Forrest Pritchard is a full-time sustainable farmer and New York Times bestselling author, holding a BA in English and a BS in Geology from William & Mary. Smith Meadows, his farm, was one of the first “grass finished” operations in the country, and has sold at leading farmers’ markets in Washington DC for nearly two decades. Pritchard's first two books received starred reviews from The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and NPR, and his latest book is set to debut in 2018.

27 responses to “How to Make A Million Dollars from Farming”

  1. Jerica Cadman

    This resonates with my own heart! We are also direct-to-consumer, multi-species pasture-based farmers. And yes, I can say without a doubt, that we are the richest of all because of the lives we have with our children, close to the creation God has given us, doing something truly noble and wonderful. Despite the lack of a paycheck. 🙂

  2. Lea Cullen Boyer

    Very cool! Thank you. Making it through the slow season is so tough. Some of our farmer friends work at libraries for low pay in the winter. (They gain health benefits though!) I saw a hint of a green leaf under our leaf mulch this morning. Stared at it for a long time. Looking forward to Spring!

  3. David Farrington

    Hello, I love what you’re doing. I’m wanting to raise some organic (or close to it) hogs but have had a hard time wading though the internet for info on feed and variety of hog. Heritage hogs? Thank you very much. DF

  4. Jeff Ruyle

    Forrest, I always enjoy reading your posts. Being a grass fed lamb producer, I can relate. We are fortunate to be in central Texas where we plant winter oats to graze the foliage of the plant from first frost until late spring, and sometimes that might be our best grazing of the year. However, that depends on rain, and we have not had near enough lately.

    The farmers markets slow down a little in the winter here but, not much. I know this time of year is much tougher for you guys up north, so keep your chin up, and keep doing what you do. As you know, it’s all worth while when the loyal customers keep coming back to the market with a big smile.

    1. Jeff Ruyle

      They can be fairly dormant for us in Jan and Feb here, too, Ideally, we keep sheep out of a few fields until then, that way there is some forage saved back. It’s green but not necessarily growing.

  5. Hope Bank

    I’m at your stand at the Columbia Pike farmers’ market every Sunday to get meat and eggs and lard. I’m so glad you’re there – even like last Sunday when it was freezing and I felt so sorry for your poor stand worker.

  6. mosprott

    I’m at your stand @ Courthouse every Saturday, where we’re grateful that we can buy your wonderful eggs and sausage. There’s a synergy to the transaction – we provide money to keep the farm going, but you provide not just food, but sureness that the food we’re eating is clean and good, and trust that the cycle between us will continue. So so happy that you’re there in the winter!!!

  7. Catherine

    You’re at least lucky enough to have a year ’round market to sell at. We’re limited to folks coming to the farm for their milk, eggs, meat, etc. But we’re gearing up for markets when they open! Come on spring!! We’re supposed to get 6-7 inches of snow tonight. Geesh.

  8. Amy

    What a beautiful line: “From the top of a hillside, looking out over the fields, the view is greener than a million dollar bills.”

    Y’know, I subscribe to Mother Earth News, and to be honest, it’s more like a fantasy publication for me at this time. I know I can make a little homestead somewhere someday when I get the courage. All I can say is, even *not* being a farmer, I’ve long since come to understand and appreciate that money does not equal *wealth,* contrary to what we’re used to chasing after in the U.S. Yes, of course you need actual dollar bills to keep the farm running, but in the grand scheme of things, the land and what you’re accomplishing with it makes you a far richer man than that million dollars ever would. (But the million bucks would still be nice!) And I don’t mean the monetary value of the land. Doing what you love, and the sense of pride and fulfillment that comes with living a “right life” — in tune with your personal values — now *that’s* wealth. (Not to mention what I’m sure are some amazing sunrises & sunsets from those green fields.)

  9. paintedhandfarm

    Thank you for the validation. In our vocation I become occasionally frustrated by “farmers” funded by multi-million dollar organizations (and relatives). And add to your list of expenses, market application fees, municipal and state permits and liability insurance that all seem to hit at once just before the opening of seasonal markets.

  10. adm (@adm)

    Great post, Forrest. You speak to the challenges facing the small farmer very eloquently and knowledgeably. Best wishes for the success of the farm, season after season.

  11. Tom Carey/Sundew GArdens

    Our Sundew Gardens is a market garden selling vegetables, fruit, herbs, and eggs to our local community (Orlando,Florida) through membership Upick and pre-picked “Harvest Baskets’, wholesale to restaurants and a produce retailer, and an online farmer’s market. The one marketing ploy I avoid like the plague is off-site speculative-harvested farmers market. I recently responded to one invite to be a vendor at a semi-distant (20 miles) high rent farmers market by noting all the incredible stresses involved, and that they should pay me to be a vendor. Our growing season is year round, with the hot, wet Summer our slow time (but the weeds and pests are even worse). Please visit my Sundew Gardens facebook page for photos and updates.

    1. Tom Carey/Sundew GArdens

      I really try to avoid harvesting my crops on speculation that they will sell at a farmer’s market in town. Many of our other local farmers sell at several markets a week, so if what they’ve harvested doesn’t sell today, there’s always the market tomorrow. I’m a one man operation (and a few apprentices), so leaving the farm essentially shuts me down. Using a combination of the online farmer’s market, my individual CSA families that come to me, and a few restaurant and retail accounts that also come here to pick up, I’ve been able to move most of my harvests and not rely on ‘off-site speculative-harvested’ farmers market. I recognize that my location near the sprawling development of Orlando helps, but when we moved here, folks thought we were crazy for living so far out in the Florida scrub. I’m enjoying your writing very much!

  12. Erin

    I don’t care about making a million dollars – I just want to get out my cubicle and out of the city. But how? We’ve got no savings and are finally just to where we’ve got a few bucks left on payday. We don’t have the credit to take out a loan if we wanted to. We have the drive and the work ethic to make a serious go of it, but we can’t figure out how to get out of our rental house. Even if we could find a farm to rent, the chances of finding one within driving distance to work are slim to none.

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