Shepherding School of the Midwest


Shepherding School of the Midwest


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 business planning workshop designed to help you get started or advance a profitable contract grazing business with a flock of up to 200 sheep and/or goats.

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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.

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
  • 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.

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.


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. 


Not included in price of the course. Kitchen and cook-out fire / grill facilities available; 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.

For questions or more information, see our news announcement and contact Julie Mettenburg,