Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Lessons from a Lifetime as a Grazier

This week I’m featuring one of my favorite authors, John Marble. John began writing for On Pasture in 2016, sending me about one story a month. We found that we had two things in common when it came to writing. We were both focused on helping people think about things in new ways, and we wanted what we wrote to be engaging, easy to understand, and nice to look at. We had a lot of fun including photos, graphs, and even songs in his pieces.

In his work, John shares his philosophies of life and ranching, along with lessons learned based on his keen observations of people and the natural world around him. I’ve learned a lot from him and I think you will too in this week’s collection.

From the 1980s to Today

John says he was never one for mission statements, so his was short and sweet: “I wanted to build a ranch that was economically viable and ecologically sustainable.”

In this piece he describes the ecological part of his journey with a focus on creating healthier landscapes and wildlife habitat. His tips for Silvopasture with a Twist are great if you’d like to plant shade trees in a pasture while it’s being grazed.

Looking Back, Looking Forward – Lessons from a Lifetime as a Grazier

Making Time for More Fun

John says that he and his wife Cris wanted a working ranch, but also a playful one, and a place that was easy to love. One way he accomplishes this goal is by working smarter instead of harder. Here are two examples of how he makes that happen.

First, John chooses the easiest route possible when it comes to moving livestock. He leads instead of herds. In this piece he gives you all the numbers to show why it’s more time and cost effective.

Calling and Leading Cattle is More Time and Cost Efficient Than Herding

John’s philosophy about calving is similar. Who wouldn’t want more fun and less work?!

Make calving more fun and less work

Relationships are Vital to Your Success

This is probably one of the most important lessons from a lifetime as a grazier: No man is an island and no rancher is either. Here are the people that have helped John be successful through the years. Maybe you have some of these people in your life too!

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

And the funnies!

One of my favorites!

Cowboys Herding Cats

Want more?

There are 71 articles by John Marble in the On Pasture archives. You can find them all here.

John also just published his first work of fiction.

When I headed into retirement in September of 2022, John and I had already begun working together on his first work of fiction with me as his editor and publishing helper.  Chicken Dinner at the Steak House is available in paperback and Kindle book on Amazon. We hope you’ll like it!


Behind the romantic cowboy myth are real people struggling to get by. You’ll meet a few of them in this series of stories set in Baker County, Oregon. There’s Johnnie, a good hand looking for more, Val, a strong woman fighting the odds, Dale, a classic cowman, and Bill, and empire builder bent on finding success in the cattle industry. As the years go by, we see these folks deal with heartache, rustling, and luck, both good and bad.
This book may be a work of fiction, but the characters are as real as can be.

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Vothhttps://onpasture.com
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.

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