Jacob Grace has performed for some tough crowds over the years. But when he headed out to his family’s pasture to record a song about rotational grazing, he was met with blank stares.
“There was no applause,” he says. “I even got a few moos.”
Grace, who just began a new job as Grazing Outreach Specialist with the Center for Agricultural Systems (CIAS) at UW-Madison, had chosen to perform his new song for his family’s herd of black Angus cattle.
“Ever since I started graduate school at UW-Madison, I’d been trying to write a song about rotational grazing,” Grace said. “I grew up on a farm where we did rotational grazing, and it was the focus of my graduate research. Now it’s a big part of my job.”
In his free time, Grace likes to write and record songs for a YouTube channel he calls Folk Song Field Guide, and he knew it was only a matter of time before he wrote a song about rotational grazing. “I think rotational grazing is really important because it’s a tool that farmers can use to stay profitable without sacrificing the health of their land,” Grace said.
The music video features Jacob’s former professor, colleague, and grazing expert Dick Cates.
“One of the first classes I took at UW-Madison was Dick Cates’s course on rotational grazing,” Grace said. “Since then we’ve gotten to spend a lot of time together and even play music together now. I started my new job at CIAS just as Dick was retiring there. He has been such a great champion of rotational grazing, and is such an all-around great guy, that I wanted this song to be a tribute to him. He agreed to appear in it, and I’m pretty tickled with how it turned out. I hope I can live up to the legacy that people like Dick have left here at UW-Madison.”
Lyrics for the two-minute song have also been posted on YouTube so viewers can follow along.