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Old 11-11-2009, 06:56 PM
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An explanation why some of the organic people irk me------

They have great ideas and are willing to share, but many have left the " floppy hatted kooks" speak for them.

I, as a long time rortational grazer, used to enjoy attending field days sponsored by the state thru a state grant $$$$$. They used to be pretty good as one could always pick up new ideas.

Lately, I have quit going as more and more of them are hosted only on organic farms and are organized by the extremes of the organic movement.
It used to be questions could be asked, but the last one I went to only the "kooks" in floppy hats were entitled to ask questions and give opinions.

I tried to ask a question if the farmer had tried more clover in his grazing mixes and whatwere the results.

The woman who organized it ran to me and yold me that wasn't the purpose of the question session.

She had no problem letting every " kook" stand up and give their opinion on everything, however.

One floppy hatted " kook", finger in the air, was trying to tell the organic dairy farmer that the reason he had a year with more bull calves than heifer calves-------was due to the way the bull was fed.

Yet that woman organizer ( wearing a floppy hat and getting state money$$$ for organizing it ) saw nothing wrong with the questions or opinions given by this clueless guy who probably never milked a cow in his life.

Several of us people left that field day halfway thru it.

And yet,in the paper the next week, this same woman in the floppy hat , was appearing before the state legislature asking for more state money to fund her programs to help educate small farmers.

Disgusting !
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:00 PM
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By the way, that organic farmer who had the field day that year was not in business by the next summer.
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:16 PM
Location: tampa, florida
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i am beginning to understand. the people you have met calling themselves "homesteaders" are the most extreme examples, and the worst kind! they don't make money off the land, they make money from teaching hobbyists and enthusiasts bad information.

well here's one homesteader that wouldn't turn your advice and wisdom away. just ignore those types of people. it is arrogance, pure and simple. they get their money from outside the land and they have no idea what kind of hard work you guys have had to go through. they're not interested in your ideas. i don't know why there is a spread of erroneous information, but that is dangerous. when ignorance is spread because of wrong-headed teachings, people are gonna suffer.

brokentap, you have a hard time understanding them because their money comes from jobs in the government or the city, not the land. they have college degrees while you've had to work and struggle every day for what you have. that is where the gulf lies, and they are widening it by making mules out of themselves.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:03 AM
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That is true, but farmers are part of the blame too. I think we got caught up in the information age, and if the truth be known, we have crossed the line into the too-much-information realm.

If you pick the right breed of sheep for your farm and then stick hay in front of them, and a ram behind them, you will get lambs. Its been done that way 4000 years, but in the last 20 years we have got to the point where we have made everything way more complex then it needs to be. Now you have to be a genetic scientist to pick out your cull sheep, an agronomist to grow corn, and information technologist to fix your corn harvester. Up to a point all this stuff can be beneficial, but I also think in some ways its a way of keeping up with the rest of society as the information age makes most careers more "high tech."

We just want to fit in.

I remember being in the 1980's and early 1990's, you hated to admit that you were a farmer because you were so looked down upon. I think to some degree we have taken information to the extreme to prove that "farmers are not dumb", which was the perception in the past few decades. Now I think we have almost gone the other way and are intimidating potential successors by making them think they need to know all this stuff in order to farm.

It is a very fine line for sure.

I try to tight-rope the line by listening to my dad and grandmother who have an amazing amount of sheep knowledge, but also research a lot of newer stuff on sheep husbandry to try and combined a little old, with a little new. It must be working, I have not lost money with my sheep yet. But I am not rich either! (LOL)
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:08 AM
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I saw today the Alpaca Association had an add on the television. I kind of laughed as I could see this was the pyramid scheme of the livestock world 5 years ago. Being a breeders market, ads on television are a last ditch effort to inflate the prices of falling breeder stock. I saw this done on emu's, ostrich, mini-donkeys, etc.

An alpaca farm near my sold an alpaca stud for 46,000 dollars last year, while this year you can buy an entire flock for $35 dollars a head. I'm not sure what Alpaca Neck tastes like, but I assume there isn't a huge market for it. Its a shining example that con games exist in every market though.
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:28 AM
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,536,988 times
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ROFL I have seen that ad too... Sitting around with some ranchers the other day, we got to talking about the "fads". I asked what use an alpaca was, and they said some folks were led to believe that they could breed them to provide their fine hair for the clothing industry. Unfortunately the few folks who had actually set up their own looming and weaving operation as well found out that it is HARD and not very profitable, and that there were very few markets for either the hair or their handmade garments. The ostrich (or emu) group - I've seen a few of them, too; and some folks where we used to live simply turned them loose into the "wild" when they were 'discovered' to be unprofitable. (You haven't LIVED til you've seen an emu attacking cars on a highway and tried to call 911!)

There's always "get rich quick!" schemes, from Madoff thru organic farming to alpacas, and most are simply playing on the fantasies of those who are gullible enough to believe in them, or who need to. Few get rich except the advertising companies. Slow and steady effort is something most folks can't/don't want to understand. Like beekeeper, we didn't have generations on the same property to support us; we have had to sift thru the hype and hyperbole and get to what really matters. Our extension agent could tell us nothing of the selenium content of local grasses, but "If you need to know anything about AI, I'm your man!" The sheaf of pamphlets he hopefully and cheerfully provided were worse than useless, and not even applicable to our area. I learned more from a county fair display put on by local FFA students than I could from the extension office! Experience and longevity DO matter, no matter what age the teacher. Many people don't grasp that, and pounce on the "next big thing in ag!". Oh, well, it's their money... The people I bought our milk cows from had never milked them, even with a family of 5; they owned the animals (and several other breeds of species) because they were 'precious', and were losing money every day feeding animals they bought and bred 'to preserve the breed'. They had over 200 animals - cows, horses, ducks, chickens, rabbits, and geese - on a rented 20 acres. But they didn't understand my attitude either - that if an animal doesn't serve a purpose, it goes; either to table, to market, or (last resort) to ground. While it is nice to have a hobby, having a lifestyle is a lot harder to maintain!
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Old 11-12-2009, 08:27 AM
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,314,105 times
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Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
I saw today the Alpaca Association had an add on the television. ...
Neighbors of ours 'drank the kool aid' about boar-goats from a guy down in St Albans. Bought a bunch of $600 to $800 boar-goats and was breeding them.

I met the guy who was pitching this; nice website and he was running weekend 'classes' on boar-goats for only a couple hundred dollars a seat he would teach you everything you need to know about boar-goats.

Our neighbors found that every kid they produced seemed to carry 'bad lines'; so they sold all of their breeding stock and kids to a meat-dealer for $10/each. And again bought another bunch of expensive ones from the expert to breed.

Now I like boars, I would like having boar goats, but I am not going to spend more than $30 a head for them.

The next year our neighbors again found that all of their new kids again had all 'bad lines'. I offered to buy their buck and nannies, but they sold their herd instead to a meat-dealer [for less than I offered].

Now they have no goats.

I saw the boar-goat expert this fall. He was giving a talk about animal health. Somebody asked him about boar goats, and he said that he had sold all of his and got out of it.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:09 AM
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I know nothing about goats except that they are called--boer goats

--boar--is a male pig used for breeding sows and gilts
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:15 AM
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Alpaca, emus, etc remind me of the old Shaklee and Amway schemes.

The biggest scam was the Jerusalem artichoke scam which spread the country in the early 70's.

Some fast talking salesman assured farmers there was a huge demand for them and profits to be made.

The--demand-- was for the seed you produced that could be sold to next years gullible grower. That was,basically, the only demand for that product.

Heck, he could have just as well signed up people to grow dandelines or thistles and keep selling seeds to next years gullible growers.

Last edited by marmac; 11-12-2009 at 09:31 AM..
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:18 AM
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By the way, I consider some dairy breeds promoted by " floppy hatters" to be a fad also-----------Dutch belted dairy cows.

On the rare ocassion I see some grazing, I think---------there is a farmer who got brainwashed by an expert ( sarc) wearing a " floppy hat".
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