Category Archives: Thoughts

Selecting Land

My good friend, Greg Judy, who actually has a Youtube channel to which you can subscribe for his interesting and informative videos about farming/ranching and a whole host of other topics related to profitable cattle and sheep farming, has offered up some key points for considering land purchases for your specific goals.

Greg’s check list when selecting a farm.

The check list really hasn’t changed in considerations for the purchase throughout history.

Cato’s list has more detail and although he uses the word ‘folly’ in what other people build (like barns for livestock), it can be used in your favor should you need a new or nice home or are considering a dairy operation or some such. Yet, the basic consideration is, does my operation actually require the use of a high maintenance, taxable building which sits empty most of the year.

Buying undeveloped land may seem less expensive, but bear in mind the high cost of making it livestock worthy (or whatever it is you will use your land for). Perimeter fencing is expensive made even more so if hiring a bulldozer to clear the fence rows first is necessary.

As we get older, land which may be more expensive yet closer to a hospital or at least a sealed road will likely become more important.

If you are so fortunate to find a reasonably price parcel in the location important you, with limited buildings, then don’t wait because someone else will buy it. Desirable parcels of property are snapped up very fast. My observations of looking for properties, indicates that poor properties are offered at ridiculous prices just hoping for someone to bite; quality, in-demand properties will sell immediately and land auctions are becoming more popular due to immediate sell and they are bringing a premium price.

If the neighbours aren’t interested in the property and it has been languishing on the market, that is a red flag that something is wrong – do in depth research. Oftentimes, it can be high taxes, poor production values, swampy land, no water, low rainfall, the lay of the land requires constant maintenance (i have a 160 like that, every little rain causes my deep watergaps to blow out, fighting encroaching brush is an annual and long days event)

My personal search requires:

  1. enough acreage in one block location with minimal perimeter (in other words more squarish, not nooks and crannies. one property online had 11 miles of perimeter to maintain yet enclosing only 1700 acres!)
  2. A nice home which has been built with finishes which stand the test of time. Too many homes from the 80s and 90s and so faddish inside, it needs to be completely gutted and redone. May be better to tear it down and start again. Not out of the range of possibility, just be sure you aren’t paying twice for a new home.
  3. Live water with no or little flood plain.
  4. Located on a sealed road with minimal traffic
  5. Near infrastructure to livestock auctions and other supportive ranch venues
  6. Warm winters, warm winters, warm winters – did i mention warm winters?!
  7. Minimal timber and very little brush.
  8. I would like to not be close enough to neighbors to hear or see them, but within 2 hours of a major airport.
  9. Price is critical – i’m not rich – the ranch i buy must find a way to pay for itself or at the least provide a good rate of return. This is nearly impossible in today’s environment where there is very little low risk good investment. Land is in too expensive for its productive value.

Discrimination or Mostly Not

Discrimination!!!! it’s a word bandied about like we are all snowflakes and deserve a bed of roses atop a pedestal to which all others bow down and throw money at. Stop with the craziness!

Here’s an article i spotted on ewg.org – i was only looking for non toxic shampoo ideas, but get hammered with politics instead.

Now, i’m all for everyone getting a fair shot of the American dream, but when people groups are selected for unfair advantages, it gets a bit under my skin – the democrats are playing the ‘race’ card once again driving the wedge deeper and deeper amongst Americans. But that plays to their power, control, and self righteousness. Disgusting.

Several years ago, i was asked to participate in a survey – one on one interview – in regards to applying for and working through USDA-NRCS farming programs. I said ‘sure’. The lady asked her canned questions and time and again tried to get me to say that i felt discriminated against because i was a woman. I refused to comply for indeed, i felt (because it’s all about feelings, right?) that our Linn County, Missouri USDA-FSA-NRCS people helped me tremendously in providing all the information and tools needed to successfully navigate the red tape of applying for and completing the projects.

I have just lost a lot of respect for EWG now for jumping on the bandwagon of discriminating against those who are most qualified.

Oh my goodness! Now, i see EWG actually provides a filter to sort for products made by people with a certain skin color – can we say ‘discrimination’? I’m done with EWG.

Our country needs to get back to neighbor helping neighbor and kick the government back to its constitutional duties only. But i fear we are too far gone…….

From visiting student enrolled at University of Missouri in Ag Econ Master’s program to close fast friend with our common interest in agriculture. Daughter Jessica travelled to DRC and visited Clement’s mom’s farm.

Home > News > News Releases > National Black Farmers Association and EWG Applaud the Justice for Black Farmers Act

National Black Farmers Association and EWG Applaud the Justice for Black Farmers Act

Contact: Alex Formuzis(202) 667-6982alex@ewg.orgFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2021

WASHINGTON – The following is the statement of John Boyd, founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association, and Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs, on the reintroduction of the Justice for Black Farmers Act, by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

The Justice for Black Farmers Act is the most ambitious legislative proposal ever developed to address historic and ongoing discrimination against Black farmers. As NBFA and EWG recently documented, Black farmers have been systemically denied access to land, subsidies, loans and other critical tools through government and private discrimination, and the institutional racism that has driven Black land loss is being reinforced through the USDA’s broken policies. 

By providing new access to land and credit and providing debt relief, the Justice for Black Farmers Act will help right these historic wrongs. By providing new oversight and accountability within the USDA, the Justice for Black Farmers Act will help address the roots of the USDA’s racist history. By making an unprecedented investment in training through historically Black colleges and universities and groups like the National Black Farmers Association, the Justice for Black Farmers Act will ensure that Black farmers have the tools they need to succeed.

These reforms are long overdue. We applaud the leadership of Sens. Booker, Warren, Gillibrand, Warnock, Smith and Leahy, and we urge Congress to act swiftly to address the USDA’s long history of discrimination against Black Farmers.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.KEY ISSUES: 

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Duties Of The Housekeeper – Cato

Part 4 of my sharing a summation of thoughts and ideas of managing a profitable farm by Marcius Cato and published by Forgotten Books.

The overseer should be responsible for the duties of the house keeper. If the master has given her to you for a wife, you should be satisfied with her, and she should respect you.

She should:

  1. not be given to wasteful habits
  2. no gossiping
  3. don’t receive visitors in the kitchen or her quarters
  4. don’t attend parties
  5. no gadding about
  6. practice religion with the permission of the master or mistress
  7. be neat in appearance
  8. keep the house ‘swept and garnished’
  9. every night the hearth is swept and clean
  10. prepare food for overseer and hands
  11. have plenty of chickens and an abundance of eggs
  12. diligently put up all kinds of preserves every year

Behavior and Tasks

I’ve always been amazed and astounded at how, even at very young ages – preteen in fact, my children have exhibited the powers of observation, deductive reasoning, insight into human behavior, and spiritual intellect far above what i would think is normal at any age. Maybe i’m just clueless. Whatever the reason, most of the time, i’m thankful they feel free to share my shortcomings with me.

In fact, the biggest change was to learn to NOT start another project until the one at hand is completed. They noticed that this would cause me to be overwhelmed by too many incomplete tasks – which simply drives me nuts! It seems like a low priority task should be started while you are in the location of a high priority task – but i’m guessing that 90% of the time that simply isn’t true. Best to make the priority list and stick with it. Don’t start that task that could be put off for 6 months or a year. Just don’t do it. Finish what you are doing, tick it off the list, then start the next. (along with this admonishment comes the all important question – does it really need to be done?)

Don’t get me wrong – if you are reroofing a building and you have a crew and equipment all on site and well into it and you find some rotted boards – yes, replace the rotted boards, then finish the roofing. You get the drift.

Why do i bring this up? As readers have noticed, i’ve started a new and exciting grazing program which is already show promise. Will i be able to maintain the protocol? Yes, with modifications in time and allotments, but the principles can be used. (and mostly as Yah allows)

Anyway, my youngest son, years ago, (okay it can’t be that many years since he’s only 24), pointed out that until the grazing and cow business can’t be put to a management level that most people can handle – even with minimal training – i’m simply never going to find anyone who will want to take over or even help because the day to day is ridiculously overwhelming – basically feeling like i’m putting out fires rather than focusing on building a profitable business that’s fun to watch grow with healthy animals, healthy soil, water, and forage, while producing a premium food product.

To that end, i’m finishing up getting my semi-permanent hi-tensile fences in place to better utilize water, forage, and time resources.

The total grazing plans are a bit bumpy for now because i’m not fully on track, but i’m getting there. Grazing where i wouldn’t normally graze if i was already , but needs to be prepared and get in sync. HA! Well, that was clear as mud.

I needed to change the location of a fence – nearly done with that – this is not necessarily in response to easier strip grazing (though it will be extremely better placed for that) and was already on the to-do list for a couple years now. I installed it in the wrong place 12 years ago – finally getting it done. Otherwise, there are a few short stretches of fences to install, remove, or shift plus i will re install the fence on the Bowyer farm which were removed for the organic soybean farming.

But every task has a priority and unless weather or some such intervenes, I plan to tackle them in the proper and timely order.

So thankful to be able to work hard everyday – though i run out of steam and muscles a bit more quickly than i did a decade ago.

Have fun!

Something for nothing?

Making Something out of Nothing.

What goes through your mind when you first say those words or read them in an article? At first, you might think wow, someone has come up with a great and helpful item to market. But then stop and think – something out of nothing is a fallacy once a little elementary biology and science is applied. Only YHWH can create something out of nothing. Creatio ex nihilo.

A recent editorial by a young woman in Journal of Nutrient Management with that very title caught my attention – what is this miraculous ‘something’!

Her editorial started out nicely, but when she compares the ‘trial’ of manure management to the hardiness and courage of our ancestors striking out across the country in a covered wagon to carve out a living, it was going to be difficult to glean anything of value from her story. But, out of curiosity, i read on.

As suspected, the ‘something’ was marketing a highly valuable nutrient (nothing?) off the farm. But, everyone knows that if ‘something’ is removed from the environment, sooner or later there is a cost to replace it. And in many cases, the cost to refine, remove, transport is astronomical. This is not to say it won’t pencil, but the cost is still more than financial.

Manure management by allowing natural processes is the best use of resources.

For the record, she is writing in support of a magazine which promotes the use of practices which require extreme movement and management of animal manure (nutrients) and in that respect, she accomplishes the purpose of her editorial.

Anytime there are closely confined animals or even people, there is a manure (sewage, nutrient) management issue. Our beef operation on pasture only means that if we manage the animals’ grazing, by default the manure is managed appropriately with the animals movements from paddock to paddock thereby reducing and eliminating environmental issues (no bare soil) and building soil by encouraging a habitat soil microbes and animals (earthworms, etc) will enjoy living and working in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
nutrient management

Shopping Responsibly

A photo and comment showed up on Facebook recently that misleadingly and irresponsibly tries to justify laziness and poor eating habits as an excuse for being overweight. Well, that’s quite a hard thing to put together, i know, so i’ll copy the article here. Clearly, the author has selected items which are likely imported and out of season as well as being convenience and snack type foods. These types of selections are nearly always the most expensive choices. Anyone on a budget needs to shop smarter. If you can’t afford organic, don’t buy organic – buy the best you can afford. Historically, food is cheaper than it’s ever been!

Item# lbsprice/lbtotal price
Carrots2 $     0.80 $     1.60
Onions1 $     0.90 $     0.90
Potatoes3 $     1.00 $     3.00
ground beef2 $     3.00 $     6.00
chicken4 $     1.00 $     4.00
sugar1 $     1.60 $     1.60
zucchini2 $     1.00 $     2.00
oats3 $     1.15 $     3.45
milk4.3 $     0.50 $     2.15
apples3 $     1.60 $     4.80
butter1 $     1.99 $     1.99
eggs (doz)1 $     1.50 $     1.50
Flour2 $     0.90 $     1.80
Total $   34.79
For fun, i quickly put together a sample shopping list of items not on sale which adds up to a bit more than $32. Now, i’m going to be very clear – this list is commodity, cheap, and not environmentally friendly food stuffs and i would not buy these items where i am in my life. I can afford more costly, more humanely raised, healthier choices, including that which i raise of it in my own garden.

Real food is not expensive to buy – don’t be fooled – do your homework.

Shop responsibly and wisely.