A lot of people, both young and old are interested in starting a grazing operation. Maybe you want to grow chickens instead of cows, I don’t know. The smart ones read this blog (thank you! =]) and read any other source of info they can get their hands on. However there comes a point in time when you just have to go for it!
I’ve completed internships with Greg Judy and the James Ranch. Right now as you know I’m working for Ian Mitchell-Innes in South Africa on his ranch. Even when I get back to America and start my own grazing/ranching operation I will still make mistakes and fail. That’s OK. Failure is how we learn and grow.
At Agricultural Insights I try to provide you all with lessons I’ve learned from my experiences as well as some “hands on” type of content through videos and photos. You also get the perspectives of other ranchers though interviews as well. The things that I wanted to learn but was unable to find from books or magazines is what I try to provide you all with here. I hope that you all feel that I’ve done this for you and I will continue to do so in the future.
But regardless of how many books or blogs you read, at some point you need to just go for it. Follow it is whatever you dream of doing. If that means raising sheep, then do whatever it takes to make it happen. Start out small and slow and you will eventually get to where you want to be. If you keep up with the latest info on grazing (here at Ag Insights) and agriculture you will be fine. That doesn’t mean you will not make mistakes! You will find out very quickly that you shouldn’t touch the electric fence while you are holding onto a barbed wire fence like I did my first time putting up electric fence! Ouch.
Some of you may be unsure what type of agriculture you specifically want to go into. Try to go on a farm tour somewhere to get a feel for a lot of different livestock. Then maybe ask the farmer if you can help them one day. If you don’t enjoy feeding the meat chickens but you love pigs, maybe you should graze pigs. Go visit a local dairy and milk cows. Make cheese. OK you get the point, don’t you?
It took me about a year to find out that I wanted to graze livestock. I started out reading Joel Salatin’s books and I wanted to have a Polyface farm until I realized how unrealistic that is. This realization lead me to reading other things like Greg Judy’s books, Allan Savory’s Holistic Management and other ranching/grazing books and publications. At that point I knew I wanted to graze cattle, so I made it happen. While I’ve already written about my failures of grazing cattle for the first time on my own, I remained persistent and now I’m learning from one the best in the world.
The point is you will fail. How bad of a failure can be greatly reduced by learning form the experiences of others including myself. For example now you know to get a written lease contract. I didn’t do that! You also know that you need to have adequate and strong fencing. The fencing on my first grazing lease literally had holes in it. You also know about gut fill and testing the pH of animals.
If you really want to do this, and you’ve been waiting a few years to pull the trigger, I’m asking you to please do something. Go find some acreage to lease and start grazing! We can help each other here at Ag Insights and I’m always available via email.
Will you go for it?