When it comes to farming, there are a lot of young upstarts wanting to have a better life for themselves and their families. One thing that is lacking usually is money, so progress can be slow. But the real hinderance is often not the lack of money, but the lack of gumption.
If you grew up on a farm you will tend to follow the ways of your parents regarding livestock treatment and care. If it worked for your parents, then it is good enough for you. Is it? Often the older people are an undervalued fountain of knowledge that should not be ignored, but they also stopped learning long ago. They did the best with what they had and that is remarkable, however; things do change and as more information is brought forth, how farming is changing should be noted.
One highly creative farmer is Joel Salatin. He has single handedly changed a great deal we knew about raising animals. His methods are anything but traditional, and are highly productive, humane and lucrative. He diversifies too, so if one source fails, and it will, there are others to draw on. A hog farmer who only farms hogs may have a disease wipe out his entire stock and be lost, whereas a mixed farm will have many resources to draw on. Moving towards sustainability, that is important. It goes for growing things too. If you only grew, say , strawberries and that crop failed, then you have to wait an entire year to try again, but by growing 4 or 5 or more crops, it is ensured that there will be some that will produce well.
My favourite natural farmer is Masuoka Fukuoka and for the real greenies out there, his book, "A One Straw Revolution" really hits home. He diversifies, allows nature to take it course, employs animals to assist in the work and makes growing simple. Perfect!
So, here at the Fat Ewe Farm, I follow Masuoka and a little of Joel and a lot of my own gut instinct. Having never grown up on a farm or had any previous farming experience, everything was new. I did not know the way to do something that had been handed down from previous generations. I researched for several years even before beginning this sojourn. I was also alone, so had to do things that I could by myself without depending on others, but from time to time, have been very thankful for the help I have received. Now, much to my amazement, people come to me to ask how I do things, me, little ol' me - HOW I DO IT! Wow! And then they go home and do it too. That feels really good. I feel as though somehow I have been instrumental in advancing the methods of a small farmer. Maybe I am not Joel or Masuoka and have not written a book (yet) or done personal speaking engagements (yet), but that might come too.
My words of encouragement to you are this: Stop trying to write on the lines. Start with a blank page and make your way, your own way. Ensure the animals are living a happy natural life and employ dogs to do your predator control rather than guns. Be free, diversify and go, just go. If you make mistakes, and who doesn't, so what? Carry on, start again and keep moving forward. Farming is a little like walking drunk anyhow, two steps forward, one to the side, one back and three more forward. Happy farming y'all!