Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Following Up on a High Failure Rate

This weekend there were some great comments on my post, "A High Failure Rate", and I thought I would take a few minutes to follow-up on them because they really made me think (that is the great thing about this blog ... thanks everyone!). What I have done is taken the quotes (in italics) and then added my comments below. I would love to hear more of what you think on this subject, so keep the conversation going.

(JRG) "I would like to believe in 10-20 years, the 20% of concerned citizens will grow to a larger percentage. The more we do to tell the story of sustainable, local 'agrarian' agriculture at every possible venue we can, the greater the likelihood that 20% will grow to become a majority."

I do believe that you will see the number of people concerned about their food choices will grow. In fact I would say that 2 years ago I knew only a handful of people that cared, and now it seems like I'm finding more and more people everyday ... even some people that surprise me.

(Mellifera) "I'd love to hear more about the specifics of people's business problems, in the interest of not repeating history..."

I'm no expert, but I would say a lot of it has to do with getting too big too fast. And with this I'm not so much talking about small scale sustainable farmers, but commodity crop farmers who try to have an operation with their neighbors. I would also throw out unrealistic expectations as a reason ... but Mellifera alluded to that in her whole comment.

(Rich) "I seriously doubt if the odds of success are that low. What are the odds of having a professional sports career? 10,000:1? 1,000,000:1? I would think that the odds of succeeding would be closer to 15% or 20%, still low but not as dismal as 1 in a million."

I was curious about that also.

(Lance) "I was particilarly curious as this post, and still often wonder if my goals are achievable. Time will tell. Thanks for all the info."

Lance, first of all I'm glad you stumbled on the on the blog and I hope you stick around and get involved in the discussion. I do think you goals are obtainable ... but, it will take crazy work!

(Lance) "It would be nice if there was some kind of official club, at least then it might not seem like I am feeling in the dark so much."

I am totally with you there! I too felt like there should be some sort of official club, and that became part of the reason that I started this blog. I had read all about how Salatin did it and talked with a few others, but I wanted to know how a young guy with out land (Salatin had land) or money could actually make it work. I searched and searched, but couldn't find what I was looking for. So ... I started the blog and started to chronicle what we are doing.


rock.and.roll said...

Well, you are in luck. This week I am attending the Executive Link program run by Ranch Management Consultants. The programs and boards are designed to help folks like us in this situation. I could write a small book on it's history and what we do, but would encourage you to look into it and contact me with any questions.

Yeoman said...


By design or default, I think this is the Club, and you are the Club President.

Ethan Book said...

rock.and.roll - Hmm, those are the "Ranching for Profit" people. I have seen the ads before, but don't know much about them. Looks like an interesting program ... maybe something like "Your Small Market Farm" that we have here in Iowa.

Yeoman - I hope this can be something like the club ... but, I don't know about the president thing :)

Bro. Williams said...


Thanks for the reply.

I guess part of my personal problem is that I am a typical American male; I want it all, now. Better yet, I want more than that, five minutes ago. I am sure you know the mentality.

So, this whole concept has been a definite strain on my patience. However, on that thought, it kind of reminds me of the ministry, to a degree. Starting out, I wanted everything to be in place, and I wanted to be (fill in the blank: successful, wise, a blessing, in a full-time work, all of the above and more). Thank God he didn't let me have any of my desires right away. It has taken time, patience, work, blood, sweat, tears, heartache, fatigue, blessing, sufferings, gains, losses, hours, and countless other things, for the Lord to even have brought me thus far. However, if all had been expected and accomplished at once, it could never have been the same, nor could I have handled any of it.

I am trying to take one bite out of this elephant at a time.

On to the land issue:

I have been trying to get on the homesteading forum in order to post my questions, but thus far they have no approved me.

I am in South Central, KY.

I live on 8 acres (rented), of which about 3-4 has potential (the rest being inhabited by other renters, or completely wooded on a slope next to the other renters). My landlord attends my church, and is a fellowlabourer in the ministry, and has granted me permission to use whatever land is there, as I see fit (all in good stewardship fashion of course).

I also own 2 acres (same area), which joins up to a family owned farm, which belongs to my step-mother's father, Lee. (Technically my step-grandfather, but not so in reality). Anyways, the land in this area is great, but Lee has most of it in stewardship programs (trees and native grassland and flower management programs) and therefore is untouchable at the moment.

At current, I am struggling in trying to decide if I should 1) stay where I am at and continue to rent (I have a lease until May regardless), or if I should try and build a small/cheap structure on my land, which with my current job I could pay off within 5-10 years and still work the remaining 2 acres there.

I am at a loss as to which direction to go.

Thanks for letting me put all this out there, sorry for the length.

Bro. Williams said...

I hope it is not bad manners to post twice in a row (especially when the last post was incredibly long), but I wanted to state three things in regards to Salatin since you mentioned him in your post:

1. I just realized yesterday that there are some Salatin videos on the net, (I am sure most people know this, but I am a little bit slow) and I can listen to them while working on other things.

2. He has an open farm day that is free coming up in October. I live in the next state over and would love to drive over there and see how it is done, first hand. I am quite the visual learner.

3. In April of next year, Salatin will be speaking at a local liberal arts college here in KY, about 1.5 hrs from my home. That will be very interesting.

Thanks, and carry on.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...