September 27, 2021

Asking “What Should We Do?” Instead of “What Can We Do?” Leads to More Possibilities

In managing through the recent drought covering much of cow country, I hear a lot of discussion around questions like:  “How many cows ‘can’ we keep?”;  “How much hay do we have on hand?”; “How much hay can we afford to buy?”. These questions are not very helpful. They miss the larger point. In looking […]

September 13, 2021

Selling Cattle in September Increases Profit Potential

Researchers discovered that sending cattle to feedlots earlier than the traditional timing of October may provide a two- fold benefit.

August 23, 2021

How to Write a Letter/Resume When You Want to Lease Land

If you want to start or expand your farming operation, making contact with a landowner is one of the first steps. Here are some tips about making that all important good first impression.

August 9, 2021

Infrastructure Costs on Different Ranches – Wide Open Spaces and Little Bitty Places

As a young man growing up in the narrow green valleys of western Oregon, I was routinely given the following advice: “If you want to be a rancher, you better move east, because that’s where all the real ranches are.” The “east” all those folks were speaking of is the huge sea of sagebrush that […]

July 26, 2021

How One Grazier Builds Cattle Business on Leased Land

How do you start a second career as a farmer/grazier? For John Shubeck, former Marine Corps Captain, it included not just coming home to work with his Dad, but going to school and learning about new techniques like No-till farming and rotational grazing. In this 6:20 video we visit John at his South Dakota farm […]

July 12, 2021

Should You Diversify? Or Is There Beauty in Simplicity?

We tend to over complicate things. A simple business that does a few things well and at scale, is a thing of beauty! It is easy to get caught in the trap of doing lots of small things. After all, if someone is making money on the calves I sell, maybe I should background them […]

June 21, 2021

You Can Be Paid for Protecting Your Grasslands, Rangelands and Pastures

  USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting applications for Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands from July 12 to August 20, 2021. The program is an effort to help landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland and pastureland, while while still using them for grazing. Participants receive annual payments of not more than 75% of the […]

June 7, 2021

Success Means Working ON the Business, Not IN the Business

Most people blame things beyond our control like the weather, government regulation, low commodity prices and increasing costs for their failure to make a healthy profit. These are the things most often discussed at producer meetings and in the coffee shop. These are also things we can do little about. Making them the scapegoats for […]

May 24, 2021

Greg Christiansen’s Gross Margin Spreadsheet Helps You Focus on Profit

This week, Greg Christiansen of Grandview Grain and Livestock comes to us from his kitchen/office to share the Gross Margin spreadsheet he developed for his goat/sheep enterprise. While he uses his meat goat herd to demonstrate how he uses it, it works for other livestock as well. What is Gross Margin per Unit and Why […]

May 10, 2021

Sunk-Cost and Status Quo Bias – Getting Over These Hurdles to Success

In last week’s article on how to prepare for drought, Dallas Mount talked about how our attachment to the animals we currently own can be detrimental to surviving a drought saying, “I won’t deny that having a home raised cow herd has advantages in experience and adaptivity. However, reluctance to liquidate cattle that we love […]

April 26, 2021

Managing Risk and Social Pressure

This 3 minute video is part of the NRCS-sponsored series Soil Health How-To. In this series, Dr. Buz Kloot, visits farms, orchard and vineyards in the West and Southwest to see how they are implementing soil health principles.During his visit to Idaho, Buz meets with farmers Luke Adams and and Brian Kossman to talk about […]

April 12, 2021

Business Planning Without Killing Your Dreams

I am not a planner, at least not in the strict sense of the term. I’m more of a “visionary.” I get a picture of something I’d like to do or accomplish, I imagine it fully-formed and beautiful, I think about the first steps for heading in that direction, I describe the benefits to myself […]

March 29, 2021

The Turnaround: A Rancher’s Story

Dave Pratt has a new book out and it’s one all graziers should read. Packed with principles and processes drawn from the widely acclaimed Ranching For Profit School, The Turnaround: A Rancher’s Story, tells a story familiar to us all about facing the frustrations and overcoming the challenges that all family ranches must overcome if […]

March 15, 2021

Turning a Livestock Operation into a Profitable Business – First Steps

March 15 is the day that business taxes are due. I don’t know why it’s a month earlier than regular taxes, but ever since I started running On Pasture as though it were a business, I’ve learned a lot about that kind of thing. There’s so much to know, and as Dave Pratt says here, […]

March 1, 2021

What Calving Season is Best for Your Bottom-Line?

These graziers focus on calving with nature to reduce inputs and make more money. But while May-June is great for them, it doesn’t fit for everyone. I’ve updated this article so we can revisit it together, paying attention to the principles at work. You’re invited to tell us what works for you and why. How […]

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