon the idea that he should start a lavender farm. (How hard could it be, right?) (starting at 4:35) * Mike shares about trends in American farming generally, and lavender in particular. (starting at 8:05) * How Mike organizes harvesting and manufacturing at Prairie Lavender Farm, including his annual lavender festival. (starting at 9:45) * About the United States Lavender Growers Association, which has 349 members as of the time of this podcast. (starting at 11:05) * About the upcoming US Lavender Conference from January 25-28 in Mesa, Arizona. (starting at 18:09) “ A purpose of the US Lavender Growers Association is to get the US to classify lavender as a “crop”.