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The Grazier’s Vow

On Oct. 3, 2016 an article I wrote entitled Stupid Is As Stupid Does was published on the On Pasture web site. This was just a simple tale of one of the many mistakes that I have made in the cow business over the years. Hopefully I have learned from these mistakes and do not make them over and over again. The simple truth is a problem was created that caused me to waste a lot of hay and feed that should have never been used at all. I will not tell the whole sad story here, but will just say I have learned from it.

On Oct. 4, 2016 Chip Hines was kind enough to comment on the article and add his insight and knowledge to the subject. What follows is what Mr. Hines named the Ranchers Vow:

From this day forward I pledge to support my tractor, pickup, hay machinery, chemical, feed and pharmaceutical dealers through good times and bad through drought, blizzard, flood, low prices and high interest, till death do us part.

After reading this I began to think of all of the inputs that we have come to believe it is impossible to operate without. And then I came to realize that we do not depend on most of these things. Then it finally came to me that those of us who consider ourselves to be graziers should have our own vow. So for your consideration this is what I call the Grazier’s Vow.


I am not foolish enough to believe that everyone will agree with what I believe to be the main reason other than weather cattle operations in our country are not as profitable as they could and should be today. We cannot control the weather and have very little control of the prices we receive when we sell. So the question becomes, Do you believe that you can build a profitable operation with less inputs?

What would you add to the Grazier’s Vow? Can we create something that works for all our readers?

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Don Ashford
Don Ashford
My name is Don Ashford and my wife is Betty and we live in Ethel, LA. It would be impossible for me to write a bio about myself without including Betty in it. We have been together since high school. I was in the senior class of 1955 and she was in the class of 1957. Do the math. We have raised cattle since 1959 except for a little time that I spent with Uncle Sam. We have grazed stockers, owned several cow- calf herds and custom grazed cattle for other folks. I worked as a pipefitter for more than 25 years. Until we went into the dairy business in 1977 we were as most people down here part-timers or week-end ranchers. Later after we had learned enough about MIG to talk about it so that it would be understood by others we put together a pasture-walk group to introduce it to our friends and neighbors. We belong to more farm groups then we probably should but we get great joy working with other people. What makes us most proud are our son and daughter, our 5 grandkids and our 7 great-grand kids. It has been a hell of a trip so far, but we are not done yet.

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