I have several drafts awaiting one button click to have "the world" view them. Yet I hesitate. Heavy on the sermon, too doomy gloomy. And that's not me; even if what I say needs to be said. And then I think, are those that need to see it going to see it? Probably not. Change any minds? Nope. And who needs the preaching to the choir?
So at this point I won't preach. (well, much....)
I won't suggest what you can do.
I'm going to tell you what I'm going to do. And maybe you'll decide to tell me what you're going to do.
1. We are going all out this year; I am a contrarian in my entrepeneurial nature and rather than hold back -- as I can, mind you -- with the soil work I've done -- I have earned the right -- I am going all out. We desire to sit on one heck of a pile of hay come winter. Opportunities will be coming. The other side of the coin to having the ability to say, "no, I don't need a lot of fertilizer this year - yet I will still be fine" is "I am going to put down the fertilizer and reap the rewards of our soil stewardship" -- without damaging the soil, in fact, continuing to build the soil. We are rich friends. Soil rich. We have the freedom to do or not do. Most farmers do not have that choice. You and I both know what happens when you don't pound on the fertilizers and chemicals. You get jack squat. We do quite well, thank you very much. That's 6 years of excellent investment and soil stewardship.
2, Communicate with our neighbors. Yes, you folks just to the northwest of us. The truly Local. We have and continue to desire to be "your farmers". We would and could take less, give more, turn away far off customers to keep it local. Yet you continue to almost completely reject us. There is a certain matter of a Highway Bypass right through our farm and your neighborhood that may be the 2x4 upside the head for you to listen, even if it still is 100% in your self interest. Does it take a 2x4 -- or a tornado to pull this group together, or are we civilized, advanced enough to come together as a community? I will attempt to provide leadership. There will be resistance. There may well be a big fat highway right through here.
3. Continued learning. The more I learn the less I know. The more in wonder of it all I become. We will discipline ourselves to not run around like automatons and just do the work, but think about what we're doing. Activity is not Action.4. Work towards energy independence. Our "5 year plan" must include our ability to say "NO, I don't want that, I don't need you." That is one heck of a bargaining position to be in. Solar (uh, beyond the huge grass solar panels we already have, 70 acres worth....) Wind, possibly geothermal, and conservation -- and a fundamental rule of our farm, let the animals do it, let nature do it.
5. With ANY success of #2 - work towards creating a community - here -- that would invite in farmers; change our thinking and welcome real farmers.
With that -- the physical and intellectual farming will come to some sort of level of comfort. The next levels of knowledge move into the ideas of community, and money. Think Woody Tasch and "Slow Money".
It is not audacious, it is not egotistical for me to think we are changing the world. We are; in some small way, and I believe for the better. The thing is -- so is everyone, everywhere, every minute of every day in the choices you make just in living. But is it for the better? Are you sure you can wait for "better times" to start?
Spring -- renewal -- second chances -- all of the hard winter is forgiven and forgotten in a few short days of warmth. The past is the past, what are you going to do NOW?
All the very best from Trautman Family Farm
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