Monday, February 20, 2017

Farms should be producers, not consumers

The long flight from Texas back to Oregon after our big announcement at the mother earth news fair, gives time to reflect on the bigger issues. The most pronounced thought that birthed during this weekend is this...

Farms should be producers, not consumers.

Seems self evident, right? Well... During the show I spoke with many people, perhaps hundreds, mostly farmers of some size. Yet, that one simple phrase drew first blank stares, followed by almost instant recognition of the meaning of life. Yea, to a farmer seeking his reason to exist in the world, that praise embodies the meaning of life... "Producers, not consumers".

Farms have somehow become consumers... Often consuming more than they produce. Feed comes into the farm from outside, the bulk of the profits generated pass right along as payment for feed, and then the farmer spends his days trying to make back enough to buy his own food to eat.

That is just wrong!

Farms should be that magical place where raw materials combine with sun and water, to produce life from the laws of nature carefully managed by the magician, the farmer. The proper inputs into a farm are the raw energy of the earth and sun, and the farmers ingenuity. The energy from the sun is thereby harassed to create food and fiber for the world. That is how it is supposed to work.

What went wrong? In a word.. specialization. Farmers have bought into the notion that everything is better specialized. Do one thing, do it very well, and make money on effeciency of that one thing. Perhaps that works in a factory, but NOT in nature! And a farm, life itself, is based on nature.

In nature there is not independent specialization, instead there is balanced codependency. Everything relies on other elements to succeed. This is true within all biological systems, across species, across disciplines, and across the environment. Anything alone or in excess is a negative! No matter how good it is, it's goodness is measured by its balance to the rest of life.

One could say that this is rooted in the theory of evolution, which teaches slow progress through singular specialized changes. But nature does not work that way. In nature, most things could not exist before other things existed. It's not a ladder of progression, it is a circle of dependency that requires a moment of creation to begin.

On a farm, the farmer is responsible for managing his little plot of earth, entrusted to him by the creator, to produce, not consume. The goal then, is for the farm to export way more than it imports. If the export - import balance is equal, that is not nearly enough... The farm is not creating, but changing one thing into another. Only when the farm exports much more than it Imports is it creating! Only then is the farm turning raw material of sin, water, and earth into food and fiber through nature's biology.

Profit comes from value. Create value and there will be profit. The more value, the more profit.

Value comes from the extent of change from import to export. The more change, the more value and therefore the more profit.

It is one level to go from commercial chicken feed or hog feed to eatable chicken or pork. But for the most part, that is not creating, but only changing. Changing animal feed into human food. Farms consume animal feed to offer human food. Not much profit because not much change...

But if a farm takes sun, earth, water, labor and produces human food... Now we have something! No man made imports, human food exports. That is the magic of the farm.... The calling of a farmer, and the basis of farm profit.

So, it is easy to see how "farms should produce, not consume" expresses the meaning and secret of life for a farmer!

And that is what we are committed to at little sprouts... Showing farms how we have been able to create human food in the form of meat, from sun, water, soil, and labor. Ideally, a farm should only buy the tools they can not build, and nothing else. The most obvious change is, stop buying feed!

Produce, not consume.... That is the secret... Sell instead of buy, create instead of change. Let's make our farms the center of creation, exporting life sustanance from the most basic raw materials.

Produce, not consume!

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What is a farmer?

What is a farmer?

The lowly farmer takes land, water, nature combines that with his own sweat, tears, and ingenuity to create food for the world to continue.

A what is a farm?

The place where this magic happens, a place where nature rebuilds itself from seemingly nothing... A where life regenerates and migrates into the world.

Somehow, over the decades, we have lost that grand inspired vision. We have forgotten how crucial it is for man to stay connected to the nature that both sustains him and he is appointed manager over. Life isn't about technology, cell phones, Facebook, television, recreation, politics, money... No.... Life is about the basics of nature.

Farms are then, about nature, life being reborn, health, vitality, the future.

A farm should be where sun, skill and water come together under the hands of the master craft (the farmer) to create life for all those around it.

Think of that vision, farms as the center spreading life and regeneration to the world... And all your self, "how is it that farms have become consumers?" Farms have all the ingredients of life right inside, why ignore those resources to go outside to buy feed, fertilizer, chemicals, etc? Why should a farm taken in instead of send out?

Because we lost our way!

A farm should exporty, not import should produce, not consume. If we truly believe that life comes from the sun, water, and soil, then we as farmers should live it! Stop buying more feed than produced, stop buying fertilizer while ignoring the actual source is right on the farm. We have everything we need, on our land, regardless of size... Let's use it!

Farms can be the source of life and health again... We just need to return to old wisdom. We as farmers need to start making out of raw resources instead of being someone's customer.

Farms need to produce, not consume. It can be done... It must be done!

posted from Bloggeroid

Mother earth news fair !

Pleased to report a tremendous response at the mother earth news fair this weekend! Most of the day our humble little both was swamped with people anxious to learn about growing animal feed on their own land. It's very refreshing to see that small farmers of all types really do want to solve this problem!

Most of the morning Saturday we had so many people crowded around our little both that they spilled over to the neighbors... All listening to my little song and dance about making a farm profitable by growing instead of buying.

It is amazing to think... What has happened to us as farmers? Where did we lose the ability to be self sustaining? When did farms become consumers instead of producers? The small farm built this nation... Feed this nation... But somehow along the way that same small farm became a consumer of feed instead of a producer of food. That is sad. Yet.... Being here this weekend, seeing the realization and excitement in the eyes of virtually every one that browses by our signs, is so encouraging!

Farmers want to be producers, not consumers!

Farmers want to be independent again, not tied to feed suppliers!

Farmers want to make a profit again!

This is where it starts... With a spark that lands in kindling... That's all it takes!

The small farm is returning to America!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Book Series Brochure!

Big Launch Just around the Corner!

It is finally here! After years of developing our unique "farm model", followed by months of soul searching and writing, the day has come to take this model to the world! This coming weekend, Feb 17 and 18, we will be at the Mother Earth News Fair in Belton, Tx for the official launch.  Exciting Days!

For those who have received the "executive summary", there has been one fairly major change in the layout of the offering. We spent the last couple months floating this around potential investors and colleagues from the executive world, collecting feedback. This feedback has convinces us to change this offering into a straight "farm franchise" approach. A model that people understand already, accept, and are comfortable funding and using. I had tried to stay away from "franchising" becasue of negative experiences in my own past with franchises (from the franchisee side), but after careful consideration, it just makes sense. At the end of the day, this IS in fact a franchise. Explaining it in any other way just confuses people.

So, Farm Franchise it is...  Lots of work to do, but we are now looking for partners, investors, and initial clients to get this rolling and launch 100,000 farms across america!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Progress on the Book Series - "Save the Children"

It has been a very long weekend!

With only two weeks left before the big Grand Unveiling in Texas at the Mother Earth News Fair, we are scrambling to finish enough book material to meet demand. The goal is to have some books available for sale, and some as "mock-ups" to show the content and depth across the entire series. This will enable "pre-sales" of the series (at a discount of course).

But it is a sizable amount of work to prepare eight books, complete with covers and chapters on short time frame. Fortunately, it looks like we might just make the deadline for ordering books from the print on demand service.

Here is a sneak preview of the entire line of books coming :

Save The Children: Restoring Health Through Grandpa’s Farm

Book 1. Grow Your Own Feed: The Model
                 Stop outsourcing animal feed

Book 2. Grow Your Own Feed: Drip Irrigation System Plans
                 Automate germination to harvest

Book 3. Grow Your Own Feed: Gardening for Animal Nutrition
                 Create Live Feed from Sun and Soil

Book 4. Grow Your Own Feed: Fertilization and Land Rotation
                 Let the Animals do the Work!

Book 5. Grow Your Own Feed: Fertigation
                 Irrigate with Fertilized Water

Book 6. Grow Your Own Feed: Weed Burning HowTo
                 No Chemicals – Low Labor – No Weeds!

Book 7. Grow Your Own Feed: Pest Control with Guinea Fowl
                 Turn Garden Pests into a positive

Book 8. Grow Your Own Feed: Dehydrating the Harvest
                 Storing Home Grown Feed

The theme of this series is "growing feed on farm" to raise quality, save money, and create profits for the farm. This is one of the cornerstones of our model.  Growing high quality produce based feed on farm is the key to raising meat products at low cost without sacrificing quality. The animals are healthier consuming fresh or dehydrated produce, grown in soils fertilized by a variety of species living out in the sun and fresh air. There is just no way to duplicate this in a bag of dried feed bought from a supplier.

Following this series will be additional series on other aspects of small profitable farming and creating nutrition. The key is the synergy created buy combining all the right ingredients.

But for now... It's time for a good nights sleep.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Eagle Attack

Eagles have always been my favorite bird... such a strong majestic symbol of life. Growing up in south Texas, I always wanted to see eagles for real, in the wild...

Now I do. Almost daily! While i still admire the birds deeply, reality is that these birds are predators, very efficient predators.

We have a neighborhood eagle that has been visiting the farm most mornings throughout winter for several years.  This eagle will fly over, looking for a quick meal in our pasture full of delectable goodies. From the air it must look like a vegas all you can eat buffet with the doors wide open.

To date, the losses have  been relatively small... a baby pig, small lamb, duck, chicken. We have often seen this bird or one of it's friends swoop down, grab any unsuspecting young animal from above and behind, head off to the nearby quiet pasture and consume what it can. Occasionally the bird will carry the kill off to .. wherever it lives.

This year, is different. If this is the same bird, it is now HUGE.

This morning we found this eagle perched on our pasture fence, resting after killing and half consuming a nearly full grown RAM! The wingspan on this guy is amazing.  It actually caught, killed, and ate over half of the ram in one sitting.

Unfortunately eagles are very hard predators to stop. The best approach we have found is to provide shelter for the animals to run under at a moments notice and hope that they are aware and capable of escaping.  If one is just a little slow, of not paying attention to the sky above at daybreak, they loose. It is not practical to cover the entire pasture, and our farming model of following nature prohibits keeping the animals in tiny protected pens. So they are at risk not unlike they would be in the wild. Fences do not stop eagles.

This will put a huge dent in our lamb products for 2017 if we can not protect these guys quickly. The birds are smart, and know where the easy meals are. He or she will be back, often.