joel salatin

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by marvella, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    is anyone familiar with this plan, and/ or using his plan for small farms?

    http://www.polyfacefarms.com/

    i've been reading about him in "the omnivores dilemma," by michael pollan. i admire pollan and he really admires salatin. i've seen the name mentioned on here before, but never paid too much attention.

    now, i am fascinated, and will be ordering his you can farm, and chicken books soon. i really want to try his methods, and so do a couple other people i know. talk about gradiose ideas, but it could be salvation for the small family farms in my neighborhood. we've all had to work off the farm to be able to keep farming for a long time now.

    new paperbacks are $22 + shipping online, so if anyone has copies for sale at a reasonable pirce, please pm me.
     
  2. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I really like Salatin's books. My favorite was probably Family Friendly Farming. My library had all of his books.

    Are you really liking "The Omivores Delima"? I tried to reserve it at the library but it is reserved for like the rest of the year! I hardly ever buy new books like this but I have really been wanting to read this book. Do you think it's worth the cost to buy it new?
     

  3. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    His operations work FOR HIM. You might copy everything he does on your place and fail miserably. Basically you need to get the 'concept' down and then figure out how you might adapt it to your individual situation.

    Books I know of are Pastured Poultry Profits, Salad Bar Beef, You Can Farm, Family Friendly Famring and How Cows & Hog Heaven. Chances are good your local library can get you a loaner copy of them.
     
  4. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    What Ken says.

    Salatin has something of a special situation as regards the legality of some of what he is doing which may not apply in other states. His production methods work well if you're willing to put into them what they take. It's the selling part that gets sticky. Some careful research is in order before determining whether you'll be able to do the same.

    .....Alan.
     
  5. LagoVistaFarm

    LagoVistaFarm Well-Known Member

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    We've read his books, gone to a seminar and spent private time with Joel. He's a great guy! Although his books are written like a workbook they are better used as theory. The ideas work but you do need to look at your own situation.

    Are you thinking about his complete system or just poultry?
     
  6. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    yes, i love omnivore, but i like everything he writes. one of my top 3 all time favorites in my life is the botany of desire. he continues the same opinions, but applies them to our food supply in omnivore's dilemma.

    ken, there is no way i could anually process 200 cows and 10,000 chickens. :help: LOL!! but the setup sounds interesting, and if i am dreaming a big dream would like to be able to introduce some of my neighbors to the ideas. the library is a great idea! if they don't have them i bet they can order them. i think the reason they are so high is they are published by a small press.

     
  7. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    What Ken and Alan say...

    It looks great on paper... it doesn't necessarily translate into something that will work for you. This man is a salesman in every sense of the word, and he's selling a dream. This works as long as you're selling eggs and chicken, it gets sticky when you're selling books which other people might take to heart and expect to replicate.

    When Joel here sells an egg what is he "really" selling? Not an egg. Anyone can sell an egg. He's selling a brand. He's selling a marketing tool for the buyer (Made from Locally Grown Farm Fresh Eggs!). He's selling Sustainable Agriculture which many people are willing to pay a premium for. And hey.. you get an egg too.

    But when you write a book to promote your dream the thing should come with a big red Buyer Beware tag on it. I gave my books away I was so unimpressed with them. The man's recipe for success includes working his children as unpaid help (I don't have children), and aggressively self-promoting himself as willing to give up "everything" to sustain his dream of a farm. This book is all about Joel and the sacrifices his family had to make to make his dream come true. Oh, and plus he basically said if you're over 40 give it up. I wonder how that's changed as he aged?

    Anyhow, friend of mine once remarked that as long as you've got your kid's best interest at heart you can't go too far wrong. This man appears, from his book, to have had HIS best interest at heart... and dragged his family along for the ride with the assumption that it probably wouldn't kill them off. Maybe yes, maybe no... all I know is that I think kids deserve horizons that don't end at the edge of a cornfield.
     
  8. HeatherDriskill

    HeatherDriskill Well-Known Member

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    I like his books. I really like "Holy Cows and Hog Heaven". I've never gotten the impression that his kids were treated unfairly. But, I come from a family where you "earn your keep".
     
  9. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    so did I. If you dont work you dont eat
     
  10. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    He makes you think,, and that is a GOOD thing!

    Remember that every farming operation is affected by climate, and he is blessed with a long growing season and a lot of rain.

    SOME of his concepts will translate to many climates, like moving a hot wire daily to give his cattle fresh pasture and resting the rest of the field, therefore increasing the yield of grass. Others, like what prices the locals will pay and how many cattle he runs in a field, simply will not.

    I enjoyed his books very much, and he really makes you think.
     
  11. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Huh???? I have sincere doubts that you have read his books. This goes against everything that I've read from him about his children. He basically says that the children deserve all the money and he doesn't think they (him and his wife) should even save for retirement because the next generation needs the money for the family farm.
     
  12. WindowOrMirror

    WindowOrMirror ..where do YOU look? Supporter

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    what I cannot reconcile is the statement, "... it could be our salvation", and, "22 bucks is too much"

    R
     
  13. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I've never read his books. Never was really turned on to the idea of tractors for chickens or pigs, but that is my personal opinion. I think his ideas are good ideas, but not exclusively his in the sense of an end result. I read a small article by him in a recent "Stockman Grass Farmer" where he writes of high end forage for finishing being possible only in a portable system such as his. IMO, with the USDA exemption of 1000 chickens, a homesteader could make Joel's system work if they followed it. A homesteader could make another system work also, on ethat is as grass- based and earth friendly. For instance the other day I noticed our fly populations are extremely lower this month. I have allowed my sow and her piglets to roam the property freely and they are eating the manure of my cow and horses. I didn't buy a book to learn it. I read about it on the pig forum here at HT.

    Tangentially, there are a lot of books and pubs out peddling knowledge and systems. That was what turned me off to the "Stockman Grass Farmer." More consumerism just because it leans toward my tastes doesn't make it less so. I want to undo the consumer mentality in my lifestyle. There is plenty of free information online to help those who want to avoid falling into yet another consumer trap ("buy this to get/learn this"). Not that Joel Salatin is a marketer, I don't know him and as I said I haven't read him. BTW, Michael Pollan is one of my favorite essayists:)

    I edited to clarify that I'm not saying the books or pubs are worthless, far from it. As a writer, I would be shooting myself in the foot. Ideas should be sold in writing but the rest of it (the special seeds, the special parts, the special bulls, the special budget analyzer/record keeper/ calculator, and those type "items" are what I dislike. Having created a niche or developed an idea and it gets eaten up by the marketeering.
     
  14. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Will your library get the books in if you request them?
    ...................
    As for his family, yes his kids do make pretty good money from the farm. But, he is sort of down on scouting and other activities, so it is POSSIBLE that his kids are not exposed to other lifestyles particularly much. Maybe, anyways.
    :shrug:
    For some kids that would be rough, for others what he offers would be ideal. It depends on the kids, and I know nothing about his, other than that he has them and that they have farm enterprises of their own.
     
  15. LagoVistaFarm

    LagoVistaFarm Well-Known Member

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    What he told me was: he believes kids should have no more than three hours of chores a day. His son is now married with two kids and does most of the farming. His daughter is attending interior design school. He is very devoted to his family.

    I doubt he desires great monetary wealth because he could easily achieve it. I'm glad he's on our side.
     
  16. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

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    I think you're way out of line in the above statement. I'm not surprised because from your other comments on Salatin it seems that you're willing to reach pretty far to criticize him.

    I DO have children. I don't think there's anything wrong with having your child work in the family business. If you had read Salatin more carefully you would see that his childrens work is not unpaid. I also disagree that having your child work in a family business would restrict their horizons in any way.

    Assuming Salatin "dragged his family along" with his best interest at heart his children would presumably be free to leave the "cornfield" when they became adults right? (That is of course, assuming as you assume that he assumed that it didn't kill them off)

    To any interested others. I encourage you to read Salatin's books. While you may not find all of the information applicable to your situation I'd be very surprised if Salatin's books didn't open your horizons or mind or help you with your farm business in some way. If the cost of the books is an issue get them from the library or on interlibrary loan.
     
  17. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    hunh???

     
  18. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    what i know about his lifestyle certainly doesn't translate to my life. he is a christian conservative, and several of his books focus more on that, than they do on actual farming. from what i have read, the you can farm, the chickens and grassfed beef books are the ones with actual factual information.

    what i am interested in is setting up a system that works in a circle, so to speak. one animal utilizes the waste of the other to produce something else that feeds the first one. if that makes sense. like he has the chickens following the cows to scratch up and spread the manure, and the entrails from the chickens go into the compost which helps grow food for the cows. that kind of thing. i liked how he layers the floor of the barn with corn. then he turned the pigs into it later and they turned it all looking for the corn and when they were done, ta-da! compost.

    creating a market is a whole other story. we are pretty isolated and iconoclastic around here. and like it that way. but clearly things are going to have to change or we are going to be swept away by the tide of "progress."

    yes they are interesting concpets. i don't know how many i will actually be able to implement. it's interesting to see that he stirs up such stonrg feelings. i personally LIKE that he is kind of a rabble rouser that continuously butts heads with the usda. stuff like the usda requires a grower to have a bathroom for the exlusive use of the inspector. they don't like his chicken killing shed either. it is an open shed, under which are the killing cones, sinks, scales, all the stuff they need, and scrupulously clean. however, the usda has a fit because there aren't any walls to be washed down to their specification. in their view, chickens should always be killed in a building with walls that can be washed. all of the laws are biased toward big corporate producers, and actively work against a small farmer trying to grow food locally. a good farmer knows that his bread and butter is in diversity. if one crop fails, there should be something else that can fill in the gap.

    it doesn't hurt kids one bit to have them grow up working on a farm. i think it's good for them, and ceratainly didn't imprison them in any way. at least my kids know where their food comes from.
     
  19. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand, you can follow them almost to the letter and have great results, like me. Of course you have to adapt--feed sources, pasture composition, available stock--but anyone who can't figure out that on their own probably shouldn't be raising livestock to begin with.

    As far as MC's (with whom I almost always agree) comment goes, I think it's baloney, no disrespect intended. If Salatin's selling a dream, then more people would be advised to buy it. Agressive self-promotion is always the key to success, especially in farming. You can NEVER expect someone to get more excited about your product than you are. If you believe you're the best and operate within your means (be that physically, mentally, and financially), you're bound to succeed. Meek introverts who can't take a compliment or collect on a bill never make the cut, and rightly so. That might make Salatin seem arrogant to them, but even if he is, he's earned the right. But the fact that he's a farmer and he's rolling in it--AND he's laying out step-by-step how others can do it themselves--tells me he's a little classier than some give him credit for.
     
  20. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

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    Marvella,

    I used to compost and garden as separate activities. After reading Salatin and Any Lee's chicken tractor I added poultry to the mix. Now my garden, chicken pen and compost pile are happening in the same area with some overlapped timing allowing the animals to do some of the weeding, aeration fertilizing and making eggs.

    It's much more elegant and easy to work the three activities together rather than separately. I think finding and explaining these benificial overlaps is something Salatin does perhaps better than anyone. The only one I found that explains this concept better (and without the religious and social commentary) is Linda Woodrow in her book the Permaculture Home Garden. The only problem I have with it is that the plant rotations are more applicable to Austraila where she's from.

    Good Luck