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Hi everyone,

I am from the Franconian Forrest, northern Bavaria, Germany.
Together with some friends I am running a German homesteading and permaculture forum, similar to permies.com
http://www.selbstvers.org/forum/

I also run an agricultural sideline business with beef cattle and some acres of forest.
My main income source is a small business selling electric fences, cattle and sheep handling pens and other farm equipment. http://www.aforst.com/

Three years ago, when my parents got their pension, I was able to take over the family farm. By then it was a conventional mixed farm of approximately 30 hectare (half of it leased land). Row crops, grassland, 15 dairy cows in tie-stalls, fattening the own bulls etc. The farms land was not rounded but scattered in parcels with an average parcel size of 1 hectare. Farming has very small structures around here.

By swapping lease contracts with some other farmers I managed to have at least one 20 hectare block which I fenced for my beef cattle.
The remaining spread parcels (some smaller than half an acre) are used for making hay.
Now our farm is certified organic. Under the direction of the Bund Naturschutz (One of the big nature conservation organizations in Germany) and together with some other beef cattle farmers and some local butchers we established a local beef program for the Franconian Forest range.
http://www.weidewelt-frankenwald.de/
By now we have about 50 farmers (many of them direct marketing) and 6 butchers taking part in the program. General criteria for the program are, that the cattle are on pasture at least in the summer half of the year, that they get no GM-feed and that at least 50% of the farms land is preservation grassland.

Some pictures of our farm can be found in my facebook albums
https://www.facebook.com/manfred.eidelloth/photos (only accessible for facebook users)

Now I want to go deeper into this permaculture thing and find out how to convert our little farm for a sustainable future.
 
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Manfred - welcome to permies.com. Sounds like you have some fantastic projects going on!
 
steward
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Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
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Welcome Manfred. My Jagdbruder lives over in Saxony and they have the same issues that you do with everything being spread out in bits and pieces. He also has hunting leases with several farmers for hunting wild pigs and such. A very different way of doing things, but he believes in sustainability and uses lots of solar power and solar heating for their water as well as doing a lot of coppice and pollard for wood. I wish your ventures good luck and that you find many useful things here.
 
I am Arthur, King of the Britons. And this is a tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
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