These empowering words were spoken by Joel Salatin, a beyond-organic farmer and author in Virginia. His family owns and manages Polyface Farms, which they purchased in the early sixties. The land in that area had been abused by poor farming practices so the soil was terrible — the topsoil having been washed away by rain and wind thanks to overgrazing and a lack of crop rotation. The Salatins began planting trees, digging ponds, and herding their cattle, hogs, and poultry to various sections of their property (and moved them daily). They land began to heal and the Salatins continued their work. Here’s Daniel Salatin to tell you more about their philosophy and operation:
This family rebelled against standard farming practices and fed their animals grass-only diets, free-ranged their poultry and hogs, and refused to administer antibiotics at a time when most farmers were only just beginning to grasp the concept of crop rotation. The United States Department of Agriculture fought with this family over every aspect of their farming operation. As Bruce Willis said in The Whole Nine Yards, “the stats don’t lie” and the USDA is having to eat a lot of crow because the Salatin farm is able to pay every one of their workers ample wages and still have money to reinvest in their farm. They put the animals needs first and let them work together on a carefully managed cycle to improve the land and therefore feed themselves. Steroids, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides are not needed or used. The end result? An inspiring success story of healthy land, grass, cattle, pigs, turkeys, chickens, and humans.
Josh and I admire these innovative farmers because they paved the way for those of us who dream of having a farm like theirs. We love their books, philosophy, and way of life. Want some great reading for the spring? Check out the following (click on the book cover to open the page):
We hope that you too are inspired by the Salatins. If you just can’t get enough of them or you are interested in taking The Razor Family Farms Challenge then click here and read about what you can do to change the world and see a tour of Polyface, Inc. with Joel Salatin.
Don’t miss the sounds of the morning at Razor Family Farms in the post below: