April 25, 2022

Adapting to Drought – Lessons and Alternative Forage That Lead to Success

In 2012 my wife and I, and our two young daughters, embarked on a new and exciting side venture in the cattle industry with the help of a friend who had many years of experience. I outlined several lessons learned in my first article for On Pasture. In a follow-up, I shared more details on […]

June 8, 2020

Writing an Accurate Apprenticeship Description & Promoting Your Opportunity

Last week, we talked about the questions to ask yourself when thinking about taking on an apprentice or intern. Now, let’s look at how to be clear about what kind of opportunity you have to offer, and the kind of person you’d like to work with. Describe your opportunity Apprenticeships come in all shapes, sizes, […]

February 24, 2020

Planning for a Stocker Operation – Homework To Do If You’re Considering This Option

Blake Allen follows up on his first article about switching to and running a stocker operation, going into more detail about considerations for folks thinking about this option. I spent several years reading about and talking to folks about stock calves before I ever bought any animals. Such careful planning and diligent research is critical […]

January 27, 2020

Do You Have an Idea for a New Product? Here’s How to Get Financial Assistance to Get Started

Information on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Value Added Producer Grant Program was recently announced. It includes $37 million in grant support to help producers generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase income. In conjunction with this announcement, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) released a newly updated version of its Farmers’ […]

October 28, 2019

How Does the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers Get Started?

Don shares this piece as an opening to a conversation. It’s an important one to have. Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas and suggestions in the comments below. What Do Y’all Think? Donnie, our son, comes by to visit and check on the old people on Tuesday evening and Saturday morning. Last week he was […]

August 5, 2019

Check Out the Farm Loan Discovery Tool

There’s a new online tool to help you find information on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans. It’s called the “Farm Loan Discovery Tool” and comes to us from Farmers.gov, and it makes it easier to figure out what kind of loan to consider, and tells you where your the nearest service center is to […]

June 24, 2019

This New Podcast Will Get Your Business Going

Charlotte Smith heard some disturbing USDA statistics a few years ago: “Three hundred farmers go out of business every week in the United States. Eighty percent are are out of business by year two, and only 2% of farmers are still around at year five.” That’s something Charlotte is determined to change, so, with her […]

April 22, 2019

A Model for Getting Local Meats and Produce Into Supermarkets

Fifteen years ago, it was unheard of for a small farm to sell beef to a supermarket. But today, thanks to Diana Endicott and several projects supported by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Educatioan grants (SARE), over 100 farmers in the Kansas City area supply 30 supermarkets, with meats, fruits, vegetables and specialty goods. Diana and […]

January 28, 2019

Successes In My Heifer Development Business

I spent my first four years in the grazing business running custom cow-calf pairs. It wasn’t profitable for me and I determined that it wasn’t the best use of my resources (as I discussed in some of my On Pasture articles in 2018). In spring 2018, I switched to being a seasonal operation. I bought […]

October 8, 2018

Arkansas Beginning Farmer Gets Financing to Get Started

This example of resources available to beginning farmers comes to us from Nicole Gurley, Farm Loan Officer, Washington County, Arkansas. There are links throughout the article that provide more information on the programs available to farmers, whether beginning or experienced. McKenzie Fanning grew up in Westfork, Arkansas, with the dream of becoming a cattleman. Although the […]

October 1, 2018

Choosing the Right Partner for a Custom Grazing Deal

Custom graziers and herd owners both need to be very careful when choosing to work with one another. It’s difficult to put together a deal with stability and longevity, mostly for interpersonal relations reasons. Both parties should ask around about their potential business partner. I don’t ask for references, because people only use for references […]

July 30, 2018

Custom Grazing: Why I Got In

Meg spent her first five start-up years as a custom grazier. Here she talks about the benefits to her and to the livestock owners and how custom grazing worked for her.

July 9, 2018

How to Write a Custom Grazing Contract

Strong, written contracts can prevent some of the Boneheaded Business Blunders I made in my early years of ranching. My previous two articles have covered every brutally specific detail that I should have included in my former land lease contracts. This month I’m running down everything that needs to be in a custom grazing contract. […]

March 19, 2018

Bone-headed Beef Business Blunders Part 3: Contracts – Go Ahead, Write a Book

For the third and final confession in my Boneheaded Beef Business Blunders series, I want to cover land lease and custom grazing contracts. I got myself into some sticky situations in my early years of ranching, due to assuming too much. In the past my land lease contracts have fit on one printed page with […]

February 26, 2018

Calculating Meat Storage Costs for Chest Freezers

If you put the cost of electricity in terms of the number of chickens or pounds of beef you have to sell to pay for it you’ll have a better handle on making a profit.

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