Our workwear is worn for all sorts of agricultural pursuits but none perhaps as unusual as beard farming. We interviewed Master Beard Farmer and STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Professional Lumberjack Adrian Flygt for tips on how to grow and groom a blue ribbon beard.
What is the hardest part of beard farming?
The hardest part about beard farming is maintaining the high esteem this profession holds. Rarely does a day pass that people in the community do not stop to comment on my prolific acreage. I would be much more efficient if I weren’t stopping to allow kind, curious citizens to inspect my crops and admire the breadth and depth of my facial fur. I welcome these educational visits, as any farmer should, but remember it is OK to look but not touch.
Are there any varmints that help or hurt the process?
By far, the biggest help to my farming is my hound who polices the edges of my beard to make sure it is free of cats, squirrels, stray bits of supper or other undesirable strays. She pays a keen eye to things that do not belong and promptly removes them with a well-timed dog smooch or firm bark. To date, we have avoided significant varmint infestation, but it is a work in progress.
Is there an ideal weather or season for beard farming?
Perfect weather and climate for beard farming comes in stages. At the start of the growing season, long sunny days and cool nights help the beard grow strong roots. It it’s too hot, the crop will often have to get mowed down. Too cold during the day and it fights to sprout. Growing a full, lush crop takes time and just the right conditions.
How do you maintain your crop?
After a good start, a steady stream of lavender conditioner, oatmeal and coffee keeps it rolling. Keeping an eye on the edges of the field with the mower makes sure the crop grows strong and tall where it belongs instead of too feral and free. Some organic, free-range farmers allow this but I try to make sure I am only farming within the bounds of my property.
What is it about Colorado that makes it so conducive to beard farming?
While I got my start in the fertile heartland of Baraboo, WI, I left the cold, dark midwest about ten years ago to bask in the warmth of the Front Range. My current hometown of Fort Collins is a superior beard farming environment because of the climate and the people. The Cache La Poudre River flows through town to provide both delightful scenery and stable water supply. The foothills cast long shadows to cool the bearding fields in the evening while providing high overlooks to observe approaching marauders. And while I do not supplement my fields with such tonics, Fort Collins is also home to many fine barley pop makers that some farmers choose to apply to their fields.
We also have a lot of people here who may choose not to farm themselves but are respectful of the time and energy it takes to maintain a lush beard crop. No beard share plans have been implemented to date, but I am sure the Rocky Mountain Beard and Mustache Club is at the forefront of this community-supported process.
What’s in that beard of yours, anyway?
I participate in woodchopping contests, and it is not uncommon to find wood chips, axe grease and tree shavings in my beard. I am usually alerted to this by the number of pictures other people are taking of my face. Leftover bits of dinner are not uncommon and serve as a little snack for later in the evening. In early 2013, I had an issue with a young hawk trying to take residence under my chin. I felt some itches and heard a strange sound, but it was only after a few rabbit carcasses fell out that I knew something was amiss.
When I’m not farming or wood chopping I teach at a school so it is not uncommon to find pencils, markers, pens or even the Smartboard remote stashed in my beard. I know to check it when the desk and pant pockets are all empty.