Farming isn’t easy. In fact, it’s probably one of the most challenging jobs on Earth. Farmers grapple with unpredictable weather, back-breaking days of weeding and seeding, small and sometimes finicky markets for their wares, and the ever-present danger that Murphy’s Law will rear its contingent head (this especially applies to farms with livestock, who are always testing fences, attracting predators, sometimes fighting with each other, eating things they shouldn’t, etc.). On a farm, whatever can happen will, and it’s not always fun.
But the ever-shifting nature of the work also makes farming an incomparable adventure, and as we begin the second decade of the millenium, many are being tempted away from cubicles and suits to try their hand at tending the land.
Our new book, Farms with a Future, by Rebecca Thistlethwaite, is designed to help beginning farmers get started on the right foot, and guide those who have been at it a few years to fine-tune their processes to make their farms run sustainably. Thistlethwaite offers advice from her own years raising grassfed beef, as well as from her journeys across the United States, visiting dozens of farms and taking note of what works.
In the excerpt below, Thistlethwaite outlines some quick tips for beginners. Grab a notebook and pen and check it out!