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.

8 responses to “The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made as a Farmer”

  1. Michael Wilson

    This “deviation” from farming to fields in which farmers usually have limited expertise at best sent a lot of farmers into bankruptcy in the 1980s. Many allowed themselves to be seduced into thinking that they were financiers, and lost their farms in the process when they attempted to leverage their assets into big money.

    Also, during this unhappy time of widespread bankruptcies and farm failures it seemed that the more high tech the farm, the sooner it went on the auction block. Simple farming. carried out well, will carry the day.

  2. Sarah

    I’m a wannabe small farmer. I’ve raised and sold some meat birds but that’s it for now due to some life constraints. Being recently from the city though I have a network of people clamoring for fresh, well-raised meat. I’m also gaining a network of farmers I trust and so I’m now doing some small scale brokering. It’ll work out that my family will eat beef this year for free but maybe it’s just the scale of the deal I’m doing that reduces the risk. Or the fact that I’m dealing with a local farmer who I’ve met in person. I don’t know, but I do know there’s an appetite out there for well raised meat and if I can’t raise it myself, at least I can source and sell it in an arrangement where everyone wins. It’s too bad you were taken on that deal but a good heads up as the person currently in the middle.

  3. Rose from WI

    You tell a great story. Point well taken.
    I was surprised no one raised a ruckus about John selling something from so far away before he got to you, even if it was a ‘friend’. Surely they have farmers’ markets in Montana. My farmer here in WI buys some wholesale, but it’s still from local farmers. And since my farmer’s been at it for 50 years, he’s pretty saavy about who he buys from. And he almost always pays a little more than what they ask if it’s good quality organic because he knows that farmers deserve a fair price.

    Can’t wait to read your book!

  4. Matt

    I’m sorry for your bad experience with that. If the shipping slip said 400 pounds, that’s all you should have paid for. Oh well, I’m sure you’re over it by now. It’s just upsetting to read about. I’m looking forward to checking out your new book!

  5. To Be Successful, Do What You Do Best « On Pasture

    […] what he describes as “The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made as a Farmer,” Pritchard tells the rest of the story and shares a lesson he learned that can help us all be […]

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