Friday, February 3, 2012

You'd think I gored his ox

Tim used this graphic in his blog post.  I think it's appropriate, too!

 Tim over at Natures Harmony blog has decided that I've wronged him.  He's inviting comments about his operation on his blog.  You'll find his blog entry here

Tim mentioned a few of my blog posts.  Here's a list to make it easy:
My challenge to Walter Jefferies to raise pigs per his claims's postmortem
This post that apparently caused Tim to blow his top!

He won't let me comment on it.  Perhaps some of you have opinions on Tims operation and openness to comments.  Feel free to post them here and there.  Cut and paste is wonderful.   Since his basic tactic is to ask for feedback and then delete it, I don't have very high hopes that you'll get an honest exchange, but I'll take him at his word.   

I'd particularly like the folks who got banned after trying to post comments in the parasites in ram flock blog entry -- he's using that as an example of him being open to criticism, when the backstory is that he started just flat out banning anyone who disagreed, eventually banning most everyone.  That's one way to reach agreement -- kill everyone who disagrees!

He's doing the same sort of stuff on his new project,   See this link for more details.   

If you'd like to read stuff I've written about Natures Harmony in the past, you'll find the links below

A blog entry I wrote about an ancient indian ritual and its resemblance to modern farm blogs: 
potlatch -- the last half is an opinion about natures harmony. 

A reader reads my potlatch entry and criticizes it.  Has some good points, too. 
Potlatch revisited

Comments I made about a particular farmcast that Tim and Liz put out
Why you farm

There are a few more out there, but I thought it might be useful for you guys to see the terrible things I've said about Natures Harmony podcast and blog. 

And Tim -- I don't think it's appropriate to complain that I've never talked to you when you won't respond to email and have banned me from your website.  I'd love to interview you; are you offering?    Or would you rather I just drop by? 

On that subject, if you have attended a class or function at Natures Harmony farms, I'd like to talk to you. You can reach me at


Kelly Johnson said...

I read his article on the worm problem he had. I just couldnt make myself read over 1 or 2 comments at the bottome because I just didnt see the sense in reading comments on a method that was unsound. So if my comment on it sound like someone elses thats why. Now I currently am not using any chemicals or medications on my farm. I would like to keep it that way but I think the gentleman is missing one key point in his thinking. He wants his animals to evolve the way mother nature intended them to but....Mother nature would never have locked 15 animals in a 2 acre lot!!! Now im not saying there is anything wrong with that. My point is that as sood as you lock up any animal and raise it for food its going against nature. Nature probably does provide a plant or mineral to solve this problem. If so it was on the other side of that 2 acre fence. What you have to do is try to limit your interferance but realise that sometime you have to have to do some things (like deworming) because of your interferance to begin with. He should have dewormed the ones he had to and sent them to the auction barn. I believe that animal control would have agreed with me. I dont think they much like people that lock up animal, wont give any medicine and let them die. lol

Rich said...

I wonder if anybody has been able to duplicate the methods advocated by Tim and Liz, or Rebecca of "Honest Meat" and have a successful farm?

After all, Nature's Harmony and Honest Meat are "farming the right way" (or however they phase it).

I also wonder why he is so defensive? If someone is accused of being a thief (or a fraud) and the charge is obviously untrue, the accused usually just ignores the claim. But if the charge has a small element of truth, the accused usually reacts much differently, don't they?

If his farm is wildly successful, why would he be concerned that someone thinks he has scaled back significantly?

Bill Gauch said...

There are many farms on the east coast which only exist because of subsidies, conservation easements, and special financing. Profitability also is only possible through ridiculously high prices. Here, farm eggs are $6-9/doz. Ground beef is $8/lb. etc. One thing to keep in mind when talking about them. They are creating the public face of their business. They are within their right to control that view.

CS said...

I haven't read many blogs other than yours and WJ's, however I'm a little confused as to why pastured meat, particularly in the densities that Nature's Harmony, Sugar Mountain..etc have costs *more* than confinement farming when, in theory, the animals are getting so much food from the pasture.

In my experience, feed is the single largest expense to raising meat animals. Pasture is essentially free, or at least far cheaper than buying commercial feed.

Your next large expense is capital investments for machinery..etc. Once again, those should, theoretically be less for pastured animals.

Then you have employees, workers and such. All of these bloggers talk about their interns and 'students' doing various farm tasks.

So, from reading these blogs, you'd think that their costs should be 1/4th a typical confinement farm, and then their sale prices are 2-4 times over what commercial farmers get.

So where's the money?

Bruce King said...

Kelly, I agree with you. I didn't see the sense in taking the experiement to the point that the animals died from lack of treatment. It was an expensive lesson. I really don't know if he's learned it yet.

Rich: Near as I can tell he's not producing many of the things that he started with. I'd actually like him to talk about why rabbits didn't work out, or turkeys, or sheep, or ... you get my drift. He made a big deal about his farm train and stuff -- finish the story. Why did you stop?

Bill -- agritourism is fine as a business. The turkey slaughter class is a great revenue producer, for instance. He has every right to manage his businesses image. But I think it's fair to be able to review his products, too. Particularly if he claims to be open to the discussion.
Nothing personal. If you're going to teach classes about stuff you have no experience in, well, I think it's fine to be a little skeptical.

CS: That would be a great question to have either Walter Jefferies or Tim @ Natures Harmony answer. Why don't you pose that to them, and see what response you get?
I can answer it from my own viewpoint, but I'd be very interested in theirs. Let me know if you do pose it to them.

Bruce King said...

I've sent the following to Tim at his public contact email address:

Tim, as a result of our recent exchange, I've been in touch with 7 people who have been to one or several of your classes. I'd like to arrange a time when I can interview you about the topics raised.

I'm taking you at face value that you would prefer to be interviewed when the subject involves you, and I'd like to be able to include your viewpoint.

To make sure that there are no misunderstandings and no misquotes, I'd prefer to record the interview. You're welcome to, as well.

No hard feelings on this end.

Rich said...

FWIW, I made the following comment on NHF's blog:

I would have to agree with Elizabeth when she stated that, "...I think he is just tired of people offering poor advice to new farmers...".

If you are going to offer advice, try to sell books, and give classes about starting a farm you are going to have to accept that people are going to have questions about that advice. You don't have to answer those questions, but you are still going to get those questions whether you like it or not.

Getting defensive and/or attacking the people asking those questions is just going to raise more questions.

And, I like the subtle attack on Bruce's farm practices by implying that he feeds meat in your comment when that isn't true. If you are only interested in lifting people up, why would you try to be clever and make an offhanded remark and lie about another farm's practices?

Bruce King said...

Rich: The meat comment by Tim was out of line. He seems to take my comments personally and get his feelings hurt, and then feel like he has to lash out. That's where I put his meat comment. I've written about meat and pigs on this blog many times.

I'm skeptical of a class subject, or a posting, or even a philosophy of Tims. Tim is a fine fellow, and probably drinks beer. I've never said anything personal about Tim or his wife Liz. I *have* said things about a class that Tim teachs, or stuff that he's done. I just don't think that Tim gets the difference between being skeptical about an idea and a personal attack.