We take a deep dive into how they’ve integrated the oxen into their operation, including the why behind it and how they use draft power in ways and places where they feel tractor power and human power aren’t the best choices.
Kevin and Melanie dig into how they manage the complexity of their operation, including their introduction to Holistic Management and how they’ve used that to support their decision-making and to get on the same page from a relationship standpoint, as well as to help them do the caliber of work that they want to be doing. We discuss how they schedule multiple labor-intensive enterprises, and how they’ve divided responsibilities and how they coordinate between the different parts of the operation.
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Quotes from the Show
[Kevin] I'd have to say of the draft farmers that I know, the reason you do it is because you love it. That has to be a part of it. Otherwise, if it becomes a burden, it's just going to be easier to fire up the tractor and go.
[Melanie] We're valuing all the different parts of our farm not just for what they're bringing in, in terms of gross sales, but also how they're building soil, and how they're increasing the just ecological value of our property, and contributing to our happiness, and the fullness of our farm, and our food security here at the farm.
[Melanie] I don't shy away from that management role anymore. I see it as we're grand orchestrators of this crazy, dynamic, complex organism that we've created around us… To the degree that we've embraced that, the farm has been more successful, and a much happier place to be.
Melanie and Kevin use Holistic Management as a framework for managing their farm. As we discuss in the show, the Holistic Management book is a big read, but worth it.