I recently learned that Arlen Chip Hines passed away last fall after a battle with Parkinson’s disease. And while this comes some months late, I don’t want to let his passing go without acknowledging the contribution he made to my life and to the lives of so many others.
Chip was born and raised on a farm and ranch southwest of Burlington, Colorado. After high school he moved to the Kit Carson, Colorado area and worked on several ranches. In 1968 Chip and his wife Judy began leasing land and buying cows. Cattle and grass, and learning how to grow the best of both, became a life-long endeavor. After he retired, he began writing and sharing what he’d learned so that others wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel.
I met Chip at a workshop about ten years ago when I was presenting about teaching cows to eat weeds. We hit it off right away and he took me under his wing, introducing me to folks, setting me up for more workshop presentations, and encouraging graziers to try the training technique. When I started On Pasture, he immediately volunteered to write and he provided lots of great articles, ideas, and support.
One of my favorite articles by Chip is “Intelligent Groups Make Innovations Easier.” In it he describes his philosophy of building supportive, like-minded groups dedicated to helping each other grow and succeed. I think it speaks to how he lived his life as a grazier and as a person – always looking for ways to do better and to bring others along as well.
Though Chip has left us, we can still learn from him. You can read his articles for On Pasture here. Some are excerpts from his books, and those are still available as well. They’re included in the list of books by On Pasture authors that you’ll find here.
I’m so glad I got the opportunity to know Chip and to share his wisdom with others. I hope you’ll join me in thinking about him today, and about your own mentors as well. Maybe light a candle, or say a prayer, or pay them the honor of taking a moment to pay close attention to your grass and your animals.
Thanks for reading. Be safe out there!