Thank you for the great input on what you’d like to see from On Pasture as we go forward.
I’m making lists of topics for articles, working on ways to provide more of what you need to adopt new practices, and looking at how I can provide new materials – like more video, podcasts, ebooks, classifieds, enhanced search capabilities, and more. I’ll be sharing my lists and progress on new services in the future.
Right now, I need to tell you about another change we’re working on.
Just before Christmas, I learned On Pasture was not selected for ongoing funding through the NRCS’s Conservation Innovation Grant program. We weren’t alone. In fact, only 18% of the applicants were funded this year, a funding rate well below the 50% of sustainable ag grant applicants that used to be funded when I first started writing grants in the 2000s.
What Does This Mean For On Pasture’s Future?
For the past three years, 70% of On Pasture’s operating budget was covered by an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant. The National Grazing Lands Coalition covered 10%. Other sponsors and advertisers made up an additional 15%, with readers contributing about 6% to the mix.
Now, we need to make up that 70%. We could apply for other NRCS grants, but with the success rate falling to about 18%, that doesn’t seem like a sure bet. In addition, reviewers of our most recent application had concerns about continued NRCS support for On Pasture. They like that we are “an innovative approach to build an online community of graziers and give them technical information in a format they can readily use.” They also noted that “the rapid growth in On Pasture’s readership suggests how useful a resource this publication is to the grazing community.” But they went on to question the sustainability of the On Pasture platform, saying “Benefits and transferability may be limited if On Pasture cannot become self-sustaining.”
Keeping On Pasture Online
As John Marble, my good friend and On Pasture author, said, “This all points out that On Pasture is growing up now and it’s time to take the next step.”
We don’t know exactly what that next step looks like. Currently, we’re looking at a subscription model. Subscriptions would be available to individuals or could be purchased by organizations that would like to provide On Pasture to their employees or members. Of course, some access will always be available at no-cost, and the subscription price will be set to make On Pasture accessible to as many readers as possible.
We will keep you all in the loop as we work through this. And if you have suggestions or thoughts about this, as always, please let me know.
Thanks for reading!