No 33: The Contrary Farmers

Copy of P1140109Ohio farmer and writer, Gene Logsdon, has written extensively about being a contrary farmer. Small, biodiverse, community-oriented, unstressed, and above all successful. “

We are pioneers,” he writes, “seeking a new kind of religious and economic freedom.” Such contrary farming depends crucially on reducing labour to a minimum by skill instead of expensive machines. Gene’s twenty acre farm has 130 species of birds, 40 of wild animals, 90 of wildflowers and trees, and several million weeds. The more diversity on a farm, the better is self-regulation and balance. He does not spray: “it’s not a problem.”

He writes that the Amish are geniuses: they produce at low, horse-power costs, and sell at high, tractor-powered prices. Moreover, there is something else about this farming style: “the era of horsepower was just as much fun and far less stressful than the high-tech days of later years.”

He asked of one of his neighbours, why keep sheep? “Well, there’s little money in it,” she conceded, “but the real reason is my sheep make me happy.”