On Pasture contributor Troy Bishopp, known by many as “The Grass Whisperer,” received the 2017 Grassfed Exchange Service Award in honor of his more than thirty years of advocacy and mentoring to expand grass-fed livestock enterprises. Grassfed Exchange Board member, Dr. Allen Williams said, “Troy has long been a pioneer and innovator in the world of grazing. He is a tireless practitioner, advocate, and promoter of the myriad benefits of adaptive grazing principles. He is always willing to share his extensive knowledge with anyone who has interest and has been instrumental in positively affecting grazing at a landscape scale.”
Troy owns and manages Bishopp Family Farm in Deansboro, NY with his wife, daughters and parents. Their certified organic, 100% grass-fed, custom grazing operation raises dairy heifers, grass-finished beef and backgrounds feeder cattle on 180 acres of owned and leased cool season pastures in the Mohawk Valley. He’s used his farm as a proving ground for and example of innovative grazing practices. He shares what he’s learned first as a grazing specialist with the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Upper Susquehanna Coalition as their grazing specialist. Any spare time he has he spends sharing lessons learned as a free-lance writer, speaker and photographer.
Friends and farmers he has mentored appreciate Troy’s efforts to connect the dots to make grass farming profitable and to rebuild local farm communities. Allen Riley of Purple Tie Beef Farm says, “He has helped many of us in creating a vision through his passion for farming. His one-on-one approach has not only kept me farming, but has made it profitable. This has not only helped our operation increase time spent with family, but has made farming enjoyable.”
Making farming profitable and enjoyable are the reasons Troy updates his grazing charts every year and shares them with On Pasture readers. The charts are a way of scheduling grazing so you have healthy forage, healthy livestock and healthy people who stay sane by making time for the important things in life – friends and family. And he has shared instructions for using the charts and examples of how he used them to schedule in family time in his On Pasture articles. As Steve Lorraine, Troy’s Conservation District Manager puts it, “Troy practices what he preaches. It makes him an effective leader and promoter of high-level grazing and land management systems”.
Troy dedicated this award to his ancestors and family who inspired him to work for the good of the earth, and to his late brother, Scott Bishopp, who Troy says knew the value of mentoring and teaching the next generation lessons in life. Troy said he was humbled and honored by the award and says it speaks volumes about all the people who mentored him along the way. He hopes that his work will “spur future generations to consider the awesome possibilities of grassland farming for economic, environmental and family well-being.”