Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle
The farm of the future may not look like what we are used to seeing today. But it would look very familiar to our grandparents. The Polyface Farm.
We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.
EcoAgriculture – Polyface Farm
by David Proctor
July 11, 2019
Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine Published Weekly
From a very early age, I always wanted to farm. The problem was if you have the money that it takes to farm, why would you farm.
Almost every farmer is up to his eyeballs in debt, just trying to make a living and never seems to be able to get ahead. With all the expenses that it takes to buy equipment, buy seed, plant and fertilize the crops, veterinary bills, medications for livestock- there is just no getting ahead.
The only solution is to specialize and produce more. More cattle, more chickens, more hogs, more land for more row crops, more everything. But who really gets ahead? Is it the business that sells the equipment, that sells the seed, that sells the fertilizer, the Sell Barn that buys the cattle, hogs, etc. The farmer is the only entrepreneur that “buys at retail and sells at wholesale.”
I wanted to see a farm that is truly successful, that is not up to their eyeballs in debt, produces diversity in food, and is producing healthy food. I saw that farm today, The Polyface Farm that is run by the Salatin family in Swoop Virginia.
Driveway To Polyface Farm
I was amazed when I got out of the car, the farm had animals, I could hear them, I could see them but I didn’t smell them. What was going on here, how can this be?
I can remember when I took a motorcycle trip from Missouri to Minnesota. I rode through Iowa, I couldn’t believe the smell, it was terrible. And here, this farm had hogs and I couldn’t smell them. What was being done differently? Everything is the answer to that question.
As an urban farmer, I wanted to see what ideas I could bring back. I can’t have cattle, hogs, or sheep, but I can have up to four chickens. So, I decided to see how they raised their chickens.
They do not keep their chickens in little cages or cubicles, they are able to move around, and have plenty of fresh air and grass to eat. Some are kept in what is called a chicken tractor.
Movable Chicken Cages For Broilers
Chicken Tractors – Laying Chickens
The chickens run around and eat bugs and grass, then are loaded back up in their movable home to the next location. Others are kept in a caged area that is moved by pulling a wire rope and the whole cage is moved along with the chickens to fresh grass. The difference in the accommodations is for laying hens and broilers.
Where I live, a chicken tractor would not be applicable, but the movable cages might be something to try. The chickens would be protected from predators and have coverage, then in the evening could be brought into a chicken house.
Movable Chicken Cage
I also saw where they have rabbits and the chickens run around under the rabbit cages. Some of the rabbits were out in a grassy area that allowed them to eat the green grass and still be protected. The difference here is what the rabbits are being used for, for meat or producing young.
Each of the locations that had animals was set up for a specific reason. Some locations were set up to accommodate the different age groups of the animals, whether it be little chicks, or chickens laying eggs or chickens to eat. While others were playing their role to help in the symbiotic relationship with the other animals. These different but important roles of the animals are what makes this farm unique compared to conventional farming.
Rabbit Cages With Chickens Underneath
A Sheep With A Watch Dog
The farm of the future is the old McDonald farm with a few different twists. I know you’re thinking that can’t be. There is no scale to that type of farm, no specialization, no way you could make a living. I saw differently today.
This family is not only making a very good living but a healthy living, without chemical, pesticides, herbicides, and all the other “cides” that go along with conventional farming. I hope to learn and practice these techniques on a small scale and hopefully try them on a little larger but maintainable scale.
The Polyface Farm, if you would like to read more about their methods go to http://www.polyfacefarms.com/ where you will find books and seminars about what they are doing. Joe Salatin has written several, books and is a well-known speaker on the subject of agriculture.
Check It Out!
I have really enjoyed this book, you may too.
YOU CAN FARM | THE ENTREPRENEUR’S GUIDE
TO START AND SUCCEED IN A FARMING ENTERPRISE
by Joel Salatin
Once you stop using herbicides and pesticides, you are organic!
We are not here to conquer nature but to work with nature.