Farm Small Farm Smart Daily

Rebecca Krossnoski of Nature Delivered Farm joins me to talk about her passion for pigs. Rebecca left her job as a construction estimator 6 years ago to start pasture raising pigs. She realized that her old job wasn't going to be there forever so she began the transition into the farming business while she was still working at her old job. She had no prior farming experience when she embarked on the venture, learning along the way from her grandfather's notes, other farmers, and books, then building on that book knowledge with real world trial and error.

Rebecca is another example of someone who decided to follow her passion and make a go of farming with no prior farming experience. She could have easily made excuses about why it wouldn't work or what her disadvantages were, but she didn't focus on that, she focused on the positive and made it happen. She put her heart and soul into her pigs, did her research, and worked her ass off. Like any new business there were some troubles and mistakes made along the way, but in the end she was successful.

Today Rebecca pasture raises her pigs in central Florida. She rotates pigs through 1/2 to 1 1/2 acre parcels. The pigs spend 3 to 4 weeks in each parcel.

Rebecca's advice for anyone who interested in raising pigs. Start with a couple of barrows (a castrated male before puberty) and raise them. See how you like living with pigs. Then process the pigs, and see if you can actually do it. After this you should know if pigs are for you.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP017-10252013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 8:00am PDT

Darren Doherty of Heenan Doherty and Regrarians joins me from Australia to fill in some of the gaps surrounding Keyline design.

While the whole Keyline design system is complex and way beyond the scope of this podcast.This episode should give you a brief introduction into what Keyline is, where it can be used, and what it can accomplish. Like all other design systems Keyline isn't the be all, end all, it is another tool in the tool box help design a regenerative landscape.

For those that want to learn more check out Darren's work, some of it below, and P.A. Yeomans books. Darren recommends The Keyline Plan and The Challenge of Landscape.

Keyline design is a foundation of technique and planning using a scale of permanence. It's focus is on reacting to a climate of an environment, a site, and then using the landscape's shape to maximize the possibility of a sustainable, regenerative environment.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP016-10182013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm joins me to talk about his new book Fields of Farmers which focuses on the next generation of farmers.How young people can work with existing farmers to transition into farming. He talks about young people can do today to take advantage of the huge opportunity that is out there. Topics range from leasing land to forming synergistic, non-competitive enterprises on existing farms. The whole key is that you have to start. Movement creates movement.

Joel touches on the cultural stereotype against farming. So many people get "forced" into a job that they hate to satisfy their parents only to do that career for a few years and realize that they hate it.All along that person only wanted to do something with their hands. So why not encourage the youth to follow those passions and pursue them with all of their skills and talents.

This episode also has a very heavy entrepreneurial component. Hopefully it will motivate some people to get out there, stop thinking about farming, and actually start farming.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

Invest in hydration. Get water into the landscape.

You don't have to own land to farm. Look for land to lease. Look to add another enterprise onto an existing farm. Focus on mobile infrastructure.

Insource carbon instead of outsource carbon. So many farmers start out bringing in fertilizer at the beginning.Start building up your soils at the beginning to lower your long term input costs.

Grow what you like to eat. You may have to eat through your inventory.

Be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. That might mean putting in a lot of hours, making a lot of sacrifices, cutting expenses, and taking some odds jobs.

Make use of what you have first. Don't buy anything. So many people want to run out and buy things when they first start out. Access what you have, use that, and only buy what you absolutely need.

Better to become 80% self reliant that get analysis paralysis and not doing anything while trying to become 100% self reliant.

Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Stack multiple enterprises on a single land base whenever possible.

Show Notes:

Direct download: PVP015-10112013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 6:49am PDT

John Backes of Circle B Ranch joins me to talk about raising pastured hogs on 90 acres in Missouri. John didn't come from a farming background. He transitioned into farming in 2009 with his wife Marina after leaving a career in mechanical contracting. They set out to produce high quality food while focusing on the welfare and humane treatment of their hogs.

Key Takeaways from this Episode:

-Be steadfast with pricing. Stay away from brokers, sale barns, and commodity pricing.-Stresses the importance of educating and connecting with the customer base. That involves a lot of marketing your own product through tools like social media.

-Pick a spouse that is a good compliment to your skills as a farm. It’s a team effort.

-Stress affects meat quality. So try to minimize the animal’s stress.

-Maintain good relationships with the hogs. Keep them calm because ultimately they are big and you want them working with you.

Visit for show notes.

Direct download: PVP014-10042013.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture -- posted at: 9:35am PDT