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You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise 1st Edition
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However, there are also some big scary flaws in the book that make it somewhat dangerous in the wrong hands. First of all, Salatin's list of BEST farming enterprises is very persuasive but doesn't account for differences between farms, regions, and markets. He ranks poultry operations as being highly profitable, but today chicken feed prices in the west (can't speak for elsewhere) are so high that all the small-scale poultry operators I know have gotten out of the business. Meanwhile, new farmers keep trying to do poultry because of Salatin's book, but I have yet to see it pencil out in reality for anyone.
Also, there's a big math error in that chapter as well. While he endorses vegetable growing as a viable enterprise option, he kills it with faint praise when he says this:
"In order to move $30,000 worth of stuff, you need a lot of pounds of stuff, and you need a lot of customers. If the average person spends $600 per year on fresh vegetables (which I'm sure is a high estimate), you would need 500 customers in order to gross $30,000. Because the price per pound and average purchase is higher for animal proteins, we here at Polyface can do that volume with fewer than 100 customers, on average. That's a hefty difference."
The problem with this analysis? $600 x 500 = $300,000!!!!!!!Read more ›
Yes, occasionally he does break into a radical conservative rant--but who cares what he thinks about healthcare and New York City? What matters to me is that I come away from the book equipped with knowledge that will help me make wiser decisions. For someone like me who's starting from scratch, what I want to know is how I will do things differently after reading this book, and in that regard, this book was EXCELLENT.
The most important message that Salatin drilled through my head with "You Can Farm" is this: Carve your niche first, start the farm later. Most of us have it backwards. Perhaps too many people have seen "Field of Dreams" and assume "Build it, and they will come." It simply doesn't work that way with farming. That's why so many agricultural operations depend on off-farm income and/or go out business completely.
Then there's the little fantasy of having a patch of land to call your own. I'm no stranger to it; I want to own the land I farm, too, for no reason other than I just want to. But it comes at a high cost, and Salatin won't let you forget it: "Land should only be acquired when you know what to do with it, and the size should be less important than location. Be patient and let your farming enterprise drive the land base, rather than the land base driving the farm.Read more ›
Most of the farm activities he recommends require little up-front investment or experience. One can start small and expand as one learns the ropes.
We've used many of Salatin's ideas on our farm in Oregon, and they've worked very well for us, and we know a lot of other people who've put them to work as well.
Other writers focus too much on the romance and political correctness of ecologically responsible farming. But romance and political correctness don't pay the bills. "Sustainable agriculture" has to sustain the farmer as well as the land, or it's nothing but a snare and a delusion. Salatin shows a proven path to success and profitability.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are looking for a step by step guide to growing fruits and vegetables or raising cattle, move on. This book is not for you. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Adam J. McKee
Nicely laid out and filled with practical and workable information.Published 2 months ago by David Weeden
Read the book in record time. Easy read. Only draw back is if you are truly a novice farmer the chapter on water is a complete mystery. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Deneen Morrison
Fantastic book if you want to learn to farm by thinking outside the box. I love Joel Salatin! He is my hero!Published 5 months ago by StephanieM
I have read most of Joel Salatin's books, and this is one of my favorites. I like the way he thinks outside the box and questions authority. Read morePublished 5 months ago by D.E. Ball