Every year about this time, Troy Bishopp starts getting requests for grazing charts from folks all across the Northeast. Calls come in from well outside the area served by the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District where Troy works. And, because he’s such an advocate, Troy is usually happy to help. But he can’t figure out why folks in other conservation districts and Natural Resource Conservation Service offices aren’t getting on the bandwagon too. After all, one of the best ways to make things better on the planet is through good grazing. And one of the easiest ways to help a grazier is to hand them a free grazing chart.
I have an idea about the reason why staff has a hard time getting the charts out.
It’s the size of their plates.
In her book, Dear Writer, Are You In Burn Out?, Becca Symes writes about “plate size” as a way of understanding how much people can get done before crashing. The plate has a dish part where you can put “food,” and a non-fillable lip part where food can spill over. Here’s how she describes it:
“Plates range in size from 1-10, depending on how big the “dish” of the plate is, where you can put your “food” (or work). Some people literally have a size 1 or 2 plate. That means that their ability to handle a lot at the same time is significantly smaller than someone with a size 9 or 10 plate. That is why some people just “seem” to get more done. They actually have a higher capacity to get things done than other people do. It’s not bad or good. It just is.
“If you imagine that you have a size 1-5 plate (handling a few things really excellently) and you are constantly trying to fit a size 7-plate’s worth of work/family/etc. on that plate, you’re too far into the lip of your plate.”
No matter the size of your plate, we all know how it feels when it’s overfull. It makes it hard to be creative, to think things through. Even the smallest task feels hard.
So, in an effort to make it easier for agency folks to help graziers, Troy created these great charts. And then, together, we created this entertaining little video to show how easy it can be to get them printed and handed out. Enjoy!
You can help too, even if you’re not working for an agency!
Here are some ideas:
1) Share these articles with your local NRCS and Conservation District offices, or anyone else who is supporting graziers. I’ve made them open source so anyone can read them and use the information. They can take the information, print charts, and share everything with the folks who would benefit.
2) Volunteer to print and distribute grazing charts in your own organization. Then share the articles that help folks understand how to use them.
So many folks in land management agencies are being asked to do more and more with less and less that overflowing plates are the rule rather than the exception. If you’re plate size allows, maybe you can do something that will change it all for the better.
Print a Grazing Chart – Save the Planet!
Thanks for reading,