WILL HARRIS is one of the heroes of “Big Chicken”, a new book by Maryn McKenna that looks at the widespread use of antibiotics in poultry farming. After finishing his studies at the University of Georgia’s School of Agriculture in 1976, Mr Harris deployed all the instruments in his new toolkit to increase his farm’s profits: chemical fertilisers, pesticides, land tillage, antibiotics, hormones. They did wonders for cost-savings, he says, but made him increasingly uncomfortable. White Oak Pastures, his farm in western Georgia, has come full circle over 150 years. Transformed into an industrialised, commoditised and centralised agricultural operation, the farm has now reverted to ways that his grandfather might recognise. With its verdant 3,000 acres grazed by rabbits, sheep, pigs, goats, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea hens, bees and chickens, it is now a textbook example of multi-species, pasture-based organic farming.
Few farmers in America…Continue reading