I was recently questioned why I post some of our negative experiences on our blog. It sort of caught me off guard. Was it being implied that I am a whiner? Because that certainly hasn't been my intention. Was it out of concern that it may not be good for business?...something I hadn't considered. Was the blog perceived as being negative? All of these questions danced around in my head.
The reason I post some of our negative experiences is because I want to be honest. I want people to have a well rounded idea of our farm life. Of course we enjoy sharing our positive stories and at the same time we aren't afraid to share our negative experiences. Raising animals is something our family enjoys. But animals are living creatures and susceptible to predators, weather, sickness, their own mischief etc... To present ourselves as a perfect farm where nothing goes wrong would be far from the truth. We want our customers to have a real sense of where their food comes from. To use the trendy term, we want to be transparent. Our hope is that we offer the opportunity for people to connect to their food and even us as the farmer, if that is their desire.
Some of our failures have been from our lack of experience. We enjoy acquiring our experience. We were not born into this lifestyle. Well, Hollie grew up raising apples. But I think most would agree that is different from raising pigs! : ) There are times I wish I did grow up on a farm. It would likely mean that I would have inherited the farm or at least have access to it. That really would have made things easier. Think about it, little or no mortgage to pay, plenty of equipment, many more years of experience, good sources and contacts, good established farm ground, and family familiar with our operations that could lend a hand when needed. But at the same time, I know I wouldn't appreciate what we have like I do now. I also would likely do things the same way my dad had done things which is the way his dad did things. This is good and bad because I would likely have continued to make the same progress as well as the same mistakes that had been done for generations. Instead we have tried (or rather been forced) to take a fresh approach.
Some of our success stems from our non agricultural experience. For example, Hollie has a degree in Business and has worked for several years as an office manager. This is critical in keeping track of our growing list of customers and our accounting needs. I have been employed as a business manager for 10 years. This has given me lots of experience in marketing, customer interaction, dealing with vendors and so forth.
Other failures we have experienced are just part of life. Even the most experienced professionals encounter new obstacles or are subject to the ever active and evolving world of biology. Our little farm has its own unique ecosystem that we learn more about every day. We prepare the best we can and make every effort to learn from past experiences. It is a journey. We hope to have more success than failure. And hopefully sharing this journey with others will contribute to our success as well as the success of others.
As we share bits and pieces of our farm life, keep in mind that what we share is the truth. How would we be any different from the large factory farms if all we did was portray this mythical nirvana of a farm? We would be trying to pretend that we were something other than what we are. We will continue to share our farm experiences both positive and negative. We will present our farm exactly as it is. No rose colored glasses, no fluff, and no sugar coating. Who wants to connect to that? From us you can expect the whole truth and nothing less.