Joel Salatin - Conservation Agriculture for Arable and Livestock Farmers

Posted October, 19th, 2016

BASE UK was delighted that Joel Salatin joined us on Saturday 26th November 2016 at Stareton Hall, NAEC, Stoneleigh after what was for him an exhausting week of travel and talking!

Tim Parton, BASE UK Member has provided the following comment on the day:

“What a day listening to Joel! From start to finish I found him so entertaining. The way in which all parts of his business complement each other and make money along the way was truly inspiring. All the way home I was trying to think of ways in which I could implement some of his ideas, which made me realise I was already working along similar lines – with a change in rotation and cover cropping on the farm here, in growing cover crops I am trying to improve the health, structure and fertility of the soil while grazing with sheep to cover some of the costs.

Joel has really made me think about trying to make money as well as make improvements to the soil/business along the way. One other point which I took on board from his selling strategy was getting people involved with the story of the product which I hope to implement with our haylage business.”

Joel also talked about having disruptive conversations with family and business partners. The need for the different generations to step out of the way to allow the business and members of the business to blossom.

Joel states that the main cause for businesses to falter is often – in his words “constipation of the brain”! Watch the video to learn more…

As Tim says, one of the most important marketing messages Joel had is that people love a story and want to understand what they are participating in when they buy a product. We should tell that story!

George Young, who also attended has these thoughts:

“Joel Salatin was a name I first came across when meeting John Pascoe on his farm in Australia at the beginning of 2016. Having researched Joel, I was especially pleased to be able to meet him and hear his experiences in person since his views seemed to align so closely to my own.

The day was certainly no let down, with some prominent take-away points being experimentation, multipurpose tools / sheds / machines, and creative thinking to circumvent road-block regulations! It was encouraging to hear that true organic no-till in a mob-grazing system is possible – useful if glyphosate does get banned, although the one year of arable in seven that Joel quotes means that a lot of my machinery is somewhat too large!

The prominent take-away I will be working on will be to look at multi-livestock incorporation: returning cattle to the land in rotation will be stage one, but rotating other livestock for disease control, whilst adding a little to stress, seems fantastic.”

Joel Salatin is a full-time farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and an inspirational speaker on sustainability and food policy. A wordsmith, he describes his occupation as “mob-stocking herbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration fertilization.” His humorous and conviction-based speeches are akin to theatrical performances, often receiving standing ovations.

A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm full-time in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas. The farm services more than 3,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products using relationship marketing.

The family’s farm, Polyface Inc. (“The Farm of Many Faces”) has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, Gourmet and countless other radio, television and print media. Profiled on the Lives of the 21st Century series with Peter Jennings on ABC World News, his after-broadcast chat room fielded more hits than any other segment to date. It achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the New York Times best-seller Omnivore’s Dilemma by food writer guru Michael Pollan and the popular documentary Food Inc.

The author of nine books, Joel also writes extensively in magazines such as Stockman Grass Farmer, Acres USA, and American Agriculturalist.