Lately we've been talking a lot about our livestock rotation plans and fitting all the pieces together this coming summer. With the sows both farrowing, we'll have more pigs than ever and they're past due needing to be moved to a new section, but we've never done a real temporary, or frequently-moved set up for them before, which we'll have to if we want to move them out onto a more established, nice pasture that we want to not tear up too badly. And the cow needs to move to a new pasture before we get a parasite problem happening there. And finally, the chickens need to shift around a bit, and perhaps separate the hens and meat birds. Anyway, many options and much to discuss so that's been on the table quite a bit lately, but doesn't mean we're not talking about those other 'investments' and purchases as well.
Without talking in length about it, sometime in the last couple years, we mutually agreed that while all the wonderful infrastructure in the world would certainly make things easier and many times more efficient, there a couple pieces of infrastructure on the farm that although may be aging, don't need to depreciate so quickly and actually make more difference to the day-to-day operations and overall goals of the farm; it's us. Mark and I came out of the gate from school, charging ahead at full steam, confident in our knowledge and curious about where it would take us. With every conference, webinar, magazine and book that we read, it's clear that our own knowledge base, experience and relevant research will be what keeps us competitive.
So Mark enrolled in the Atlantic Agriculture Leadership Program and has been doing courses and traveling over the last couple years. And then this past fall he went to Ohio to take in the Acres USA conference. I've been doing lots of bedside table farming, enjoying lots of books and cultivating lots of ideas, but not necessarily breaking any new ground.
We made a leap and an 'investment'. In me. I'm going to a Polyface Farms Intensive 2-day Seminar down at the farm in Swoope, Virginia. In July.
If you haven't heard me talk about Joel Salatin, you haven't spent much time with me, as I've been reading him, watching him and listening to him for years now and implementing parts of his practices in what we do. I've read most of his books, including Pastured Poultry, Holy Cows & Hog Heaven, Family Friendly Farming, Folks This Ain't Normal, and more. He's not without controversy, but I think the best minds probably aren't. He writes like he talks and he speaks with an eloquent passion that makes even his detractors sit up and listen.
Here's an overview of what I've signed up for:
"Two out of every three years, Polyface offers this two-day, six meal (it’s worth coming just for the meals) intensive seminar limited to 30 people in order to maintain intimacy. If you ever wanted to go behind the scenes with the Salatin family, this is your opportunity. We actually process chickens, process rabbits, go up the mountain to see pigs, discuss water systems and road building.