Friday, February 3, 2012

Update: Natures Harmony controversy

Background:  I've written a a few blog entries about Natures Harmony; averaging about one per year, and I think that Tim, the proprietor of Natures Harmony, got his feelings hurt.

"open discussions"
Tim chose to "discuss" this by creating a blog entry (here's the link) and then preventing me from commenting on it, instead soliciting comments from his blog and facebook page.   Tim is able to post and read here.   I'm not given that courtesy.  [update, 2-5-2012:   Tim has deleted all the entries from his facebook page and from farm-dreams facebook page.  If you ever have a discussion with him, make sure to get screen shots.   ]

Talk about what you know and have done
My basic issue is that I'd prefer Tim to talk about stuff that he's actually done, and I was pretty critical of his classes where he proposed to teach people how to start a small farm, particularly the finance portion.   I've always said that if you are sincere about helping, talk about stuff you've done.  Tims farm was not financed by any of the methods he proposed in his class, and in fact with 180 acres at a probable cost of $3500/acre ($630,000) , his farm has never produced enough revenue to pay for even the land, much less the equipment, barns, house, grade a milking parlor and all of the other stuff he's done.  That's my opinion, and Tim is welcome to refute me with a balance sheet if he wishes.

  [Update, 2-6-2012:  I misspoke about what Tims property cost.  The intial land was purchased in February of 2007 for $213, 501.  It's a 75 acre parcel.   They started construction on the 6 bedroom, 4 bath house and pool, with permitted construction cost of $300,000, giving a total of at least $513,000.  Then they built barns and outbuildings, driveways and other improvements that I don't know the cost of.    They purchased another 50 acres of land in 2009 at a cost of $113,000, raising the total cost to at least $626,000.   There are many costs to a farm other than the land, but I was off by $4,000, and for that I apologize.  Link to tax records on the initial property, link to tax records on 2nd property, google maps view of Natures Harmony )

Mattresses of cash
When he proposed a class on how to make a profit on your farm, I'd like him to do it first, himself.  I just didn't see it.  In more recent entries, particularly in his podcasts, he and Liz have gotten a little more clear that a mattress of cash really makes farming easier (they call it a slush fund), and that's what I'd prefer to see.  A little more honesty and transparency.  He claims to be a fan of that, I just haven't seen it. 

Learn that there is value in a variety of opinions 
Speaking of honesty -- one thing that Tim has done repeatedly is invite comments, and then prevent responses or outright ban individuals who disagree with him. He's done it to me, he's done it to many others.  He claims that they're doing bad things, but I find it hard to believe that so many people who have a sincere interest in farming have done a bad thing.   Over the past 4 years I've been contacted by 17 people who say that they've been banned from commenting by Tim, and he's banned me, too.  From my experience I think I believe the 17, not Tim.  Sorry, Tim.

Stop being a hypocrite
He's called for people to call out hypocrisy on his blog, but HATES it when he's called on it. 

You don't need to hide who you are
With Tims new venture,, he's putting himself right back into the spotlight, and claiming to be a resource for farmers.  I fully expect him to continue to ban people and opinions on farming that don't match his, and I just don't see that as a useful sort of forum. If you want to have "Tims view on farming" don't call it a public forum.  Go back to your blog and do it honestly.  Don't hide behind a voice-over talent and anonymity.

Want a good forum with truly open discussion?
I've found to be a much more balanced forum for the same issues, and if you're interested in preparedness, animal husbandry, homesteading or many other related topics, I'd go there.  You'll get a balanced view with thousands of opinions.

It's fair to have an opinion, even about natures harmony/farm dreams
Tim writes about other farms and other blogs, relying on blog posts or interviews, and then objects when people write about HIS blog posts.   I don't agree that Tim is the only one entitled to an opinion.

You'll find the rest of it at the link below.  Enjoy!

Hey, if you're looking for the natures harmony controversy, click here.

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