- Posted By: Foothill Farming
- Written by: Jim Muck
alone. Because my farm is small, I am the only labor most of the time. For me this is the ideal situation. It is not that I don’t like people. I love people. That is why I go to the farmers market each week. I need the feedback from my consumers to recharge my batteries and keep me focused on what is important: growing good food. That being said, I don’t want to be with people every day.
I love the solitude of farming and I love the luxury of focusing on a task from start to finish. I find that when I have employees, I don’t get to focus on tasks; instead I get to manage. I don’t really like managing and I have not made myself get good at it. The best part is that is okay. I don’t have to manage people if I don’t want to.
What I do have to do is pay close attention to how big my farm is. If I am not careful I could plant more acreage than I can take care of. How do I know this? Done it. There is nothing worse than getting too ambitious and planting so much land that none of the ground gets managed effectively. The result is that all of the crops underperform, and the farm either doesn’t make money or makes a fraction of what it could have made if less were planted and more attention were paid to a smaller space.
Success in farming is in the details, not the big picture. Sure you can plant 10 beds of carrots, but can you weed 10 beds of carrots? I can’t; I can only manage one bed at a time, but one well grown bed of carrots will make you more money than 10 weed infested beds any day. I know this, yet I often have to control my urge to over plant. I usually fail on at least one crop each year, but that is also part of the joy of farming. I never said I was perfect.
Spring is the hardest time for me as a farmer because I have so much pent up farming energy. The quiet of winter lets me recharge my batteries and once the weather warms up I am ready to go. Sometime in March I can feel the call of the land to come and farm (not too much different than the Sirens calling the sailors to the rocks). Like the sailors, I must keep my wits about me. Otherwise, I am headed for a shipwreck: a shipwreck of over ambition.
Jim's Produce, Wheatland