Can't get no respect? Patience and perseverance are key.
Two readers relate their experiences with friends and family critical of their farming methods and choice to stick to what they believe in.

Posted September 14, 2006

These comments are in response to Jeff Moyer's latest column Organic choice can impact relationships with family, friends, neighbors.


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This letter is in regard to Jeff Moyer’s recent column about transitioning to organic farming methods potentially straining relationships with friends and family. Our problem was a little bit different because we started raising (grass-based livestock) something totally different that the family's traditional row crops, and they don't seem to have much respect for our efforts. They are very successful and have been so for many years, and we are just starting and trying to work off-farm to avoid bad debt, etc. They really look down on our used equipment and "piecemeal" approach—converting the fields from crops to pasture a few acres a season—and don't even talk to us "farmer-to-farmer" about our work.

They think our use of native grasses and heritage breeds is more proof we are just amateurs and only doing it for fun. Hopefully that will change as we grow and are successful ourselves. In the meantime, it is very discouraging when family and friends whom we thought would be great resources see us as just another "little hobby farm" when we really are focused on making the farm profitable and sustainable as well as enjoyable for our family and lifestyle.

Jamie Oliver

Thanks for the article about changing trends in farming and the unforeseen social and family issues that come from that. I've struggled with such things most of my life, and I never changed anything I was doing. I've always been and organic fan and environmentalist. Fortunately, most of the things I've been talking about and working for all these years are now front-page news, above the fold and getting the positive attention they deserve.

Nothing succeeds like success itself!

John Meshna