Eight years ago this week, the first issue of On Pasture came out. That day – March 18 – along with Rachel Gilker, my business partner at the time, I watched the stats bar showing us how many readers were stopping by. She was in New York and I was in Colorado and we called each other every hour, so excited to see our success.
I think the total reads bumped up to about 1,000 that first day. We initially planned On Pasture as a monthly publication, but after the thrill of seeing so many readers stop by we thought, “Let’s do it next week too!” And so, a weekly On Pasture was born. By the end of the year we had a steady readership of about 8,000. We thought we could reach about 20,000, so today’s roughly 100,000 readers a month is well beyond our expectations. When I look up On Pasture on internet stats, I find that it is the most read publication in its niche in the world. Wow!
There have been plenty of challenges along the way. There were health scares for us and our team. And there was always the problem of building a business that could support staff. Rachel and I worked for free for the first four years, and then drew modest salaries for three more thanks to a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and sponsors like the National Grazing Lands Coalition, the Michael and Jenna King Family Foundation, and others. Rachel retired from On Pasture in June of 2018 to pursue other interests, and has since been elected to the School Board in her hometown. Today, I’m the primary shaker and mover at On Pasture with some help from my husband, Peter Williams, on the tech side of things, and of course a huge group of very talented authors.
Over the past eight years, I’ve learned that On Pasture is making a difference to graziers. In a past survey, 95% of respondents said they had changed how they think or what they do based on input from On Pasture.
I’ve also learned that we were right – readers need a resource that will tell them the difference between what works, what experts recommend, and what folks are doing that either doesn’t help or costs too much money.
Finally, I’ve learned that when you have an archive of over 2700 articles, it can be hard for readers to find exactly what they need.
Based on these lessons, I’m looking at what On Pasture will look like as it heads into its 9th year. I’ll be running things by you in the coming weeks. So, if you see an email from me with questions, I hope you’ll take a minute to share your ideas about how I can more successfully provide service to our community.
Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!