The Contrary Farmer by Gene Logsdon

contraryPublished: 1994

Genre: nonfiction, agriculture

Length: 237 pages

Interest: It’s spring, and the gardening bug has hit hard. Unfortunately, the weather isn’t cooperating. The next best thing to getting into the dirt is reading about someone else doing it.

Summary: The book is all about how to be a successful small farmer, which is much different from being a large-scale, industrial farmer. He starts out by discussing economics of a small farmer. In particular, small farmer can try out new techniques, but shouldn’t go into debt to try out the latest expensive gadgets. He then discusses the role of animals on the farm, and how to take advantage of wetlands, ponds, and streams. He discusses the uses of meadows and forested areas, and concludes with growing corn and other grains in rotation. Throughout the book, he emphasizes a smaller-scale, less cash-intensive method to farm that goes against conventional advice in most cases.

Final thoughts: An interesting book to read, although it is geared toward people with 10-50 acres who can actually farm, versus someone who only has enough space for a large garden. Because of that, he gives specific advice for tractors and gear, how to incorporate animals in with the grains, and other areas which really aren’t relevant to my situation. Logsdon’s passion for his topic came through easily in his writing, so I was interested even in the parts that I couldn’t use. It did make me yearn for a few more acres, though, and helped scratch my gardening itch.

Title comes from: Because he’s looking for solutions that work for small-scale farmers that don’t involve taking on much debt, his advice goes contrary to much of the conventional farming advice.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 29/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge, a C in A-Z Reading Challenge (which takes me to 17/26), and 8/14 in the Nerdy Nonfiction Challenge for agriculture (sixth category).



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