New book ‘Small Farm Republic’ gives blueprint to revive the small farm economy

“Small Farm Republic” is a new book by farmer and former gubernatorial candidate John Klar that challenges government policies that hurt small farms, and provides a blueprint for making local agriculture thrive again.

“‘Small Farm Republic’ advocates for conservatives to support local agriculture for healthier food, healthier humans, and to nurture rural communities,” the description on the book’s website reads.

“Small Farm Republic,” by author John Klar, tells “why conservatives must embrace local agriculture, reject climate alarmism, and lead an economic revival.”

In the book, Klar draws upon his knowledge as an attorney and farmer to increase awareness of the problems with America’s industrial food system, and he offers bipartisan policies to improve agriculture for the benefit of all Americans.

His book is currently getting endorsements, and has a forward written by Joel Salatin, a well known farmer, lecturer and author.

“In his inimical attorney style, Klar takes on climate change, GMOs, aging farmers, carbon credits, solar panels, food safety regulations, school lunches—you get the picture. For each problem that plagues our culture generally and agriculture specifically, he offers a simple solution: small farmers serving local food systems,” Salatin writes.

Klar has written dozens of published commentaries over the years on public policy and farming. One general theme of his is that government intervention in farming policies often harms the economic viability of small farms.

“The government has been displacing farmers in Vermont for decades,” he wrote in a 2016 opinion piece published on VTDigger. “Our small dairy farms were pushed off our hills due to technological innovations like bulk tanks, which were mandated by laws enforced by the Ag Department. Small milking operations could not endure the expense of such improvements: Farms with more cows, and more capital, could. The result was a long progression of the big guys pushing the little guys out of the market and off to pasture (so to speak).”

Details about the book, due to be released June 15, can be found at Amazon and on the book publisher’s website.

Small farms are in trouble

Small farms having trouble in Vermont is not a new trend. A recent VTDigger report highlights an organic dairy farm that the owners say isn’t getting the bills paid despite long hours and hard work.

“Some farmers have told officials with Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, also called NOFA, that if they don’t receive help by spring, they’ll go out of business,” the report from early February states.

The report includes some alarming data. As of early 2023, 140 organic dairies were operating in Vermont, down from the 203 that existed in 2016. In recent months the farms are starting to leave rapidly.

“One farmer closed shop in January. A week later, by the time state lawmakers were presenting a $9 million emergency package for the industry to their colleagues on the House floor, three more farms had shuttered,” the report states.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

12 thoughts on “New book ‘Small Farm Republic’ gives blueprint to revive the small farm economy

  1. Food sovereignty is a major issue, along with what chemicals, vaccinations and crap that is put into our food and livestock. We have an inherent right to feed ourselves, something the NWO crowd isn’t for.

    It would be nice if VERMONTERS also had the same rights,to their bodies as a Misty knoll chicken, but I’m not holding my breath.

  2. None of this will matter if we don’t first turn back the global biosecurity police state emerging from the WEF and allies, slowing forming around the bogus ideology of catastrophic CO2 warming (to manufacture the consent of those on the left) and usurping local government and local control.

    We need only witness what’s happening in Vermont.


  3. Indeed, the change is already upon us. As we watch the lovely open fields and pastures that once graced the farmland of Vermont become plastered over with acres of glass sun catchers and not a lovely grazing cow left in sight.

  4. Noble in thought Mr. Klar, but small farms are not economically feasible, unless you have plenty of your own money to sink into the farmer dream “lifestye”. For whatever goods you produce on a small farm, you cannot fund all with it’s revenue and all ever growing expenses….maintainance, parts, property taxes, electricity, machinery, repairs, labor, income taxes, distribution, business insurance needed liability, tractors, trucks, all fuel, vet bills $ if animals… and if you grow small crops you can only do so for a handful of months a year. VT is not year round grow season FLA or CALIF. And if you want a greenhouse? They cost HUGE and must be heated in cold weather. if you make a product to sell in packaging…you have jars, labels, boxes, marketing, sales, advertising…PLUS you have huge Gov’t regulations for $$$$ food grade mandated stainless packing equip and inspected OSHA clean room. The numbers just don’t work easily and expenses will rise faster than revenue.

    • I know the second largest organic dairy farmer….decently large. He is starved for land to grow certified organic crops. he is only able to grow organic hay and a bit of alfalfa…ALL other crops he needs for feed…like mandatory CORN, cottonseed etc…he has to buy out of state $$$. Organic corn is mandatory and the yield on organic corn is tiny, compared to regular. His organic corn is grown way far away in warm climes, near year round..and shipping, distribution costs are $$$$. You cannot GROW all organic grains and feed in VT and forced to buy and ship far away for $$$$. Unless you can grow ALL makes NO financial sense for small places…only way my friend survives as organic dairy is SCALE….over 200 milking. Only then do the expenses of organic feed work. And BTW, his labor costs are huge.

      • You are not wrong Jeffrey.
        But this is about like arranging the chairs on the Titanic right now as the ship is sinking.

        No one seems to be looking at the GIANT Elephant in the room out there..
        No, it’s not business as usual..

        Nothing is going to be the same with the petro-dollar crashing and nations separating from the US as fast as they can put together their plans.
        The US is going to be down graded– Donald Trump just tweeted about this yesterday I think it was.

        There is a whole lot going on out there as nations reinvent the world order- and here we are watching one shiny object after another forced in front of our faces by the propaganda life as we knew it is completely destroyed.

        I get what you are saying.. but how things were and how things are going to be are worlds apart.

        I think that worrying about your own neck of the woods and everyone in it is going to be the future- we’ll be lucky if we can do that.
        We’re moving into small and local and the opposite of Globalism wherever it touches our lives.
        I think that the scale of which we can do things is going to change a lot- and so will the market.
        Perhaps more of a modern day model of subsistence farming?
        Don’t forget about micro-farms as well.
        Smaller but more..

        There is one thing for sure; Montpelier is not going to be able to get blood out of a stone.
        As you say, this math does not work at all and unless people want to actually starve, there are going to need to be some giant reality checks coming–about what is really possible and what are unrealistic pipe dreams..

        When I was kid growing up in NH back during the early 70s, people were putting ketchup on noodles because that was all they had.. this was a lot of people and this was not unusual at all.. poor was normal life and everyone was.
        We may see these days again.. so good luck getting piles of money in tax dollars out of a population living that way.
        Nothing forces people into reality like wondering how they’ll eat and what they are going to eat..
        Priorities shift really fast when all you have for supper is noodles with ketchup on them because that it literally all that you have.. we’ve seen these days.

        Climate Change and Organics are going to be the last things on the minds of people on survival mode..

        I think it’s good to have the knowledge and experience that Mr.Klar has though because there is no doubt that we’ll be reinventing the wheel in a lot of aspects.
        We should be listening to people that actually know what they are talking about- first of all.
        It also seems like a whole lot of regulations will need to be cut too..the old way of doing things is not going to work anymore.. there is a lot of stuff that we can’t even get anymore!
        People need to be set free to do their thing.. however they can because I see hard times coming and a whole lot of noodles.

        • Amen Laura Stone!! You get it. Self-reliance, or totalitarian enslavement. Small farms have been decimated artificially, by the City Mice. Time for rural America to take back its culture and agriculture, economically as well. Wendell Berry, Aldo Leopold, Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry — these are the voices we should be heeding, along with our grandparents. I have studied this for two decades, as well as the tax and regulatory favoritism of Big Farms. “Control the food, control the people.” I say let the people control their own food, or they will surely perish. I’m getting four times what I did twenty years ago for lamb — food inflation is going to skyrocket. Farming and food will again be profitable locally, whether organic or conventional.


      • And so government must help people with start-up costs and more favorable regulations, rather then the reverse. The alternative is we all starve to death waiting for trucks from California to deliver processed foods that give us cancer. Read the book…. 🙂

        • W/ due respect John…it won’t work well in VT…the growing season to make your yearly income is maybe 4-5 months. Land is scarce, and expensive..taxes high, labor high..all costs are high. So whatever crops you grow to sell will be far more expensive. Small faming might make sense in the warm sunbelt, southwest and Calif…year round grow seasons. VT just does’t work, unless you fund it with loads of your own money. This is exactly why you see so many Trust Fund kids in VT – claiming they are “organic” farmers for a “living”. Nope. The Trust Fund pays the way. Just look at VT’s ex-Lt. Gov… a wealthy guy (as you know) with an out of state trust fund, claiming he’s actually a VT organic farmer?

        • Mr. Klar, so now we need the Government to fund and pay for farms to start up and all kinds of equipment, land, labor etc…It’s Socialism farming basically…and actually borders Communism with what Mao did in CHINA, forcing/paying people to go farm on rural cooperatives??? That did not work out very well :)…So now the Gov’t has to pay, so “dreamers” can grow crops in VT, for maybe 4-5 months a year.. and freeze/starve the rest of it? And, in the end all they produce is a product that will be two to three times more expensive than what is in supermarkets now? Vermont is NOT a rich state. Look at HOW MANY are on Food Stamps !!!!!! People cannot afford to pay 2x-3x for your crops, while the small farmers are then Gov’t subsidized?…for 4-5 months of crops? I just ain’t gonna work. Vermont is in enough fiscal trouble in a few years, in case you don’t know :)…..$4.5 BILLION unfunded UNION debts tell me so.

    • Yes, because for decades large farms have benefitted from both subsidies and favorable regulations — the point of my book is to reverse that Big A favoritism. Also, the high cost of fossil fuel inputs is reversing the competitiveness of local products that are not as grain-dependent or shipped long distance. Cheap energy favored big and distant. Further, there are issues of food security, when a nation becomes dependent on China for food. Finally, a key point of the book is to contrast regenerative farming (including on large scale operations) with boondoggle renewable energy technologies: shifting cows out of CAFOs and back onto rotational grazing will do more to sequester carbon than all their EVs and solar panels combined. It is an ENVIRONMENTAL policy winner for conservatives — regardless of climate change.

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