Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Greatest Farming Advice Ever!


Blogger Wayne A. Shingler said...

Thanks for sharing this. Joel's advice in "You Can Farm" helped me make the leap into farming, and a few years ago at the OEFFA conference in Ohio, I got to thank him in person for it. I needed to hear this about now.

By the way, hi, I'm Wayne. I found my way here via handpickednation.com's posting of your excellent "An Open Letter to Angry Vegetarians." We have very similar stories and views in that regard, though I've gotten more than just hate mail from angry vegetarians.

In 2009, my wife and I purchased a just-under-five-acre parcel a couple blocks from our home in Columbus. The house on the property was in bad shape, but it was a huge amount of land for being in the city, and it was cheap. I raised chickens there for a few years, selling meat and eggs at local farmers markets, doing deliveries, starting a CSA, and then selling gift cards. It was growing fast. Things were going well, despite the usual setbacks Joel talks about here. But then in 2012, one or more animal rights activists stole all my broiler chicks. I replaced them and put a lock on the door of the broiler house. The thief came back, ripped off a roof panel, climbed in, and stole them all again. Through the course of that year, they ripped down fences, stole whatever hens the predators didn't get, stole a 10-hole roll-away nest box, and broke into the house and stole a bow and arrows. Meanwhile, the deer and groundhogs ate everything I planted there. I decided I could no longer farm there unless I could be there round-the-clock to guard the place. I was effectively out of business until I could get the house fixed up enough to move my family in.

We moved in last year, and I've spent a lot of time building deer fences and pulling rocks out of the gardens, but there's still so much left to do. I've gone from having gross sales of $20,000 a year to counting myself lucky if I have a few extra vegetables to barter with neighbors. We're recovering, but it's been slow enough that it's really discouraging. When you're building infrastructure and not getting paid, it's easy to forget that it will pay off eventually.

Anyway, thanks for the shot of encouragement. You can see my farm blog here: http://frijolitofarm.com/

July 22, 2014 at 8:28 PM  

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