Shepherding School of the Midwest


  • Princeton, Kansas

The Tallgrass Network and Brittany Cole Bush, urban shepherdess, are pleased to bring this full-week Holistic “bootcamp” to the Midwest! 

BCB brings her experience in start-up and expansion of sheep-goat enterprises to mitigate fire hazard in the public parks of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Tallgrass Network brings together market opportunities for the Midwest and a network of landowners and managers.

Together we are offering business planning utilizing Holistic Management, in a Field School designed to help you get started or advance a profitable contract grazing business with a flock of up to 200 sheep and/or goats.

The School will be held at Princeton, Kansas, July 16-22. Cost is $999; scholarships may be available. Space is limited -- register early to secure your spot! 

Leave this 1-week bootcamp with:

  • Exposure and hands-on practice at basic skills in sheep and goat husbandry: fencing strategies, water systems, working with shepherding and guardian dogs, breeding programs, basic veterinary care, and more
  • Accreditation-level course for the Savory Institute in Holistic Financial Planning, and a business plan for the operation of your own design, whether you have land or not
  • Contacts and connections for resources you need to continue in your business
  • Potential markets ready for your meat and fiber products
  • Knowledge of your next-steps needed to build your own sheep-goat flock, or to pursue a career in shepherding with further connections, education and training.

This Shepherding School is for:

  • Farmers & ranchers seeking to add multi-species grazing to an existing crop or livestock situation
  • New farmers seeking an enterprise without land
  • Farmers already raising sheep or goats who are looking for new revenue streams
  • Those considering going on to a more extended shepherding school and career.

We will explore topics including: 

  • Markets for lamb and goat meat; dairy and cheese enterprises; wool, hides, leather and other byproducts; PLUS for grazing other people's land as a business
  • Animal husbandry and the skills needed to manage your own flock
  • Strategies for incorporating sheep and goats with cattle for multi-species herds, utilizing combined herds for cash flows management, invasive species mitigation and more
  • Finding partners for adding sheep and goats to an established operation
  • Problem-solving your specific challenges and creating the business that's right for you, bringing together your social, financial and ecological goals.

Cost

Cost for this weeklong Holistic Management Field School is $999. Space is limited; register early to ensure your spot! Limited Scholarships are available; please complete our form to apply. To give a scholarship, please see our "advocate" opportunities.

Schedule Overview

Sunday, July 16 - afternoon tour of resources and facilities, groceries; welcome dinner, introductions and socializing; meet the flock!

Monday, July 17 - hands-on introduction to the daily tending and husbandry of sheep and goats; meet and learn about potential market partners and opportunities 

Tuesday - Friday, July 18-21 - introductory hands-on skills instruction for shepherding; accreditation-level training in Holistic Financial Planning, in which you will create your business plan for your own flock; overview of Holistic ecology, grazing and infrastructure.

Saturday, July 22 - presentations of business plans to each other and potential market partners; farewell dinner.

Mornings will be spent outdoors tending to sheep and hands-on learning about key skills including: sheep fencing and infrastructure strategies, guardian and herd dogs, nutrition, breeds and breeding, and animal handling / herding.

During the heat of the day, we will have in-class time for Holistic Financial Planning and business plan development.

In the evenings, we will share meals, social time, and have opportunities for nature hikes, quiet time, research and work on our plans, and other activities.

LOCATION

The Shepherding School of the Midwest will be held on the Princeton, Kansas, Demonstration farm for the Tallgrass Network Savory Hub. Participants will work with the small flock of sheep on-site, where integration with larger livestock herds for invasive species and cash flows management are the desired outcome.

Based in Eastern Kansas, the site features both native Tallgrass prairie lands plus forested and cropland, for examination of sheep-goat management in a variety of environments. Directions to the site are provided upon registration.

LODGING

Not included in price of the course. Limited, low-cost on-farm housing is available, first-come, first-served. Please indicate your interest on the form when you register. AirBnb options and hotels are located in nearby Ottawa. 

FOOD

Not included in price of the course. Kitchen and cook-out fire / grill facilities available on learning site; make-your-own or cook together. Participants are welcome to coordinate and potluck.

We will have a group meal together on the second and last day, with guests, that is included in the cost of the course.

Bio’s of Presenting Partners

Brittany Cole Bush, Modern-Day Urban Shepherdess of BCB Shepherdess LLC

A self-deemed ‘modern-day, urban shepherdess’, Brittany Cole Bush is a young professional working in the fields of land stewardship, restoration, animal husbandry, consulting and education. 

In her practice she integrates her professional experience managing upwards of 2,500 head of sheep and goats in the Bay Area of California to perform stewardship and fire hazard abatement projects using the tool of carefully managed grazing, with the lens of Holistic Management, and integration of her education in Agroecology and Permaculture design.

Since 2012, BCB has developed and managed the treatment of over 3,000 acres of both private and public lands annually using prescribed herbivory as a tool for restoration, remediation and fire hazard reduction with sheep and goats in Northern California. 

She is also partnered with designer, Laura School in Shepherdess Holistic Hides where they purvey fine hides from California, raised and grazed to urban and on-line markets.

BCB also sits as an elected member on the California Rangeland Management Advisory Committee in Sacramento representing California Wool Growers Association; a member of the Young Entrepreneur Committee for the American Sheep Industry, a writer for the Stockman Grass Farmer and Fibershed; and is also an active member and educator with the global network founded by the Savory Institute in Holistic Management and Planned Grazing.

Julie Mettenburg, Leader, Tallgrass Network Hub of the Savory Global Network

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Julie grew up on a 7-generation family farm in eastern Kansas that now serves as the Demonstration Site for the Tallgrass Network Savory Hub. 

After beginning her career as an ag journalist and then working in New York, she returned to Kansas to raise a family and helped her parents transition their small family farm to grass-finished and pasture-based meats production, selling direct to local consumer and wholesale markets. 

Subsequently, Julie began working for the Kansas Rural Center, in December 2011 assuming the position of executive director. In that role, she led several strategic investments and grant initiatives, including farmer education and training programs. She also led a new focus on the nexus of public health, community food and agriculture.

In 2014 she left to transition into farm management and to launch the Tallgrass Network, a Hub site in the global Savory Institute initiative to heal the world’s grasslands through Holistic Management. She attended the Savory Hub global leadership bootcamp training and gatherings with Allan Savory at his ranch in Zimbabwe, at Paicines Ranch in California, and at Savory headquarters in Boulder, Colorado.

She has led transition of her family farm to Holistic Management and earned its accreditation as the official demonstration site for the Tallgrass Network. She is also an accredited Savory Professional Educator and is excited to offer education and support in Holistic Management throughout the region.

ADDITIONAL PARTNERS & PRESENTERS

Regional farmers, market partners seeking new farmers, and other pro's will be joining us for portions of the school. Special guests will be announced as final plans develop. Stay tuned!

Check for additional speakers and partners here!

For questions and more information about the school, please see our news announcement and contact Julie at juliem@tallgrassnetwork.com.