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Farming

 

Farming

 

Eco-Farm, An Acres U.S.A. Primer
Whoa, this book goes into a lot of detail about soil. From the tiniest molecules to the largest building blocks. It's penned as a great book for beginners, but a lot of it still went over my head. Nevertheless, it's still a very good read and you will clearly be able to learn from it for a long time going forward. Eco-Farm delivers a complete education in soils, crops, and weed and insect control. Chapters provide detailed discussions of trace elements, tillage, the N,P&K concept, animal health, crops, soil carbon and calcium, insects, soil life, crop rotation, and much more.
 
Drawing from her own and other cheesemakers' experiences, Gianaclis Caldwell walks through the many, and often confusing, steps and decisions when considering a career in farmstead cheesemaking. This is not a book on making cheese or raising dairy animals. This book fills the gap that exists between the pasture and cheese plate. It goes far beyond issues of caring for livestock and basic cheesemaking, explaining business issues such as analyzing your suitability for the career, designing and building the cheese facility, sizing up the market, negotiating day-to-day obstacles, and ensuring maximum safety and efficiency.  
 
Grass-Fed Cattle: How to Produce and Market Natural Beef
A comprehensive book on how to raise, manage, and market grass-fed cattle. Julius Ruechel's book covers every aspect of raising and care, including herd selection, breeding, yearly cycles, cultivating and maintaining healthy soil and grass, fencing and pasture rotation, winter grazing, pests and diseases, and necessary equipment. Ruechel, who has been raising beef cattle on his family’s farm since his start as a 4-H member, packs this handbook with everything a farmer needs to know, regardless of herd size and acreage. His advice and systems are applicable to the smallest backyard hobby farms as well as the largest commercial herds and ranches. 
 
Grass Productivity
Andre Voisin was a biochemist by training, but a farmer by inclination. He was known to spend long hours watching his cows grazing his fields in Normandy, which inspired his "rational grazing" management plan theory. This is a prodigiously documented textbook of scientific information concerning every aspect of management 'where the cow and grass meet'. Voisin's 'rational grazing' method maximizes productivity in both grass and cattle operations.
 
Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision Making
Holistic management is a term that describes a systems thinking approach to managing land resources that builds biodiversity, improves production, generates financial strength, and improves the quality of life for those who use it. Originally developed by Allan Savory, Holistic Management offers a new decision-making framework that managers in a variety of enterprises, cultures, and countries are using to help ensure that the decisions they take are economically, socially, and environmentally sound, simultaneously—both short and long term.
 
The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener
A classic from Eliot Coleman. We used it primarily as a reference for our home garden and as a cursory glance at what it would take to grow a market garden. It had a lot to offer anyone in either situation. Highly recommended if you're planning to be an organic produce grower of any sort.
 
 
Small-Scale Livestock Farming: A Grass-Based Approach for Health, Sustainability, and Profit
Carol Ekarius begins by helping farmers evaluate their land and lifestyle so they can choose the livestock that is best for them, then provides all the information small farmers need to get started using the holistic management model. Ekarius presents niche marketing strategies, explains the legalities of livestock farming, and offers advice for long-term financial and biological planning. Basic animal husbandry issues for cattle, chickens, goats, horses, pigs, and sheep are also explained. Readers will learn about livestock genetics, breeding, and reproduction, as well as how to provide appropriate feed and facilities.
 
Sir Albert Howard's The Soil and Health became a seminal and inspirational text in the organic movement soon after its publication in 1945. The Soil and Health argues that industrial agriculture, emergent in Howard's era and dominant today, disrupts the delicate balance of nature and irrevocably robs the soil of its fertility. Howard's classic treatise links the burgeoning health crises facing crops, livestock, and humanity to this radical degradation of the Earth's soil. His message -- that we must respect and restore the health of the soil for the benefit of future generations -- still resonates among those who are concerned about the effects of chemically enhanced agriculture. 
 
Joel Salatin pulls from his eclectic sphere of knowledge, combines it with a half century of farming experience, and covers as many topics as he can think of that will affect the success of a farming venture. He offers his 10 best picks for profitable ventures, and the 10 worst. He covers insurance, record keeping, land acquisition, and equipment. If this book scares you off, it will be the best reality check you ever spent.

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