Healthy Regenerative Lifestyle
My story of The Farm, The Dream, and The Plan, continues with my definition of a Successful Farmer. A Successful Farmer is one who observes and follows the natural processes of life. These practices will enhance the local ecology plus the economic bottom line of the business. A Successful Farmer is a “Eco-Farmer”.
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.
We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.
by David Proctor
December 7, 2017
Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine Published Weekly
The natural processe takes the sun to provide energy for plants to grow. The plants grow and are eaten by herbivores. The herbivores, as they graze will keep the plants at a shorter height, that stimulates growth. As the herbivores graze and move, they deposit dung which is used by the plants to grow.
Cattle Being Moved To New Paddock
As simple as this may sound, the process is very complex and involves many players from dung beetles, birds, micro-organisms to the availability of water and other natural elements.
This is how one becomes a Successful Eco-Farmer, by helping to orchestrate this process. I found an example of this type of farmer in Joel Salatin at his Polyface Farm.
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.
I use to read Successful Farmer when I was young and staying on the farm. The magazine would feature all the large and back then high-tech equipment that the farmer could purchase to become successful. The magazine would show silos, confined feedlots, and confined hog operations.
Almost every farmer was and 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 if 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 a diversity in food, and is producing healthy food. I saw that farm; The Polyface Farm, that is run by the Salatin family in Swoop Virginia.
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 different? 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.
The chickens run around and eat bugs and grass, they scratch at the manure to get to the fly larva which they love to eat, then are loaded back up in their movable home to the next location. Others are kept in a movable pen that is moved by pulling a wire rope and the whole pen 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.
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.
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.
This family is not only making a very good living but a healthy living, without chemicals, 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 know speaker on the subject of eco-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
Subscribe to: Acres USA and The Stockman Grass Farmer
These are excellent magazines.
Once you stop using herbicides and pesticides, you are organic.
We are not here to conquer nature but to work with nature.
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