10 Tips I Have Learned From Old Farmers

Mass marketing has obliterated much that was of value in American farm life because it did not lend itself to easy profitability. The “old timers” had discovered many solutions to farming problems that we are in danger of losing. Good seed is but one example.

The “Alabama Red Okra” seen above came from heirloom seeds we discovered at Baker Heirloom Seeds. You can see their catalog in PDF format here. We believe that small though it may be, we will have a part in preserving something significant for the next generation by keeping seeds such as these alive, in transmission and out of the hands of companies like Monsanto. All my neighbors commented on how fat the pods were. The taste is excellent. We have baked it, fried it, cooked it in succotash, but my favorite is sauteed in butter or olive oil.

But, I digress.  We are talking about things we are re-discovering from our farming heritage.  I am grateful for people like Wendell Berry, Charles Walters and Gene Logsdon because can span the gap between how things were once done, how they are done now and what we could change to make things better.

1). Petroleum based fertilizer creates more problems than it solves.
2). Anti-biotics make animals weaker, not stronger.
3). Farm parity died in World War II
4). Cows milked once a day produce better milk
5). Calves weaned too soon fail to thrive.
6). Greed on a farm is like sand in gears of a tractor.
7). Animal and plant diversity is more trouble, but a better way to grow both.
8). The road to hell is paved by Government Assistance
9). Things don’t stay fixed, cows don’t stay milked and weeds keep coming back.  Those are good things.
10). Science freed us from many superstitions, but left us vulnerable to “experts from afar.”

John Langlois

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