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The Scoop View All →

Telling Our Story Matters

By   18 hours ago

I’m especially excited about two of the articles we’re sharing this week because each tells a story of the good stewardship farmers and ranchers bring to their work every day. But they come from very different times. One is a video just released October 2 by the National Grazing Lands Coalition. The other, written almost […]

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How We Start a Movement

By   1 week ago

Back in 2013, some friends and I decided to start a movement. We wanted to create a community of learners who were looking for and sharing information on sustainable, profitable, pasture-raised livestock. What we did pretty much followed what you see in a video presented by Derek Sivers for his 3 minute TED talk. One […]

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We Have One Month to Meet Our Match

By   2 weeks ago

If you haven’t heard, On Pasture is having a Fund Drive and we need YOU. On Pasture is funded by a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and it requires us to raise $15,000 in match from our readers every year. That’s a very small, but important part of our operating budget […]

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Now Is the Time to Tell Us If This is All Worthwhile

By   3 weeks ago

What has On Pasture done for you lately? Well, for starters… Just last week we paid for another year for the application that allows you to post your events for free in the On Pasture Events Calendar. There are other things we do for you too. When readership expanded beyond what our shared server could […]

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Hugs Are Making A Difference to On Pasture’s Future

By   4 weeks ago

First, a big thank you to everyone who sent me a hug last week. Thanks to each of you, On Pasture is getting where it needs to be, little by little. Along with the 36 readers who sent in support for On Pasture, some new and some renewing, I also got some really nice notes. […]

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Your On Pasture Editor Could Use a Hug

By   1 month ago

Monday morning, as I was catching up with the weekend’s email, I was thinking, “Not very many people are sending in support for the fall fund drive. Does that mean On Pasture isn’t a worthwhile effort? Should I just give up?” And then – there it was. A reader sent in support – good-sized support […]

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Have You Always Wanted a Grazing Mentor?

By   1 month ago

Do you like to hear from experts on grazing management, and pasture and soil health? If your answer to these two questions is yes, that’s probably why you’re part of the On Pasture community. Providing you with the practical, in-depth information you need to be a successful grazier is what On Pasture is all about. […]

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Just Because Someone Wrote It Down, Doesn’t Mean It’s True

By   2 months ago

In 1991, I was part of a group developing the Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway. Our goal was to introduce people to a beautiful part of Colorado and to support the communities along the highway. My part of the effort included interpretive signs and stops along the way, along with writing and publishing a brochure […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Our Lands – A Story of the Important Work You’re Doing Every Day

    By   18 hours ago

    Conservation of our lands and soil is vital to humanity. Yet the benefits of the work farmers and ranchers do every day is often underappreciated. That’s where this video comes in. Produced by the National Grazing Lands Coalition (NatGLC), it shares one of the many stories about the importance of the work you do every […]

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    Two Graziers With 65 Years of Experience Put Their Heads Together

    By   1 week ago

    Victor is in the house! A nice benefit of having the 2019 Grasstravaganza in Cobleskill, NY is that conference guest and Indiana’s seasoned grazing guy, Victor Shelton, was driving by my place to get there. Good time to corral him for a 2 hour pasture walk and get a reality check! So what do two […]

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    How to Successfully Go Solar on Your Electric Fencing

    By   2 weeks ago

    Like many of us, Dean Schneider of Bell Rule Genetics, wasn’t satisfied with the performance of the typical all-in-one solar charged fencers he’d tried. But since there is no electrical power at the place he’s running his cattle, solar was his only option. Last October, we shared the system he put together that turned out […]

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    A Path to Becoming a Successful Grazier

    By   3 weeks ago

    The leaves on your plant are like the alternator on your car. And the roots are the battery – they story energy. The leaves take in energy with photosynthesis and they store it in the roots. So when you season-long graze, the cows come along and bite it off every day, day after day. It’s […]

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    Could This Winter Be as Wet as Last? Here’s How to Prepare

    By   4 weeks ago

    The Old Farmer’s Almanac has released their forecast for this winter. “Mild, with soakers” is how Indiana is labeled. I don’t put a lot of weight on these forecasts, but they often line up with other forecasts and occasionally are completely correct. If this forecast holds true, I think we all need to prepare for […]

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    Here’s What Could Happen to Forages in the Future and What It Means For Our Management

    By   4 weeks ago

    Could warming temperatures and elevated atmospheric CO2 levels affect the quantity and quality of forage used to raise livestock? That’s the question that David Augustine and his fellow researchers at the Agricultural Research Service’s Rangeland Resources and Systems Research Unit wanted to answer. Their results are a mixture of “good news” and “bad news” along […]

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    When High Density Hurts: Remediating Overgrazed Land

    By   1 month ago

    I am a complete believer in mob (high-density rotational) grazing. I have seen marginal land explode with productivity and vigor after a properly orchestrated high-density kick in the rear. But like any tool, misuse can turn animal impact into a powerful force for destruction. There are some situations in grazing when you should not use […]

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    Ranching By Number

    By   1 month ago

      On more than one occasion I have made disparaging comments about the tendency of our ranching industry to waste time gathering data. We keep spiral-bound notebooks full of all kinds of information, most of which is fairly useless. Folks who are in the business of producing purebred breeding stock may be compelled to gather […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Intensive Pasture Management Pays – Everything Old is New Again

      By   18 hours ago

      This article comes to us from Glen Murray* and the September 1962 issue of the Soil Conservation magazine. This was the monthly publication of the USDA’s Soil Conservation Service, today’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The practices of the farmer described in this article remind me very much of practices that we advocate as regenerative grazing […]

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      Canopeo – An App to Help You Measure Your Pasture Cover

      By   1 week ago

      In his article this week, Troy Bishopp describes an app that Victor Shelton used to look at cover on Troy’s pastures. With just a few photos, Troy learned the 80% cover that he thought he was leaving was actually more like 60-70%. Troy found the tool useful because it helped him better calibrate his grazier’s […]

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      What’s Up With Root Exudates?

      By   2 weeks ago

      Thanks to Susan Fisk and the Soil Science Society of America for this article. Most of us pay attention to new shoots, stems, leaves, and eventually the flowers and crop we intend to grow. We might think of roots as necessary, but uninteresting, parts of the crop production process. Paul Hallett and his team disagree. […]

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      Bison Rancher Protects Great Lakes With Buffer Strips

      By   3 weeks ago

      Thanks to Savannah Halleaux of the Michigan Farm Service Agency for sharing this article with On Pasture. Orv Kabat raises bison in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In its 30th year of business, Orv’s Circle K Ranch provides meat to about 30 restaurants and health food stores across the state, while ensuring cleaner water flows downstream. But […]

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      Here’s What Could Happen to Forages in the Future and What It Means For Our Management

      By   4 weeks ago

      Could warming temperatures and elevated atmospheric CO2 levels affect the quantity and quality of forage used to raise livestock? That’s the question that David Augustine and his fellow researchers at the Agricultural Research Service’s Rangeland Resources and Systems Research Unit wanted to answer. Their results are a mixture of “good news” and “bad news” along […]

      Read More →

      Comparing the Cost of Amending Soil With Fed Hay to Buying and Spreading Compost

      By   1 month ago

      I wrote this piece three years ago and never published it because…oh my gosh the math is daunting! And what if I got it wrong? I’m finally going to share it with you all because I think it’s a good thing for us all to think about, and in the spirit of the On Pasture […]

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      A Profile In Soil Health – A Rancher Feeds the Above- and Below-Ground Livestock

      By   1 month ago

      “All the different bugs of the soil…are disassembling a complex item [manure] that the cow put on the ground, and they’re taking that back into the soil for the benefit of everything else that’s growing to make the whole cycle start again.” -Andrew Snyder   Andrew Snyder’s idea of ranch management changed the day he […]

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      Fall Grazing Management to Benefit Your Forages

      By   2 months ago

      One of the greatest temptations in the fall is to “open the gates” and “let the livestock have the run of the pasture”. In terms of pasture for the following year, this is one of the most costly mistakes that can be made. Even in the fall, it is just as important to control the […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Wean Early to Prep Thin Cows for Winter Weather

        By   18 hours ago

        After weaning and prior to winter can be one of the most economical times to improve the body condition score (BCS) of a spring-calving cow.

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        Manure Scoring – What Comes Out Tells You What Went In and What to Change

        By   1 week ago

        Thanks to Robert Wells and the Noble Research Institute for this article. Winter is just a few pages away on the calendar. Along with the change in season, and forages entering dormancy, comes the need to pay closer attention to your feeding strategy to ensure cows do not lose body condition. The perennial question of […]

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        This Predator Awareness Training Can Help Protect Cattle

        By   2 weeks ago

        In 2011, the first wolf in nearly a century entered the state of California. It was this news that led Siskiyou County rancher Mark Coats to begin working on ways to protect cattle from possible predation. His solution – rather than trying to get rid of wolves, he would teach cattle to group into a […]

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        Silence of the Calves – No-Bawl Weaning Saves Stress and Money

        By   3 weeks ago

        Turn your sound on, then click on the sound clip below to get a feel for what weaning used to be like for John.   Our little town has been shrinking over the past fifty years. The school, the gas station, the café, all gone. But the mom and pop grocery store is still open, […]

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        Calving Ease, Growth, Marbling – What Do You Need For Your Winning Team?

        By   4 weeks ago

        Once the tallest player in the NBA, Yao Ming measures at an astounding 7 feet, 6 inches tall. His height and athletic ability led him to be selected for the NBA All-Star game eight times. By any measure, Yao is an exceptional and well-known basketball player. And yet, in two years spent living in Latin […]

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        Is There a Way to Maximize the Value of Your Cull Cows?

        By   4 weeks ago

        Cull cows – every operation has them. They’re the cows that are not pregnant at weaning time. The typical strategy for many spring-calving cow-calf operations is to cull and sell these cows immediately in the fall. The problem is that they’re generally in poor condition and are head to market at a time of year […]

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        Low-Stress Management Improves Post-Weaning Calf Health

        By   1 month ago

        Thanks to Dawn Hnatow for co-authoring this article! A few weeks ago we discussed fenceline weaning as one low-stress way to wean calves. The next question folks ask is, “What should we do with our calves post-weaning?” Conventionally, stockmen will look after their calves’ nutritional needs and monitor their health, but otherwise leave them alone. […]

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        What Happens If We Don’t Kill Predators?

        By   1 month ago

        Thanks to Randy Comeleo, Program Advisor for the Agriculture and Wildlife Protection Program, Benton County, Oregon, for helping with this article. Last week’s article, “Coyotes Can Protect Your Livestock From Predators” reviewed some the research showing that we may be better off not killing predators. In fact, researchers found that the more predators we remove, […]

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          Consider This View All →

          Death to Fire Ants

          By   1 week ago

          USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists latest discovery—a new virus found in fire ants from Argentina—has the potential for becoming a biological control agent against the red imported fire ants infesting the United States. The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) arrived in the United States in the 1930s, likely in ballast in cargo ships docking […]

          Read More →

          Your Pastures Would Make Great Solar Farms

          By   3 weeks ago

          A recent Oregon State University study found that the top three land covers with the greatest solar power producing potential are croplands, grasslands and wetlands. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, says that if less than 1% of agricultural land was converted to solar panels, it would be sufficient to fulfill global electric […]

          Read More →

          We Know Honey Bees Are Dying, But Where Are They Doing Well?

          By   1 month ago

          Noah Wilson-Rich starts his June 2018 Ted Talk with some startling statistics: in 2017 we lost 40% of our beehives in the United States, and in places with harsher climates that number was even higher. For example, in Massachusetts we lost 47% of our beehives. “Can you imagine if we lost half or our people […]

          Read More →

          The Sex Life of the Screwworm Fly: How an Odd-Sounding Study Saved Ranchers Billions

          By   2 months ago

          The screwworm is a horrible livestock pest that most of us have never heard of thanks to the work of two scientists.

          Read More →

          Working On Healthy Soils and Productive Agriculture in Ethiopia

          By   2 months ago

          In early June I got an email from Dr. Ray Weil. You may know Ray as the author of The Nature and Properties of Soils, the go-to textbook for everything on soils, and a contributor to On Pasture. He was asking for input on electric fencing for a project he is starting in Ethiopia to […]

          Read More →

          Lone Star Ticks and the Red Meat Allergy

          By   3 months ago

          This article comes to us from Canada’s Beef Cattle Research Council and Shaun Dergousoff, PhD, a research scientist at AAFC Lethbridge focused on tick populations and arthropod vectors of livestock disease. I’ve added a map of where the lone star tick is found, some info on other ticks that may cause the allergy, and a […]

          Read More →

          Livestock Genetic Diversity is Being Preserved Thanks to an ARS Collection

          By   3 months ago

          This is an edited version of an article by Dennis O’Brien of the Agriculture Research Service. When the sample of semen from the Duroc boar—a breed of domestic pig—arrived in Fort Collins, Colorado this spring, the scientists and staff at the Agricultural Research Service’s National Animal Germplasm Collection had a little celebration. Why? Because it […]

          Read More →

          Best of OP – More Ways to Keep Flies Off Your Livestock

          By   4 months ago

          There’s more than one way to skin a cat or catch a fly. On Pasture reader Fred Forsburg was inspired to share his method of keeping flies off his cattle by the article several weeks ago on Loran Shallenberger’s Farm Hack Fly Trap. We thought you’d like to see what works for Fred. We love […]

          Read More →

            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            Some Tools for Quickly and Easily Estimating Forage Quality

            By   18 hours ago

            Lately I’ve noticed folk asking questions about forage quality, so I thought this article from September of 2017 would be helpful. Last week we told you why we don’t use Brix to measure the value of forage in pasture. Our primary reason is that it’s not a very reliable tool for looking at the nutritional […]

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            Water for Winter Grazing

            By   1 week ago

            This week, The Classic by NatGLC answers a question that I hear from graziers quite often. What do you do about water in the winter, especially if your cattle are grazing the whole season? Here’s a solution from our northern neighbors who know a lot about dealing with cold and snow. These Alberta ranchers have […]

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            Stockpiling Kentucky 31 Fescue? Greg Judy Has Some Advice

            By   2 weeks 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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            Low-Input Systems Reduce Heifer Development Costs Without Sacrificing Reproductive Performance

            By   3 weeks ago

            This article comes to us from Aaron L. Berger, Extension Educator, and Rick N. Funston, Beef Reproductive Physiology Specialist, both from University of Nebraska Extension. In the past several decades, post-weaning development of replacement heifers has focused on feeding heifers to reach a target body weight of 60 to 65 percent of mature weight at […]

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            What’s the Key to Grazing Success? Rest!

            By   4 weeks ago

            We first ran this article in September of 2017. As I reviewed it before sharing it again this week, I was struck by how well this rancher understands his ecosystem and how he changed his management to fit. His emphasis on rest highlights the most important thing we can do: provide adequate time for plants […]

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            Tips for Squeezing Every Drop of Profit From Your Small Ruminant Herd

            By   1 month ago

            From July of 2015, here’s some timeless advice for making the most of every product your herd can provide. There used to be a time when keeping a respectable flock of sheep or herd of goats offered an acceptable return by simply sending  yearlings and culls to the local auction and possibly capitalizing off the […]

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            Paddock Sizing For Intensive Grazing

            By   1 month ago

              This article was first published in October of 2015 to answer a question that many readers have, “How big should my paddocks/pastures be?” The answer involves some forage clipping, some weighing and some math and Dave Scott explains it all here. Enjoy! Dave Scott and his wife own and operate Montana Highland Lamb (Home […]

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            Does Your Pasture Need a Boost? Fall Seeding Might Work For You

            By   2 months ago

            Early August to mid-September is an excellent time to plant cool-season grasses. One of the advantages of seeding this time of the year as compared to a spring seeding is lower competition from weeds and getting enough good growth to guarantee them to survive the coming winter months. Moisture is really not much of an […]

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              Consider This View All →

              Death to Fire Ants

              By   1 week ago

              USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists latest discovery—a new virus found in fire ants from Argentina—has the potential for becoming a biological control agent against the red imported fire ants infesting the United States. The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) arrived in the United States in the 1930s, likely in ballast in cargo ships docking […]

              Read More →

              Your Pastures Would Make Great Solar Farms

              By   3 weeks ago

              A recent Oregon State University study found that the top three land covers with the greatest solar power producing potential are croplands, grasslands and wetlands. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, says that if less than 1% of agricultural land was converted to solar panels, it would be sufficient to fulfill global electric […]

              Read More →

              We Know Honey Bees Are Dying, But Where Are They Doing Well?

              By   1 month ago

              Noah Wilson-Rich starts his June 2018 Ted Talk with some startling statistics: in 2017 we lost 40% of our beehives in the United States, and in places with harsher climates that number was even higher. For example, in Massachusetts we lost 47% of our beehives. “Can you imagine if we lost half or our people […]

              Read More →

              The Sex Life of the Screwworm Fly: How an Odd-Sounding Study Saved Ranchers Billions

              By   2 months ago

              The screwworm is a horrible livestock pest that most of us have never heard of thanks to the work of two scientists.

              Read More →

              Working On Healthy Soils and Productive Agriculture in Ethiopia

              By   2 months ago

              In early June I got an email from Dr. Ray Weil. You may know Ray as the author of The Nature and Properties of Soils, the go-to textbook for everything on soils, and a contributor to On Pasture. He was asking for input on electric fencing for a project he is starting in Ethiopia to […]

              Read More →

              Lone Star Ticks and the Red Meat Allergy

              By   3 months ago

              This article comes to us from Canada’s Beef Cattle Research Council and Shaun Dergousoff, PhD, a research scientist at AAFC Lethbridge focused on tick populations and arthropod vectors of livestock disease. I’ve added a map of where the lone star tick is found, some info on other ticks that may cause the allergy, and a […]

              Read More →

              Livestock Genetic Diversity is Being Preserved Thanks to an ARS Collection

              By   3 months ago

              This is an edited version of an article by Dennis O’Brien of the Agriculture Research Service. When the sample of semen from the Duroc boar—a breed of domestic pig—arrived in Fort Collins, Colorado this spring, the scientists and staff at the Agricultural Research Service’s National Animal Germplasm Collection had a little celebration. Why? Because it […]

              Read More →

              Best of OP – More Ways to Keep Flies Off Your Livestock

              By   4 months ago

              There’s more than one way to skin a cat or catch a fly. On Pasture reader Fred Forsburg was inspired to share his method of keeping flies off his cattle by the article several weeks ago on Loran Shallenberger’s Farm Hack Fly Trap. We thought you’d like to see what works for Fred. We love […]

              Read More →

                The Funnies View All →

                Your Next Pair of Dress Shoes?

                By   18 hours ago

                I tried to find where you might order them, but had no luck.

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                The Three Hardest Things to Say

                By   1 week ago

                I can only help you with one of these: Just 3 weeks left! We need $3,286 more to make our grant match that helps keep On Pasture online. Any amount helps! If it’s an option for you, consider becoming an “Ongoing Supporter” at just $5/month. Your support shows outside funders that On Pasture is a […]

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                Original Whopper vs Impossible Whopper

                By   2 weeks ago

                Here you go! We need $5,000 more to make our grant match that helps keep On Pasture online. Any amount helps! If it’s an option for you, consider becoming an “Ongoing Supporter” at just $5/month. Your support shows outside funders that On Pasture is a great investment for them.

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                Which Side?

                By   3 weeks ago

                When you’ve had a long day, some question are just hard… Have you sent in your support to keep On Pasture online? We can’t do it without you!  

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                Data to Help You Make Good Choices

                By   4 weeks ago

                OK – I’m not sure this is actual data, but still, it makes you think!     Have you sent in your support to keep On Pasture online? We can’t do it without you!    

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                Be Careful What You Wish For

                By   1 month ago

                As the Rolling Stones sing, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find you get what you need!”   Only YOU can keep On Pasture online. Your financial support is critical. If it’s an option, consider becoming an “Ongoing Supporter” at just $5/month. Being able to show that kind […]

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                Everyone is Tired of Surveys

                By   1 month ago

                Even the horses… Only YOU can keep On Pasture online. Your financial support is critical. If it’s an option, consider becoming an “Ongoing Supporter” at just $5/month. Being able to show that kind of support is especially helpful when we’re approaching outside funders. Click to help out now!    

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                Spelling Errors

                By   2 months ago

                We all try so hard, and yet….

                Read More →
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