I did come across an interesting article yesterday about Jack Erisman and Goldmine Farm in Illinois. It is a case study from the New Farm website that chronicles the farms transition to organic crops. It is a pretty interesting article because the transition spanned quite a few years practically starting in the early 1970's and coming to completion around seventeen years ago. It is a fairly long article, but I encourage you to check it out because it tells about a 2,000 acre family farm that moved from conventional chemical crops to a seven year organic rotation along with a cow/calf herd.
Here are a few interesting excerpts from the article to pique your interest:
There is a lot to think about in these little excerpts so I hope you check out the entire article!
- Ultimately, Jack’s education and life experiences had an impact on the way he approached farming. By the end of 1969, he had come to realize more fertilizer and chemicals didn’t necessarily mean more profit. He also began to consider human and agricultural history, and came to realize that humans grew their food for thousands of years without the benefit of synthetic chemicals.
- To this day Jack has never collected a single government payment.
- Indeed, the first years were difficult, but he had a business plan, stuck with it and made a profit.
- Jack talks to many beginning organic farmers, and recommends they put fields going into organic into a small grain—wheat or oats—then into grass/legume cover crop, let the land rest in this state for a couple years and take a hay cutting or graze if some income is needed from the field.
- Jack does not participate in government programs for philosophical reasons. He has built waterways and terraces on his farm without financial assistance from the Soil Conservation Service. “Why should I ask the government to help me with something on my own land that will bring me benefit?" He has gone to government agencies for information, but he would consider it hypocritical to accept money from a program that he doesn’t believe is right.