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Do You Have the Allies You Need to Be a Successful Grazier?

By   /  July 13, 2020  /  3 Comments

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A note from Kathy: Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how inter-related we all are and how
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  • Published: 1 year ago on July 13, 2020
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  • Last Modified: July 13, 2020 @ 9:22 pm
  • Filed Under: The Scoop

About the author

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.


  1. Peter Allemang says:

    You, sir, are blessed with a wealth of support. An interesting related article idea might be. “What to do when you have (almost) no allies.” I’m almost the opposite of you: I graze a small number of sheep seasonally on a small field as a sideline and I’m in the northeast. Thankfully (?) my income comes from elsewhere, because I examined your “Another Set of Allies” and I have exactly… none of those. The banker is me or my in-laws. My vet is a friend, but is a small animal vet. The butcher will be me this fall, because I lost my previous one so I’m doing my best to learn fast. As for “regular” allies, I have On Pasture and the internet, my friend that I buy the lambs from that I can rarely contact, and … that’s it. Sometimes it feels lonely like winter in the middle of the grazing season. If I didn’t have more forage than I need and good herd health due to good stock and rotational grazing, Donne’s island would crush me!

    • Will says:

      With Stan Parsons’ permission we are getting a batch of his book
      If you want to be a cowboy, get a job – printed, in case anybody is interested. They will be printed in Australia.

    • John Marble says:

      Greetings Peter.
      I can feel your pain and I’d like to help. First, let me be clear that my relationships with all of these wonderful allies are not accidental. Rather, I have traditionally sought out people who have lives and businesses that I wanted to emulate. Perhaps a good question is “Where do you find that kind of people?” My answer would be, “You have to actively seek them out”. Here’s some ideas:

      Search for a professional grazing/ranching groups in your region.

      Search for Ministry of Agricultural activities like conferences or workshops.

      Read everything you can. I’m glad you read On Pasture, but there are lots of other publications, some from government sources and some from the industry.

      Force yourself to reach out. American grazier Greg Judy suggests fanatically waving at every vehicle you meet while moving around your neighborhood. Tell anyone you meet about your passion for ranching. My ally Duane always replies “Wonderfull!” when someone asks how the cow biz is. This sort of mindset is critical to broadening your life and developing allies.

      Most of all, recognize that your social and professional circle will primarily be determined by your own actions.

      Best wishes,
      John Marble

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