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The Scoop View All →

Farmers and Ranchers Who Talk With Each Other Are More Profitable

By   2 days ago

A few years back, the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland analyzed the impact of farmers participating in discussion groups. They learned that members of these groups grossed the equivalent of about $100/acre more than their non-member counterparts. Now, just leaving a comment on a discussion board, or being part of a farmer/rancher group […]

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How to Find Answers to Your Grazing Season Questions

By   1 week ago

As grazing season rolls in, I know you’re all busier and busier. And questions are coming up for you. Whether it’s problems with fencing or getting water to the herd, or trying to adjust your grazing management, you need answers NOW. So, here’s how you can find answers at On Pasture, along with some ideas […]

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How Do You Graze When Your Pastures Are Saturated?

By   2 weeks ago

I got an email from a reader this past week asking just this question. Rain, rain, and more rain had soaked his soils. Not wanting to damage his pastures, he delayed turn out for a month, but his hay supplies are running out, and the pastures are maturing. He wondered what folks in the know […]

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Farmers and Ranchers Are The Future

By   3 weeks ago

In this week’s issue, we have two articles that describe the important role farmers and ranchers play in creating a healthy planet. In one, ranchers talk about the progress they’ve made protecting the prairie. Without these folks and others grazing their cattle, prairies would grow up in trees, and we’d lose the wide open spaces […]

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Some Tips for Talking When We Disagree

By   1 month ago

As I write this I’m in a Subway in Walmart in Canyon, Texas, using their free wifi. I’m in town visiting my ailing, 90-year-old Aunt. I won’t be back in the office until Thursday morning, so if you notice that I’m not as responsive as usual, you’ll know why. One of the reasons I’m a […]

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Is There One Right Answer? Yes – And Here It Is!

By   1 month ago

When I was working for the Bureau of Land Management and stationed at Utah State University, a friend and I started an internship program called “Tehabi.” The name comes from the Hopi Kachina legend that describes two spirit-beings – one without sight, the other paralyzed – who survived, even thrived, when they teamed up and […]

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Have You Ever Wished for a Mentor?

By   1 month ago

Back in the ’90s, when I was running my research project on how to use goats to build firebreaks to protect homes and people, the folks around me thought I was a little crazy. Even the two faculty members listed on the project didn’t take it seriously. Whenever I went to them with a goat […]

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For Earth Day, Do What You Do Best – Graze!

By   2 months ago

This week I ran across a video from one of On Pasture’s sponsors, Organic Valley. In it, Kevin Mahalko talks about one part of the “Soul of Farming:” grass. He talks about the relationship between grass and his dairy cows, and the importance of a farmer’s stewardship of his lands to everyone around him. I […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Making Hay While the Sun Shines, Even If You Don’t Want To

    By   2 days ago

    All the drought indicators were met, so John’s drought management plan kicked in. And then it rained.

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    Birdwell and Clark Ranch – Moving 5,000 Head of Cattle Multiple Times a Day

    By   1 week ago

    When Emry Birdwell and Deborah Clark bought their 14,000 acre ranch in north Texas in 2003 it was a monoculture of little blue stem with 25% bare ground, and areas that were overgrazed and undergrazed. Today, it produces two times the county average of beef per acre and in less time. For that, and the […]

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    Greg Judy Talks Electric Fencing and Gates for Sheep and Cattle

    By   2 weeks ago

    While Greg designed these fences to keep goats, sheep and guardian dogs in, they work for his cattle too. See what he’s using and consider how you’d adapt it to your operation.

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    Twelve Steps to Amazing Grazing – Part 2

    By   3 weeks ago

    This is Part 2 by Matt Poore and Johnny Rogers. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it. These steps aren’t just 1-2-3 and you’re done. We’ve all started down this road, and these are some ideas to help us keep going. Step 6.  Start cutting individual pastures in half with polywire. The place to start […]

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    Twelve Steps to Amazing Grazing – Part 1

    By   1 month ago

    This article comes to us from Matt Poore and Johnny Rogers. Amazing Grazing, in addition to being something we all aspire to, is a state-wide, pasture-based livestock educational initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, coordinated by Matt and Johnny coordinate. These steps aren’t just 1-2-3 and you’re done. We’ve all started down this […]

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    Here’s How to Successfully Grow Grass

    By   1 month ago

    I took the time to walk through most of my pastures a few days ago. I recommend doing this fairly often to keep a mental forage inventory. It is best to record the findings. Some use fancy electronic data sheets, some track on paper charts, some just have notes in their pocket datebook or smart […]

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    Teaching Livestock to Respect Electric Fences

    By   1 month ago

    Electric fencing is fine. It makes it possible to be more flexible and versatile with our management and I recommend it without reservation. As one of the ads by one of the companies that sell power fencing products states, it will maximize grazing and increase profits, and without question, that’s what all of us who […]

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    Water Development for Effective Grazing

    By   1 month ago

    Getting water to livestock is one of the challenges to managed grazing systems. It’s also a problem for graziers trying to take advantage of crop residues to extend the grazing season. No one wants a permanent tank in a crop field, or the soil compaction that livestock can cause by congregating to drink. To help […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Stockpile, Clip, or Hay? What To Do Now

      By   2 days ago

      I cannot believe the weather. I have never seen a spring quite like this. After a long discussion recently with an old friend who is 79, he said he hadn’t either and we both agreed that we would rather not see another, but only because the weather didn’t repeat itself. We have gone from soggy […]

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      Greg Judy IDs Grasses and Legumes in His Pastures

      By   1 week ago

      Folks like to know what I grow in my pastures – and it’s what’s in a lot of your pastures too. So here’s a video that shows what I’ve got and why I like it. (Again, there’s a bit of wind in the video, so I apologize.) Kathy added some pictures of these grasses to […]

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      How Does Carbon Get From the Atmosphere Into the Soil?

      By   2 weeks ago

      Understanding this process can inform how you manage your livestock, forage and soil to not only increase your ability to produce food, fiber and flora, but to make a big difference in slowing and even reversing climate change.

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      How Farmers and Ranchers Are Going to Save the Planet – Part 1

      By   3 weeks ago

      In this video, you’ll meet my good friend, John Wick and you’ll learn about an amazing discovery made on his ranch. It’s a discovery that could mean that farmers and ranchers could not only slow climate change, but could actually begin to cool the planet back down. And they can do it all while growing […]

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      A Canadian Farmer’s Success Grazing Alfalfa

      By   1 month ago

      After last week’s article about how to reduce our fear of bloat when grazing alfalfa, I got some good feedback from our readers and I learned some interesting things that I’ll be sharing with you in upcoming issues. In the meantime, here’s an example of how one farmer is successfully using alfalfa as part of […]

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      Fear of Bloat Costs More Money Than Actual Cases of Bloat

      By   1 month ago

      Thanks to the Beef Cattle Research Council for this excellent article! I’ve made a few edits adding information for U.S. graziers. This is part 1 of a two-part series. Stay tuned for alfalfa grazing tips from cattle producers from across the country in part 2. High protein forage can increase rates of gain, benefit soil […]

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      Greg Judy Talks Spring Turn Out on Green Pastures Farm

      By   2 months ago

      Folks asked me to do a video showing what it looks like as I’m getting ready to turn cows out this Spring. So here’s a video from April 4. In this video you’ll see the green grass that is ready for our cattle, along with the old grass – a perfect mixture for making sure […]

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      Grazing Cover Crops for Soil Health and Profit

      By   2 months ago

      Thanks to Elisabeth Spratt of the Pasture Project for this article on their recently finished project! If you raise crops and are looking for a way to improve your soils and your bottom line, Wade Dooley says cover crops grazed by livestock is your solution. “It is the best and fastest way to realize an […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Multi-Species Grazing Part 2 – Birthing Season and Grass Management

        By   2 days ago

        Tom Krawiec has been handling 2,000 to 3,000 head per year for close to 15 years. His MOBs can include saddle horses, cattle, sheep and even pigs. In Part 1 of this series he described how he gets different species to behave as one herd and some of the helpful behaviors he’s seen as a […]

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        Multi-species Grazing Management Part 1 – Saddle Horses Are Jerks

        By   1 week ago

        First off, let me assure you I do not hate horses. In fact, this article is not really about horses at all. It is about soil and grass. Horses, though, can really improve grass and soil even though the way they are currently managed does the opposite. It’s just that when horses are grazed in […]

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        Polioencephalomalacia – A Danger for Young Goats, Sheep and Cattle

        By   3 weeks ago

        In 2002, I was raising 60 baby goats by hand. We started them in a barn, and by Spring had transferred them to pasture where they were learning to graze. One morning, during my usual check on them, I noticed one was acting oddly. He didn’t seem to be able to see, and was turning […]

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        Happiness is Being in the Herd

        By   1 month ago

        Tom has learned that if he teaches his livestock that it’s safest to be in the herd, everyone’s life becomes much easier and better. Here’s how he trains herd behavior.

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        Teaching Livestock to Respect Electric Fences

        By   1 month ago

        Electric fencing is fine. It makes it possible to be more flexible and versatile with our management and I recommend it without reservation. As one of the ads by one of the companies that sell power fencing products states, it will maximize grazing and increase profits, and without question, that’s what all of us who […]

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        Settling Your Herd – Letting Them Know They’ve “Arrived”

        By   1 month ago

        Big thanks to Dawn Hnatow for co-authoring this article! In the last five articles we talked about how to properly drive cattle. So lets assume that we’ve driven our cattle somewhere and we had good movement and we didn’t do anything to interfere with it so the cattle trailed out nicely, and we’ve gotten to […]

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        SACB Method for Grafting Orphan Calves

        By   2 months ago

        SACB Method: (pronounced ‘sawb’) a simple and easy way to graft calves. Everyone and their dog has a sure fire method for grafting a twin or orphan calf. However, each method takes time and patience. These are things I don’t normally have during calving. Further, the very fact that an animal has to be handled […]

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        Prepping For Livestock Arrival

        By   2 months ago

        For those of you who are starting new herds or adding to the one you have, here are some tips to make sure you’re ready to receive new livestock. Coordinate With Your Shipper on Lane and Gate Size An eighteen-wheeler may fit through your gate, but will it be able to make it down the […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Making Dreams Come True

          By   2 days ago

          There is a line in one of Bruce Springsteen’s songs, “is a dream a lie if it don’t come true?” We all have our dreams but the ones that become reality and were not a lie are the ones that we really worked on to make come true. My Daddy used to tell me and […]

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          Are You Running a Marginal Business?

          By   2 weeks ago

          What starts out as a bar conversation becomes a lesson in what to do if you want to make more money farming or ranching.

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          Partnerships Demonstrate That Profitable Ranching and Healthy Ecosystems Go Hand in Hand

          By   3 weeks ago

          Thanks to my co-author on this piece, Pete Bauman. He sent me the video and shared the key takeaways that makes the video so helpful. Pete is a Range Field Specialist for South Dakota State University Extension. His specialty is helping producers combine profitability and ecological balance. Bill Sproul loves prairies and all that open […]

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          Check Out the Programs That Helped This Start-Up Farmer Succeed

          By   1 month ago

          Whether you’re a start-up, or you’ve been in the business awhile, here are some programs that provide assistance to get you going, or provide support for new projects, or to get through emergencies.

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          A Model for Getting Local Meats and Produce Into Supermarkets

          By   2 months ago

          Fifteen years ago, it was unheard of for a small farm to sell beef to a supermarket. But today, thanks to Diana Endicott and several projects supported by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Educatioan grants (SARE), over 100 farmers in the Kansas City area supply 30 supermarkets, with meats, fruits, vegetables and specialty goods. Diana and […]

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          DEADLINE ALERT: Conservation Stewardship Program Applications Due May 10, 2019

          By   2 months ago

          $700 million is available nationwide to support conservation efforts on your operation. But you have to fill out a short form and apply by the deadline to be considered. The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is USDA’s largest conservation program, offering whole farm, comprehensive conservation assistance to farmers and ranchers across the country. CSP helps producers […]

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          Fiber Farm Grows Thanks to Technical and Financial Assistance

          By   2 months ago

          Thanks to Savannah Halleaux, Michigan FSA Public Affairs & Outreach Coordinator for sharing this article with us. “It was always my desire to have a sheep farm,” said Bridget Kavanagh, owner and shepherdess of Happy Goat Lucky Ewe Fiber Farm in Mason, Michigan. Kavanagh bought the property in 1987 when her children were little. It […]

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          Is Your Grass Making You Money?

          By   3 months ago

          Once you get your grazing organized (see how to do that here), you will see a lot of benefits. You will have more grass, more water, then birds, bugs, and wildlife will return. These are pretty cool benefits! Many would call this sustainable agriculture. There is another aspect of sustainability that doesn’t get much attention, […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            Create Another “Acre” of Pasture By Managing the Grass You’ve Got

            By   2 days ago

            We first ran this piece in April of 2018. The two articles in the series are drawn from a presentation Jim Gerrish did in 2015 sponsored by the Iowa Beef Center.  We’ve embedded the 15:20 video of the presentation where Jim talks about the benefits of “wasting grass.” We’re also summarizing it in two bite […]

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            Timing for Pasture Recovery Part 1 – Rest is NOT a Four-Letter Word

            By   1 week ago

            Well – technically it is a 4-letter word, but we shouldn’t use it like it is one. Here, Dave Pratt talks about why it is one of the most important words in a grazier’s vocabulary if you want to build capacity on your farm or ranch.

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            Feed Your Microbes to Make Great Soil

            By   2 weeks ago

            This piece first published in a 2017 issue of On Pasture. Since we’re looking at the Marin Carbon Projects efforts to improve soil carbon sequestration, (here’s Part 1 and Part 2) I thought it would be helpful now. Enjoy! In June of 2014, Grist reporter Nathanael Johnson reported on a battle between two men in […]

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            Three Things You Can Do Starting Now to Be More Profitable

            By   3 weeks ago

            When Greg Judy wrote this in February of 2017, farmers and ranchers were reeling from the ups and downs of the market from the previous couple years. It seems that some things never change, so here’s Greg’s advice once more for ways you can survive no matter the ups and downs. There has been quite […]

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            What to Do About Runaway Grass

            By   1 month ago

            Victor Shelton shared this article with us in May of 2017 – but it’s a problem that comes up for folks every year. Hopefully this will give you some ideas you can use. I can’t believe how much forage growth we have already had this year in Indiana.  It seems early, but it is only […]

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            Test Yourself – See if You Know When Your Grasses Are Ready to Graze

            By   1 month ago

            From May of 2018, thanks for this article go to UNL Beefwatch and Bethany Johnston, Nebraska Extension Educator, Beef Systems, at University of Nebraska Lincoln. You can always find great grazing related information by checking out the UNL Beefwatch newsletter. “We always turn out on May 15th.” Have you heard that before? Does a calendar […]

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            Use the Sun to Get Water to Your Stock

            By   1 month ago

            This article is from our 2014 archives. I like these two videos because they make learning something new easy – and that’s really important when the grazing season is heating up and you’re realizing that it would be helpful to have more water in more places. Plus it uses a resource that’s almost always there […]

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            Surviving Volatile Cattle Prices

            By   2 months ago

            When we first shared this article in October of 2016, John started with, “The cattle market is in the toilet. The future looks even worse. Calves bring only one-half of what they did a couple years back. Stocker margins are negative, feeders too.” The graph below shows why he said that. Cattle prices had risen […]

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              Consider This View All →

              Not “No” but “Hell No”

              A policy that destroys farmer and farmland cannot be accepted in agricultural terms. It also directly contradicts our goal of national defense. A Country that is heedlessly destroying its capactiy to feed itself cannot be defended.

              By   1 week ago

              James Matthew Craighead asked this question: “Is grass fed the worst thing that happened to agriculture?” Don Ashford, one of On Pasture’s Writers in Residence shares these thoughts. No, absolutely no. What is Grassfed? If I understand the labeling requirements correctly, any animal that has eaten grass anytime in its life can be labeled grass […]

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              Tapas: One Bite of Local Opportunity

              By   2 weeks ago

              My first first response to the idea of a tapas menu or plate was “That’s too small to  satisfy a hungry farmer!”  My meat and potato mentality couldn’t be more wrong. I also realized this delicate, small, Spanish-style savory dish has the potential to be the best marketing opportunity yet because that one bite tells […]

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              Is Grass Fed the Worst Thing That Happened To Agriculture?

              By   1 month ago

              James Matthew Craighead has studied sustainable agriculture for a decade and the result is a lot of questions. Some of these are hard questions and may trigger a little defensiveness in us all. Just remember, he’s sharing them here to open a constructive dialogue that might lead us all to a place where we are better both individually and as a group.

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              Surviving the Naysayers – Part 2 of Thinking Outside the Box

              By   1 month ago

              Greg has spent a lot of time thinking and working outside the box. Last week he shared ideas on how you can do it to. This week, he talks about surviving the folks who will laugh at you for stepping out. I’ve watched farmers do the same thing for 40-50 years and all they do […]

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              The Conservation Stewardship Program – Funding for Improvements to Your Operation

              By   2 months ago

              “What CSP has done for us, it has allowed us to explore better options and produce a better product. it gives you a little more financial freedom to do things, things that you dream up and say ‘Gees, I wish we could do this, but money wise you just can’t’. It’s given us more freedom […]

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              High Tensile Fencing Knots

              By   2 months ago

              Last week Greg Judy shared a couple of videos showing how he sets up effective, economical fencing using high-tensile wire. To make your own set-up easier, here are instructions for the wire knots to make the fence as strong as it can be. These instructional videos come to us from Tim Thompson, an Agriculture teacher […]

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              A Farmer Walks Into a Print Shop….The True Story Behind the Free Grazing Charts

              By   3 months ago

              “A farmer walks into a print shop” could be the beginning of a funny joke. The joke, however, is mostly on you, as many farmers and ranchers have said they can’t take our excel file of free grazing chart templates and get them printed on a door-sized piece of paper. And then, when Troy gets […]

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              The Little Things Matter

              By   3 months ago

              Little things add up to big things that cost time and money. Here’s how to stop them while they’re small.

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                The Funnies View All →

                An Animal Rescuer We Could All Use

                By   2 days ago

                Better than a St. Bernard?

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                The Horses Tell the Story of the Kentucky Derby

                By   1 week ago

                Everyone was running, so I ran. I assumed it was a fire alarm. Also, there was a small man clinging to my back. I don’t know why.

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                What’s in a Name?

                By   2 weeks ago

                The difference between success and failure….

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                Marshmallow Orchards in Trouble

                By   3 weeks ago

                As the time for summer hot dog roasts nears, we may run into a S’mores shortage. Want more marshmallow news? Here’s the horrible truth behind marshmallow ranching.

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                What Do You Call Someone Who Raises Chickens?

                By   1 month ago

                Is this what you put on your resume?

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                Solution for Head-Butting Goats

                By   1 month ago

                I really wish I’d known this back when I had 130 goats! Can you imagine what it would have looked like? Hey! Where else would you get all this great information? On Pasture is here for you 24/7 with an archive of over 2100 articles. If that’s valuable to you, if it’s helped you be […]

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                Another Option for Herding Livestock

                By   1 month ago

                If you haven’t yet perfected your livestock handling skills, maybe you need an assistant.   Hey! Where else would you get all this great information? On Pasture is here for you 24/7. All you have to do to find what you need is hover over the little magnifying glass near the top of the page […]

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                A New Opportunity for Diversifying

                By   2 months ago

                If you’re going to do this, you might want to see what kind of releases your gym members should sign. Without you, On Pasture doesn’t happen! If you appreciate what On Pasture does for you, please join your fellow readers and send support to meet our grant match. Becoming an Ongoing Supporter with monthly support […]

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