The New Livestock Farmer: The Business of Raising and Selling Ethical Meat by Rebecca Thistlethwaite and Jim Dunlop published by Chelsea Green is the perfect book for beginning farmers and ranchers who are exploring adding livestock as part of the their enterprise mix. The book includes information on cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats, and exotics like bison, rabbits, elk, and deer. It covers a variety of topics including the usual on breeds, health concerns, fencing, housing, etc. However, it also really explores some key issues around marketing and processing that provides key information for people new to the livestock industry who may not know the different certification options and some of the legal issues around what you can or can’t do when selling livestock or meat.
The authors intent was to focus on how to step into this industry from a pasture-raised, ethical meat standpoint, and they provide a lot of knowledge about the industry from that stance. However, given the number of animals and topics the book covers, it doesn’t go indepth on some pretty critical issues (like how to graze animals and finish them properly), and having more resources about where to get that information would have been helpful.
There are a lot of people who are excited about “grassfed” meat and want to begin raising it but they don’t really understand all the different issues that come with that one decision. Reading The New Livestock Farmer will definitely educate them. If you are exploring this industry or know someone that is, this book will help them make more informed decisions.
To learn more or to order go to: http://www.chelseagreen.com/the-new-livestock-farmer.