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The Scoop View All →

Winter is Coming – What to Do When You’re Stuck Inside

By   3 days ago

Looking at National Weather Service maps, I see that, for many of you, winter isn’t just coming. This week it arrives! Another shot of cold air arrives across the Northern Plains Sunday. After diving into the southern Plains Monday, it moves east Tuesday into Wednesday. Temperatures will average 15 to 25 degrees below normal over […]

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Important November Deadlines for Graziers

By   1 week ago

Here’s a heads up on some important dates for agriculture-related internships, insuring your operation against forage losses due to lack of rainfall, or commenting on changes to Conservation Standards that could impact funding for your operation. OneUSDA Internships DEADLINE: November 15, 2019 The OneUSDA Internship Program is for students interested in careers in agriculture, natural […]

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Transferring Skills and Experience to the Next Generation

By   2 weeks ago

Please join me in welcoming a new On Pasture sponsor! Wally Olson has been in ranching and the livestock business his whole life, doing everything from hauling hay and cleaning stalls to being the ranch manager and owner/operator. Since the mid-’80s, he’s been on the Kelley Ranch in Vinita, Oklahoma. He began as a manager, […]

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Adjust Your Expectations For More Success – Lessons From a Cat

By   3 weeks ago

This is Molly. I’ve written about how she reminds me to leave my desk and take walks so I’ll be healthier, and how she taught me about how to ask for help so that I get what I want. She’s also taught me a lot about how expectations color what you get from the people […]

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Telling Our Story Matters

By   1 month 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 month 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   1 month 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   2 months 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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    Grazing Management View All →

    Don’t Burn Down the Barn or Make Your Stock Sick – What to Do With Wet/Moldy Hay

    By   3 days ago

    In many parts of the country, this year’s weather was not particularly friendly for putting up hay. With lots of rain throughout the summer, you may have hay that is wetter than usual and that means  an increased risk of fires from spontaneous hay bale combustion. In this 5:19 video, Simon Whistler explains why wet […]

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    You Don’t Have to Practice Yoga to Be a Flexible Grazier!

    By   1 week ago

    In most livestock operations, the largest expense is winter feed. As a grazier, it has been my goal to plan a grazing rotation so there is high quality, high volume forage available in the fall and winter. This fall has tested my flexibility once again and has once again shown me the importance of having […]

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    Grazing Principles at Work, Part 1 – Management Intensive Grazing in an Arid Environment

    By   2 weeks ago

    Successful grazing management grows out of an understanding of some basic principles, like how plants grow, and how soil conditions, weather, and climate alter plants’ rate of growth and recovery after grazing. That means management intensive grazing/adaptive managed grazing/mob grazing is different for folks working in areas with 48 inches of precipitation vs those with […]

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    Untoward Acceleration – the Greatest Danger to Graziers

    By   3 weeks ago

    We all make grazing management mistakes. The key to improving is to acknowledge what they are, why they happened, and then what we might do differently next time. Here, Troy Bishopp shares a mistake from his grazing past, as an example of these steps to improvement.

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

    By   1 month 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 month 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   1 month 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   2 months 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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      Pasture Health View All →

      Soil Health Principles Part 1 – The Nature and Properties of Soils

      By   3 days ago

      In the fall of 2013, film maker Robin “Buz” Kloot, teamed up with the Natural Resources Conservation Service on a project to share the important role soil plays in all our lives. He began with a cross-country trek to interview some of the nation’s leading researchers and experts on soil health. Over the next three […]

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      Bale Grazing to Feed the Herds Above and Below Ground

      By   1 week ago

      Thanks to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service staff in Montana for this helpful article! The last thing most people think about when they see a field full of grazing cattle is what is going on underneath those hooves. Producer Kalyn Bohle has given it some thought. Bohle has land six miles southwest of Plevna, […]

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      Can Cattle Help With Seeding?

      By   2 weeks ago

      Readers have asked if cattle can be used for seeding pastures, or if there are examples of others that have done this. This article from Canada’s Beef Cattle Research Council has some good answers. Cattle can be managed to produce calves, beef and milk, but can they also be put to work re-seeding pastures? As […]

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      New Discovery on the Mechanics of Keeping Carbon in the Soil and What It Means For Your Pastures

      By   3 weeks ago

      Imagine you’re a carbon molecule floating in the atmosphere and your mission is to get from there into the soil and stay there for decades. Your first step – slip into a plant through an open stoma. Inside the plant you go through your first transformation: photosynthesis. You’re combined with water (H20) and photons from […]

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      Intensive Pasture Management Pays – Everything Old is New Again

      By   1 month 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 month 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   1 month 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   2 months 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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        Livestock View All →

        Replacement Heifers – The Ins and Outs of Costs and Managing Them for Success

        By   3 days ago

        This article, from the Beef Cattle Research Council of Canada, summarizes a recent webinar on the economics of replacement heifers and how to manage replacement heifers to give them the best chance of succeeding in our herds. You can see the entire webinar here. If you don’t have an hour to spare, this article also […]

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        Are High Milk Producing Beef Cows a Good Investment?

        By   1 week ago

        This article comes to us from Travis Mulliniks, UNL Beef Cattle Nutritionist, Range Production Systems. Thanks, Travis! Listen to a discussion of the content in this article on this episode of the BeefWatch podcast. Subscribe to new episodes in iTunes or paste http://feeds.feedburner.com/unlbeefwatch into your podcast app.   In an effort to increase beef production, […]

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        When Is a Pasture-Raised Beef Cow/Steer “Finished?”

        By   2 weeks ago

        A guide on pasture-based beef finishing published by the University of Kentucky covers the challenges producers might face, from growing suitable pasture to bringing animals to a finished weight, to working with a processor, and finally, most importantly, finding customers. In this excerpt, Greg Halich, Jeff Lehmkuhler, Ray Smith and Fred Martz show how to […]

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        What Happens to Pregnancy Rates and Calf Survival With Changes in Calving Season?

        By   3 weeks ago

        A four year study of ranchers in Western Canada indicates that shifting from winter calving to spring calving increases cow pregnancy rates and calf survival. Due to market pressures, Canada’s cow-calf sector has consolidated into fewer, larger herds and producers have begun calving later, and in pasture, to avoid increases in labor, equipment and facilities […]

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        Wean Early to Prep Thin Cows for Winter Weather

        By   1 month 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 month 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   1 month 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   2 months 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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          Money Matters View All →

          Welcome to Wally Olson’s Pity Party

          By   3 days ago

          Wally Olson is an On Pasture sponsor who wants to help readers make more money marketing their livestock. Here he provides an example of how that works for him. A couple of years ago, I sold 95 bred, fall calving cows in Joplin, Missouri on August 1. That same morning I delivered the weaned calves […]

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          How Does the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers Get Started?

          By   2 weeks ago

          Don shares this piece as an opening to a conversation. It’s an important one to have. Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas and suggestions in the comments below. What Do Y’all Think? Donnie, our son, comes by to visit and check on the old people on Tuesday evening and Saturday morning. Last week he was […]

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          Why Selling on Social Media No Longer Works (and What Does)

          By   1 month ago

          We introduced Charlotte Smith’s new podcast back in June. Today, we want to share one of her latest episodes because it answers many of the questions farmers have about how to find customers and get the word out about their products. Enjoy! The social landscape of Facebook and Instagram have drastically changed in the past […]

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          Tips for Evaluating Property for Raising Cattle

          By   1 month ago

          This article comes to us from the Noble Research Institute’s Robert Wells, PhD., Livestock Consultant, and Rob Cook, Planned Consultation Manager and Pasture and Range Consultant. When buying land for cattle production, there are some unique characteristics to consider before signing a contract. These characteristics include: stocking rate, forage quality and type, soil type and […]

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

          By   2 months 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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          Soil Health Isn’t Free – Incorporating Livestock Can Reduce Economic Risk

          By   2 months ago

          Keeping soils covered is one of the keys to soil health, and cover crops are often promoted as a good way to prevent erosion while also adding nutrients to the soil. But cover crop seeding isn’t free. What can we do to mitigate the economic risk involved? That’s what Doug Sieck talks about with Buz […]

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          If You Want Healthy Wildlife, You Need Healthy Ranches

          By   3 months ago

          This article is drawn from a release originally written by Jenny Seifert of University of California, Santa Barabara. Researchers at the University of California – Santa Barbara revealed a clear link between the economic health of ranches and maintaining habitat for the greater sage grouse, a bird that has been the focus of public land […]

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          Check Out the Farm Loan Discovery Tool

          By   3 months ago

          There’s a new online tool to help you find information on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans. It’s called the “Farm Loan Discovery Tool” and comes to us from Farmers.gov, and it makes it easier to figure out what kind of loan to consider, and tells you where your the nearest service center is to […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            Answers to Reader Alfalfa-Related Questions – Fall Nutrition, Varieties, and Reseeding

            By   3 days ago

            From November of 2017, here’s an article answering alfalfa-related reader questions. The answers come to us from Genevieve Slocum and David Hunsberger of King’s Agriseeds. Question: My cows and calves have been on a pasture for about a week with approx. 50% grass 50% alfalfa it has dried down on the stem and we have […]

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

            By   1 week ago

            From November of 2018, here’s some info we can always use! 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 […]

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            Shelter and Bedding for Cattle Grazing in Winter

            By   2 weeks ago

            If you’re thinking about leaving your cattle out to graze this winter, you might be wondering what kind of shelter they’ll need to protect them from the cold, wind and snow. You have a lot of options, as the ranchers in this 5:00 minute video from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry demonstrate. Some ranchers have found […]

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            Inbreeding and Line-breeding Definitions and Uses

            By   3 weeks ago

            This article has grown to be one of On Pasture’s most read since we first ran it in October of 2014. While inbreeding is a form of line-breeding and the two are related, no pun intended, they are different. According to Jim Lents, owner of the Anxiety 4th line of horned Hereford cattle in Oklahoma, […]

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            Some Tools for Quickly and Easily Estimating Forage Quality

            By   1 month 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 month 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   1 month 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   2 months 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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              Consider This View All →

              Quitting the Ranch – A Tragic Account of Failure in Succession

              By   1 week ago

              A young friend of mine died the other day. To be honest, “died” doesn’t seem like quite the right word, probably because it’s not. On a beautiful fall day, my friend Donny picked up a gun and killed himself. Rest in peace, Donny. When it comes to situations like this, it seems we like to […]

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              Flannel Shirts and Pumpkin Spice Dreams

              By   3 weeks ago

              Here’s an ode to the winter fabric of farm and ranch life as a sign of the change of seasons.

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              Death to Fire Ants

              By   1 month 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 […]

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              Your Pastures Would Make Great Solar Farms

              By   2 months 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 […]

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

              By   2 months 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 […]

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

              By   3 months ago

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

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              Working On Healthy Soils and Productive Agriculture in Ethiopia

              By   3 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 […]

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              Lone Star Ticks and the Red Meat Allergy

              By   4 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 […]

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                The Funnies View All →

                Cowboy Lassos Bike Thief

                By   3 days ago

                A cowboy rode his horse to Walmart the other day. Here’s what happened next…  

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                Which is which?

                By   1 week ago

                I know I’ve struggled to tell the difference! Finally an answer! Click here for a more scientific answer.

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                Happy Halloween!

                By   2 weeks ago

                Here’s what witches everywhere are asking.

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                Pumpkin Spice Taken Too Far

                By   3 weeks ago

                All of these things actually exist – even though they probably shouldn’t.

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                Your Next Pair of Dress Shoes?

                By   1 month 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 month 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   1 month 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   2 months 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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