Future of Agriculture 071: Hydroponics and Controlled Environment Ag with Joe Swartz of American Hydroponics

Joe Swartz is the Vice President of Commercial Sales and Technical Support at American Hydroponic, a.k.a AmHydro. AmHydro is a small company in the United States that designs and builds innovative hydroponic systems, a soil-free way to grow plants, and have been doing so for the last 30 years. Joe Swartz himself came from a family of farmers, and started researching the science of hydroponics when he saw the traditional methods of farming were no longer paying the bills during the real estate boom of the late 80s.

After purchasing the family farm from his father, Joe put his formal education and passion in agriculture  to good use and invested time and money into researching and experimenting with different hydroponics system operations. Some said he was a genius, some called him otherwise. Regardless, with hydroponics AmHydro has slowly and steadily made a huge and growing impact towards preserving the environment. 

In this episode, Joe tells us all about hydroponics, its advantages and disadvantages, why hydroponics farming is still farming, and how to turn it into a profitable business.


“The real issue is that we have a need to be able to put agricultural production in areas not necessarily suitable for agricultural production.”  – Joe Swartz


This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast: 


  • What is Nutrient Film Technology?
  • How his old-school family reacted to him telling them it’s time to find a new path in agriculture.
  • How has controlled environment ag changed from the 80’s to now?
  • What factors cause people to think controlled environment agriculture is too hyped? Is that a good thing?
  • How would he advise new farmers who want to proceed in getting started as a grower of indoor farming?
  • What is the correct approach at building a hydroponics business?
  • How big does a greenhouse need to be to make indoor farming profitable?
  • The ballpark price for indoor farming packages.
  • What is Aquaponics?
  • Why some controlled environment agriculture growers fail?
  • His prediction for the future of hydroponic agriculture.


Connect with Joe Swartz:







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Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.