Farming is a hard, beautiful, amazing and sad thing. One of the things that makes it so wonderful are the kind and helpful people you meet along the way.
I've been fortunate to meet some great folks, some farming/homesteading on a broader scale, some smaller or about the same. . .and so many that have been helpful, kind and folks who have given me a real sense of the community that many must have
been privy to many years ago in small towns full of people living a similar lifestyle. There are people I greatly appreciate for what they do, how they do it and how helpful they have been to me over and over. . . then there are those who have been helpful or great for information and just an overall learning experience between the each other like Wild Pilgrim Farmstead - even though we don't know them in person. I've been so delighted with most of my buyers - most have become friends, and watching these people strike off into farming or growing in their new breed of livestock. . . has been one of the most rewarding things. . . Those are the farmers and homesteaders/farmstead folks I appreciate so much!
However, sadly, in the small farming community, at least in this area, there is more maliciousness, pettiness, jealously and mean spirited behavior than I've ever seen in any other area in my life. Cruel, backbiting thoughtlessness. . .and also a level of childishness not rivaled, that I know of, in any other walk of life I've seen - not even rescue, which is shocking, if you know how bad that can be.
I have always been willing to pass on more business and sales than I could ever count to all others farmers that are ethical in practice, whether they are friends of mine or not, and I've always taken truly good advice and applied it and appreciated it. I want good small farmers to succeed!! Sadly, you do not find this in all farming fellows and ladies or with all homesteader types. People will malign how much you offer, how much land you have, pretend the quality of your livestock, produce or sales items are really not better than their own (when that fact is - there are levels of quality in everything - period - and beyond that, there are differences in what is desirable to folks - no point in being dishonest to make your own sales offerings better than they are - just be honest). Some fellows want us to say every goat, chicken, duck, sheep, turkey and cow is the same - breed, the manner in which they are raised, temperament, breeding/pedigree and disease testing, knowledge of the farmer on what they raise, the history behind them - well, they want to believe it means nothing, that it is of no importance - well, I'm telling you - that is a lie. Plain and Simple. It matters.
Some get angry if they see one farmer having success, breaking even or - God Forbid - making a small profit - How sad is this? It isn't something to be proud of when you can't make something work and keep you from working always at a loss. That mentality certainly hasn't helped this nation. Why in the world would we continue to work so hard at something for nothing - the lifestyle is worth a lot, but who is so rich they can do it for free forever? Sure, people can live in a delusional world where they believe we can do everything for free (and please do not tell me about working for free, I know about that in volunteer work, but I can't volunteer by land and animals away, I'm sorry) and at a loss for years - it CANNOT be sustained, and frankly, you're doing something very wrong if that is what is happening. I'm telling you if you do it right, if you take the utmost care with animals' husbandry and select quality, healthy animals and set up your farm right and grow what is correct for your region, with a care to heirloom foods, and market it right - YOU WILL not have to operate forever at a loss. You will not be rich, but you will at least make back your momentary investment eventually and not leave you always discouraged. People - if you're looking to homestead or farm, consider before you buy from a farmer selling at a loss and operating in the red year after year - what on earth could they offer you in terms of insight or quality? There isn't a huge amount of money to be made on a little piece of land - but even if you're mainly doing it for your family, there will be an abundance of something now and again, and you should be able to sell it and make something.
It is so sad to see any success hated by others over and over. I speak from personal experience. Those who know me, know I am kind and helpful to the point of silliness. . .but I want to see people do well, have learned many things the hard way, and I know of what I speak - no one must listen and every bit will not apply to all farmer folks, but some will. . . and I am so tired of the childish, petty and mean-spirited nature of too many out there "farmin" and "homesteading" - This shouldn't be a competition.
Do what you do, do it well, have goals, offer quality in all you do, DO it right - Your quality of livestock, baked goods, meats, produce and otherwise SHOULD speak in it own 'unique' way and you SHOULD be able to appreciate others doing things in a kind, ethical way.
Advice and helpful tips, even if you think they do not apply to you, have been hard- learned by the giver, usually, as a general rule, by those giving it in an effort to help, and hatefulness, in response to those efforts, hardly makes one look good. Okay - off the soap box. :)
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