Sunday, April 01, 2007

Grass Farmer

I spent most of the week, from noon Monday through early evening Thursday, in Overton, Texas at a Pasture and Livestock Management Workshop. It was absolutely a well spent week. I came back with a new perspective on what I am supposed to be doing and anyone looking to make a move like we have done needs to go to this workshop. My only regret is that I waited until now to go. I should have been there two years ago.

Something simple that, I guess, most ranchers understand is that if you think you are raising cattle you are looking at it all wrong. You are a grass farmer with cows serving as the harvesting mechanism. Rather than a combine taking your crop out of the field and putting it in a truck to get it to market, your cows eat your crop and you take the cows to market.

So, here I am all ready to take soil samples and work on a farm plan and get going and I can’t get a sample because it is so wet. I am not complaining about the rain. I am glad for the rain and that I have some minor inconveniences because of it is just fine. I have a full tank and the junk that is growing out the pasture will grow better because of the rain.

I learned how to calibrate a sprayer to kill my weeds. I will not use this bit of knowledge because I don’t want the chemicals in the soil. I learned how to castrate, de-horn, vaccinate and implant hormones in a calf as well. Another set of information that I have no intention of ever putting to use. I also learned how to figure out the nutritive value of the grasses I have, the stocking rates, setting up fields, improving the soils and many other very useful things for a grass farmer. I will go to another workshop like this next year, but I am going to go to one that has a more organic/natural emphasis.

It was a good week, but I also missed the family. Two years ago I traveled all the time and would be gone for two to four days. I didn’t love traveling, but it wasn’t any big deal. After almost two years out here and only about four nights away from home over that time it was a rough sort of adjustment. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like I have anything like that coming up anytime soon.


P.S. One of our friends was concerned that we were really brought up on charges by the ASPCA and PETA. Please keep in mind that I am full of crap. This will be very beneficial when it comes time to fertilize.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

This post reminds me of one of the farmers discussed in the book, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals," by Michael Pollan. That kind of farming makes so much sense, for the animals, for the land, and for the people too.

Hope it goes well for you!