Archive for January, 2021

Changes

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

I haven’t posted for a long time due to uncertainty about my grain operation. In the late fall of 2019 the family who had rented me land for next to nothing for 12 years suffered the loss of the their mom. The family needed to make the ranch pay for itself and leased it to a local walnut grower who can pay real rent. I can offer nothing but great thanks for the time I had on the ranch and with the family.

Because I had the land enrolled in the Conservation Sustainability Program of the USDA I had to make a decision. That program was paying me annually for using no-till, cover crops, and crop rotations. If I failed to formally cancel my contract I would owe all the money back. If I planted my crops and then the tenant needed to plant his walnuts my investment would be lost.

In the end I decided to cancel the CSP contract and not plant. Planting involved buying some more equipment that seemed unwise under the circumstances. With no place to store my equipment, I donated my combine to the Center For Land Based Learning in Woodland, CA and sold the rest.

At this point I am still open to the possibility of some land showing up closer than the 50 miles I was commuting but realize it’s a long shot. I’m 72 and not up for risky enterprises. Grain was always a low-margin crop and takes a bunch of equipment. Ironically, since the pandemic started I have had a high volume of calls seeking out rye, my main crop. I sorry to have to turn people away.