March 10th, 2022
I listened to a Joe Rogan episode (#1784 Diana Rodgers and Robb Wolf). They wrote a book (and documentary) called “Sacred Cow: The Case for (Better) Meat.” I listened to the 3-hour podcast mainly for the nutritional component. I was fascinated by some of the things they talked about involving how the food production industry could fairly easily produce enough meat for us (and how many don’t want any of us to have any meat at all). I thought, “I need to have my own cows!” After listening to it I tweeted: “Great…now I’m gonna have to get into regenerative farming!?!”
I’d been researching where I want to live when I “grow up” for some time. We live in a condo in Nashville now. I don’t want a house in the city. I don’t even want a condo in the city. I knew that once our kids were out of school that we’d likely move I just didn’t know where. I’ve looked at different areas of the country and different types of property. Nothing was really jumping out at me, however. I’d been doing some searches around different areas of Tennessee for different types of property. 2 properties caught my eye a hundred-year-old home in southern middle Tennessee and a small farm with a big metal building on it in western middle Tennessee.
I quickly shelved the property search because “we aren’t going to be moving anywhere anytime soon”.
On the Joe Rogan podcast, they talked about a cattle farm in the poorest county in Georgia and how it had revitalized the area. Cheap land in small towns is not in short supply in the USA these days. In our RV travels across the state of TN we’ve visited town after town where little to nothing exists in terms of community. Economic dead zones! I like investing and know the way to make money is to buy something when no one else wants it. Maybe I should be living in an economic dead zone that nobody wants?!? Hmmm!?! Interesting idea!
I got on YouTube and typed in ‘regenerative farming’ and watched a few videos. YouTube can lead you down some rabbit holes. It took me a little bit to find some decent content. But after a few wasted minutes, I was on track. I watched videos about regenerative meat operations, living pond restorations, regenerative ranching with high-density rotational grazing, using urine (YIKES!?!), White Oak Pastures (the farm from the Joe Rogan episode), goat dairy farming, small scale chicken farming, the different types of regenerative agriculture, using goats to clear land (and invasive species), and a fascinating interview with Mark Shepard.
After watching about 2.5 hours of YouTube videos (specifically the Mark Shepard one) I mentioned my newest idea of moving to “an economic dead zone” to Emily and you can imagine how “ecstatic” she was with my new concept!
March 12th, 2022
I was driving on Spring Break for a couple of thousand miles and figured I’d pass the time listening to something to try to learn something. I had no idea where to start but I Googled ‘regenerative farming podcast’. It led me to the Regenerative Agriculture Podcast…imagine that?!? I started with the most current episode.
The episode was about Adam Chappell. He started farming with his brother in 2005 (on his dad’s 7,500-acre farm) in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. By 2009 pigweed had nearly bankrupted him (he was following all the “standard advice”). He figured he was going bankrupt anyway so he began researching other methodologies and implemented some regenerative ag concepts (initially implementing cover crops along with crop rotation). He credits this with saving his farm (due to increased profitability). Since then he has integrated livestock into the operation (his first livestock purchase story is fascinating).
What an episode to happen to find to begin my journey. This guy makes me sound like a city slicker but is wicked smart. Oozing common sense and personal responsibility. Honestly, it is like I’m rediscovering the Bitcoin community!?! It was good…so I kept going. I’m going to listen to tons. Some of the topics covered in this podcast I’ll never implement but I figure this will give me a good grasp on areas I should focus on further and help me learn a little bit about everything. I listened to 4 more episodes while driving covering topics like no-till, organic crop farming, carbon sequestration, AI weed pulling robots, foliar applications, soil health, cover crops, and soil water holding capacity.
March 17th, 2022
When we got to my father-in-law’s house I was talking about some of the things I learned (in the 9 hours of podcasts I’d listened to so far). His question was “Where are you going to do all this? Your condo?” Good question. I’ll noodle on that more on the drive home while listening to more episodes.
On the drive home I got in 9 more hours of podcasts. The topics ranged from plant compounds (including plant ‘dark matter’), composting, very hippy sounding people saying the plants “talk to them”, orchard growers, businessmen running regenerative ag companies, organic dairy farming, and entomologist discussing plant signaling. Nature is 1) brilliant and 2) fascinating. We haven’t even scratched the surface of our understanding of it all. But, seemingly, the way we used to ‘farm’ was much better for the earth than the way we do it now.
The message I kept getting over and over was the current system is broken, the current advice is broken, and there is a better, more sustainable way to do things. Another common theme was how these professional farmers just started trying things that made sense and those things often worked well. Rinse, repeat.
The livestock-related episodes were very interesting to me since that was the entire reason I started down this path. I’ve never 1) had a cow, or 2) been involved with keeping a cow(s). I have 1) eaten cows, and 2) seen some cows in a field.
March 21, 2022
When I got home I had done 20 hours of learning on the subject of regenerative farming. I was basically a professional!?! HA! At this point two things happened:
- I got back on YouTube and started watching more videos to learn more about regenerative agriculture. I made Emily watch some of them with me (after I previewed them).
- I remembered one of the properties I’d looked at and looked to see if it was still available for sale. It was a little 11-acre property with a big metal building. The building would be perfect to store our RV and my old tractor in. It was still available!
March 22, 2022
The next day (Tuesday) we drove out to the property to look at it. It was pouring down rain but we got to see it and get inside the building. I have somehow convinced Emily that it would be a good idea to live out our days in a big metal building. She says that is called a barndominium and is excited. Babe, you can call it whatever you want as long as this sounds like a good idea to you.
What if we bought it? My wheels began turning.
Well, I’d need to be able to mow the pasture or cut hay. I have an old John Deere tractor. Maybe I could use that. I watched a few videos of old John Deere #5 sickle mowers.
March 25, 2022
On Friday afternoon we drove back out to the property and walked the perimeter. At dinner that evening we decided that we’d put an offer on it.
March 26, 2022
By Saturday morning we were under contract!
And that, my friends, is how Deano launches one of his crazy, hair-brained schemes. Start to finish 16 days…idea to knee-deep in a major life change.
By Saturday afternoon I began really freaking out. Mowing the fields?!? Item #1 to figure out on a long, long, list.
I’m freaking out but also excited. I’ll try to document the journey. I’m sure there will be plenty of stupidity along the way that will need to be stored so that my kids can make fun of their idiot father! HA!
UPDATE: We closed on the mini-farm on May 6th. LFG!!!