Grazing Management View All →

Making the Switch to Grazing – With a Little Help From Your Friends

By   4 days ago

This is the story of a dairy farmer’s transition to pasture. It’s an excellent example how long it takes, and the challenges along the way. It’s also a great example for all graziers, no matter your livestock, of how helpful it can be to work with an Extension Agent, or someone from a local Natural Resource Conservation Service or Conservation District office. We should all be so lucky to have free help at our fingertips!

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Grazing Inspiration From the Hamann Family and Their Blue Bell Ranch

By   2 weeks ago

Some days you just need a little inspiration to keep on keeping on. So here’s the Hamann family, winners of South Dakota’s 2017 Leopold Conservation Award, to take you on a tour of their ranch and how their management has grown the grasslands they love.

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Drought Helps a Texas Rancher Turn the Corner to More Water and Forage

By   4 weeks ago

In the drought of 2009, Kregg and Diana McKenny’s well ran dry. They had to haul water, and ultimately sell all their livestock except for 2 retired horses. The well that had served his family’s ranch since the 1940s, and that got them through drought in the 1950s, just couldn’t keep up any longer. Even […]

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Being a Successful Grazier is All About Creating Resilience

By   1 month ago

Some places are unusually wet and cool this spring. Others are hotter and drier than ever and looking at the possibility of extended drought. So what’s a grazier to do? Rancher Gary Price says, “You just don’t know what’s around the next corner, so you have to prepare for the worst….Hope for the best of course, but you know, hope is not a plan.” Here’s some help for your plan.

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Here’s What Reducing Pasture Recovery Periods Can Cost You

By   2 months ago

We all know that giving our pastures enough time to recover before grazing them again is critical to our success. But what may be news is how big the impact of just a few days less of recovery can turn into a problem that costs us forage and money. Dave Pratt, CEO of Ranch Management […]

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Farm Hack Fly Traps

By   2 months ago

I recently joined the Regenerative Grazing Group Facebook page. Participants share information and ask questions about what’s going on in their pastures and help each other think about how we can all be better grazing managers. If you’re a facebooker, you can check it out. In the meantime, I asked if I could share this […]

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Managing to Prevent Grass Tetany

By   2 months ago

Is grass tetany a threat to your herd? It could be if you’re dealing with cool conditions and lush spring forage growth. It is what we call “washy” grass. This new growth is very high in water and nitrogen. It can also be fairly high in potassium. Fields that have been fertilized with nitrogen may […]

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Back to Grass – Turning Marginal Cropland to Pasture For a Diverse Sustainable Operation

By   2 months ago

Darin Michalski’s direction in life was influenced by his father. “Dad didn’t like farming much. He was more into cattle. He always cussed some of the land we farmed. It was pretty marginal land and said that we should sow this down to grass.” So when he got his first 80, that’s what Darin ended […]

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    Pasture Health View All →

    So, Which Is It – Drought Planning or Weed Management?

    By   4 days ago

    John Marble plans for drought every year and some years, like this one, he has to implement that plan. Now, he’s seeing some real changes in the weed component of his pastures, making him wonder – is he managing for drought or to get rid of weeds?

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    It’s Time To Start Thinking About Stockpiling to Extend Your Grazing Season

    By   2 weeks ago

    In this 5:00 video two On Pasture authors, Troy Bishopp and John Suscovich, talk about how it is that on December 8, they’re standing in a pasture watching Troy’s cattle graze. As Troy says, it takes planning, timely rains, and good fertility. First, you need enough land to be able to defer grazing in some […]

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    How Long Should a Pasture Recovery Period Be? – Part 2

    By   4 weeks ago

    Last week, Dave Pratt of Ranch Management Consultants talked about pasture recovery periods, focusing on what happens when forages are severely grazed. This week he applies his principle of “leaving more leaves” to show how this works as forages change through the growing season. The biggest mistake people make in grazing management is providing too […]

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    Rest is Not a 4-Letter Word – Timing for Pasture Recovery – Part 1

    By   1 month 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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    Want to Know How Much Forage You’ll Have This Summer? Check Out Grass-Cast

    By   1 month ago

    Every spring, ranchers face the same difficult challenge—trying to guess how much grass will be available for livestock to graze during the upcoming summer. Now an innovative new Grassland Productivity Forecast or “Grass-Cast” has published its first forecast to help producers in the Northern Great Plains reduce this economically important source of uncertainty. This new, […]

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    Bury Your Briefs: Discover the Keys to Soil Health “Tighty Whitey” Style

    By   2 months ago

    Thanks to Kara Pugsley and the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition for sharing this article with us! South Dakota farmers are planting something new to test soil quality – their tighty whities. They start with a few pairs of clean 100 percent cotton briefs, bury them a couple inches in the soil, and dig them […]

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    Is Seeding for New Forages in Your Future?

    By   2 months ago

    Are you thinking about seeding for improved summer forages? Are you wondering what to seed, how much to seed and how to prepare the seedbed? Here are some tips to think about from Ed Rayburn, West Virginia University Extension Specialist, and a few good places you can go to get advice that’s right for you […]

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    What Kinds of Forages Are Good in Grassfed Systems?

    By   2 months ago

    This article comes to us from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) and Jan Holder’s book, “How to Direct Market Your Beef.” Jan and her husband took over management of their family ranch in 1992. Their plan was to “whip the ranch into shape in a few months and then spend the next […]

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      Livestock View All →

      Guidelines for Culling Cows – and Other Livestock

      By   4 days ago

      You can ensure an optimally productive herd with these tips for choosing who should stay and who should go. If you’re in a drought situation this summer and want to maintain healthy soils, forage and animals, you’ll really want to check this out.

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      Everything Sheep! Or Cows, Or Bison Or…..

      By   3 weeks ago

      We’ve gotten requests from those in our On Pasture Community who raise sheep to provide them with more articles. So we’ll be doing some of that in upcoming issues. In the meantime, here’s everything we’ve published on sheep over the last five years. If sheep aren’t your thing – You can find what you’re looking […]

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      Let’s Talk Turkey – Pasture-Raised Turkeys in Time for Thanksgiving

      By   1 month ago

      If you’ve thought about raising turkeys as part of your pasture operation, and you’d like to get started this year, now is the time to get serious. It takes 16-20 weeks for a poult to grow to mature weight, and that means a start date around the end of June to mid-July for getting and […]

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      What’s the Best Way to Protect Your Livestock from Predators?

      By   2 months ago

      If you’re worried about predators and wondering what you should do to protect your stock, a good place to start is this table from the Livestock-Predator Hub of UC Rangelands at the University of California, Davis. It’s based research and field-based experience describing how effective different tools are against a specific predator. There may be […]

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      Does Creep Feeding Calves in Pasture Pay?

      By   2 months ago

      This article is drawn from information provided by the University of Nebraska Lincoln Beef, Randy Saner, Nebraska Extension Educator – Beef Systems, and Travis Mulliniks, UNL Beef Cattle Nutritionist – Range Production Systems. Thanks for your great work! Creep feeding is a practice of providing feed so that calves can get to it, but the […]

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      Sassy Calving: More Fun ~ Less Work

      By   2 months ago

      Over the past ten years or so I have read many, many articles encouraging ranchers to calve in sync with nature, to calve when the other ungulate-ruminants calve. In other words, suggesting we calve in the spring rather than winter. The basis for most of this writing has been economics: a discussion of costs, inputs, […]

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      Selecting for Heat Tolerant Cattle Using Coat Shedding Scores

      By   2 months ago

      Scientists and the Farmer’s Almanac agree: this summer is going to be hotter than normal all across the U.S. and Canada. In fact, many farmers and ranchers I talk to agree that they’re seeing a trend of hotter summers over all. Everyone also agrees that heat stress reduces cattle weight gain, calf weaning weights and […]

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      Black is Only a Color

      By   2 months ago

      In a market that seems to tell us that we can only make money selling black cattle, Don Ashford has a different story to tell.

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        The Classic by NatGLC View All →

        To Clip/Mow Your Pasture Or Not – That is the Question

        By   4 days ago

        Here’s a question that comes up all the time. In this article from July of 2016 Victor Shelton describes why it’s a good idea sometimes, and maybe not others. 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 […]

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        DIY Flerds – Grazing Sheep and Cattle Together for Pasture Management and Predator Protection

        By   2 weeks ago

        From our June 23, 2014 Issue, the answer to a question we’ve been getting a lot lately. We’ve added the comments that readers posted then. Please add your own experience and thoughts! Flerd:   1.  A contraction of flock and herd. 2.  A mixed-species group of animals that consistently stays together under free-range conditions. When […]

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        How to Get Water to Livestock in a Rotational Grazing System

        By   4 weeks ago

        If there’s no water in a pasture, it doesn’t matter how much grass it has. Here are examples from your fellow farmers and ranchers of how they put water where they needed it, drawn from a 2014 issue of On Pasture. Getting water to livestock in pasture can be a challenge and farmers and ranchers […]

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        What Do You Do When Your Grass Gets Ahead of You?

        By   1 month ago

        While some of the country is droughty, other folks have found that a cool spring and lot of precipitation means that the grass got away from them and is turning to seed heads. On Pasture Community members are asking each other “Should I mow?” “Should I trample?” “Should I just stockpile?” Here are some thoughts […]

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        Put Idle Land to Work With Intensively-Managed Livestock and Silvopastures

        By   1 month ago

        One of the things that really impressed me (Kathy) on my April visit to Greg Judy’s place in Missouri is the thoughtful way he turns forested areas into silvopastures. In addition to creating great pasture, he turns trees into money by selling it as timber, and uses left over limbs to grow another enterprise – […]

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        Would 43% More Forage Be Helpful? Teach Your Livestock to Eat Weeds!

        By   2 months 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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        Simple Soil Tests You Can Do At Home

        By   2 months ago

        Thanks to Nick Comerford, University of Florida, and the Soil Science Society of America for this article! We first ran it in May of 2017. We thought it went well with this week’s article “Bury Your Briefs: Discover the Keys to Soil Health “Tighty Whitey” Style.” It’s something you can do if you don’t feel […]

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        Look at Your Cows to Figure Out If They Need New/Bigger Paddock

        By   2 months ago

        Do you know if your cattle are getting enough forage? Are your paddocks big enough or is it time to move your herd to their next pasture? These tips from Jay and Krista Reiser will help you answer these questions and more. In addition to improving the soil and forage health, Jay and Krista were […]

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          Consider This View All →

          On Pasture Handouts – Free for your Workshop or Event

          By   4 days ago

          Do you have a workshop or event and would like to provide participants with helpful information? Here are free On Pasture handouts! Just click on a pic to download, then copy and share! I’ve set them up so you can copy them in color or black and white and they’ll still look good. We’ve started […]

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          The Grazier’s Vow – Do You Have One of Your Own?

          By   3 weeks ago

          These are the principles Don Ashford uses every day to be a better grazier. What would you add? On Oct. 3, 2016 an article I wrote entitled Stupid Is As Stupid Does was published on the On Pasture web site. This was just a simple tale of one of the many mistakes that I have […]

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          Tooth and Nail: Ranching With Predators

          By   4 weeks ago

          Last month On Pasture asked: “What’s the best way to protect your livestock from predators?” and provided information from the Livestock-Predator Hub as food for thought. Turns out, On Pasture author John Marble has been thinking about predators for a long time. I hope you enjoy his thoughts. _________________________ My relationship with predators goes way […]

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          Your Tree Planter is Saving the World – One Tree, One Planting Tube and One Weed Mat at a Time

          By   1 month ago

          If you farm within the sprawling Chesapeake Bay Watershed or other sensitive watersheds around the country, there is a better than even chance, you’ve heard about USDA Riparian Forest Buffer Programs. These initiatives supported by the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership are actively working, in earnest, to take whatever strategies or financial measures possible, to […]

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          Rickie Roddy – Texas Small Farmer of the Year, 2017

          By   2 months ago

          Rickie Roddy knew he was going to be a rancher early on. To get started, he saved up his money, and bought his first cow at the age of 13. “My dreams are coming true,” he says. “A 13-year old, you have big dreams. But a 13-year-old getting a cow, that was a big step […]

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          The Best Farm Girl Birthday Party Ever!

          By   2 months ago

          Doug Ferguson’s daughter wanted to have her 6th birthday party at the sale barn. It took some creativity to turn her wish into reality. But, not only did Doug Ferguson pull it off, people are still talking about what fun it was a year later!

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          A Major North American Climate Boundary Moves East

          By   2 months ago

          The 100th Meridian is one of only two climate divides in the world. (The other divides the Sahara Desert from the rest of Africa.) Now scientists have found this line is moving east, and that could impact how we farm and ranch in the future.

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          Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk: Our 2018 Ranch Walk-About

          By   2 months ago

          A lot of folks talk about how non-farmers need to understand where their food comes from and what farming and ranching is all about. Here’s how John Marble is actually doing something about it.

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            Money Matters View All →

            How to Write a Custom Grazing Contract

            By   2 weeks ago

            Strong, written contracts can prevent some of the Boneheaded Business Blunders I made in my early years of ranching. My previous two articles have covered every brutally specific detail that I should have included in my former land lease contracts. This month I’m running down everything that needs to be in a custom grazing contract. […]

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            Managing for Margins Makes the Difference Every Time

            By   1 month ago

            With six decades of farming experience, Don Ashford has a lot of data to draw on. Here’s a lesson he’s learned that can help all of us look at our farming operations and decide what we can control and how we want to farm or ranch.

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            Increase Your Profit by Understanding Marketing

            By   2 months ago

            I recently read on article here in On Pasture where Kathy wrote that she’s tired of people talking about how little money they make, and that some youngsters think agriculture should be a public service. For years I thought the biggest problem facing animal agriculture is the brain drain. Think about it, generations before us […]

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            Free, On Pasture-Hosted Course on Increasing Your Farm/Ranch Profit

            By   2 months ago

            You hear all the time and read it in the news that local farm fresh food is trendy and all the rage. Your gut tells you you’re doing the right thing by providing farm fresh food for your community, healing your family and protecting the land in the process. Yet, we see farm owners selling […]

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            Great Marketing Advice Part 2: Three Steps That Will Get New Customers to Your Farm

            By   2 months ago

            Greg Judy turned On Pasture onto Charlotte Smith, saying hers was the best marketing advice he’d heard. Last week we shared her first article covering six steps for getting started making money from your farm. This week she takes a deeper look at one of those steps: Attract your dream customer. I work with thousands […]

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            Greg Judy Says: “This Is the BEST Marketing Advice I’ve Ever Heard” – Part 1

            By   2 months ago

            Greg Judy introduced Kathy to Charlotte at the April “Our Farms Our Future Conference” because he’d heard her talk and knew that she had a lot to offer On Pasture and its readers. She has been kind enough to provide us with this first in a series and we’re working on ways we can provide […]

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            Everything You Need to Include in a Farm/Ranch Lease Contract – Part 2

            By   2 months ago

            Over the last few months, my Boneheaded Beef Business Blunders articles have related how I’ve been burned by ineffective land lease and custom grazing contracts. As a result, I’ve changed what I include in contracts. Here in Part 2 I share the rest of the topics I am now including in my lease contracts along […]

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            Everything You Need to Include in a Farm/Ranch Lease Contract – Part 1

            By   3 months ago

            Over the last few months, my Boneheaded Beef Business Blunders articles have related how I’ve been burned by ineffective land lease and custom grazing contracts. As a result, I’ve changed what I include in contracts. Below is a complete rundown of all the topics I am now including in my lease contracts. I will do […]

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              The Scoop View All →

              Here Are Grazing Resources at Your Fingertips

              By   3 weeks ago

              On Pasture is on our annual summer break the week of July 2. But, with almost 2000 articles in our archives there’s always something to read. Here’s how to find what you’re looking for.

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              Summer Time, and the Grazing is Easy….

              By   2 months ago

              That’s the ear worm that keeps running through my head right now. So I thought I’d share. The reality is this is your busy time of year, and what time you have for reading is probably focused on things you need to know to actually make grazing easier. So that’s what we’re going to emphasize […]

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              Hey – Take a Free Webinar With Me This Friday!

              By   2 months ago

              I have something brand new to share with you today. I’ve never done anything like this before and I’m so excited about it! I’m hosting a webinar with Charlotte Smith this Friday, June 1, 2018 at 10 am PDT / 1 pm EDT! 3 Steps to Build Your Profitable Farm Register Here! Yes! You’ll get […]

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              Let’s Not Just Talk About Making Money – Let’s Do It!

              By   2 months ago

              We’re doing something new here at On Pasture. After years of conversations about how hard it is to make a living as a farmer/rancher, we want to do something about it. And that’s why we’re working with Charlotte Smith at 3 Cow Marketing. Farmers and ranchers have to have a whole host of skills in […]

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              Six Steps That Will Make You Money On Your Farm

              By   2 months ago

              In April, when I was at the “Our Farms, Our Future” conference, I had a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment. For years I’ve heard from farmers and ranchers how little money they make. But at the conference, sitting in a room of about 1000 people, listening to a panel of young farmers say […]

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              How to Get City Folks to Understand and Support Farmers and Ranchers

              By   2 months ago

              It’s a common complaint among ag producers: “Those city folk don’t understand us and they don’t even know where their food comes from!” We all talk about it, but, what are we doing about it? In this week’s issue of On Pasture, John Marble shares what he’s doing about it. I REALLY want you to check […]

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              Ag Policy is Being Written. Does It Reflect What’s Important to You?

              By   3 months ago

              According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), “The farm bill connects the food on our plates, the farmers and ranchers who produce that food, and the natural resources – our soil, air and water – that make growing food possible. [It can have a] tremendous impact on farming livelihoods, how food is grown, and […]

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              Start Your Farm

              By   3 months ago

              New York Times Best Selling Author Forrest Pritchard’s latest book “Start Your Farm” will be hitting bookstores soon. Here’s what you need to know about the book and how to pre-order your copy.

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                The Funnies View All →

                How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

                By   4 days ago

                Terry Metz shows us her secret to success!

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                Where Corn Dogs Come From

                By   2 weeks ago

                This is why we need to protect wetlands!

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                Patriotic Livestock

                By   3 weeks ago

                In honor of the Independence Day, here’s some livestock done up right. If you do something like this, we’d love to see your pictures! Apparently, doing art on a goat is a little harder! And this JUST IN! Dixiebelle – courtesy of one of our On Pasture readers, Charles Black.

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                How to Diaper Your Chicken

                By   4 weeks ago

                I’d recommend against it, because we like the manure on the pasture….but if you really must!   And if you’ve got a kid that just insists on bringing a chicken inside, maybe you do need a chicken diaper. Here’s the website to check out.

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                The Two Most Requested Recipes

                By   1 month ago

                And of course the leftovers from these dishes are so delicious too!

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                In Honor of Farmers and Ranchers Everywhere, It’s World Juggling Day!

                By   1 month ago

                This Saturday, June 16, you’re finally being recognized for all the different tasks you juggle on a daily basis! And just for fun, here’s one many’s take on juggling multiple tasks.

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                Enjoy a Little On Pasture Sing Along

                By   2 months ago

                It’s funny, it’s farmey, and will get you singing a song. You’re welcome! 😉   If you need a cure to keep you from singing this song in your head the rest of the day, check out this article on  Earworm Cures.

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                A Pre-K Kids Cookbook – By the Kids!

                By   2 months ago

                They’ll get better with experience!

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