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Are Pasture Walks a Waste of Time?

By   /  August 20, 2018  /  6 Comments

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Sometimes it just seems that we are wasting our time having pasture walks. The other day, and as hap
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About the author

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.


  1. Rob Havard says:

    People are afraid of competition – especially if they have spent their life building a herd that wont fit the needs of your new system.

  2. Garrett Fulton says:

    Great and informative article. I agree with Mr. Harrigan and new methods that work are going to accelerate the weeding out of those that fear and condemn change just because it’s change.

  3. jason detzel says:

    Before i worked at extension I attended every single pasture walk within 4 hours of my place. These are the single most important activity I can both promote and participate in because you get to see the way that other folks solve the same problems that you have.
    Don please keep up the good work and know that there are many other producers out there just like me (or beginning ranchers who are a blank slate) that both value and appreciate that you are ultimately there to make them a better farmer!

  4. John Marble says:

    Thank you for your efforts Don, but you are so much more patient than I am. Perhaps it’s just the southern tradition of being kind and generous. Personally, I have more or less given up on the mainstream cattle industry, finding much more success with non-farmers.

    I recently took on a (free) consulting job, trying to help a young couple take over the family ranch following a death of the old man. Funny thing: because of their experiences away from the ranch, they can easily see many of the structural problems and they are thrilled to make changes. Golly, that’s fun, helping willing people make change.

  5. Richard A Moyer says:

    Please keep up the good work and know that it matters! We have attended pasture walks for 10+ yrs now, to learn cattle on grass. For my kids to see where we are trying to go, in improving our pastures and herd genetics. We also learned much while interning on a pasture-based farm. The wise, old farmer there told us we were stupid, but that was a two-fold blessing: 1) We weren’t wed to the mistakes of our father. 2) We didn’t know anything, so pay attention to what works.
    Pasture walks with guys like you on “what works”, gave us permission to start our own farm, with 7 heifers on 20+ acres.
    Some neighbors shake their heads at us moving cattle each day. Others are surprised our cattle are still healthy on grass & minerals alone, after 10 years.
    Folks like you, Don, showed us how to do this, and continue to teach me and my kids. However it’s done, a few neighbors like our green fields enough, they ask us to graze their land as well.
    Thanks for caring, please keep sharing!

  6. T Harrigan says:

    It is true that some folks are more interested in proving someone wrong than in learning and trying something new. They are fewer and fewer though as tight margins squeeze out many who refuse to make the choice to learn and adapt.

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