Letter from Pheasant Hill Farm, #4, MARCH 12, 2003

George DeVault's 14 Myths About Modern Farming

By George and Melanie DeVault

Editor's NOTE

George DeVault was editor of New Farm® magazine from 1981 through 1991 -- and a long-time champion of local food systems and innovative direct marketing approaches to high-value farming.

He, his wife Mel and 23-year-old son Don farm near the village of Vera Cruz, PA, a little over an hour north of Philadelphia. They've been farming there organically since 1985. They extend their growing season with 6000 square feet of greenhouses, and sell cut flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables through farmers' markets and directly to customers on their farm through a subscription service.

George continues to edit the Russian language version of New Farm® magazine, and in their spare time, he and Mel have edited and published six books on farming and market gardening.

For more on Pheasant Hill Farm, click here.


1. You need hundreds, even thousands of acres of land to be a farmer.

2. Can't start a farm without tons of money.

3. Farmers have no control over prices.

4. It's impossible to get started in farming today unless you inherit a farm or marry a farmers' daughter.

5. You have to have a full line of the newest, biggest farm equipment, preferably John Deere green.

6. A 4-year agricultural degree is a must, a master's degree is even better.

7. The government will solve all your problems.

8. The experts know it all.

9. There is no future in farming.

10. We have too many farmers.

11. The only way to be a successful farmer is to use lots of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

12. Get Big or Get Out -- We say get small and get in!

13. If you don't farm full-time, you're not a real farmers.

14. The experts have all the answers -- They don't. Many haven't a clue.