Left 'Til The Festival
September 8-10, 2017
Registration Is Open

Shepherd’s Workshops


Except where noted

Registration not required


Times Events Loactions
9:00 Behind the Scenes of the Shetland Sheep Society
A frank discussion on what it takes to organize judges for over 50 shows, the roll of inspectors, judges & area reps, along with a discussion of flock inspections. Suzanne Meikle, Brae Flock Shetland Sheep, Shetland Sheep Society Judge, Inspector and JIP Shows Chair, Kirkliston, Scotland UK, will talk about her first visit to the Shetland Isles, after which a short question and answer period will follow. Inspections will take place if time allows, with more inspections in the afternoon from 1 to 3 pm. For anyone interested in the Shetland breed of sheep! Visit the Midwest Shetland Sheep Breeders Facebook page for details and fees for both workshops.


Times Events
9:00 How We Can Make the Grass More Attractive on THIS Side of the Fence?
Walking our pastures, many of us are tempted to ask ourselves if we should graze a particular paddock, leave them another day, or move them now. It’s tempting to graze every bite of grass, especially in drought conditions, but in doing so, we hurt not only animal growth, but also the future production of our pastures. With increased feed costs and facing environmental challenges, improving our pasture management to provide low-cost forage for our flocks becomes even more critical. Come learn (or re-learn!) the basics of pasture management and some practical strategies that can be applied to any farm to improve pasture and animal productivity. Dr. Kathy Soder, Animal Scientist, USDA-ARS Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, Pennsylvania.
10:00 Sheep Dairying in America’s Dairyland
Wisconsin has been the heart of the very young sheep dairy industry since Yves Berger and Dr David Thomas of the University of Wisconsin - Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences began their work to develop the genetics and research needed to make the industry viable. Things have changed dramatically since the mid-nineties startup, and with the loss of university support, the future of the sheep dairy industry is now dependent upon the sheep dairy farmers and cheesemakers to carry it forward. The Sheep Dairy Association of Wisconsin was formed in fall 2016 to improve marketing and public awareness and to grow the industry in the greater Wisconsin area. This session will provide an overview of the current state of affairs and what SDAW is doing to increase the demand and availability of Wisconsin’s wonderful sheep milk products. Sheep Dairy Association of Wisconsin Representatives, Anna Landmark, Landmark Creamery, and Laurel Kieffer, Dream Valley Farm LLC
11:00 Shearing Management: Overlooked & Underrated
For most shepherds wool is an unavoidable product of raising sheep, yet trying to find practical shearing management information is virtually impossible. Find out when to shear your flock, preparing for shearing, nutrition and shearing, handling sheep during shearing, what your shearer needs to get the job done right, preparation of the wool clip for your needs, effects of wool contamination on processing and more! Adding value to a wool clip starts by accepting the fact that shearing is a management tool just as much as genetics, nutrition, and health. David Kier, Professional Shearer, Eleva, WI.
1:00 In Herriot’s Shadow - Conversations with a Country Vet
Dr. Bill Stork, graduating the University of Illinois, moved to Lake Mills, falling in love with Wisconsin, its Midwestern work ethic, friendly people and rolling countryside. He has fully evolved the notion that a person who is kind to animals is inherently good, often in the face of public perception to the contrary. Working alongside men and women whose physical strength is dwarfed by their superhuman depth of character and family values, he embraces the notion that the human-animal bond applies to all creatures, great and small. In 2014 he released his first book In Herriot’s Shadow. Enjoy the stories of a small town veterinarian, who was centered and rededicated in his profession by a 70-year-old farmer openly weeping and hugging a 21-year-old cow named Iris as the sun rose on her last day.
2:00 Enhancing Genetic Selection with NSIP: A Clinic for Beginners!
Just the basics! It isn’t rocket science, but NSIP takes some getting used to and this clinic will get you up to speed on how and why the National Sheep Improvement Program works. For any producer considering genetic improvement through EBVs. Bring your questions! Rusty Burgett, Program Director, National Sheep Improvement Program.
3:00 Improving Productivity & Profitability Through Genetic Selection: How EBVs Can Help the Commercial Sheep Producer
Finding that niche in marketing, whether it’s breeding stock, market lambs or milk, means going the extra mile when it comes to management. Like GPS for crop farmers, NSIP gives producers a leg up on building profitability through better genetics. Kathy Soder, K Bar K Farm in Pennsylvania, and Laurel Kieffer, Dream Valley Farm, LLC, Strum, Wisconsin, share their years of experience in developing sustainable markets for their operations. Rusty Burgett, Program Director, National Sheep Improvement Program.


Times Events
9:00 Know Your Internal Parasites – Understanding Fecal Floats
Internal parasites cause slow growth, diarrhea, anemia and potentially death. Fecal exams are most effective when run on individual animals, but cost often makes these important tests prohibitive. Correct parasite identification is key to avoid unnecessary worming and wormer resistance. For a relatively small investment in materials producers can learn to successfully run fecal exams. Attendees will learn: How to collect fecal samples for the best results, several different methods of running fecal floats (standard and Modified McMasters), how to differentiate parasite (ova) eggs from debris, how to identify common internal parasites that effect small ruminants in Wisconsin, and an overview of the basics of using a compound microscope. Erica Solis, Veterinary Technician Student, Madison College; Emancipation Acres Farm, Stoughton, WI.
10:00 - ? Lab: Hands-on Experience Preparing and Analyzing Fecal Floats
Following the 9:00 a.m. class, there will be 45 minute breakout sessions during which students working in pairs will get hands-on experience in preparing and analyzing a standard and a Modified McMasters fecal egg count. Students will take turns viewing their prepared standard float slides and McMasters slides (each pair will view one standard and one McMasters slide) and record their results, which may in turn be viewed by the class. Resources to identify ova will be discussed. Students are encouraged to bring a sample from their own flock to analyze but samples must be less than 24 hours old.
There will be a limit of 8 students per lab session which will be scheduled an hour apart following the close of the 9:00 class and a $10 per participant fee payable to the instructor at the lab session. Fee covers materials used for the hands-on breakout sessions only. There will be a lunch break if lab sessions run into the noon hour. Sign up for lab sessions by emailing to reserve your spot.
10:00 Accentuate the Positive: How to Educate Your Buyers & Market Your Fleeces
In a world of people who are used to synthetic fibers, who want everything to go into a washer and dryer, and who think all wool is the same – itchy and scratchy – how can you educate potential buyers about the qualities of your breed and overcome the persistent myths about wool? Are you able to discuss the history of your breed and how an individual fleece can be used to the best advantage? This workshop is open to all – wool growers and folks who want to know more about the endless possibilities of wool as a versatile, renewable fiber. Holin Kennen, The Dancing Lamb, Evansville, WI.
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