“The New Livestock Farmer: The Business of Raising and Selling Ethical Meat” by Rebecca Thistlewaite and Jim Dunlop comprehensively covers raising and ethically selling meat. They focus on effective, profitable techniques, backed by a wealth of experience. Their common sense practices and tips are beneficial to even experienced livestock raisers. Featured species include cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats, and the niche species of bison, rabbits, elk, and deer….
Farmers around the world are in crisis, with alarmingly high suicide rates. MinnStar Bank notes, “In recent years, more than half of the U.S. farm households have lost money on their farming operations each year, with an estimated average loss of ($1,325) for 2017. The loss in available household income from the farm operation is compensated for by off-farm household income earned by farm families…” American farmers are killing themselves in record numbers, with suicide rates at twice that of veterans. The problem is global.
“The Lean Farm – How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work” by Ben Hartman is one of those books that made me look with fresh eyes. As I was reading, I kept eyeing up our homestead and taking small steps to make things work more efficiently. While geared toward the market gardener, The Lean Farm contains useful lessons for homesteads and farms of any size. (See also “The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables“, Ben’s follow up book.) …
Sole Proprietorship vs LLC – If you sell anything to anyone, you are running a business. To protect your farm or small business, as well as your private assets, you should consider whether a sole proprietorship or an LLC is your best option.
The vast majority of farms are sole proprietorships because this is the default organization if you do not do anything. To busy farmers, it can seem easier and less time consuming to just let the farm be a sole proprietorship than to do something formal to organize it. One problem – if your farm is a sole proprietorship, there is no distinction between you and your farm. All your eggs are in one basket….
“The Independent Farmstead: Growing Soil, Biodiversity, and Nutrient-Dense Food with Grassfed Animals and Intensive Pasture Management” by Shawn and Beth Dougherty strives to capture what many small farmers are seeking – farming with minimal or no outside inputs, using the best of old and new tech.
This is a discussion topic that’s come up many times with friends and other smallholders. How can your farm truly be “sustainable”, if you rely on outside inputs for daily activities? If you couldn’t buy feed or fertilizer, could you still farm successfully? Today the answer for most farmers is, “Not a chance” – but somehow our ancestors did it. The Doughertys work to combine the best of old and new to create a beautiful, thriving homestead….