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Grazier’s Book Recommendations

The icy hand of winter grasped my little valley just after Thanksgiving. After a fabulous grass-growing fall, the dark curtain fell, which meant I began watching the mailbox in earnest as winter is the time of year new books arrive, some of them about grazing.

Recently I’ve written about steps people might take to explore the pathway toward becoming professional graziers, and a recurring theme is reading and studying. Basically, this is about taking the knowledge and ideas that some really smart people have already accumulated and sifting through it for things you can use at home. This is a very effective and efficient way to make progress toward the goal of being a grazier.

With all this in mind, I’ve gone to my little library and looked for books that might be helpful to novice graziers, and also to more experienced folks. In addition, I’ve included a list of writers who haven’t necessarily published books, but who have been instrumental in moving the grazing and ranching business forward.

Now is the season to snuggle up to the wood stove and spend some time expanding your mind and learning your craft. The people who wrote these books are big-thinkers, giants, and you can buy their ideas for pennies.

Notes: the hardest part for me was sorting. I left many books off the list for one reason or another. Next, deciding which were most important for beginners was very difficult: all of these books are important. In the end, I decided to offer them based on complexity. If you can get through the first group, try the second set. I have purposely avoided books that focus on direct marketing, ecology, ag politics and other advanced topics.

Editor’s Note: We added links to each book after searching for the best deal we could find for you.

Basic Books for New Graziers and Ranchers

Jim Gerrish
Management-Intensive Grazing: The Grassroots of Grass Farming

Gordon Hazard, DVM
Thoughts and advice from an old cattleman

Chip Hines
Time To Change: Grazing – Genetics – Management
or you can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited

Greg Judy
No Risk Ranching
Comeback Farms
How to Think Like a Grazier

Allan Nation
Paddock Shift: Changing Views on Grassland Farming
Pasture Profits with Stocker Cattle
Land, Livestock and Life

More Advanced Reading

Walt Davis
How to Not go Broke Ranching: Things I Learned the Hard Way in Fifty Years of Ranching

Jim Gerrish
Kick the Hay Habit

Jim Howell
For the Love of Land: Global Case Studies of Grazing in Nature’s Image

Laurie Lasater
Welcome To the New Cattle Industry

Bill Murphy
Greener Pasture on Your Side of the Fence: Better Farming Voisin Management-Intensive Grazing (4th Edition)

Dave Pratt
Healthy Land, Happy Families and Profitable Businesses
The Turnaround: A Rancher’s Story

(I should confess here that I did some editing on these books.)

Allan Savory
Holistic Management, Third Edition: A Commonsense Revolution to Restore Our Environment

Burt Smith, et. al
Intensive Grazing Management: Forage, Animals, Men, Profits

Andre Voisin
Grass Productivity: An Introduction to Rational Grazing

Johann Zeitsman
Man, Cattle and Veld

Additional Resources

Many other writers have produced tremendously valuable materials for graziers and ranchers, although some of them –inexplicably—have not bothered to produce books or have not written specifically about grazing. Below are some of my favorite writers, and my apologies to those I have forgotten. I would advise reading anything you can find by (or about) these authors:

Bud Williams • Thad Box • Kit Pharro • Jim VanDerPol • Burke Teichert
Fred Provenza • Dan Dagget

Have a great, enlightening winter season!

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John Marble
John Marble
John Marble grew up on a terribly conventional ranch with a large family where each kid had their own tractor. Surviving that, he now owns a small grazing and marketing operation that focuses on producing value through managed grazing. He oversees a diverse ranching operation, renting and owning cattle and grasslands while managing timber, wildlife habitat and human relationships. His multi-species approach includes meat goats, pointing dogs and barn cats. He has a life-long interest in ecology, trying to understand how plants, animals, soils and humans fit together. John spends his late-night hours working on fiction, writing about worlds much less strange than this one.

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