Monday, November 09, 2009

Pioneer Farming

In our radio interview last week I mentioned that I have decided on a new name to describe the type of farming we are doing. The term that I came up with is "Pioneer Farming". But, if I'm going to be throwing around that phrase then I better be defining it and giving some reasoning behind it. First of all the reason that I decided that is the term that I want to use is that so many of the other terms being used now are so ambiguous and encompassing (of course now that I think about it so is the word pioneer). I can't say that we are organic ... we may be kind of natural, but really what does that mean ... and we are only sustainable if by sustainable you mean grass-fed (because financially we aren't quite there yet).

So, I decided we needed a term that fit us and what we are doing. I came up with "Pioneer Farming" ... Not because we are doing something different or new (we really are trying to take what others are already doing and have done and adapt it to our place), but rather I choose that term because I think it describes what is going on out here on these forty acres. We are trying to scratch out the farm from nothing but our saved money, hard work, help of friends and family, and the grace of God. We came to this farm much like the pioneers of generations past would have ... with nothing but a bit of a dream and a desire. And, in order to make it work we are going to have a lot of that pioneering spirit!

Like the pioneers we are going to have to fight and struggle to make things work, and we are going to have to keep looking forward and trusting in what is possible. We are going to have to think outside of the box and even leave the beaten path from time to time. We're going to have to work with what we have even if there is something out there that might work better. And we are going to face many struggles that may seem insurmountable at times.

If we make it through all of that ... then maybe we can come up with a different term to define our farm. But, for now I think we are going to have to stick with "Pioneer Farming".


Rich said...

I am starting to prefer the term Holistic (from the Holistic Management ideas of Allan Savory).

I can't fully explain the ideas beyond the need to balance every aspect of the farm/ranch, but more information can be found at:

Of course, my current interest in Holistic Management might be because I first got exposed to the idea of pasture-cropping from their free newsletter, and the results of my "experiments" so far are so intriguing and could open up alot of possibilities.

I suggest that anybody interested in rotational grazing, pasture improvement, etc. should do some research into the ideas behind pasture-cropping, advance sowing, and/or no-kill cropping.

Amy Maus said...

Thanks for this post Ethan. Its so hard when starting out with small acreages (ours is 20) to not feel guilty when you cant get your animals out there rotationally grazing right away. The fencing and infrastructure take money and time and with off farm jobs, kids homeschooling, church and everything else sometimes it takes a long while to get things in place. We do the best we can right now with a vision for the future of how it will be. "Pioneer Farming" is a great title for what we are trying to do. Thanks again!!

Yeoman said...

Let me suggest something like Neo-Agrarian Farming. I think you're an agrarian.

Agrarians, in an American context, are farmers who farmed with a sense of independence and self sustenance. There was a production element to it, but that sort of came after the goal of being able to raise your family, on your own land, independantly.

The "neo" part of that is no doubt unnecessary, but if you don't put some qualifier in there, people will assume that you want to dig in the dirt with a stick, which is not the case.

Ethan Book said...

Rich - I need to jump on the Holistic bandwagon ... we have several opportunities to learn more about it here in Iowa, but I haven't been able to make it to those yet. Lots of good stuff though!

Amy - Thanks for the encouragement ... you are right, it does seem pretty crazy at times!

Yeoman - Neo-Agrarian ... that's something I could wrap my mind around a bit I think ... the "Neo" does make it seem more important though ;)

Viagra Online said...

My grandfather was the first farmer in my family, then my farmer became farmer and I became a farmer too, so I come from a farming family and my son will keep this family legacy. Nice story about the pioneer farming!

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