January 2012

Almost Time for Babies

In our neck of the woods, the snow is thick on the ground and the thought of spring is almost too far-fetched to imagine right now, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t on the way.  In just a couple of weeks, my father’s cows will start having the first calves of the season, and shortly after that, our own animals will start having their babies.

Crop Diversity Equals Resilience

When it comes to keeping crops healthy without the addition of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, one of the best things you can do is to maintain crop diversity and rotate frequently.  Crop rotation has long been an effective method of controlling pests – simply move a particular crop to another area on the farm and plant an entirely different crop in its place.  Pests have a hard time keeping up with the changes and will often be unable to gain a good foothold in a particular crop.

Let's Change the "Norm"

For his birthday, my son received a farm play set from Walmart that he had been asking for.  As we opened up all of the small pieces, I was a little bit appalled at what passes for a “farm” these days.  It used to be that a farm set would have all the animals, and perhaps a big tractor, but this farm set seemed to focus on factory farms and had more farm equipment than animals.

Alternative Energy - A Growing Farm Trend

 

Energy independence, alternative energy, renewable energy resources; these are the buzzwords of the modern farm. More and more farmers and ranchers are looking at alternative ways to power their homes, their barns, their equipment and other critical farm systems. From solar power to wind farms, savvy farmers and homesteaders have come to understand that upfront costs, over the life of a farm, bring returns well worth the investment.

Unused Fertile Land? Lease it Out

If you have land that could be planted to a crop such as alfalfa, oats or another hay-type crop, you can generate passive income by leasing it out to local farmers.  This is a great way to utilize the land you have without having to invest in expensive haying equipment or deal with the maintenance.  If you have animals that eat hay, you can also sharecrop the land and get a percentage of the hay for no cost.