40 Years of Grazing, A Lookback with John Phelan – Grass Fed Life (GFL66x)


Today I am talking to a grazer, John Phelan, who’s been farming for over 40 years and lived on his farm for the better part of 60 years. During that time period politics changed, farming methods changed, the land changed and evolved with the methods, a family was raised, and disaster has struck. Over the last 40 years John’s seen it all including watching his land burn to the ground. It’s been a long road, but one that’s been worth it. It’s a look back at a life of grazing with John Phelan.

“John’s keen range management knowledge is the result of a lifelong affiliation with ranching. He is a 1973 graduate of the ranch management program at Texas Christian University (TCU) and worked for several large ranches in Texas and Oklahoma before going into business for himself.  Of his interest in range resources, he says, “My dad lit the flame and John “Chip” Merrill fanned it.” Merrill, a past SRM president, was director of the TCU ranch management program for the better part of 30 years. Over the years, John has also worked closely with range professionals from the NRCS, Extension Service, Noble Foundation and Holistic Resource Management.

Initially, the Phelan’s operated a traditional cow-calf operation. But several years ago, they elected to switch to an all stocker program using high-intensity rotational grazing.  John says he felt this change would help them meet
their primary goal of maintaining a high quality of life and minimal debt while conserving the natural resources on the ranch. They’ve been pleased with the results.”

Read more in An Eye For Grass.


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