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organic farmer ( Paul Kaiser) grosses $100,000/acre  RSS feed

 
duane hennon
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Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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somebody should go talk to this guy
the article isn't very specific - just mentions compost

http://naturalsociety.com/sustainability-on-steroids-organic-farmer-grosses-100k-an-acre/

Sustainability on Steroids: Organic Farmer Grosses $100K an Acre
Could he have found the most effective way to grow food?



 
Jay Grace
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Location: Nauvoo, AL
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I found a more indepth article about Paul Kaiser.

http://craftsmanship.net/drought-fighters/
 
Bede Carroll
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Location: Dandenong Ranges - Oz
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Thanks so much to the two folks above who posted.

I got so much from this info.

I'll be looking for more info now on Paul Kaiser, very interesting practical stuff.

Cheers.
 
Miles Flansburg
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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And some videos!





And an hour long lecture on pollinators.

 
Justin Deri
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I really want to hear more about his techniques. Specifics would be great. Has anyone been on a tour of his farm? Perhaps Paul is a permie?
 
Peter Ellis
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Location: Central New Jersey
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It sure reads as though he is doing things the way a good permaculture practitioner would do them, wherever he learned the methods - with a question mark about the composting approach. I do not buy the concern that he is using far too much and polluting the waters with nitrates. If they are not showing up in tests and his ponds are not affected, then the reasonable presumption is that between his heavy cropping and the soil life, the nitrogen is being utilized and not washed away.

I do wish the article had not stated that earthworms eat rocks. A factual error like that can be used to dismiss everything, even when all the other information is absolutely correct.

To me, the issue with his composting method is that he is relying on external sources. I can partially counter my own concern with the fact that if you are selling the vast majority of what you grow to off farm consumption, then you must replace that nutrient -and some portion of what comes back to you from the municipal compost facility is the waste portion of your own production. So the making of all that compost involves using machinery? Not a concern, the garbage is going to a higher, better use as a result of that machinery being applied. There is a net gain and benefit there. Get those diesels running on vegetable oil and there is no problem there at all, no?

Can his system scale up? First, it does not need to scale. Second, the only measure by which it is less efficient than industrial agriculture is labor. On every other possible measure of efficiency, these small scale, highly intensive operations are more efficient than industrial agriculture. That includes the cost of production per unit, if you account for all of the costs. Industry, agriculture included, has a long and ugly history of ignoring lots of costs. The author focused quite a bit on the Possibility that this system's high compost use Might be putting nitrate into the water. There is no question that industrial agriculture Is polluting our water supplies. Nor is there any question that industrial agriculture does not include the cost of that pollution in their accounting.

This system almost certainly works best on the kind of scale it is working at in this example. It will require more Labor per acre than present farming methods. But it will require fewer acres dedicated to active farming to produce our needs, so whether the net labor is more or not is unclear. It will distribute those jobs more evenly across the nation than they are now, at the same time that it concentrates them around metropolitan areas. It will bring production closer to market. Another improvement in efficiency.

But people don't want those jobs! Really? These are not quite the same jobs that are currently offered under industrial agriculture. Not exposed to poisons everyday on the job, for one difference. A better wage available as expenses saved on poison and fertilizer can be shifted over to pay for labor. And given a choice between no job, or working on a small farm like this one, are we sure people want no job? Put these jobs in rings around major population centers, rather than in rural locations removed from everything that cities can offer, and see how long it takes for these small farms to become significant employers.

From where I sit, the major differences between how this guy is farming and how we plan to farm are that we want to incorporate animals more than I see him using, rely on more perennials than I see him using and use less compost from off the farm (see use more animals). But, polyculture, multicropping, no poisons, no fertilizers, minimal irrigation (where we plan to farm water should be less of a problem than in California) - pretty much on board with all of that.

Looks to me like his detractors have agendas that will not let them admit that what he is doing works. Not perfect? Nothing ever is. Better than what his neighbors are doing? Just say yes, because it is. Is he going to change what he is doing over time? I should hope so, things are constantly changing and you have to be able to adjust with them, plus the chances are that anything you do that is working can be tweaked to make it work better. Should every farmer switch their operation over to what he is doing, no matter where they are? Of course not, because they are not all where he is and they should not all be trying to do exactly what he is doing. They need to look at what he is doing and how they can adapt it to where they are and what they grow. There are no universal solutions for anything. What makes anyone think farming is different?
 
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