Host: Our next speaker will be Joel Salatin who is a farmer, lecturer, and author, whose books include “You Can Farm”, and “Salad Bar Beef”. Salatin raises livestock using holistic methods of animal husbandry, free of potentially harmful chemicals, on his farm in Virginia. His farm is featured in the book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and the documentary film “Food, Inc.” Please welcome Joel Salatin.
Joel Salatin: Thank you. A lot of people wonder, “How did you get to where you are?” And so as I’ve thought about this presentation, I’ve decided to just give a story of exactly how we got to where we are. It doesn’t start at the beginning necessarily, but it does start with the need of people fleeing their Dilbert cubicles being a cog in the wheel of a corporate, global elitist, wanting to have a pleasant life in the country and asking us to grow ready-to-lay pullets for them.
Now a pullet, for you uninitiated, a pullet is a non-laying, female chicken. OK, like a virgin, or a heifer, or something like that, OK. So we started raising these pullets for people who wanted them in their backyard for their McMansion farmettes out in the countryside. So we raised these 100 for this lady that called and said, “We want 100 pullets.” We raised it for five months – they don’t start laying till five months – they’ve got to go through puberty and all that sort of thing.
So they started laying, and I called the lady, and I said, “OK, your pullets have begun laying, now you want to come and pick them up?” She said, “Oh, my plans have changed, I’m not going to pick them up.” Well, we had 100 pullets. You know, you don’t tell these ladies to just stop laying eggs. You don’t say, “Put a cork in it!” I mean, they just start laying eggs. There’s nothing to do except collect eggs. We had a customer at the time that was a Washington lobbyist, actually, and he came down, and we were doing all this … “Buy ten dozen, get one free” promotional things.