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The Scoop View All →

Farm Lease Opportunity Available

By   4 days ago

On Pasture readers Joanna and Dave Koob are looking for someone to lease their farm located in central Kentucky about 25 miles south of Lexington. The farm is 400 grazeable acres with a centrally located barn and working facilities that include a sweep pen, cattle chute and digital scale. Two years ago they also installed […]

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Meet Me In Reno!

By   2 weeks ago

First – THANK YOU! We were overwhelmed last week by all the support that came in to meet our grant match before the deadline. And we did it! I’m behind on thank you notes and mailing out bumper stickers, but please know how grateful I am and that they’ll be on their way soon! Next […]

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Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

By   3 weeks ago

I am really grateful for Thanksgiving this year. I’ll  be spending it with my husband, Peter, who’s been helping a lot with On Pasture lately, my Mom and Dad, who are a really healthy 82 and 84, and some good friends from Colorado. I’m planning on a quiet day of good food, a walk, and […]

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Who Is the On Pasture Community? What Do You Read, and Is It Helpful?

By   4 weeks ago

When you visit On Pasture, you probably don’t see any of the other folks that are visiting along with you. It turns out you’re part of a really big community. Here’s what you’ve told us about how On Pasture helps you. We think you’ll be proud of what we’ve all accomplished together!  

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Thank You, Rachel!

By   1 month ago

November makes it 5 months since Rachel moved on from On Pasture, and I didn’t want her to go without telling all our readers and thanking her for everything she did. As you all know, Rachel Gilker and I started On Pasture together back in March of 2013 and we spent the first four years […]

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Can We Put Our 100,000 Heads Together To Solve Problems?

By   2 months ago

Here are a couple articles I hope will promote some discussion about what kinds of results we want from federal programs. One is a story of how a young farmer got started thanks to support from a government loan program. The other looks at emergency drought payments and helps us ask the question, “Are we […]

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A Solution For You – From My Heart

By   2 months ago

I’m the kind of person who can’t listen to someone complain without trying to find a solution. So, last April, after several days of listening to a variety of farmers at the conference I was at talk about low or no profits, I reached my limit. And I decided I had to do something to […]

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On Pasture is Hosting a Free Profitable Farmer Webinar This Friday!

By   3 months ago

Last May I hosted the first ever webinar with Charlotte Smith. With about 800 people participating, it was a huge success. BUT…not everyone who wanted to participate got the chance. So we’re doing it again! I’m hosting Charlotte Smith this Friday, September 21 2018 at 10 am PDT / 1 pm EDT! 3 Steps to […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Managing a Landscape to Increase Water, Forage and Habitat

    By   4 days ago

    This is a story of the importance of private lands for providing clean water and wildlife habitat, and how the changes this ranch made enhanced habitat and increased water availability and made their livestock more productive and profitable. Thanks to Robert Hathorne of the NRCS for sharing this story. I’ve added ways to apply the principles this ranch uses to help you translate this to your operation, and information on how to pay for the improvements.

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    Coming to the Table to Create Grazing Solutions That Work For Everyone

    By   3 weeks ago

    According to legend, the first Thanksgiving in North America was celebrated when two very different peoples sat down together to eat and give thanks. The folks in this video are following in that tradition, coming to the table with government agencies and others to create solutions good for wildlife and for the people who make […]

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    Getting Water to the Herd – Sometimes Old Tech is the Best Tech

    By   4 weeks ago

    The reason I often mention the Natural Resources Conservation Service as a good resource is that NRCS is known for providing one-on-one, personalized advice on the best solutions to meet unique conservation challenges. As an example, here’s a story from David Sanden, about how NRCS staff helped a rancher get water to his herd without […]

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    How Do You Graze in November When the Weather is Warmer or Wetter Than Usual?

    By   1 month ago

    I mentioned last month that there are still plenty of good growing days left this fall and they need to be taken advantage of. One of the first things to do to make sure you obtain as much plant growth as possible, especially with perennial forages, is to stop grazing forages that will continue to […]

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    Improving the Power and Reliability of the Charge for Your Solar Powered Fencer

    By   1 month ago

    Dean Schneider of Bell Rule Genetics wasn’t satisfied with the typical all-in-one solar charged fencers he’d used. He’d tried a variety of brands and found they weren’t as reliable as he liked, he couldn’t get as much power out of them as he needed, and the batteries kept going bad. Since there was no electrical […]

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    Wahl Family Farm Part 3 – What’s the Pay Off For Changes in Grazing Management

    By   2 months ago

    This is the third in a series about the grazing management changes the Wahl family has made and how it has improved soil health and increased animal productivity dramatically. (Here’s Part 1, and here’s Part 2.) It’s drawn from an article by Robert Hathorne with photos by Tracy Robillard, both of the Oregon Natural Resources […]

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    The Wahl Family’s Mobile Flock – Part 2 of Managing for Healthier, More Productive Animals and a Better Bottom Line

    By   2 months ago

    This is the second in a series about the grazing management changes the Wahl family has made and how it has improved soil health and increased animal productivity dramatically. (See the first here.) It’s drawn from an article by Robert Hathorne with photos by Tracy Robillard, both of the Oregon Natural Resources Conservation Service. I’ve […]

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    How the Wahl Family Manages for Healthier, More Productive Animals and a Better Bottom Line

    By   2 months ago

    This is the first in a series about the grazing management changes the Wahl family has made and how it has improved soil health and increased animal productivity dramatically. It’s drawn from an article by Robert Hathorne with photos by Tracy Robillard, both of the Oregon Natural Resources Conservation Service. I’ve added the videos they […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Carbohydrate Reserve Theory: What You Learned Might Be Wrong

      By   4 days ago

      The authors start with four pieces of information that put the role of carbohydrate reserves into question. Then they share ideas for good grazing to work well with plant physiology.

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      You Can’t Grow Beans From Cracks in the Ground

      By   2 weeks ago

      Although I was trained in science, I never really made much of a scientist. All that sitting around in the lab, mucking out petri dishes and gathering data, well, I just really couldn’t stand it. What I wanted was to be out in the field, observing nature. And perhaps that’s why I wound up here […]

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      There’s Just Not Enough Manure in the World

      By   3 weeks ago

      Last week we shared an article from the Soil Science Society of America that pointed out the benefits of using manure to fertilize and improve soils. The results are not surprising. Countless trials have described the beneficial results of applying manure. So why do we still use inorganic, manmade fertilizers? Andrew McGuire’s answer, after doing […]

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      Manure vs Inorganic Fertilizer – Which One is Better?

      By   4 weeks ago

      Thanks to the Soil Science Society of America for this article. In a newly published study, researchers dug into how fertilizing with manure affects soil quality, compared with inorganic fertilizer. Ekrem Ozlu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his team studied two fields in South Dakota. From 2003 to 2015, the research team applied either […]

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      Beef and Bobwhites – How to Maximize Livestock Production While Helping Wildlife

      By   1 month ago

      Thanks to Nick Schell, a wildlife biologist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for sharing this article with us. I added the section pointing out conservation practices that farmers and ranchers might receive assistance in implementing. You’re probably familiar with the northern bobwhite and its decline. The bobwhite, or what many of us call […]

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      The Four Principles of Soil Health Applied to Forages

      By   2 months ago

        Soil Health is one of the main tools that will help sustain farms in the future. It will help us feed the world. NRCS recognizes four principles of soil health. They are very basic but can be applied many different ways to any agricultural system. Here is how I implement them on my forage […]

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      Greg Judy’s Stockpiling and Grazing Advice for Kentucky 31 Fescue

      By   2 months ago

      Here’s a 3:14 video from Greg Judy talking about Kentucky 31 fescue and red clover. He starts off saying, “It’s probably the best forage in Missouri, if you learn how to manage it, especially for winter grazing.” Some folks say that you can’t grow red clover with Kentucky 31 and that Kentucky 31 crowds it […]

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      Frost Can Cause Forage Hazards – Protect Your Livestock

      By   2 months ago

      A rancher recently posted on a facebook group I’m part of that she’d lost 4 cows and one bull to bloat four days after turning them into a frosted alfalfa pasture. What should have been no problem suddenly turned deadly thanks to changes in frosted alfalfa that increase bloat potential. Here Bruce Anderson of University […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Outsmarting Wild Cattle – Part 2

        By   4 days ago

        The cattle business can be hard on your self-esteem. It’s tough when in spite of all your schooling, knowledge, experience and success, you get outwitted by an animal that poops in its food. This is happening to me a lot less frequently now that I have been through a few years of learning the hard […]

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        Outsmarting Wild Cattle – Part 1

        By   2 weeks ago

        Meg is back with some more about the skills she’s developing and practicing as she grows her cattle operation. This time she’s sharing her experience working with newly purchased heifers and techniques she used to move them more easily through pastures.

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        THE Pastured Poultry Directory You’ve Been Looking For

        By   3 weeks ago

        Since it’s Thanksgiving Week here in the U.S., many of you might have poultry on your mind. If so, you’re going to love this directory!

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        Livestock Handling Basics – Part 2

        By   1 month ago

        One of the things readers have asked us for is more information on low-stress livestock handling. Whit Hibbard, of the Stockmanship Journal, has given us a great start with his articles. (We’ve put them all together in this Special Collection so you can find them more easily.) To add to that, I’m searching the internet […]

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        Livestock Handling – Starting With the Basics

        By   2 months ago

        If you’ve been reading On Pasture for very long, you’ve certainly seen Whit Hibbard’s articles sharing the ins and outs of moving cattle and other livestock. (We’ve put them all together in this Special Collection so you can find them more easily.) To add to that, we’re going to share a video series out of […]

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        Grouping Calves For Sale – Good Idea or Bad?

        By   2 months ago

        A couple of years ago the idea was brought up by some of the members of what was left of the Heifer Project groups in our area that it would be beneficial to all involved to put their calves together for marketing. The idea was that this would enhance their position by selling in groups […]

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        Use Caution When Feeding Soybeans to Cattle

        By   2 months ago

        With drought impacting feed availability, and tariffs reducing soybean exports, some of us may be looking at ways to use what we have a lot of to make up for a lack of grazeable forage. While soybeans can be fed to cattle we need to be careful with how much we feed and we need […]

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        Improve Your Stockmanship by Understanding the Flight Zone

        By   3 months ago

        We’ve all seen those diagrams of the flight zone. But sometimes seeing a group of animals demonstrate how it works is a lot more helpful. That’s what this video does for us. Yes, it is sheep, but the same principles hold when you’re working with cattle. Though I mostly work with cattle, I like this […]

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          The Classic by NatGLC View All →

          Fenceless Targeted Grazing Using Supplement Blocks

          By   4 days ago

          Sometimes landscape terrain and size makes temporary fencing too expensive or difficult to set up. Here’s an alternative that I’ve used successfully. From November of 2015 – an alternative to fencing that still directs your animals where you want them. When Derek Bailey began looking at ways to move animals across landscapes it was because he wanted […]

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          Four Winter Watering Set-Ups

          By   2 weeks ago

          Keeping stock watered in winter can be a challenge. With that in mind we thought we’d check with our neighbors to the north to see what kind of solutions they’ve come up with to make watering easier in even the coldest winters. We found this factsheet from folks in Manitoba with four different solutions as […]

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          Here’s What Dung Beetles Do For Us, and How You Can Have More of Them

          By   3 weeks ago

          From November of 2015 here’s the poop on Dung beetles. Enjoy! Troy Bishopp (the Grass Whisperer and On Pasture author) says that if he comes to visit your pastures, one of the first things he’ll look at are the manure pats. Why? Because they can tell him a lot about the quality of what the […]

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          Some Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Bale Grazing

          By   4 weeks ago

          From November 2016 – a real time saver! If you’re going to be feeding your livestock this winter, bale grazing could be right for you. It can save you time and money and even improve your pastures. Here are some tips from the Manitoba Grazing Council to help you get started and make it work […]

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          Where Can You Find a USDA Poultry Processing Facility?

          By   1 month ago

          Folks are asking for this information this time of year. From November of 2017 – here’s a list of USDA poultry processing facilities. I was told by a well established USDA inspected poultry processor that there were only a dozen or so small-scale USDA inspected poultry processors in the country that are willing to process […]

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          How Much Winter Feed/Forage Do I Need? Am I Feeding the Right Animals?

          By   1 month ago

          From November of 2017, here are two questions we ask ourselves every year. I often talk about taking inventory of winter feedstuff.  I’m primarily measuring dry matter, e.g. hay, pasture, stockpile, crop residue, and grazeable annuals still left.  Fall rains certainly helped to green things up and provide some new growth, but that won’t last […]

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          Buying Feed? Here’s How You Can Compare Them To Choose the Best Value

          By   2 months ago

          We first ran this in October of 2016. It’s just as timely now given that many folks had a droughty summer and may be looking at feed for the winter. Let’s say you had a droughty year and winter feed is in short supply.  One option is to reduce your herd size to match the […]

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          How to Be a Successful Farmer/Rancher in the 21st Century

          By   2 months ago

          Forrest has been thinking about this for a long time. We first published this in October of 2014. Read on for how he’s gone deeper with a new book on the topic. As Bren Smith recently explained in his heartfelt editorial for the New York Times (Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be […]

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            Consider This View All →

            Free Guide For Managing Stress on the Farm/Ranch

            By   4 days ago

            Are you stressed? Or are you feeling anxiety? Turns out that there are specific definitions for these two terms. Understanding the difference, and labeling what we’re experiencing lets us adjust our mindset. And that can help us manage the level of stress in our lives and improve our businesses and our health. Thanks to Charlotte […]

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            Only the Learners Survive – Thoughts on How to Be One of Them

            By   3 weeks ago

            This is a quote from Eric Hoffer who was known as the longshoreman philosopher. Mr. Hoffer has been dead since 1983 but these words are more applicable today than when he wrote them. Those of us, who a few years ago began to realize that the “learned” were being no help to us at all, […]

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            Battling the Scourge of ‘Embalmed Milk’ – A Story From Our Past

            By   4 weeks ago

            Have you ever wondered how we arrived at our current dairy regulations? Well here’s part of the story. From Deborah Blum and Undark.org, here’s how an obscure Indiana public health official pioneered a campaign against tainted dairy products at the turn of the 20th century. At the turn of the 20th century, Indiana was widely […]

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            An Excerpt From Kathy’s Favorite New Farming Book

            By   1 month ago

            About a month ago, I shared a review of Start Your Farm: The Authoritative Guide for Becoming a Sustainable 21st Century Farmer, by one of our On Pasture authors, Forrest Pritchard, and co-author Ellen Polishuk. Now, I’m tickled that the book’s publisher has selected On Pasture to share an excerpt from the book. Click here […]

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            The Ongoing American Dairy Crisis and Its Impact on the Family Farm

            By   2 months ago

            This is an issue close to Jason Birchfield’s heart. He doesn’t think there’s a silver bullet. But he believes in the small family farm and wanted to share this in hopes of starting a dialogue that could lead to solutions.

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            Should Uncle Sam Bail Us Out of Drought?

            By   2 months ago

            It was a very difficult summer. We suffered through more 90-degree days than any year in history. It was just plain hot and dry, the worst season that anyone around here could remember. Oh, that was way back in 2017. 2018, of course, was even worse. Month upon month with no rain. Baking hot days […]

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            Use ‘KISS’ System to Develop Your Management Plans

            By   2 months ago

            This comes to us from Lynn Myers. With his wife Marlene, he works and manages the home place, the Tippet Myers Ranch in Nebraska, which has been in the family for 100 years, as well as several leased pastures. His philosophy is to leave the pastures, rented or not, in better condition than he found […]

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            Is Glyphosate Killing Bees?

            By   2 months ago

            This comes to us from the University of Texas at Austin.   The world’s most widely used weed killer may also be indirectly killing bees. New research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that honey bees exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, lose some of the beneficial bacteria in their guts […]

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              Money Matters View All →

              Are Your Cow-Calf Share and Cash Lease Agreements Up to Snuff?

              By   2 weeks ago

                The fall of the year is often a convenient time for those involved in cow-calf share and cash leases of spring calving cows to revisit the terms of the agreement.  Market values of cattle, interest rates, pasture rental rates and feed costs can change significantly from year to year.  Discussing how the share or […]

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              Getting the Most Out of Internships – Tips for Interns and Mentors

              By   4 weeks ago

              With the average age of the American farmer holding around 59 years old in 2018, we need to look at who is going to farm in the future. There are young folks yearning to get on the land today, but the deck is stacked against them. The cost of buying land, equipment, livestock, etc. is […]

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              Cow-Q-Lators for Figuring Feed Costs, Cow-Calf Share Lease Rates And More

              By   1 month ago

              One of the reasons some of us don’t track our costs well, or we find out too late that something we’re doing is more expensive than we anticipated, is that math is hard! The folks at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s West Central Research and Extension Center guessed that was a problem, so they’ve provided us […]

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              Seeking Succession vs Seeking Success

              By   1 month ago

              There’s a lot of talk about “succession” being tossed around in agriculture. It occurred to me that some people might not be quite sure what that term means, especially since we seem to have more than one kind of succession to talk about. Currently, a lot of the talk seems to be centered on business […]

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              Arkansas Beginning Farmer Gets Financing to Get Started

              By   2 months ago

              This example of resources available to beginning farmers comes to us from Nicole Gurley, Farm Loan Officer, Washington County, Arkansas. There are links throughout the article that provide more information on the programs available to farmers, whether beginning or experienced. McKenzie Fanning grew up in Westfork, Arkansas, with the dream of becoming a cattleman. Although the […]

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              Choosing the Right Partner for a Custom Grazing Deal

              By   2 months ago

              Meg will be part of the On Pasture symposium at the upcoming National Grazing Lands Conference in Reno, Nevada, December 2 – 5, 2018. Register before October 16 for the best rates – just $395 for you and bring a friend or spouse for $175 more! Custom graziers and herd owners both need to be […]

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              Is It Possible for a Cattle Operation to Be Sustainable Without a Subsidy?

              By   2 months ago

              This question has been bothering me since attending a workshop a few weeks ago. There were presentations by several producers with the usual stuff, how we do this and why we do it this way. But there were two who really caught my attention. One was a young couple with a 40 acre multi-grazing operation. […]

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              Learning to Market from the Heart – What I Learned from Charlotte Smith

              By   3 months ago

              On Pasture author Jenn Colby was one of the people who participated in Charlotte Smith’s free webinar last May and then went on to take Charlotte’s 5-week farm marketing course with me and about 50 other members of the On Pasture Community. We asked her to share what she learned from “Farm Marketing From the […]

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                The Funnies View All →

                How to Haul Llamas

                By   4 days ago

                It turns out you don’t need a truck or trailer!

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                Curious Cows

                By   2 weeks ago

                Meg wrote in her article this week how much she could get done by taking advantage of cow curiosity. So I thought you might enjoy this example of curious cows, with thanks to Derek Klingenberg.

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                Do You Know Where Your Turkey Is?

                By   3 weeks ago

                Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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                Best Venn Diagram Ever

                By   4 weeks ago

                Don’t remember what a Venn Diagram is? You will the instant you look at this!

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                A Visit to an Almond Milk Dairy!

                By   1 month ago

                “Milking a 600 kg holstein – that’s easy! Milking a 1 gm almond, that’s hard. Tiny little udders! Tiny!” A Funny with something to make you think at the end.  

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                Stick Horse Dressage Competition

                By   2 months ago

                Grown ups on stick horses performing…really!

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                Words of Wisdom

                By   2 months ago

                From the Indian Hills Community Center in Colorado….   It’s October and we have only 3 months left to make our grant match that helps keep On Pasture online. Can you chip in? To be sustainable, we need a community-wide effort. Any amount helps! If it’s an option for you, consider becoming an “Ongoing Supporter” at just […]

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