Jane and I spent a week in September on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I was not appreciative of the endless miles of beach houses and the tourist traps, nor the Atlantic. I did enjoy the quiet time to read and relax. While we were gone we received a rain that has been a definite boost to late-planted crops and our stockpiled pastures. We had another nice rain on Oct. 4. So far, we have escaped the cold, and that means more time to graze the reed canary grass paddocks before a killing frost, a significant factor for us to reach corn stubble grazing and then stockpiled pastures without needing to feed harvested forage. Our replacement heifers are looking very much more like, well, replacement heifers, rather than just yearling and a half heifers.

The last several days we have furiously harvested hedge posts. This project serves to remove the last undesirable trees from our managed forests. The side benefit, of course, is that the posts are the very best for building permanent fences and, better yet, last a lifetime. We hope we have enough available to fill all our orders, several of which require No. 1 quality to build cattle working corrals.

The grain-growing segment of agriculture seems to have dominated our state recently, land prices have continued to rise, marginal lands are under tillage and forage production and pasture areas have disappeared. Therefore, it is inspiring to have conversations and share expertise with landowners and cattlemen who are striving to maximize returns from pastures rather than turning them over to the fatal plow. These forward-looking operators are learning that superior management and rotational grazing hold the key to long-term success and returns that can challenge the continuous capital and environmental demands of large-scale grain farming. The possibility of beautiful pastures full of beautiful cattle grazing is one I hope for as our grazing technology evolves. It is right, it is good and it is sustainable. Be calm, be safe and enjoy a beautiful fall season.