WordFarmers Associates

Evaluating the Farm

Farming requires care, attention, and commitment in addition to knowledge, hard work, and common sense. Not everything succeeds equally; not every aspiration is realizable. Teams that use good information wisely can do better than they otherwise would: care, attention, and commitment make a difference in what one gets from knowledge, hard work, and common sense. This is the sort of experience and capacity that we bring to the work that engages WordFarmers.

The Farm

We have operated small (80-100 acres) Appalachian hill farms (one in West Virginia and one in Ohio) since 1973, breeding cattle, hogs, goats, poultry, and even (once) a mare. We have grown large gardens as well: open-pollinated field corn, wheat, and rye; potatoes, turnips, and mangels; daikon, bok choy, michihili, rapini, broccoli, brussels sprouts; tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants; popcorn, broomcorn; jerusalem artichokes; lettuces, spinach, and arugula.

We also put up loose hay with homemade equipment (hydraulically operated from the tractor) and cut and split firewood (we heat mostly with wood). These commodities are the most "economic" on the farm because they produce an opportunity-cost gain equivalent to a net $15 per hour of labor.  By comparison, gardening and animal production yield about $1/hour. But we think it's good and glorious work. Occasionally we do sell or otherwise share surplus produce with others.