e65. Learning to Read the Land with Taysa Porto

In this episode, Taysa Porto shares her journey of transitioning from veterinary school to managing a farm in Tenessee. Starting from training dogs in California, she moved to Massachusetts where she was introduced to regenerative farming. Taysa also talks about the importance of species identification in farming and her recent adventures in regenerative agriculture. She offers valuable insights into the challenges of starting fresh in an unfamiliar field and the importance of finding mentors.

Social media:
Instagram: @taysaporto


These transcriptions are automatically generated. Please excuse any errors in the text.

0:00:00 – Cal Hardage
Welcome to the Grazing Grass Podcast, episode 65.

0:00:05 – Taysa Porto
Be per sheet. Reach out Really, go for it. Tell people that you’re willing to come and learn and that you just want experience.

0:00:11 – Cal Hardage
You’re listening to the Grazing Grass Podcast, helping grass farmers, learn from grass farmers, and every episode features a grass farmer and their operation. I’m your host, cal Hardiche. On today’s episode we have Taisa Porto. She is just getting started on her journey. She’s managed a farm and moving to another farm. About time you’re listening, she’s just moved down to her new farm and we have a conversation about her journey. I think it’s really encouraging. Find out where she’s coming from, her experience with herding dogs and how she got into regenerative agriculture. Thank you, enjoy it.

First, 10 seconds about my farm. All the farmers can do around here right now is talk about the weather, and if you’re in my area of the United States, I suspect you’re talking about the weather. It is hot, but we’ve had a nice rainy spell to the tune of about four inches over the last week week and a half. By the time this is published. It is hot, but that water makes a world’s a difference. We’re pretty excited about having that. So that was 10 seconds about the weather this week.

This week for a review. I am going to read just a little bit of an email I received. I’m not going to say who sent it, because it was sent to me rather than published on the reviews on the site and before I read this, if you’ve not left us a review wherever you listen to podcasts, I encourage you to do so. It helps spread the word about the podcast and, while I would prefer you would give five stars, you don’t want to give four stars. You want to drop it to four. I’m okay with that. Let’s not get in that other territory. Anyway, here’s what I received this week.

First off, thank you for producing your podcast. I’ve not listened to every episode, but meaning. The thing I like about your podcast that sets it apart from other regenerative agriculture type podcast is that you interview many producers who are beginners of various source. There’s a fair share of big names by really like hearing all of the novice folks out there and the myriad of journeys to get into agriculture. It is very challenging and hearing their stories is encouraging. That’s what prompted me to reach out. No matter where we are in our journey, our journey may help encourage someone else along their path and give some new ideas, and I really appreciate that email and I fully agree with that. That’s one reason we try and highlight producers and their operations of all different sizes, all different levels of experiences and all different species.

Tyisha is mainly talking about sheep. You know she’s done some cattle, and next week we talk about a few species and then the following week we’re talking about goats. So we’ve got a nice variety just in these three episodes coming up. This is a really good episode. We have some really good ones coming up as well, and thank you for listening. Enough of that, let’s talk to Tyisha. Tyisha, we want to welcome you to the Grazing Grass podcast. We’re excited you’re here today.

0:03:41 – Taysa Porto
Yes, thank you so much for giving beginner farmers a platform to also share. It’s really cool.

0:03:49 – Cal Hardage
Wonderful. Can you tell us about you and what you’re doing?

0:03:53 – Taysa Porto
Every step I’ve taken has led me to where I am Sounds dramatic, but I was the young girl that always, always, always dreamed of farming. I don’t come from a family that has any kind of farming background or land or anything like that. So I started out with, you know, just trying out all of the things that involved animals. I’m very good with animals. I can interact with animals in a very different way. So I went to vet school for a little bit in Brazil. That didn’t turn out to be too much of what I wanted to do. It was very like clinic and materials and just didn’t didn’t end up being that. So I moved to California and I actually trained dogs for six years and that was really fun and really beautiful. It started out with basic obedience and all of that kind of stuff, but I tend to want to go deeper, always and everything. So I went deeper and did some behavior modification stuff and then I still felt the need for something more, which led me to work with working dogs. So dogs that like are genetically predisposed to want to do something, and so I worked with herding dogs for a bit and I was living in the mountains in California and working on a herding ranch and I worked with a lot of cattle, dogs and Australian chuffers and border collies. So I was around sheep and cattle and that just felt so good. All the smells, all the sounds, everything about that environment just brought up a lot of feelings that felt really close to home. So that was that happened for a while until I started to feel like doors were just closing not closing, but you know, like my chapter in California was ending and right at that time my car broke. My car had 150,000 miles on it and I would not be able to drive it across the country. And as soon as I got a new car I was like I can drive across the country and this is something that I had just been feeling for a while. My parents live in Massachusetts, so I drove to Massachusetts initially and kind of just like sailed with everybody for a while and maybe a month and a half later I looking for jobs, I found a livestock caretaker job at a farm and they were called the regenerative farm. So I applied for the job and I went for the interview and I got it, and so that’s what I have been doing for the past year. And Massachusetts. I was working on a farm. I was raising sheep and cattle and goats and pigs and broilers for CSA shares. That’s where I was introduced to regenerative agriculture and what it means and what it is and how it’s different from the other kinds of agriculture. That’s where I learned a lot of the basics.

It didn’t take me too long before I started to ask questions, and I don’t know that everybody there had the answers I was looking for. There was a lot of control, maybe. I just started to ask questions about weeds and you know why this plant can’t be here. I would get a lot of like oh, this is bullfistle, we can’t have this here. Like, every time you see this, pull this out and I don’t know, just with many species, and I started to question myself, like, but why, like? What is bullfistle Like? Why is it there? Because it’s not supposed to.

I was just not getting answers that I wanted. So I started to do my own research and I started to go deeper and look for farmers and young farmers that were doing this and who was doing things differently. And I was able to find a few people that I felt really aligned with the way that they were speaking about this whole movement and I contacted them and, yeah, ever since then I’ve been on a journey and I attended an EOB course with the Rebini Institute, with Daniel Griffith Meanwhile. All through all of this, I was like really opening myself up and telling everybody that I was very open for any opportunities that were involving holistic management with the Savory Institute. That is something that I really was interested in and, yeah, recently an opportunity did come up I will be managing a farm in Tennessee starting next week, so that will be my next journey.

0:08:03 – Cal Hardage
You just talked about. You’ve got this light and got that job, so you got. Your main experience been with dogs.

0:08:11 – Taysa Porto
My main experience had been with dogs. Yeah, aside from a few other species, sometimes in my veterinary years, but mostly dogs. Yeah, I had experience with cattle and sheep. Just from the year of sheep herding. I was working with herding dogs, so I was herding sheep and cattle in California. That was my only experience with sheep and cattle.

0:08:32 – Cal Hardage
So when you get there and get started, did you have a nine-in-a-journey and what did you do to gain more information?

0:08:39 – Taysa Porto
Yeah, I had a lot of support there. I did go into it, letting everybody know that I had never worked on a farm or worked with these species before. But yeah, I had a lot of support. My boss was very kind to be next to me almost every day for, I don’t know, maybe half the year, teaching me a lot of the things about sheep behavior and things like that. I picked up very quickly the animal side of things. That doesn’t worry me at all. I think the hardest part was really understanding forage and the growth rates of things and the seasons and the species. I think that with a learning curve and I feel lucky he was very nice to walk me through a lot of it.

0:09:23 – Cal Hardage
So I think that’s exciting because you come from a background without a lot of livestock experience and coming in there and just having the courage to apply for that job, to get it and start that learning journey.

0:09:39 – Taysa Porto
I must say I feel very close to it and I’ve always felt close to it, even having never done it. It’s I don’t know how to explain it.

0:09:46 – Cal Hardage
You did that for a year, and now you’ve got this opportunity to go to Tennessee and manage a farm there. What can you tell us about that operation?

0:09:54 – Taysa Porto
It is a couple that they actually live in Florida and they bought this property in Tennessee two years ago, so it’s really new. They want to retire there in a few years, so they’re building a house. They inherited 29 cattle with this property. The woman she is really in love with farming and regenerative agriculture. They’re both in their sixties and they’re not so capable of doing this themselves. So she reached out to Daniel and asked if he knew anybody that would be able to work on the farm, and her current farm hand has some health issues he needs to resolve and he can’t do it anymore.

It’s a really new operation. It’s really birthing itself and I’m really gonna be their initiator of it. Right now she just sells half cows to people that she knows, so there’s no real operation. It’s really exciting. I’m really gonna come in and she’s dreaming with me. I think we’re both dreaming together. She’s open for me to bring in new enterprises. I feel very comfortable with sheep. I was around sheep a lot the past year. I went through a whole month of lambing almost by myself. I feel comfortable with sheep. She’s very open to me bringing in sheep and, yeah, I’m excited. I’m really scared and really excited.

0:11:18 – Cal Hardage
Very exciting. So what kind of cows do they have? I assume you’ve been there a little bit.

0:11:25 – Taysa Porto
Yeah, I was there for a week about two months ago. She has a mixture of Angus and South Pole really big animals and herford as well. Herford, angus South Pole mixes.

0:11:37 – Cal Hardage
How were the belted galloys?

0:11:39 – Taysa Porto
It was really fun learning how to work with them, really docile.

0:11:43 – Cal Hardage
I follow a couple people, in fact the author from England that has belted galloys that I’ve tried to get him on the podcast and I haven’t been able to yet. I haven’t quit trying yet. Anyway, I bought a few belted heifers, I guess about a year ago. I could tell from their breeding they weren’t purebred belted galloys but I liked the bell and they had some of the characteristics. I brought them in and they completely surprised me in that they were nervous and I contribute that to how they were raised. And they weren’t like I said.

They weren’t pure belted galloys because I expected them to be really calm. They didn’t quite have the hair coat like I would expect a belted galloey to have. It wasn’t super thick. I got them, thought I’d try them, but they didn’t breed for my keving season so I ended up selling them. But I’ve always, since my dairying days, dutch belted cattle, dairy cows have always fascinated me and I had a few of those and I’m the belted galloys. I love the belt on the animals and I think one of these days I’ll have to have a few. I expected them to be docile. So I’m glad to hear that was your experience, because I was a little surprised by these.

0:12:59 – Taysa Porto
Some very fearful ones, but docile fearful, not pushy fearful. Yeah, I’m really interested to learn more about herford. I think their look excites me. Also, I don’t know if many people here raise the breed Nalori.

0:13:13 – Cal Hardage
I’ve seen it, but pronunciation of things is not a strong suit for me, so I don’t know of anyone here with Nalori.

0:13:23 – Taysa Porto
Yeah, I tried to look and I don’t think that many people do have them here. They are so common in Brazil and when I was there, every farm I saw had Nalori cattle on them, and they’re so beautiful. I would love to connect to that breed.

0:13:38 – Cal Hardage
You mentioned herfords and I love herfords. My grandpa came from West Texas and they always had herfords out there because they just handled the harsh environment. They raise the calf every year, so I’ve always been a fan of herfords. And you mentioned there is a book, I believe, called Giant, that talks about a breeding bull from the, I want to say, 1920s or something, and a little bit of history on the herford breed, which is very interesting.

0:14:06 – Taysa Porto
Oh, I love that. Okay, I would love to read that.

0:14:11 – Cal Hardage
I don’t see it right up when I did a quick search, but I am just positive. Giant was the name of that book. I read it in high school. Very fascinating. So we’ll go back to more of your livestock. So you worked with sheep. What kind of sheep did you work with?

0:14:26 – Taysa Porto
We worked with Tattin and Dorper sheep. I had a great experience with sheep. I don’t know. I hear a lot of bad things about sheep and people and, yeah, I hear a lot of farmers have very bad experience with sheep escaping and all of that. I had a lovely experience with sheep. They were great. Maybe it was because I spent a lot of time with them. They were very aware animals. They knew exactly who they were and they knew who was in front and who was always gonna lead.

0:14:55 – Cal Hardage
I’m a little curious about the. Did they use Dorper rams with them or were they just mixed?

0:15:01 – Taysa Porto
in general, they were just mixed in general from mixes that the farm inherited. The ram that was there when I was there, he was a Cattotan ram.

0:15:10 – Cal Hardage
So do you lam out some of those Dorper Cattotan grasses, and how’d they do?

0:15:16 – Taysa Porto
They were beautiful lands, beautiful lands that were growing really well on the grasses we had. We had a lot of grasses, a lot of orchard, a lot of fescue, a lot of clovers, a lot of perennial rye, a lot of cool season grasses. We did block a bit of warm season grasses, but, yeah, we had beautiful lands that were growing very well on these grasses and by eight months of age they were looking really, really nice.

0:15:44 – Cal Hardage
Now. Goats, on the other hand, could provide a lot of benefit, but boy, there are a lot more work.

0:15:50 – Taysa Porto
I think so too. No, yeah, my experience with goats has not been the same as with sheep. I can not have positive things to say about goats. They gave me a lot of hard evenings after coming home really late from work and having to take, you know, having to go across the street and find 10 goats just on the pasture and someone else’s house. They gave me a hard time. They escaped a lot and I mean part of me feels bad because I think goats are just so mentally active creatures they need more. I think they need more than what we give them. I think they need more than just an open pasture to graze in, and it’s kind of sad to me to see some goats in these kinds of scenarios, with just fence and open pasture. I get why they escaped.

0:16:36 – Cal Hardage
What kind of fencing were you using there?

0:16:39 – Taysa Porto
We were using the Premier One electric netting fence with solar batteries that we would attach to them.

0:16:47 – Cal Hardage
I love their personalities. They just drive me crazy sometimes. But I’m using Premiere 1 like I’m netting with my goats and outside of the work it takes for me to put up and move that netting and we’re going through some brush and stuff so it’s so. It’s quite a hassle. I get a lot of enjoyment from them is what it is. So, as you look forward to your farm in Tennessee, are they already they’ve implemented some regent practices, some holistic management practices?

0:17:21 – Taysa Porto
Not yet. I think I will be the one mostly to bring some of those practices in. The person that was running the cattle previous to me isn’t really interested. He was kind of just putting the cattle in a pasture and maybe moving them like every week, not really interested in going deeper. So I will be the one bringing most of these practices. I have been diving very deep for the past six months. I have been learning a lot of species identification. I have been learning a lot about each species I don’t know.

I think my goal for that property and any future property that I have one day, I think my goal is to really continue to learn how to have this land to human conversation. That’s something I really hope to bring to this farm in Tennessee and that’s something that the owner of the property is also really excited to go on this journey with me. So, yeah, I really hope to keep going deeper and learning how to have this conversation, the real conversations that I think is necessary for any sort of regeneration to occur. I think nowadays humans are really quickly to jump into thinking that they have it all figured out and I think that can’t really be done when we’re dealing with such complexity. That is the land we are working with so many living organisms that we can’t even grasp in our mind, and I think that requires a lot of silence, a lot of listening. So, yeah, I think my goal with that property is going to be to take the time to really listen and make decisions based on what I’m hearing the land telling me.

0:19:03 – Cal Hardage
Very good, it is very exciting. So you mentioned you’ve been to Daniel’s teaching farm and he was on an earlier episode of the podcast and then you went up there for a little bit. What else are you doing to prepare yourself for this Tennessee journey?

0:19:22 – Taysa Porto
Learning how to read the land is really what I’m doing to prepare myself. Yeah, I’m currently shadowing a lot of EOV work. So for the past three weeks and for the next week I’ve been shadowing a lot of EOV work. Ecological outcome verification An outcome verification method with the savory institute. So we’ll go to farms and monitor, year by year, what’s the outcome of the practices that they are doing. So it measures things like microfauna and litter, decomposition and done decomposition and incorporation and functional groups like cool season grasses and warm season grasses.

It’s just a really beautiful reading of the land and I’m fascinated by this. I think that there’s nothing I could be doing better to prepare for me going to Tennessee than learning how to read the land. I think it is the key component that we, as humanity, need. It’s a huge gap If we’re trying to build any sort of resiliency on these properties of ours. I think that we need to learn how to listen and really know what’s going on before just deciding to control some of it with species that we think are going to be good for.

0:20:39 – Cal Hardage
So what would your suggestion be for someone who’s out there and they’re starting to implement a few practices and they hear you talk about reading the land? Where would you direct them to get started and how?

0:20:53 – Taysa Porto
It is not an easy direction. That is what I have to say. I mean I would look for someone that is talking about the land in a way that you can hear it. I think that’s the most important part.

I don’t think just anyone can just listen to anyone talk about the land in a certain way. I think sometimes it’ll maybe just sound silly to some people or it’ll sound too serious to other people. So I think just finding someone that is speaking in a way that you can hear would be the first step. And other than that, I mean just going out on your farm and just looking into your pastures and seeing what’s there and opening your computer and researching everything there is to research. I have had like 50 tabs open one grass, just like any different information that I could get for this one grass and like when it shows itself and why it’s showing itself and you know it’s nutritional value and its impact on the land. I think there are so many resources I think Daniel has been that resource for me personally but I think that finding someone that you can align with I think would be the first step.

0:22:04 – Cal Hardage
Yeah, there’s people that I talk to, people that talk to me that you know, for whatever reason, it’s just that gut feeling. It’s just not a good relationship there. So really pick out someone that you can hear, someone that’s speaking in a way that resonates with you.

0:22:23 – Taysa Porto
I love that word resonance. Yeah, I think it’s really important for anything in life.

0:22:28 – Cal Hardage
So I noticed on your just going with reading the land on your Instagram you all have where you did some soil sampling. Tell us about that process and how you decided to do it and what you were able to find out.

0:22:43 – Taysa Porto
That was just a yearly soil sample that we would do on many points on each pasture. I did not. I was I left before I even got results for those, but that I was really excited for those results. But also I know that my boss was planning to deal with the results in a way that I would have wanted to deal with it differently. I would have wanted to take the route of you know how can I better manage these animals to give the outcome that I want? I think you knew as more of the person that was just going to be like oh, we’re going to buy lime and we’re going to put it on because of pH. Yeah, so many reasons why I chose to leave and why I am where I am today.

0:23:28 – Cal Hardage
So Now, one thing you talked about and truly we’re going to dive in deeper with our over grazing section, where we take a topic and go a little deeper, find out a little bit more about it, and you mentioned earlier about species identification. Why is that important?

0:23:44 – Taysa Porto
I think every species has a purpose. I think right now, in this whole movement of farming, I see a lot of just focusing on plant species as food source for livestock production. But each species is coming at a specific time and leaving at a specific time and doing its job and doing what it needs to do when it needs to do it and then making space for something else to come.

0:24:11 – Cal Hardage
So every species you mentioned has its purpose, and you said even beyond grazing. Can you talk about that just a little bit?

0:24:19 – Taysa Porto
So I was recently on a farm, an example that I have to give. We were recently doing EOB on a farm and it was such an impactful moment for me because there was this tree and under the tree there was this huge, huge patch of bullfaces and this was a newly acquired addition to the property that this farmer had just bought to add on. And we all looked there and I said I wonder why so many both this old and, he said, the previous owner of this property used to set stock cattle in this field and obviously there’s a tree there and so that was shade, so the cattle were always just grazing here on this part and then, you know, constantly staying under the tree for shade. So there’s a lot of impact there, there’s a lot of compaction, there’s continuous years of compaction and what’s the first thing that came after this was reversed bullfistle, and bullfistle is a very spiky plant that you touch it lightly and it spiked you.

And the farmer was like you know, I think all that it’s saying is just stand back for a minute, Just leave me alone and let me come back. That touched me so much in that moment and I was like, yes, that is a response of the land of saying I need a minute. And you know, bullfistle does have mineral mining properties, as well as many pioneer species. Do you know the species that are the first to emerge after some sort of disturbance? They all have beautiful mineral mining properties and they’re all so looked down upon. But there’s work being done there and I think that proper management can, you know, allow the flow of that to just happen and you can monitor and observe what emerges, you know, with your management, and I think we need more relationship with our properties, for sure in a deeper level.

0:26:27 – Cal Hardage
Right and to understand why that plants. They’re trying to to protect the ground, the soil, and it does an excellent job. Now I’ve been recently reading Kathy Vos book about teaching your cow’s feet weeds, which is very interesting. In fact I plan to to try and get my cows. One of the least properties I have has a lot of cericia lespedeza which was planted on a lot of ground after they mined it for coal in our area. It gets steamy, the cows don’t like it very good.

But in reading her book it talks about process to train your cows to eat it. And my cows eat it somewhat, but I’m going to try the process to see if it makes, see if I can get their consumption a little bit higher of it, because I have a overabundance of it and they just want to graze around it and so then I have what David Pratt calls that rotational over grazing happening. So hopefully get that a little bit better. But one thing she talks about in her book with bull thistle, canadian thistle and stuff and we have some thistles out here that she trained her cows to eat thistles and she said that you know, for us we don’t want to stick our hand there, it hurts us, but a cow is made different and they she shows pictures of cows eating it, which I think is really interesting, something I wouldn’t mind trying.

0:27:53 – Taysa Porto
Yeah, I mean, have you? Have you left your cattle in a specific area with the Lispidisa long enough to have them eat it, or is that something you’re still going to try?

0:28:03 – Cal Hardage
I have and they will clip on it, but they just really complain about having to do it. So I would like to create some better experiences for them in that, maybe some more positive feedback for them to graze it. They will graze it, especially when it’s smaller, but I’ve got some areas that’s gotten too big, which which is on me. I didn’t have enough cows there and stuff. But if I could help them with that feedback cycle that it’s a little bit more positive to eat, that set up some positive circumstances for them to try it and go through this process that she outlines, I’m hoping to get a little bit more or a little bit better consumption of it, because once it gets stimmy and big, they want to go out and they want to graze or mutagrass anything else grazing or growing around it and just leaving that Lispidisa or that Serecia Lispidisa there.

0:28:57 – Taysa Porto
Have you tried the goats?

0:28:58 – Cal Hardage
The goats and sheep love it. It’s got some tannins in it which really help with parasites for goats and sheep, but what it does do it decreases the egg laying ability of the barbapole worm as they’re consuming Serecia Lispidisa the goats. Like you mentioned earlier, I’m using a netting with the goats and that’s a lot of work. I have not trained my sheep to polywire yet or poly braid, which is something I’d like to do. We have a few sections fenced and this property I have leased is actually right next to them, where we run the sheep. I push the sheep over there or time or two, but it’s not home for them, so they come back and the fence is not good to keep them there.

0:29:44 – Taysa Porto
Well, good thing they come back, that’s good.

0:29:47 – Cal Hardage
Lease in our experience my grandpa talks about he derried for decades. He says cows will milk on Serecia, lispidisa, hey, if it’s belled at the right height. He says you don’t want to get it over about 10 inches high Because about 10 inches high it starts getting stimmy. In another property I have the Serecia is no taller than that. The cows. I just moved them into a new paddock and I was looking in there and the Serecia out there and it’s they’ll graze it. Good, it’s not very tall, it’s single stems because they’ve grazed it before. That herd is a little bit different makeup than my other herd I have on this other property. In this property there was just so much Serecia it’s just got so far ahead of them. You just look out there, it’s just a sea of Serecia.

0:30:37 – Taysa Porto
Well, those are beautiful observations you’re making.

0:30:40 – Cal Hardage
I tried, but I need to be better. So, in the species identification, are there any particular websites or books that you found to be really beneficial?

0:30:51 – Taysa Porto
No, unfortunately I am in the process of creating a beautiful Google Doc of everything that I have gathered so far, because really, books on grasses will just tell you the name of a grass and then the scientific name of the grass and then where maybe it’s found cool or warm. It won’t give you too much. It won’t go into the actual literacy of like who is this grass and what is it saying and what does it do. I’m doing that on my own. It’s a journey.

0:31:25 – Cal Hardage
As you think about your farm you’re going to in Tennessee. What’s some challenges do you anticipate?

0:31:34 – Taysa Porto
Probably mechanical challenges, probably tractor or some tool mechanical issue that I won’t know how to deal with. But I’m going to have to learn. On the previous property I was working at, I learned a lot and I think a lot of the challenges I did face were, I think, farming tools are made really big and they’re not made for every sized hand, and so that was definitely a challenge. Sometimes it wasn’t even difficult to do a certain task, like a plier, a fence sink, to do fence work. It’s just bigger than my capability.

So I think I’ll face those challenges in the new property as well, and putting a mower in the back of a tractor by yourself is always a challenge, probably mostly mechanical. I just say that not to say that I will be really good at everything else, but I expect I think something holistic management is really big on is you’re going to make a plan and then you’re going to assume you’re wrong and then you’re going to monitor and then you’re going to replant. So I’m already assuming I’m wrong on all the plans I have and it’s fine. I’m going to apply them and I’m going to monitor them and I will replant. So I’m ready for those challenges. But the mechanical challenges will be the real challenges.

0:32:52 – Cal Hardage
As you think about your future, what are some goals for yourself?

0:32:56 – Taysa Porto
Again, this is going to sound repetitive, but I think it’s to continue to learn how to have the conversation, the real conversation, the land conversation, connect the dots as much as I can with forage and underground life and aboveground life and, as much as I can, to hug it all and really understand the complexity of it. I think that’s always going to be my personal goal. I don’t see myself ever doing anything else, so I hope to keep going deeper into that ocean and one day be able to extend that to whoever wants to hear it or learn it and produce really beautiful quality meat for my community. I think that’s a beautiful goal that I really, really hope to have. I think the day that I sell my first box of meat to a consumer will be a very exciting day for me.

0:33:46 – Cal Hardage
Wonderful thinking about those challenges and goals going forward. I just love the passion you’re coming to it with. It’ll be exciting to see your journey. It is time for us to transition to our famous four questions. Same four questions we ask of all of our guests. Our first question what’s your favorite grazing grass related book or resource?

0:34:11 – Taysa Porto
I would have to say Daniel Griffith. He’s been the best resource so far with grass related. Yeah.

0:34:16 – Cal Hardage
Refresh my memory. See in Virginia.

0:34:19 – Taysa Porto
Yes Virginia.

0:34:20 – Cal Hardage
And secondly, what tool could you not live without?

0:34:24 – Taysa Porto
It has been very good to have extra twine in my pocket and a fencing tester. Those have been my two favorite tools. The number of times I had to put something together on the spot and I had twine just from hay bales in the winter it was LifeSaver To have animals escape and to be able to understand how much the fence is running out or if it’s off or if it’s on. To just have that control with you in your pocket has been life saving for me.

0:34:52 – Cal Hardage
Both are wonderful tools, because when you need them, you need them. Oh man, that’s so handy. You’ve got to know how hot your fence is. Because you check that, you can immediately see why they’re getting out. Or?

0:35:05 – Taysa Porto

0:35:06 – Cal Hardage
Or get closer to it. What would you tell someone just getting started, even though you’re just getting started?

0:35:12 – Taysa Porto
You know, first expose yourself to different practices. I think it’s really important and once you do that a little bit, I think finding someone that speaks your language and that you know in a way that you can hear and that you believe in, I think is really important. Reach out and open yourself. Like I was pushy the beginning of this year.

If I look back to like February and now the steps that have been taken and the places I’ve gone and the things I’ve done, like I couldn’t summarize it in a podcast, but I was pushy. I emailed and I emailed and I emailed and I just found whoever I felt like I wanted to learn from and I emailed and I contacted and you know people respond to sometimes with like we don’t have space or I got knows and I got knows. But I also got so many yeses and the yeses I got are really where I am today and it’s really exciting. So, be pushy, reach out, really go for it. You know, work for free, tell people that you’re willing to come and learn and that you just want experience and yeah, I think, interest and intention definitely.

0:36:18 – Cal Hardage
Oh, I think that’s wonderful, wonderful advice. To paraphrase it just a little, I might say take control of your learning.

0:36:25 – Taysa Porto

0:36:26 – Cal Hardage
Yes, very good. Where can others find out more about you?

0:36:30 – Taysa Porto
I think just Instagram right now yeah, just my Instagram Probably will be creating an Instagram for Five Creek. Five Creek is the name of the new property I will be managing, but still it’ll initiate on my Instagram, so a lot of my journey will be documented there. I’m excited.

0:36:48 – Cal Hardage
Aisa, we are so glad you came on and shared, and like I mentioned a while ago, the passion you’re bringing to the project, the excitement you’ve got to have that to get going and to carry you through some of the low moments, because there’s always highs and there’s always lows.

0:37:04 – Taysa Porto
Thank you so much, trulie. Thank you for the platform to be able to share. Even with very little experience, I have a feeling that they are exciting. Thank you very much.

0:37:14 – Cal Hardage
You’re listening to the Grazing Grass podcast, helping grass farmers learn from grass farmers, and every episode features a grass farmer in their operation. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and want to keep the conversation going, visit our community at communitygrazinggrasscom. Don’t forget to follow and subscribe to the Grazing Grass podcast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for past and future episodes. We also welcome guests to share about their own grass farming journey. So if you’re interested, felt the form on grazinggrasscom under the Be Our Guest link. Until next time, keep on grazinggrass.

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