July 24th, 2014
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White Gates Farm Offers a Model Economy

by Rick Ackerman on November 21, 2012 2:09 am GMT · 33 comments

Far from the world of leveraged finance and esoteric debt instruments, in the rugged hills of Tamworth, New Hampshire, is Hank Letarte’s White Gates Farm. It is a marvel of efficiency that serves to remind us city-folk of how a healthy, vibrant economy is supposed to work. Nothing is wasted at White Gates. The fuel that powers Letarte’s tractors and enriches his soil is homemade with ingredients scavenged from local providers. He uses cooking oil from restaurants to make diesel fuel. To warm greenhouses so that tomatoes fatten more quickly, Letarte extracts BTUs from a 15-foot-high pile of mulch. Coffee grounds from Dunkin’ Donuts produce compost with a nice twist: the bears don’t care for it. A small plow has been fashioned from scrap metal salvaged from a heap of Army surplus.

While visiting friends in Chocorua, New Hampshire, your editor got a four-star tour of White Gates Farm from Letarte, whose pork sausage is legendary at the local farmer’s market. The photos below show how very resourceful he must be in order to prosper.  “It’s a lousy way to make a living” Letarte confides, “but a great way to live.”

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{ 33 comments }

redwilldanaher November 21, 2012 at 3:57 am

Very nice departure Rick. My dream remains to be Farmer Wayne…

redwilldanaher November 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm

ZH on today’s action:

“The best 5-day run in four months for the S&P 500 occurred with the lowest average weekly volume of the year – and as we noted earlier, amid one of the biggest short-squeezes we have seen.”

- Just a coincidence around holidays right? When the sheople are together talking about the state of things. We all need a Gates farm so we can leave THEIRS…

DK November 21, 2012 at 4:04 am

Tamworth, NH, no kidding, south of the Kancamangus Highway on the south side of the White Mountains. Beautiful area. Rick, I live a shade over an hour from there. The next time you’re in the neighborhood, feel free to send me an email. I’d like to buy you a pint, the least I can do to say thanks for the lessons you’ve passed on.

&&&&&&

Thanks for your kind offer of hospitality, DK. What amazed me even more than Hank Letarte’s turning Tamworth forest into farmland was the existence of a golf course nearby.
RA

Jill November 21, 2012 at 4:44 am

Wow. Farmer Hank is a role model & inspiration to us all. Very impressive.

martin schnell November 21, 2012 at 5:28 am

“It’s a lousy way to make a living” Letarte confides, “but a great way to live.”

I have to agree with at least the second part of the sentence – and ultimately that is what it is all about. Nice reminder.

Cam Fitzgerald November 21, 2012 at 7:05 am

White Gates farm and Hank are an inspiration to be emulated in a world that has lost its way. Now if we can only break the quota system a lot more people might find their way back into this wonderful business again before the last of our skilled farm people have retired and sold off their lands. Thanks for the story, Rick, and the photos that cheered me up.

mario cavolo November 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

Fabulous…thanks for posting it Rick…Cheers, Mario

Marc Authier November 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Letarte had certainly ancestors from Beauce Quebec. Very interesting model based on sustainable farming and self sufficiency. Unfortunately if you read what the scums in Washington intend to do to food and farming in USA, Letarte and independant spirits like him will certainly be put out of business by the Monsatan puppet called Obama.

Marc Authier November 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I am referring to the pseudo-security (to protect against you a food Ben Laden of course) farm bill S-31 written by Monsanto puppets to kill ALL independant and family farming. Meanwhile the FDA is trying to put out of business all raw milk and natural supplements producers. Now how will fare Letarte under the new laws written by this big pharma and big agro mafia ? Not very good. Enjoy his pork sausages while Letarte can still sell them to you.

redwilldanaher November 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Exactly Marc. It won’t be long before Gary takes issue with your suggestion of conspiracies even though they are well documented. In Gary’s world and those that “think” like him, the FDA is a benevolent group of folks intent on doing only good on our behalf and Monsanto is a squeaky clean earnings juggernaut. More regs, more earnings, more cowbell…

gary leibowitz November 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Once again you miss my point. Try and follow this logic. If it wasn’t for corporate greed being allowed to dictate government policy, along with the powerful elite few, we would be passing law to safe guard our individual rights and supply protection when needed. Social programs are a form of protection.

In every single post my message remains the same. Allow the system to work properly by placing rigid restrictions on the rule makers. Prevent them from straying from their ideological causes and we would have a functioning government. It might not always bring the best results, but good intentions hardly ever cause irreversible destructive results. Greed, power, and graft can always be counted on to harm the masses.

I would love to see ideology on how to better it’s citizens enacted in congress, be it Republican or Democrat. If the goal is honest the path we take really doesn’t matter. I do not believe Republicans disconnected from the stranglehold of raising election money and receiving “perks” will vote for policy they believe will be harmful to it’s citizens. The distinction between the two parties on that issue was muted up to the time of Bush Sr. Fiscal conservatism was seen in both parties. Social issues were also not the strict domain of the Democrats.

redwilldanaher November 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm

“…good intentions hardly ever cause irreversible destructive results.”

…The fuse lit by The Road to Serfdom was slow-burning. Published in 1944, its message that all forms of socialism and economic planning lead inescapably to tyranny was sensational enough to make it a bestseller.

… In 1974, he repeated that trying to maintain employment by inflationary means would inevitably destroy the market economy and replace it “by a Communist or some other totalitarian system”; this was the “perilous road” we must “avoid at any price.” That year, Hayek was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics.

…Coming from Central Europe, where serfdom and autocracy had risen and fallen together, Hayek insisted on the tight nexus between political and economic freedom and unfreedom. The road to serfdom in the economic sense was inescapably the road to totalitarianism in the political sense.

redwilldanaher November 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm
Robert November 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I like the red tractor…. :-)

The timing on this story is very interesting, as my own family is currently in escrow on a piece of irrigated, arable land situated in our own little corner of North America.

I don’t know that I’ll be setting up my own bio-diesel plant anytime soon, but I must say I find myself feeling a certain joyous anticipation for the more quiet, rural lifestyle that awaits…

&&&&&&

FYI, that tractor, not unlike an Alfa Spyder, has to be practically taken apart to replace the leather belt-drive visible in the center of the photo. RA

Craig November 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm

A free society under the constitution (which Pelosi says she is all about the constitution and frickin Obama sounded like G Washington himself in Burma if you missed). would support a farm like this especially if everything was on a fair playing field and everyone knew what was going on with the food (GMO, pesticides, beef/pork cloning, subsidities to large ag, fines and fees to small ag, FDA bs rulings not laws).

But unfortunately my friends this great thing will be used as a show piece for Agenda 21 to get everyone on board with Agenda 21…then once fully implemented this farm will be bought out by monsantos, name and credibility kept and food poisoned and any news stories telling us that will be deleted. You are warned and be careful of the Glenn Beck judist goat parading that he is the only one fighting agenda 21 and he has for years….he is the biggest Benadict Arnold of all time.

Jill November 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

We would need to have campaign finance reform & to get money out of politics in order to get fairness to non-Monsanto farmers.

Right now Congress folks, regardless of party, are thrilled to get big bucks from the likes of Mosanto. To act like this is just Obama’s fault, when this has gone on consistently for decades under both parties, is ridiculous.

DK November 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Uh, Jill, Obama appointed Vilsack. Exactly who is responsible then? It was Obama’s appointment.

Craig November 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Ummm campaign finance reform got us here! Everytime congress gets a bill from the UN/Banker think tanks it does the exact opposite of what the people want and what the bills title says it does…patriot act goes after American citizens not terrorists, banking modernization act takes away glass-steagle, frank-dode goes after little banks not big banks, food modernization act kills small farms….on and on and on

Marilyn November 22, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Exactly. The unintended consequences, once a nuisance, are now deadly.

Craig November 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Jill,

Obama, Romney, bush, bush sr, the clintonistas, pelosi, dodd, frank, Gingrich, McCain etc all work for the same bankers that own the FED until everyone gets this through there thick tv brainwashed heads we will fall deeper and deeper into the UN total domination through the banks. Stop defending Obama and stop blaming bush and everyone else stop defending bush. They are all puppets….even the puppeteers JPM and Goldmen are puppets….watch the wizard of oz an realize you are all defending or have hope for the little man behind the curtain while the real masters use all these puppets to slowly boil the water on the frogs one block of wood at a time (you).

redwilldanaher November 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Way to go Craig! Keep it up if you can maintain your energy.

Oregon November 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Great story Rick. You are the most well rounded financial/market blog on the web.

“It’s a lousy way to make a living” Letarte confides, “but a great way to live.”

As someone who has done all mentioned in the story, except make great sausage, I can say that is the absolute truth. To someone who looks at the pictures and reads, or someone who visits a beautiful farm like that for a couple days, it may seem like the ideal life, but as someone who builds and maintains that life knows, it is a rough go. It is almost impossible to find a line of work where you will work(toil) more hours, in worse conditions, and find as little economic gain. However, you will not find a more honest days work, nor will you find a better nights sleep than in that same pursuit.

If I had gotten my biodiesel setup that sweet, I might have stuck with it. What a messy pain in the ass. I have to wonder how long Hank has been at it, and will be curious to see if he’s still at it in 10 years.

To all who appreciate the story, make sure you buy local, preferably organic produce, even though it costs more. The future of our food and our farmers is in all our pocketbooks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

BigTom November 22, 2012 at 7:52 am

Oregon – I know what you say. For 2 months in the spring and 2-3 months each fall I would saddle up and work everyday helping out on a friends ranch each year. Actually just moved in for those time periods. Hard work, long hours and I enjoyed it immensely. I also had respect for someone who could do it 24/7/365 year in and year out. And as nice as it is to sit in a heated building sipping on a starbucks reading about and dreaming of such a magnificent independent life, it ain’t for everyone…..

gary leibowitz November 22, 2012 at 4:39 am

Does anyone ever challenge FOX News on their inflammatory, outrageous, made up stories? Now I ask you when will they stop, and more importantly when will people or institutions put them to task for McCarthy style witch hunts.

Case in point: Fox made statements that declare Obama is a liar and had a hand in the killing of the Ambassador and marines. They claim he willfully disregarded pleas for help and made up the story of a spontaneous demonstration with the possibility of a planned terrorist attack, but covered up the specifics. FOX went so far as to claim they have a source that told them the timetable of the warning of an attack was hours before the actual event.

Guess what folks: It is all a lie by FOX. In fact not one other newscaster corroborates their claim. Not one. The state department had a specific timetable that showed it was impossible for FOX’s version to have happened.

=======================================Here are excerpts from news article: CIA statement: We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night — and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades. Fox reported: The CIA chain of command told “CIA operators twice to ‘stand down’ rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.” The “ambassador’s team” was stationed about a mile from the “CIA operators,” who were at an annex. Upshot: Fox reported that security contractor Tyrone Woods and others “ignored” the alleged orders to “stand down” and rushed from the annex to the compound (mission). Woods would later die trying to defend against the attackers. Fox reported: An urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command. However, the Fox report acknowledges that security reinforcements from Tripoli arrived in Benghazi to help out. That said, it alleges that more could have been done

The Fox News report paints the CIA as a cautious and incompetent organization that hesitated and withdrew when U.S. citizens and assets were under fire. Officialdom depicts the effort as an all-out scramble to deliver as much help as quickly as possible.

Now to the explosively funny part. Geraldo Rivera, a FOX TV host, vehemently denied that there was any delay in supporting the attack. He shot down his own panel when they tried to make him reverse his statement. “The response to the attack by personnel on the ground, says Geraldo, was strong. In his inimitable, grandstanding fashion, Geraldo noted that he’d spoken with “four-star General Jack Keane, the former vice [chief of staff] of the United States Army, our premier military analyst. I am convinced that the military did whatever it could have done under the circumstances.” The CIA and the State Department both get high marks from Geraldo as well.”

The independent investigation will confirm that FOX once again runs a National Inquirer style reporting, the joke of any good journalistic integrity.

Put them to task! Stop their prejudice, dull witted remarks that entice all bigots and fanatics out there.
BTW, I urge all to look these facts up for yourself. I am sure once the independent investigation is over, and the timeline is established once and for all, FOX and the fanatics will bury their heads in the sand and deny deny deny. The TRUMP Theory is alive and well!

&&&&&&

Give it a rest, Gary. Enjoy Thanksgiving like the rest of us. My topic ju jour was specifically designed to avoid your kind of political blather over the holiday weekend. Any more posts from you that are unrelated to White Gates Farm will go right in the trash. RA

KS November 22, 2012 at 5:32 am

How is this relevant to the story? Did someone discuss FOX? I don’t understand these outbursts of irrelevant information.
Happy holidays!

BigTom November 22, 2012 at 7:39 am

Gary – don’t forget you have a caps lock function available on your keyboard……sheesh. “In his inimitable, grandstanding fashion, Geraldo noted…..” oh boy—Happy Thanksgiving

gary leibowitz November 22, 2012 at 5:18 am

Yes Red you are right once again. Since 1974 you say? Irreversible? What ever happend to the most explosive rally in history? Must have slept thru the 1982 – 2000 economic/stock market explosion.

As for your chart on earnings, do you really think people like Reggie Middleton hasn’t dissected every single accounting falacy out there? Do you really think there are not very bright minds working to catch these misguided companies? He makes a pretty darn good living at it. You should check him out. Check out WHEN he reported them. All things come to light, All. You would have me believe the whole market is a sham. Not buying it. Please show me all the company reporting errors on the SP500. They all must be lying or hiding the truth. The CEO’s of these companies must have come down with some mysterious disease that forces them falsify reports. You must be watching FOX news exclusively.

But wait, according to you the dollar is a sham, worthless. So I guess you are right afterall.

Why do I bother discussing the obvious? I guess i am not very bright myself.

redwilldanaher November 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Gary, if it were all soooooooo real, why did the NASDAQ lose 80% of its “value”? Hype for profit Gary. Do you think Clintoon was going to investigate all the shenanigans? His pathetic legacy, “a stained blue dress”, er um I meant “prosperous” economic times was directly tied to an economy and stock market that he did little to assist initially but then realized the “credit” was there for the taking. Do you think he had any interest in slitting his own throat politically by investigating the myth? It was all so real that the NAS has never been back there since despite inflation and an even bigger set of bubbles that were fomented over the past decade. Don’t stop believin’ …

Marc Authier November 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/11/21/1224761/farmers-insurance-sued-by-corporations/?mobile=nc

How about this ? Its called SERFDOM. Next Monsanto will be asking a kickback and sue God for not paying a royalty on Nature. USA is runned today by Nazis. I cant find any other word for this USDA like the FDA which is controlled by criminals and tyrants. Can you see the relation here with this small farmer. He will have to take insurance to protect himself against Monsanto and naturally the cost of protecting afgainst this will be prohibitive for ordinary people. USA is Nazi Germany all over.

Marc Authier November 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Let me explain. So if the wind and rain pushes by accident MonSatan seeds on your property the USDA says its MonSatan that has the right to sue you ! In my books the wind and rain or birds eating the grains and transporting these excremential Monsanto seeds now participate in a criminal act of patent violation. There is something wrotten in the Kingdom of Danemark and its Monsanto and the US corporate Nazi that now want a monopoly in life, on the wind on the water on all the animals. Whats next ? A patent on the sun and to clouds to pay to these Nazis. Thats what these corporations are. ENOUGH !

Buster November 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm

What it is, Mark, is Satanic. I say this not from any personal belief, but purely as an observer of the apparent rituals, intentions & actions detailed from various sources about the ‘directors’ of our current system. Understanding this helps us make more sense of why things are happening as they are & also how dangerous our present course is.
If I was to hazard a guess as to where things go from here based on further observations of our human psychology & past history, I’d say that we go all the way to the ultimate end of trend, which is usually exhaustion. In this case it points to total global breakdown & proof in its entirety that ‘it does not belong to man, even to direct his own step’.
An alternative view is that our great leaders will rise to the challenge & backed by a knowledgeable & responsible public we will make use of our technology for greater things than war. Mmm,… sounds hopeful.
Personally I’m with Ron Paul on this one……I’m out of here!

BTW Rick, lovely piece today. From the pics it makes me think that New Hampshire was named after the UK’s Hampshire for good reason, as it looks just like where I grew up.
Happy thanksgiving to one & all.

Anthony F November 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Regarding S&P direction… here is a smart trader opinion on Tuesday…
The SP-500 pushed closer to resistance between 1390 and 1400 on Tuesday. The Nasdaq-100 matched intraday performance, with resistance between 2600 and 2650 ready to challenge the recovery attempt. The Russell-2000 index stopped a few points shy of 800 while the DJ Transportation Average closed just below 5000. Look for all these levels to get breached, shaking out shorts, before the next big selling wave sets up.
http://www.hardrightedge.com/daily/trader.htm

Rick Ackerman November 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm

So far, so, um, “good,” Anthony.

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