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The Scoop View All →

Your On Pasture Editor Could Use a Hug

By   7 days 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   2 weeks 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   3 weeks 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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Lessons From the Past to Create a Better Future

By   4 weeks ago

Lately, I’ve been thinking about when I first started working with ranchers. It was the era of “NO MORE MOO IN ’92” and “CATTLE FREE BY ’93.” Activists tried to purchase rights to public land allotments and move cattle off. Books like  “Welfare Ranching” and “Sacred Cows at the Public Trough” painted ranchers in an […]

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Don’t Freak Out About the IPCC Report

By   1 month ago

Let’s start with this: The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that was released on August 8 does not say we should quit eating meat and become vegetarians. Here’s what it does say: “Balanced diets, featuring plant-based foods, such as those based on coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal-sourced […]

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Saving the Ant Farmers

By   1 month ago

Not long after we moved to Tucson, my next-door neighbor told me about one of the scourges of our desert gardens: Leaf cutter ants! As their name suggests, they specialize in cutting leaves from plants. Sometimes they can defoliate an entire bush or tree. So when I found some of them living in our gravel […]

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Free, Downloadable Handouts to Share At Grazing Events

By   2 months ago

Let your eyes wander up to the On Pasture menu bar. See “Handouts”? Click, and you’ll find six free handouts that you can share with participants at your next grazing event. I put these together to make it easy to share information on some of the most read and asked for articles. And while they’re […]

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Steers That Eat Rabbits

By   2 months ago

Here’s a little-known fact: On Pasture exists because of this picture:   If I’d never met Fred Provenza, and if he’d never invited me to audit his “Plant Herbivore Interaction” course at Utah State University, you would not be enjoying the 2,300 articles in On Pasture’s library. Yes, this is a steer eating a rabbit. […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    When High Density Hurts: Remediating Overgrazed Land

    By   7 days 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   2 weeks 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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    1-Strand Sheep Fencing – How We Made It Work For Our Operation

    By   3 weeks ago

    When we bought our first flock of sheep 16 years ago we had 12 leased farms and were being overrun with sprouts and weeds. The cattle would eat some of these undesirable plants but we needed more pressure put on them. So sheep piqued our interest. My biggest concern with bringing sheep onto our farms […]

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    The Grass Whisperer’s $20 Stock Watering Solution

    By   4 weeks ago

    Troy Bishopp and John Suscovich of Farm Marketing Solutions get together now and then to share tips for how farmers and ranchers can be good graziers. In this 3:34 video, they talk about how Troy set up his system to water his cattle without letting them walk through his streams. With a $5 piece of […]

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    Comparing Rotational and Continuous Grazing – A Time Lapse Video

    By   1 month ago

    Seeing how two pastures function side by side under different management is one good way to consider what kind of management we’d like to implement. That’s why I like this video from the Natural Resources Conservation Service staff in Clark, South Dakota. They set up a camera on a fence line and took time lapse […]

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    We’re Stockpiling Now for Winter Grazing at Green Pastures Farm

    By   1 month ago

    We have 70 days left until our average killing frost date. That means we’re starting to stockpile now to extend our grazing season, allowing pastures to grow so we won’t have to feed hay this winter. For most folks winter feeding is their largest expense and can be the difference between making a profit or […]

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    The Inventory Walk

    By   2 months ago

    Woody Lane from Lane Livestock Services in Oregon spoke to me in his article, “Let’s Take a Walk,” when he wrote, “The pasture is trying to tell you something; are you listening?” When I participate in a public pasture walk, it’s generally a lighthearted affair that looks at a few specifics of grazing management or […]

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    Facing Short Hay Inventory? Here’s What You Can Do

    By   2 months ago

    Flooding in many parts of the country may mean less hay for the winter. Drought is a problem in other places. No matter the reason, here are some tips for making it through the winter.

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      Pasture Health View All →

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

      By   7 days 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   2 weeks 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   3 weeks 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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      How Short and How Often Should You Graze Your Grass?

      By   4 weeks ago

      This comes to us from the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. While their purpose was to provide information for dairy graziers, it’s a great lesson for us all on how grass grows and how we can manage it for best yield and animal productivity. While there are many grazing […]

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      Discovery Helps Plants Make a Connection With Soil Fungi

      By   1 month ago

      Ten years of work result in the discovery of the gene that allows plants and mycorrhizal fungi to interact and could lead to plants that require less fertilizer and can survive and thrive in arid environments.

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      How Does Fire Affect Soil Microbes?

      By   1 month ago

      This article comes to us from Steven Shafer, Ph.D., the former Soil Health Institute interim chief scientific officer and retired soil microbiologist the Noble Research Institute. Fire affects many important ecosystem processes. Much of what we understand about the impact of fire on terrestrial ecosystems comes from many decades of research on the effects of […]

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      Does Grazing Crop Residue Compact Soils?

      By   2 months ago

      This article comes to us from Will Cushman and the Soil Science Society of America. It goes well with last week’s article of tips on what to do about hay/forage shortage this year and a recommendation to talk to neighbors about grazing crop residue. We hope it helps! It makes sense that a 1,200 pound […]

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      New Forage Available

      By   2 months ago

      A few weeks ago we shared the results of a study that provided some insights into the value of legumes as forage. The study looked at how well three vetches and one winter pea responded to grazing. One of those, WinterKing Hairy Vetch is now available for sale. Here’s more information for you. There’s an […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Low-Stress Management Improves Post-Weaning Calf Health

        By   7 days 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   2 weeks 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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        Coyotes Can Protect Your Livestock From Predators

        By   3 weeks ago

        Thanks to Randy Comeleo,Program Advisor, Agriculture and Wildlife Protection Program, Benton County, Oregon, and Oregon Small Farm News for this excellent article! Livestock losses are an unfortunate reality of ranching and the use of traps and snares is a common way to attempt to reduce predator-livestock conflict. However, one USDA study (Shivik et al. 2003) noted […]

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        Low-Stress Weaning

        By   4 weeks ago

        A lot of producers look forward to weaning with nothing but dread because it’s so often a bad experience for them, their cows, and sometimes their facilities. Many producers can tell stories about their corrals being torn down by the cows post-weaning, and not being able to sleep for three or four nights after weaning […]

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        Rangeland Researchers Say Smaller is Better

        By   1 month ago

        This article comes to us from Oregon State University Extension and Chris Branam. Ranchers running beef cattle on dry and dusty landscapes should consider smaller cows to get the best out of their herd.   That’s the recommendation of a recent interdisciplinary study involving rangeland researchers in Oregon, Wyoming and Oklahoma. Breeding smaller cattle could […]

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        How Important is a Perfect Udder on a Beef Cow?

        By   1 month ago

        This article is a summary of the 2019 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report “The Effect of Cow Udder Score on Subsequent Calf Performance in the Nebraska Sandhills”. Joslyn K. Beard, Jacki A. Musgrave, Rick N. Funston and J. Travis Mulliniks were collaborators on this research study and report. Listen to a discussion of the content in […]

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        Gathering Cattle – These Techniques Make It Much Easier

        By   2 months ago

        Thanks to Dawn Hnatow for co-authoring this piece! A lot of ranchers have trouble gathering their cattle; that is, it takes a lot of riders multiple days and they still end up short. If done properly, however, one or two people can gather even large pastures in one day and miss none. Conventional gathering In […]

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        How Do Animals Choose What to Eat? Part 1 – Mother Knows Best

        By   2 months ago

        Learning about how animals choose what to eat and where to live, and that it doesn’t work the way we thought it did, has completely changed my life. In fact, it’s why you’re reading On Pasture today. I think it can change your life too. So, over the coming months, I’ll be sharing a short […]

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          Consider This View All →

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

          By   7 days 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 weeks 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   1 month 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   2 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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          Livestock Genetic Diversity is Being Preserved Thanks to an ARS Collection

          By   2 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 […]

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

          By   3 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 […]

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          Sheep Cross Hanging Bridges

          By   3 months ago

          Farmers and ranchers everywhere face challenges when it comes to moving their stock, especially when it comes to crossing water. Shepherds have solved water crossing problems by building hanging bridges. Here’s what that looks like for shepherds in Nepal. These Himalayan sheep are crossing a hanging bridge in Ghumliband, Rukum Nepal. A total of 687 […]

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          Not “No” but “Hell No”

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

          By   3 months ago

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

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

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

            By   7 days 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   2 weeks 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   3 weeks 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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            Time to Watch Out for Nitrate and Prussic Acid Poisoning

            By   4 weeks ago

            From August of 2018, it’s our annual reminder that drought and potential weather changes could cause increases of nitrates and prussic acid in some forages. This article from Jill Scheidt, University of Missouri Extension, tells us what to look out for. I’ve added some charts and testing information as well as links to addtional On […]

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            The Economics of Creep Feeding – Does it Pay?

            By   1 month ago

            This article originally appeared in May of 2018. It 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 […]

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            Reduce Your Feed Costs This Winter With These Tips for Extending Your Grazing Season

            By   1 month ago

            From our archive of articles – this August 2016 article is quite timely now. Winter feeding accounts for 40+% of the cost of producing a calf, so reducing or eliminating this bad habit can help keep your ranch in the black. One way to reduce winter feeding costs is to extend the period that cattle […]

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            Time to Start Stockpiling for Fall and Winter Grazing

            By   2 months ago

            It’s almost August, which is always a busy month for me and I am usually left wondering what happened to the summer. This is when I start thinking about assessing pastures, how much forage is present, and how much more forage can be grown between now and dormancy. It’s sad, but winter is already on […]

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            Ideas For Water Systems That Move With Your Cattle

            By   2 months ago

            From our February 2014 edition – here are some ideas that don’t age. Getting water to livestock in pasture can be a challenge and farmers and ranchers have come up with all kinds of systems to get the job done.  Since two (or more) heads are better than one, we thought we’d share some solutions […]

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              Money Matters View All →

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

              By   2 weeks 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   4 weeks 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   1 month 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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              Questioning Our Grass Fed Success

              By   2 months ago

              Back in May, On Pasture author and heretic rancher/philosopher James Mathew Craighead had the gall to ask a bunch of questions, and I mean a whole bunch of questions, including some that appeared to cast doubt on the entire Holy Grail of grazing and grass and soils and meat and…well, heck, just EVERYTHING!!! Turns out, […]

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              A First Step in Reducing Inputs to Increase Profitability

              By   2 months ago

              We talk a lot about reducing inputs so that the farm or ranch can be more profitable. But how do you figure out what you should cut and what you should keep? Do you have a goal that can provide direction? For some ideas on that, here’s a jam-packed 2:13 interview with the Noble Research […]

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              This New Podcast Will Get Your Business Going

              By   3 months ago

              Charlotte Smith heard some disturbing USDA statistics a few years ago: “Three hundred farmers go out of business every week in the United States. Eighty percent are are out of business by year two, and only 2% of farmers are still around at year five.” That’s something Charlotte is determined to change, so, with her […]

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              Making Dreams Come True

              By   3 months ago

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

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              Are You Running a Marginal Business?

              By   4 months ago

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

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                The Funnies View All →

                Be Careful What You Wish For

                By   7 days 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   2 weeks 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   3 weeks ago

                We all try so hard, and yet….

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                CVS Receipts Gone Wild

                By   4 weeks ago

                Do you get these kinds of receipts where you shop? This person bought 2 packs of Lifesavers and the receipt was almost as long as his pickup truck bed!

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                It’s Beefsteak Tomato Time of Year

                By   1 month ago

                If you’ve got time on your hands, and you’re patient:   P.S. If you do this, send me pictures! 🙂

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                Celebrate “Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch” Day on August 8

                By   1 month ago

                  Get out your camo and your excess zucchini and celebrate “National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!” That’s what August 8 is. Instead of baking hundreds of loaves of zucchini bread, bag up your excess zucchini, take it to the nearest neighbors’ porch, drop it, ring the doorbell, and RUN! Or, here’s […]

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                I Am Cow. Hear Me Moo!

                By   2 months ago

                Here’s my favorite song! Courtesy of the Arrogant Worms out of Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

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                Bear Interrupts Photo Shoot

                By   2 months ago

                Fortunately he gets away clean…and then brings his buddies back.   Rabbit-Eating Steers Are One of the Reasons On Pasture Exists The other is a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service that has covered more than half of the cost of bringing On Pasture to you. Without it, On Pasture would not […]

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