Thursday, November 4, 2010

Resources for Farmers - And a Passion for Grassin'

So we’ve talked the last few days about grazing and why graze. I’d like to tilt the viewfinder a little today and give farmers out there some resources for grazing. Here’s one I found right off this morning that looks pretty fun, full of how-tos and fencing. That one looks to mostly cater to beef, but a useful poultry resource for us has been Purdue also has some great info on grazing and pasture management

So hopefully that’s enough to get you started. I’ve got tons more resources, of course, but that’s enough to wade through for now, I think. One thing about it, it’s never hard to sell farmers on the benefits of grass. I think most of us would rather see our animals out on pasture more than anything else. The problem is that’s not where the demand of the market is. The demand is for cheaply raised meat that grows quickly and that’s exactly what the public has gotten, full of antibiotics and hormones. But, that is what they asked for.

Last I heard, less than 2% of the population is involved with food production in America, with fewer young people getting involved as the years go by. And when you think about it, why should they get involved? There’s little money and long hours involved with farming, passion for grassin’ or not. The key now is niche markets and educating the public on where their food comes from. I’m continually amazed at how many people my own age have never even been up close to a horse, let alone a cow. They have no clue about grass-fed versus grain-fed and no incentive to care. But food is the basis of everything. Without food, there’s no room for civilization. Farmers are integral to everything. I mean, how many people, realistically, can feed themselves without a grocery store? So there’s the incentive to learn about where your food comes from: no store, no eat. Scary. So my advice to aspiring and current farmers? Business planning.

I’ve mentioned Annie’s Project on the blog before, but for those who didn’t catch that post, it’s a nationwide class held to educate women in agriculture about opportunities and management in agriculture. For it, I picked up a lot of information on how to manage and build your farm on paper. This aspect of ag is actually a post or two all in itself so I’ll leave off today with a few starting resources on ag business and pick up tomorrow discussing the importance of business planning and how it can benefit your ag business.,1607,7-125-1568_2388---,00.html Haven’t explored this one yet, but does look to have some useful info.

The best site for farmers interested in business planning is Dennis Stein is part of Michigan State University’s Extension Service and a great personality.

Here’s a link for beginning farmers and looks great for people just thinking about adding farming to their repertoire. After all, the reason most small businesses fail is poor planning.

Sorry for the tangent today, folks, but I get excited about ag and all its facets. I’ll try to be more focused tomorrow and more interesting to those who yawn their way through my rhapsodies over turf grass. Cheers.