The Scoop View All →

Surprise! You’re Not the Only One Making Mistakes

By   5 days ago

I like Home and Garden TV. I like to watch happy hosts take a house that just doesn’t quite suit the people that live there, and use power tools, hammers, drywall and paint to turn it into something that brings the residents to happy tears. I think beauty is important, I like to see problems […]

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No One Said Farming or Ranching Was Easy. Can We Help?

By   2 weeks ago

This week we share stories from two farmers as examples of how to become a farmer, and how these particular folks climbed over their hurdles. Jay Lavery started as a flight attendant and doing standup. As he turned 50, he turned to farming, and then – SURPRISE! – he went viral as the farmer famous […]

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How Much More Can You Do With How Much Less?

By   3 weeks ago

Can we talk, politely, about what it means for the USDA budget to be cut 21%, about what we really need from the Department and the agencies that serve farmers and ranchers? Do you have suggestions for fixes to programs that would make them better for you? The time to figure it out is now, as Congress considers a new budget and Farm Bill.

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The Next Level of Dedication

By   4 weeks ago

On Pasture has been through a lot of behind the scenes change in the last two months, and today, if all went according to plan, the site is faster and you’re not getting the dreaded “500 error” anymore. That’s because we are now on a dedicated server. But if all DIDN’T go according to plan, […]

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More Grass Than Cattle – What Do You Do?

By   1 month ago

This week we’re sharing some questions from readers that we think you, the On Pasture Community, will have some good answers for. One reader wants to know about grass finishing cows purchased at the sale barn. John Marble has provided one right answer, and we think you’ll have other thoughts. We’d also like you to […]

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What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and What Could Be Done Better

By   1 month ago

There are tons of quotes out there about mistakes as a path toward learning and doing better the next time. And there’s a lot of inspirational stuff about how innovation comes from failing, and trying over and over again, and some college graduates have even been told to “go forth and fail” by their commencement […]

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Go FCC Yourself

By   2 months ago

Changes being proposed by the Federal Communications Commission could make it more difficult for you to access On Pasture. If that could be a problem for you here’s what you can do about it.

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Building a Better On Pasture (No Money Involved!)

By   2 months ago

We need your help to keep On Pasture growing in a direction that suits you best. So we’re asking you to answer 10 questions. Your responses will help guide us when we’re picking the articles. They will also be helpful when we approach granters for funding. If you value On Pasture, then share you thoughts, […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Holistic Management to the Rescue

    By   5 days ago

    Over the past four years On Pasture has shared articles about farmers and ranchers who have used Holistic Management as a tool to go from debt to profit, from mediocre animal performance to something much better, and from pastures and range that were in poor condition, to a landscape that is functioning and that works […]

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    Timely Tips for Managing What’s Happening in Pastures Now

    By   2 weeks ago

    This is great info for those folks on irrigated pasture or those in areas of decent precipitation. For those of you working in the arid west and parts of Texas, see if this gives you ideas for how to manage your drier forages.

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    Beginning Farmers’ Success with Managed, Multi-Species Grazing, Cover Crops and More

    By   3 weeks ago

    Shane and Jessica Blair are new Minnesota farmers getting started with the help of a team from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Here’s how it worked for them. See if there are resources here that might be useful to you, no matter where you are in your farming/ranching career.

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    The “Lazy L” Gets You Ready for Herd and Stocking Rate Changes

    By   4 weeks ago

    A beef producer needs a set of “liquid cattle” – the group that is easy to round up and sell as weather changes, feed becomes short or the labor force changes. Selling this group creates opportunity for the remaining herd by lessening the demands on the operation. Life does not always go the direction that […]

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    Rotational Grazing on a Large Scale: Duval County Ranch in Texas

    By   1 month ago

    My name is David Kitner, and I am the manager of Killam Ranch Properties, Ltd. I manage several ranches from South Texas to the Flint Hills of SE Kansas. My presentation will mainly focus on the transformation of the Duval County Ranch in Deep South Texas, and how I utilize rotational grazing to benefit the […]

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    Please Keep Off the Grass: Post-Drought Grazing Management

    By   1 month ago

    For many livestock producers it has been a difficult year requiring significant amounts of extra feed. Now it is the beginning of May and things are greening up nicely. Here in New Hampshire we have gotten a good amount of moisture so our drought conditions are easing and disappearing. I know many producers who are […]

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    Ute Creek Cattle Company’s Success With Holistic Management

    By   2 months ago

    Jack and Tuda Libby Crews are the seventh generation living and working on the Ute Creek Cattle Company near Mosquero, New Mexico. When they inherited Tuda’s family ranch and moved back in 2001, Tuda writes “Jack and I were faced with myriad challenges as a severe 12-year drought and poor management showed 50 percent bare […]

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    A Guide to Farming Friendly Solar

    By   2 months ago

    As Vermont continues to seek to invest in sustainable energy, interest in on-farm solar generation has grown. (It’s probably no surprise that some of the attributes that make land good for farming also can make it desirable for solar arrays.)  For many communities, this has raised concerns about loss of valuable farm land and impacts […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      When Livestock Eat Weeds You Have 43% More Forage*

      By   5 days ago

      It’s that time of year when I remind you that you can teach your ruminant livestock to eat your weeds so that you have as much as 43% more forage, and you don’t have to worry about herbicide. Training a group of 50 animals to eat weeds takes just 8 hours spread over 7 days […]

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      Easy Monitoring to Track Pasture and Rangeland Changes

      By   2 weeks ago

      All you need is your smart phone, maybe a shovel or fence post from the back of your truck, and the willingness to take a picture and email it to yourself and you’ve become a monitoring master!

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      Using Your Cattle To Control Blackberry Bushes and Other Plants You Love to Hate

      By   2 weeks ago

      In this video, Jason Crisman of JC’s Organic Farm shares a surprising development in his herd. They’re eating blackberry bushes with gusto! He attributes their new foraging to his rotational grazing, fencing them into smaller paddocks so that they become less selective graziers. Like us, cows are creatures of habit and they eat what they’ve […]

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      The Summer Annual Manual

      By   3 weeks ago

      Summer annuals have unique benefits, like filling a small space in the rotation with multiple cuttings of big yields. They also bring some unique challenges and considerations. Here’s what you need to know. Step 1 is waiting for warm soils. These crops are adapted to hot climates and won’t germinate consistently until soil is at […]

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      Red Clover: Antibiotic Alternative for Cattle

      By   4 weeks ago

      USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists discovered an antimicrobial compound in red clover that may help reduce antibiotic use in animals.

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      What You Can Tell by Looking At – And Touching – Your Soil

      By   1 month ago

      Thanks to Nick Comerford, University of Florida, and the Soil Science Society of America for this article! If you are outside and want to know something about the soil you are working with, and don’t have any fancy equipment, then this is for you. With a little bit of experience you can get an idea […]

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      Runaway Grass – What Can You Do?

      By   1 month ago

      If you’re looking out at pastures that are growing so fast you don’t know how to keep up, here are some tips for managing your grazing so that you slow the speed that forage matures, and you maintain quality forage.

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      ‘Free Aluminum’ Could Be Costing You Thousands of Dollars In Yield and Quality

      By   2 months ago

      Things that are invisible are not necessarily unimportant: oxygen, carbon monoxide, and gravity, to name a few. This is as true in the soil as it is above ground.  While we tend to think of soil as ‘sand, silt, and clay’, there are many tremendously important things in it that are invisible or barely visible […]

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        Livestock View All →

        How to Drive Livestock Using Low-Stress Handling Techniques

        By   5 days ago

        Driving is one of the most common interactions we have with our livestock. Here’s how to make that less stressful for everyone involved.

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        Using Your Cattle To Control Blackberry Bushes and Other Plants You Love to Hate

        By   2 weeks ago

        In this video, Jason Crisman of JC’s Organic Farm shares a surprising development in his herd. They’re eating blackberry bushes with gusto! He attributes their new foraging to his rotational grazing, fencing them into smaller paddocks so that they become less selective graziers. Like us, cows are creatures of habit and they eat what they’ve […]

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        Looking for Heritage Hogs? Buyer Beware!

        By   3 weeks ago

        This article by Alison Martin and Jeannette Beranger offers advice on making the right choices when buying heritage or traditional breed hogs

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        The Importance of Tail Docking Lambs

        By   4 weeks ago

        Ever had a rotten tooth pulled? I have, and it smarts a bit. But would I rather that tooth was still there, or that it abscessed and dumped toxins into my bloodstream? Not really. And that’s essentially the case in favor of docking most lambs’ tails shortly after birth. “But Bill!” you protest. “A lamb’s […]

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        Are the Cows Ready to Breed?

        By   1 month ago

        Assuming a 283-day gestation, if the cow that calved on April 1 wants to maintain her position as the first cow to calve on April 1, she only has 82 days to recoup from calving, start lactating and be cycling the day the bulls arrive in the pasture. And so the question of the day: […]

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        Growing Our Poultry Operation with Our Own USDA Inspected Processing Plant

        By   1 month ago

        Maple Wind Farm, owned by Bruce Hennessey and Beth Whiting, is a diversified, pasture-based livestock, organic vegetable, and maple products farm located on two conserved properties in Huntington and Richmond, VT. Here’s how they worked through the process of growing their pastured poultry business with their own processing facility.

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        Zero Tolerance for Bad Cows

        By   2 months ago

        I apologize if the following words are too harsh, but they are true. Unfortunately, some know the feeling all too well. The beef business has risks, and one risk is bad-tempered cows, cows that want to kill you. Most cows respect their caregivers and have only goodwill. But for those of a different temperament, get […]

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        Do Your Calves Have Winter Coats?

        By   2 months ago

        Most of us have one or two winter coats.   Sometimes we wear more than one coat at the same time.   Winter is a time of shorter days and colder temperatures.   Unless you live in the tropics, you need to wear a coat most of the time during the winter months. God created cattle to have […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Growing Farmers With Internships and Apprenticeships – Part 1

          By   5 days ago

          Thanks to the CSA Solutions Hub for sharing this article by Alex. While it was originally written for CSA oriented farmers, the principles are just as true for all farmers and ranchers hoping to work with interns. I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of direct-market farmers started as interns or apprentices on […]

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          The Progressing Farmer Buys a Farm Part 3: How to Pick the Right Farm

          By   2 weeks ago

          In Part 1 of this series, Jenn Colby described her drive to farm, how hard she worked to make a go of it on a tight budget, the business plan that told her, don’t quit your day job and maybe get a better paying job so you can afford your farming dream, and how that […]

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          Western SARE Internship Handbook

          By   3 weeks ago

          On Pasture readers have asked for  information on how they can get started with interns for their farms or ranches. It’s a big topic that requires more than one article. So we’re going to ask for help from our readers as well. If you have experience with interns and apprentices and would like to share […]

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          How Sap Bush Hollow Farm Meets the Challenge of Cooperating Across Generations

          By   4 weeks ago

          Farming should be about making way for the next generation, as well as serving the needs of the present.

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          What Size Cow Is Right for Grass-Finishing?

          By   1 month ago

          One of our On Pasture readers sent us this question: I would like to know what size I should be buying cows in order to grass finish before slaughter. I know grass fed beef is different than grain fed beef. Can you help? Since John Marble frequents sale barns for some of the stock on […]

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          Your Role In A Better Tenant Landlord Relationship

          By   1 month ago

          We have had very good results with keeping long land leases by focusing on keeping good landlord relationships. This article is going to review our practices that have been very successful in keeping our leased land. I will also review some of the mistakes that we have made in the past that resulted in us […]

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          A Radical Homemaker’s Take on Investing

          By   2 months ago

          I received a phone call recently from someone in the media, who introduced himself by way of exclaiming “Is it true that you have a family of four and live on less than $45,000 per year? And if so, how is that POSSIBLE?” I answered his questions, then hung up and ran my latest financial […]

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          Manure and Bedding Composting for Energy and Fertilizer

          By   2 months ago

          University of New Hampshire researcher John Aber has been using a Northeast SARE Agroecosystems award to explore the waste streams and energy cycles on an organic dairy farm. The purpose of his research is to help dairy farmers take advantage of manure, bedding, and waste hay by turning it into energy and fertilizer for the […]

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            Consider This View All →

            I Know. It Happened to Me Too. And I’m Still Here

            By   5 days ago

            We’ve all made plenty of mistakes. Here are some examples to show you that you’re not alone and you will survive.

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            Here’s How a Farmer Goes Viral

            By   2 weeks ago

            From flight attendant/comedian/water polo enthusiast to losing everything because of a back injury, to learning how to read in spite of dyslexia and ADHD, studying for a PhD, buying a farm, and dancing to heal – that’s how you go viral. (And what to do when you’ve got all that attention!)

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            Mirror Reduces Stress and Increases Animal Happiness.

            By   3 weeks ago

            Even if you’re not raising pigs, you can get something useful from the Agricultural Research Service’s Sandra Avant showing the importance of companionship to reduce stress, even when it’s only an animal’s own reflection.

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            Grizzlies of the Corn

            By   4 weeks ago

            At first bear experts were skeptical that grizzlies had actually learned to love corn. But when they saw the damage being done to this Montana dairy’s crops, they stepped in to help.

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            Farmer to Save 1 Billion Gallons of Water a Year Thanks to a Conservation Partnership

            By   1 month ago

            Wolfe Family Farm and The Freshwater Trust are working together to transition nearly 1,100 acres of forage and grain crops from flood irrigation to pivot sprinkler irrigation. The Freshwater Trust, a nonprofit freshwater conservation and restoration organization, received nearly $1.4 million from the Oregon Water Resources Department to cover upgrading irrigation infrastructure, transferring points of […]

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            The Failure of Reduction When It Comes to Working With People

            By   1 month ago

            Remember the movie Better Off Dead? That movie is a family Christmas tradition for us. Lane Meyer has to ski a dangerous mountain to prove himself to Beth. He seeks advice and receives the most boiled-down help imaginable. While entirely accurate, it is incorrect and Lane barely escapes injury. I was talking to our children recently […]

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            The Future of Conservation and Ranching Looks Like This

            By   2 months ago

            Jason Saulan landed in Eagle Point, Oregon three years ago. “General Manager of C2 Cattle Company,” a 9,200-acre, 800 head cattle operation, was the latest post in his 20-year ranching career. “I actually started as a cowboy,” he said. “I worked my way through a few of the largest ranches in the country.” Two decades […]

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            The Froze Cow Incident

            By   2 months ago

            There are people that we meet in this life who, for reasons that we are not smart enough to understand, hold a special place in the compost of our memory. They are there all the time but every so often something will happen that will bring them to the top of the pile and every […]

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              The Classic by NatGLC View All →

              Get a Better Grip on Soil Health in Just 5 Minutes

              By   5 days ago

              This article, along with the “Soil Health in a Minute” videos, was first published in June of 2014. We know you’ll enjoy them! As an animal science major at Cornell in the 1980’s, I took a course in soils. I’m not sure if it was the subject matter or the professor, but I just couldn’t […]

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              Graze or DIE!

              By   2 weeks ago

              Karen Hoffman of the Natural Resources Conservation Service shared this article with us in June of 2015. We’re pretty sure change is as hard as it ever was. Here’s why, and some additional thoughts about how you can get yourself to change. Over a year ago, a friend of mine who is interested in health […]

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              Post-Fire Grazing Doesn’t Always Slow Forage Recovery

              By   3 weeks ago

              We originally published this article by Ann Perry of the Agricultural Research Service in June 2015 courtesy of the November/December 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. Given that fire season is headed our way in the west, we knew you’d be interested. If this doesn’t cover your particular area of the country, you might ask your […]

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              Try These Simple Steps to Improve Livestock Distribution, Pasture Health, and Your Bottom Line

              By   4 weeks ago

              From June of 2016, here are some really good ideas from Sean Kelly at South Dakota State University Extension. Sean 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 […]

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              Young Animals Experienced With Poor Quality Forage Will Do Better Throughout Life

              By   1 month ago

              This was originally published in May of 2015. Spring is always a good time to remember this. Many livestock, particularly those making a living on rangelands, encounter poor-quality forages at some point in the grazing season or during the winter, (less than 7% crude protein and 50% TDN). But that doesn’t have to be a problem. We’ve […]

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              How to Identify Your Pasture Grasses

              By   1 month ago

              Here are links to handouts, online booklets, and websites that can help you figure out what you’ve got in your pasture so you can get a leg up on managing your forage successfully.

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              Shade That Moves Where You Need It

              By   2 months ago

              Shade can solve a lot of problems. It can improve livestock grazing and production. Cattle without shade gain less weight and produce less milk than their cool counterparts. Fertility rates drop too. Shade also impacts productivity by changing where animals deposit manure, and how much of your pasture gets grazed. But getting shade where you […]

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              What Are Your Soils Capable Of?

              By   2 months ago

              Not all soils are created equal. You can improve your soils to a degree, but it’s always a good idea to set your expectations based on your soil’s capabilities. That way you’re working with what you’ve got and not throwing good money after bad. So do yourself a favor and check out the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s web soil survey site.

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                The Funnies View All →

                The Best Medicine?

                By   5 days ago

                Sometimes you can’t use the same medicine for everything, no matter how good it is.

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                Fun With Peas

                By   2 weeks ago

                Are you visualizing whirled peas?

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                Buy Your Kid a Nose Ring!

                By   3 weeks ago

                Fighting about whether your kid should get a nose ring or not? It’s not so bad when you get to choose the ring. (Plus we’ve added shopping resources!)

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                Senior Statements

                By   4 weeks ago

                It’s that time of year when high school seniors are getting ready to head out on the next part of their adventure. Some leave messages for their classmates:   Save Save

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                Rube Goldberg Cow

                By   1 month ago

                This hand made cow shows you how food moves from one end to the other.

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                Voting Has Consequences

                By   1 month ago

                Ah no, we wouldn’t really go all political on you! 🙂 Save

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                Have You Taken an Intelligence Test Lately?

                By   2 months ago

                Let us know how this one works out for you. Save Save

                Read More →

                Beware of Tanning Beds

                By   2 months ago

                The results may not be what you hoped for. Save Save

                Read More →