Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

‘It works for me’

PD Editor Walt Cooley Published on 27 December 2010

My dad has been a fan of the FranklinCovey planning system for years. Once when I was trying to organize my life and day-to-day to-do list (I’m still trying and it’s another one of my goals this year), I asked him if I should purchase a planner and a year’s worth of its paper inserts.

He said simply, “It works for me.” Puzzled by his answer, I probed for more of a testimonial or recommendation about his preferred organizational system before I invested in it myself.



He explained that others have asked him the same question, but often they are looking for a silver bullet to solve their organizational challenges.

A FranklinCovey planner by itself won’t do that, he said. That was his opinion. Others, he said, would swear by the system and tell me otherwise.

I’ve been thinking of my dad’s answer as we’ve put our first issue of 2011 together. It focuses on grazing. Obviously, in most places throughout the country, grazing is not possible right now. However, I like the first issue of each year to focus on a topic that epitomizes the name of our magazine – progressive or forward-thinking.

While traveling to New Zealand last summer, I felt our readers needed to be exposed to consultants working to adapt the dairy grazing practices and business models which have made that country successful for producers grazing in the U.S.

Mike Lamborn ( Click here ) and Phil Wicks ( Click here ) are two of many on the front lines. Dairy grazing has already taken hold in Missouri. Lamborn and Wicks feel the under-explored regions of the country that are prime for grazing include northern California, Oregon and more states in the Southeast. Most that I’ve talked to feel that it’s not seed variety selection or pasture management holding back dairy grazing, but genetics.


Most U.S. dairies have been breeding cows that will perform standing on non-pasture surfaces while eating delivered feed. That’s our model, and we do it well.

To do grazing well, and I believe some U.S. dairies can and will, the U.S. grazing industry must breed a cow that can utilize grazed feed more efficiently and produce more milk while living in the many U.S. climates where suitable dairy grazing is possible. It’s a multi-generational breeding target, one that will probably produce many solutions.

This issue features dairies who are committed to making grazing work. If you read " In their own words ", you will find the opinions of several producers who answer a similar question to the one I asked my dad –Does this really work for you?

Some have answered unashamed that grazing is the only way forward. They swear by it and think anyone not doing it is headed for disaster.

Grazing probably isn’t for everyone. It may be for those who don’t want to go into debt to expand into a large confinement feeding operation. ( Click here .) It may be for those who have suitable, contiguous land to their dairy. ( Click here . )

It may be for those who want to stay in dairying but have less risk. ( Click here . ) If you’re one of those, read carefully and seek out those who say, “It works for me.” PD


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