Comeback Farms – A Book Review

In Book Reviews, Stockman Grass Farmer by James0 Comments

As promised this is the book review for Greg Judy’s second book “Comeback Farms: Rejuvenating Soils, Pastures and Profits with Livestock Grazing Management.” After reading Greg’s first book No Risk Ranching I knew I had to read and see what other words of wisdom and lessons from experience he had to share in his follow-up book. Much like Greg’s first book, his second one did not fail to live up to my expectations. While his first book focused on the topic of making a living from farming on leased land “Comeback Farms” focuses more on what to do with those farms once you secure the leases – how to make them profitable, and the tools it takes to make it happen.

What’s in the Book?

Greg breaks the book into four sections: “The Basics,” “Multi-Species Grazing,”High Density Grazing,” and “Genetics and Grass-Finished Beef.” The book is a total of 271 pages, but spans 44 chapters! The benefit of this is a lot of ground is covered. The first section, “The Basics” spans 83 pages and acts as an introduction which covers Greg’s ranching past and the progression he’s made into where he now is. It includes many of the valuable lessons he learned along the way, including some tough lessons that upcoming farmers don’t have to repeat thanks to Greg sharing them with us. Greg even provides the reader with some comic relief when he retells a story about his Rodeo stocking days. I won’t ruin the story here, all I’ll say is the story includes a colorful Aussie rodeo hand and a 2500 pound bull that finds a way to escape from a holding pen onto Greg’s farm. Section two “Multi-Species Grazing” covers all of the different animals one can use in their grazing operation. This includes goats, hair sheep, and Tamworth Grazing Pigs. The section also includes two chapters on Guardian dogs which I welcomed because it’s a topic I’ve wondered about but have not read anything on it up to this point. The third section “High Density Grazing” focuses on Holistic Planned Grazing. As I’ve mentioned in past book reviews, the Holistic Management method comes from South African Allan Savory. After going to South Africa and meeting Ian Mitchell-Innes, one of the most successful Holistic management grazers in the world, Greg came back to his farms and started implementing the principles. The results were off the charts. It was a major game changer for his farms, and out of everything mentioned in the book taking the Holistic management approach is what Greg drives home the most. In the last section “Genetics and Grass-Finished Beef” Greg focuses on why grass fed is superior to grains. One chapter which caught my eye was the one on fat marbling. There’s a myth that all grass fed beef has very little fat on it. Greg clarifies the misunderstanding noting that grass-finished beef that are not finished properly indeed do not have the desired marbling, but grass-finished beef finished properly have plenty of fat. So much in fact that his butcher would not believe him when he told him his cows had been fed zero grain.

Final Thoughts of a Wannabe Farmer 

This was a great companion read to Greg Judy’s first book. As I mentioned Greg covers a lot of ground in this book, but for me I looked at it as the second part of Greg’s story. Part one, was Greg’s first book, it showed us who Greg was in the early years along with his discovery of leasing land to make a living. The second half of Greg’s story continues in this book where we see his evolution from a farmer making a living from the land, to a farmer that is utilizing new ideas and techniques to make the most of his land and business. Despite all of the great information Greg packs into these books I think even more inspiring are the stories he tells of his failures and mistakes along the way. These are not just two books about farming and farming techniques, but they delve into the psyche of the farmer during high and low times. I feel like I really know who Greg Judy is after reading these books, and I feel like I have a real insight into the mind of a farmer who is now doing what I dream of doing. Greg Judy has made it as a grass farmer, there’s not doubt about that. Actually if you read the book you’ll discover Greg would rather be referred to as a microbial farmer, as it’s the microbes in the soil that are paramount to having a healthy pasture. I fully understand this after reading a book I reviewed earlier this year: Teaming With Microbes. It was a pleasure reading about Greg Judy’s evolution as a farmer and I highly recommend anyone who is interested in grass farming aka microbial farming to give his two books a read. You won’t regret it.

Buy the book via Amazon by clicking HERE (It’s an affiliate link so I get a little kickback if you buy. Thanks!)

 

For more about Greg Judy and his farms go to Green Pastures Farm

Below is a presentation Greg gave about Holistic High Density Grazing

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