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The Scoop View All →

Is Corn Sweat to Blame for the Heat Wave?

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By   2 days ago

If you saw CNN’s news ticker last week and read that corn sweat is to blame for the heat dome, and your response was “WHAAT??!” you were right to be skeptical. Here’s the Scoop. First, No, corn sweat did not cause the heat wave. The heat wave was caused by a massive dome of high […]

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This Farm Builds the Future With a Cup of Coffee

Sap Bush Hollow Farm Logo

By   1 week ago

Last week, I walked into a hug. And, it came with a latte. It was Opening Day at Sap Bush Hollow Cafe. Shannon Hayes and her family built a new enterprise to complement their farm business, and they decided on building their community as well. With sweat, tears, and bucketloads of hard work, they created […]

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Still Suffering After All These Years

Is this man suffering from Iron Disease?

By   2 weeks ago

Shannon Hayes piece last week, The Suffering Farmer, got some good comments on the site and on Facebook. Some folks read it and saw a new way to think about their lives, and that maybe suffering was in how they thought about and responded to things. Others read it and pointed out the things that […]

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Declaring Our Own Independence

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By   3 weeks ago

With Independence Day this week, Rachel was thinking about her own independence and freedom. Here are her thoughts. What would you like to declare independence from?

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Gluten Free Bacon and Non-GMO Tomatoes – Buyer Beware

NON GMO Tomatoes

By   1 month ago

OK, the first item in this title seems pretty silly, right? Don’t we all know that bacon is meat and so it doesn’t have gluten in it?  So when I see my grocer advertising bacon as “Gluten Free!” what should I think? As a person who used to write headlines for an ad agency, I […]

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Here’s to a Perfect Summer

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By   1 month ago

This weekend we went to the drive-in, and the moon rose high over the screen. Before the movie, the kids ran around the grassy field under the screen in the twilight, chasing each other and climbing trees. When the movie started, we all hushed. Families sat in cars, truck beds, and chairs in the grass. […]

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If You Could Be Anything, Would You Still Be A Farmer/Rancher?

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By   1 month ago

In her piece “What Farming Isn’t” Sarah Mock shares what she learned traveling on dirt roads in Midwest farm country. Her list didn’t surprise me at all, except for no. 4: “Farming is not a choice.” She said she asked all 23 of the farmers she met what he would do if he wasn’t a […]

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Low-Stress Handling and Bison Workshops

Stockmanship Schools4

By   2 months ago

On Pasture sponsors are offering some great opportunities this summer and we’ll keep sending them your way as we learn of more! Richard and Tina of Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions will be teaching Proper Stockmanship in Red Deer, Alberta on June 13 – 14 and Cochrane, Alberta on June 16-17.  Then check out their […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Using Pasture Pro Posts as Corner Braces

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    By   2 days ago

    Jim Gerrish experiments with fencing supplies so you don’t have to. Here are the results of a 5-year test to see how different size fiberglass posts hold up when used as braces so you’ll know when you ought to spend just a bit more to get the results you’re looking for.

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    Should We Mow/Clip Pastures? It Depends.

    Heavy seed head production; clipping could be beneficial.  Photo by Victor Shelton

    By   1 week ago

    We talked about clipping pastures in June. I’m still getting questions and comments by email about it; all good. There certainly are two sides to this fence: those that think mowing or clipping pastures is just something that has to be done and those that think it wastes time, fuel, and does little good. I […]

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    Grazing Crested Wheatgrass in the West

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    By   2 weeks ago

    Crested wheatgrass is a Russian native that was purposely introduced to rangelands in the American West as a forage and an erosion control tool starting in the 1900s. It became especially widely used starting shortly after the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 through the fifties when land managers were working on restoring rangelands impacted by […]

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    What Two Grasses Tell Us About Grazing Management

    Want more study details? Click here.

    By   3 weeks ago

    How is grass productivity above and below ground affected by grazing at different heights or by leaving different residuals after grazing? A study at UW-Madison found no simple answer to this question. Productivity of pasture grasses varies across grazing management strategies and species. The Study Nadia Alber with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies […]

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    Solutions for Watering From Ponds

    Floating Post Pond Fence

    By   1 month ago

    We all know that there are significant downsides to cattle watering from ponds. When they poop in ponds there’s the algae and weed growth that ruins water quality. Loafing around ponds can lead to diseases like letospirosis and coccidiosis, or to foot rot. But sometimes ponds are our only viable water source. So what can […]

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    Fencing Solutions You’ll Like

    Alleyway posts 2

    By   1 month ago

    It’s that time of year when you’re putting up fence, taking it down and wondering if there’s a better way. We thought we’d help out with some suggestions. Then, add your own ideas in the comments. Your fellow farmers and ranchers can use all the fencing help they can get! 🙂 Electric Fencing With Trees […]

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    Bloatless Alfalfa Grazing

    Grazing Alfalfa

    By   1 month ago

    After attending a conference for dairy graziers I was somewhat surprised when one of the speakers spent a considerable amount of time explaining all the ways necessary to avoid bloat in cattle when grazing alfalfa. We’ve been grazing beef steers and heifers on alfalfa for 15-18 years and have only lost 2-3 head to bloat. […]

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    These Simple Steps Can Improve Livestock Distribution, Pasture Quality and Your Bottom Line

    ConvenienceForCowsGoatsSheep

    By   2 months ago

    Sean Kelly, extension range management specialist at South Dakota State University Extension, believes that livestock grazing distribution is something we should all work on because it maximizes how much forage your livestock eat, improves range health and, ultimately, adds up to more profit per acre. “Poor grazing distribution throughout a pasture is like feed waste […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Beware of Grazing Tall Fescue During Hot Months

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      By   2 days ago

      Duane Dailey of University of Missouri Extension put together this important information for reducing heat stress for cattle grazing tall fescue.

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      Should You Opt for the Legume? Adding Cowpeas to Forage Sorghum

      MasterGraze with Cowpeas

      By   1 week ago

      Cowpeas are a viney summer annual legume that can climb, tolerate some shade, and fill in the spaces in a summer annual grass, so should you consider adding them to a stand of forage sorghum? The answer (as usual) contains many variables, with both pros and cons to weigh. Space is at stake and plants […]

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      Diverse Yet Smart Cover Crop and Forage Mixes: 4 Rules for Perfect Pairings

      A custom summer pollinator mix made to attract beneficial insects and pollinators in time for late summer pumpkin bloom.

      By   2 weeks ago

      When you make a mix or interseed one crop in another for a “relay effect”, you’re looking for the most bang for your diversity buck. Taking care to mix a few carefully selected species that are well matched always trumps throwing together a hodgepodge of random selections. The species you choose will depend heavily on […]

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      Soil Health – Go Deeper

      Rachel Gilker helped Dr. Weil as the editor of this 15th edition. It just came out in April of 2016!

      By   3 weeks ago

      Dr. Ray Weil has spent his whole life looking at and learning about soils and how they work to keep us all fed. In fact, he literally wrote the book on soils. He has a message for farmers and ranchers concerned about how their soils affect forage growth and profitability: Think deeper. Think about more […]

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      Weeds Are NOT the Problem!

      Plants in pots

      By   1 month ago

      In the last few weeks I have attended a couple of field day, farm tour type of affairs. To my knowledge none of them were sponsored by any of the chemical companies directly, but listening to the folks putting on these things you could very easily believe were in the employ of these companies. At […]

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      Does Management-intensive Grazing Grow More, Better Quality Forage?

      Rotational grazing at Farnbrook Farm

      By   1 month ago

      Do pastures under management-intensive rotational grazing (MIRG) differ from grasslands under other management in terms of forage quality and quantity, carbon sequestration and biological soil activity? Not everyone believes the answers are yes, so researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison decided to run some trials to find out, comparing management-intensive rotational grazing to continuous grazing, […]

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      Which Pastures Should You Work on Improving When You Have Limited Resources?

      Belted Galloway on Katama Farm

      By   1 month ago

      You might feel like that high-scoring pasture is your top performer, so you should give it what it needs, like you would any diva. But your biggest payback will be in helping the under-performing pasture that has potential, but is lagging because it’s deficient in nutrients, organic matter, or pH.

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      To Bale or Not to Bale? To Clip or Not to Clip? Here Are Some Answers

      Rolling up nutrients. Photo by Victor Shelton

      By   2 months ago

      Let’s ponder two questions with this article: “To bale or not bale?” and “Should I put up hay or just buy what I need?” I think everyone, no matter how efficient or the type of grazing system, should have some hay on hand. It is your insurance plan; one of your contingency plans. Feeding less […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Will Cloned Cattle Give Us What We’re Looking For?

        Part of the team caring for West Texas A&M University's clones, bull Alpha and one of the females called Gammas, from left to right: Kelly Jones, Landon Canterbury, Paydon Hales and Hayden Alexander.

        By   2 days ago

        If you followed the three part pictorial history of cattle size and type by Dr. Harlan Ritchie (see Part 1 here), you may have wondered, “What’s next for the Industry?” If it’s meat quality you’re looking for, a group of scientists think their cloned cattle may be the answer. Here it is in a Press […]

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        From Big to Small to Big to Small: Part 3 of A Pictorial History of Cattle Over the Years

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        By   1 week ago

        Just like cattlemen couldn’t seem to stop making animals smaller and smaller, now they couldn’t seem to stop heading the other direction either. Here’s what happened in the last half of the twentieth century.

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        From Big to Small to Big to Small: Part 2 of A Pictorial History of Cattle Changes Over the Years

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        By   2 weeks ago

        How did we get to the cattle we have today? Where should we go from here? These are some of the questions Dr. Harlan Ritchie worked to provide answers to in his long and distinguished career at Michigan State University. In Part 1 he looked at the change from the era of large cattle that […]

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        From Big to Small to Big to Small: A Pictorial History of How We’ve Changed What Cattle Look Like

        silver_cow

        By   3 weeks ago

        How did we get to the cattle we have today? Where should we go from here? These are some of the questions Dr. Harlan Ritchie worked to provide answers to in his long and distinguished career at Michigan State University. In this series, we’ll share pictures and history that he put together. We hope it […]

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        FAMACHA Score Four Sheep in 30 Seconds

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        By   1 month ago

        Last week we shared an article about the problem of parasite resistance to worming medications and covered worming practices that may help or hurt resistance. FAMACHA© scoring is one of the tools available to help prevent resistance in your herd. It’s a test for barberpole worms (Haemonchus contortus) in your herd, and uses the symptoms […]

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        Test Your Knowledge of Management Practices That Affect Dewormer Resistance

        Worming a goat

        By   1 month ago

        There are many important diseases in goats but none are as common or threaten the health of goats as much as internal parasites (worms). Although there are many types of worms that may contribute to a parasite problem, the blood-sucking barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) is the most prevalent and most important, especially in the […]

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        Let Your Environment Help You Choose Your Replacement Heifers

        Kit Pharo 3 year old cow

        By   1 month ago

        Last week we ran Kit Pharo’s article about why ear tagging newborn calves isn’t necessary. One reader wondered how this affects choosing replacement heifers. Here’s Kit’s response. Question: “Hi Kit, I was wondering how you select replacement heifers from your herd – or do you have some suggestions on how I should select my heifers?” […]

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        Don’t Ear Tag Your New Born Calves

        eartagging

        By   2 months ago

        Many cow-calf producers think it is sacrilegious to not ear tag calves at birth.   Most do it because they have always done it.   Several years ago, the PCC Discussion Group came up with several “Kooky Notions” that the members used to have.   Ear tagging calves at birth was one of those kooky notions. I’m sure […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Drought Recovery Assistance

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          By   2 days ago

          Not getting the moisture you need? USDA Farm Service Agency can’t send rain, but they can help with the monetary impacts.

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          Leasing? Put It In Writing.

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          By   1 week ago

          That’s what Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, AgriLife Extension agriculture law specialist, says. “You never know what might happen between two folks with an oral lease, even if they are family or the best of friends,” she said. “Lease agreements certainly do not have to be lengthy and complex, but there are some terms you need to […]

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          Two Year Old Egg Salad

          Here's what two-year-old Egg Salad looks like. Yum!

          By   2 weeks ago

          One of the things that can keep us from putting a realistic price on our products and services is fear. Here Shannon calculates the true cost of the two years of work it took to make the egg salad she will sell at her cafe, and the impact on the relationship with her community.

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          Sage Grouse Save Ranches

          Sage grouse "booming" and dancing is part of their courting ritual, and they return to the same place year after year to meet and mate. Protecting their "leks" is critical to the bird's survival. (You can see a bit of this behavior in the video below.)

          By   3 weeks ago

          Usually ranchers worry problems that could be caused by a threatened or endangered species on or near their operations. But in this case, a species being considered for listing helped ranchers ensure their land would always stay in agriculture.

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          Easy Questions for Farm Succession

          Is this what your farm transition planning conversations look like?

          By   1 month ago

          It’s a tough topic, but a good one to get started on, maybe by thinking about these 10 questions. Maybe you can just stick them on your refrigerator as a first step. 🙂

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          How to Make Change…And More Money Too!

          Change is Not a 4 letter word Cody and Deanna Sand

          By   1 month ago

          For the last month I’ve been writing about Cody and Deanna Sand and the Sand Ranch and the changes they made starting in 2011 that enabled them to get out of debt, start making a profit, and have more fun too. Thanks to all these changes, they were able to purchase land that they had […]

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          Matching Cows to the Operation Makes You More Money

          Sand Ranch Cattle only know how to graze

          By   1 month ago

          The changes that took the Sand Ranch out of debt and into profit have affected every aspect of the operation. In this fourth article in the series, the Sands talk about changes they made to their cattle management and marketing that helped them turn a profit.

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          New Fencing and Water and CRP Grazing – Ideas For Profitable Ranching From the Sand Ranch

          Here's a map of the Sand Ranch home place. Every red dot is a watering point for cattle.

          By   2 months ago

          How do you go from $20,000 in carry over debt after selling all your calves, to no debt, making a profit and having fun in just 5 years?  If you’re Cody and Deanna Sands, you give up doing things like you’ve always done them, and a we’re sharing in this series of articles, you start […]

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            Consider This View All →

            The Benefits of Country Living

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            By   2 days ago

            I wrote this piece in 2001 and in my opinion little has changed. When I got out of bed this morning it was pretty much as any other morning. After attending to all of the normal bathroom obligations, I put the coffee on and fed the cats and dogs. Then I walked to the mailbox […]

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            Choose Variety for Conservation

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            By   1 week ago

            If you don’t care about the long-term results, then sure one size fits all… It seems like we have to learn the same lessons over and over. In 1986, I was a new District Conservationist in the Carroll Field Office in West Central Iowa. NRCS was just rolling out the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). In […]

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            Rethinking the Stink About Antibiotics in Manure

            Photo showing animals that received antimicrobials in their diet and antimicrobial-containing manure accumulation on the floor of the pen.

            By   2 weeks ago

            New research on how antibiotics degrade in manure tells us we’ve been measuring incorrectly and that different antibiotics provide different results.

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            The Suffering Farmer

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            By   3 weeks ago

            What are we saying to the next generation about what it’s like to be a farmer or rancher? Here’s how we might change that message.

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            Conducting Your Own On-Farm Trials – DO Try This At Home

            Jonathan Rupert Farm Trials

            By   1 month ago

            I have tremendous respect and appreciation for our universities, extension, NCRC, and other public servants. Many of these folks work tirelessly to help farmers. They also collaborate with industry with determining product adaptation, use, rates and the like. Working in the seed industry for over 25 years, I have had the fortune to learn and […]

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            Behavior Depends on Consequences

            No no bad dog

            By   1 month ago

            Want a better behaved dog, or children, or livestock? This one’s for you!

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            Roll Over Protection Systems – The Life You Save Could Be Your Own

            Safety on the Farm ROPS Video

            By   1 month ago

            Tractor roll overs are the number one cause of accidental death on the farm. If you’ve got an old tractor with no ROPS, here’s info on getting that fixed quickly and easily.

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            How I Fell In Love With A Fish

            Dan Barbers Fish

            By   2 months ago

            What is sustainability when it comes to food? Is feeding chicken to fish environmentally sound? That’s what Chef Dan Barber asked himself as he tried to keep sustainable fish on his menu. And then he found his true love: a fish from a farm that is an example of how we can raise food that […]

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              The Funnies View All →

              Texting With Mom Part Deux

              Senior Woman Frustrated by Texting

              By   2 days ago

              Sometimes we’re all a little forgetful, right? (I’ve actually done something very much like this one!) Save

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              Texting With Mom

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              By   1 week ago

              Do you have trouble texting? These Moms do!   Save Save

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              Lift Heavy Objects Correctly

              By   2 weeks ago

              Here’s a sign you may want to post at your place so everyone stays safe (and motivated!).

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              Riding Mower With Grass Catcher

              MyLAkSE

              By   3 weeks ago

              Check out all these different options you may not have thought of yet. Save Save Save

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              Chicken Runs Agility Course

              Chicken on agility course

              By   1 month ago

              Chickens – much smarter than you thought. A little girl taught this one to run an agility course.

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              Even These People Laugh When They Touch an Electric Fence

              Electric Fence Shock

              By   1 month ago

              I know it’s not right, but sometimes I can’t help but laugh when someone touches an electric fence. If you’re like me, then this will make you laugh too. Here, a group demonstrates how electric fencing, insulation, and grounding works with the expected outcome. (If this concept is new to you, see below* for the […]

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              Here’s What You’re Having For Dinner!

              CookingShowSmall

              By   1 month ago

              I know! Don’t you wish these recipes existed?!  And of course the leftovers from these dishes are so delicious too! By Hilary Price, Rhymes With Orange Seriously, we know you’re running around like crazy with all the chores you have this time of year.  So here’s an article we did some time ago that talks about […]

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              Repairing Vehicles With Goats

              HelpfulGoat

              By   2 months ago

              No matter what Bill Fosher says, goats are very useful creatures!

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                Lost Rivers Grazing Academy