May 16, 2022

What I Learned After 12 Years of Using Grazing Charts

Three weeks ago, I got a lesson in context when I helped my dad into an ambulance because a sudden stomach bug left him so weak, he could barely function. I reluctantly left my mom at the hospital, like so many others these past 2 years who were not allowed to enter, and drove away […]

December 13, 2021

What’s a Grazing Decision Really Worth?

Because this topic is so important, I’ve made this article free to everyone. I remember it well: sitting on the veranda with my wife and two bottles of wine from our favorite winery, contemplating our future life and goals as we prepared for my brother’s funeral in 2017. This was a decision day for the […]

November 22, 2021

Barn Raisings Show Us Our Best Selves

In celebration of Thanksgiving, this week’s Notes from Kathy is actually from my good friend Troy Bishopp. I’m truly grateful for Troy’s advice, support and friendship. Little did I know the tradition of raising a “one-day” dairy barn is what I needed right now, as it speaks to that beautiful process of humans actually working […]

April 5, 2021

Transforming a Sunset is Hard

Removing the bulk milk tank marks the end of an era at Bishopp Family Farm.

March 15, 2021

Before You Graze, Know Your Goals: What Are You Doing? Why Are You Doing It?

Last week we published the 8th annual set of grazing charts thanks to our friend Troy Bishopp, the Grass Whisperer. So it seems like a good time to review how to get started planning. Here’s Troy with one of the first steps – probably the step we should all have taken before we bought those […]

March 8, 2021

How Many Animals Can Your Pasture Support?

Since we’re talking grazing charts and planning this week, here’s a critical step: figuring how many animals your land will support. We’ll walk through the process with our “Grazier Guy,” brought to us by our own Grass Whisperer, Troy Bishopp. Think of your pastures as feed inventory – like a barn full of hay. No […]

March 8, 2021

Do You Need a Grazing Chart? Only if You Want More Grazing Days and More Fun Days

From March of 2019, here’s what the Grass Whisperer says about why he keeps encouraging everyone to use a grazing chart. It’s that time of year again, where the annoying, persistent Grass Whisperer suggests, coerces or abruptly throws it down, that folks need to use a grazing planning/monitoring tool or device. I’ve been doing show […]

February 8, 2021

A Writer’s Ripening – and answers to a conservation planning survey

Writers are a funny lot. We’re driven to put thoughts down on paper and we each develop our own techniques for inviting in the muse and then working with her. Troy Bishopp is at his desk in the middle of the night – ripening, and answering questions, whether it’s a conservation planning feedback survey, or the question of how he even writes at 4 am. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing his process, and take a moment to think about his answers to the survey.

January 18, 2021

Riparian Grazing – Why don’t we do the right thing?

From March of 2018, Troy Bishopp takes a look at growing concerns over riparian management and its effect on water quality, farmers and ranchers are facing tightening regulations and restrictions on grazing next to streams and water bodies. Here, Troy wonders if we, as graziers, are doing all we can to protect water quality and […]

November 30, 2020

What is the True Meaning of Grazing?

Management Consultant, Peter Drucker said, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” During this past pandemic pasture season, I’ve had some time to ponder the farm’s reflection upon the guy in front of the proverbial mirror. Amongst a sea of seed-heads, in a Zen-like moment, on […]

May 11, 2020

Want More Spring Forage? Leave More Winter Residual

Last fall, I hosted Victor Shelton at my farm. Victor is Indiana’s NRCS Grazing Specialist, a beef farmer, and the author of “Grazing Bites,” and lots of great articles in On Pasture. During our pasture walk, Victor and I discussed the effects of “Perpetual Novembers,” when the ground doesn’t freeze, killing frosts happen later, and […]

April 6, 2020

Hacks That Make and Save Money – The Dog-Goat Tractor and More

Self-sufficiency is on the minds of many folks these days. Victory gardens and chicken tractors were/are in the toolboxes of many families looking to harvest sustenance off their land. Back in 1918, public service flyers touted raising your own food and helping others with this tagline: “In time of peace a profitable recreation–In time of […]

December 23, 2019

Loading Day – Goodbye to 2019

  Here I am; pasture empty, pants dotted with cow manure and a hoof imprint on my calf, standing in an empty pen wondering about my life’s effort as a grass farmer nourishing the land and people. My work seems to be under attack from contributing to climate change to animal welfare issues. It’s an […]

December 2, 2019

Can You Please Manage, Pretty Please?! A Grazing Advocate’s Plea

It finally happened; a scream so loud, it echoed throughout the over-grazed hills and valleys of Central New York. Poised on a grassy knoll in “Braveheart” fashion, the Grass Whisperer yells out M-A-N-A-G-E. . . Call it a grazier’s meltdown, or a public service life purge; the agency-sponsored grazing professional and farmer who vehemently tries […]

November 25, 2019

Mushroom Foraging – A Pasture Walk and Community Building Opportunity

  I’ve hosted or participated in pasture walks that feature ice-cream churning, soil health measuring, grassland bird watching, winter grazing techniques, dung beetle counting, stockpiling strategies, land listening, cattle judging and predicting forage production.  They’re all hooks to get folks to attend and focus on learning another aspect of pasturing.  I would suggest adding another […]

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