FarmHer: Sharon Krause, Dalla Terra Ranch, Earlham, Iowa
At Dalla Terra Ranch, nestled among the gently rolling hills of Central Iowa, RanchHer Sharon Krause not only raises pastured Katahdin lambs, but she also is working to maintain the beautiful Iowa prairie. The sheep at her ranch are raised on 150 acres of thick pasture, providing all of the nutrition that Krause’s animals need to remain healthy and strong. Once they are ready for sale, Krause sells the meat directly to the consumer.
On the day that I made a FarmHer visit to Krause, she was working on bottle training a small group of lambs that were unable to feed from their mothers. As I looked on, Krause guided the babies with a gentle but firm hand as they learned to eat so they could be returned to pasture.
From there we went on to do a pasture check, making a brief stop to give Bo, one of her trusted sheep dogs, a good petting. As we finished in the first pasture and headed into the second, Sharon ran across a weak lamb. At that moment I saw the same compassion and concern that has been at the heart of every FarmHer and RanchHer I have photographed. Whether the farm has one or 1,000 head of livestock, it is their duty to care for the animals. When the animals are sick or get injured, it hurts, and I tend to think it hurts FarmHers and RanchHers just a little bit more.
As we wrapped up the day, we drove through the pasture, past the sheep sorting area and back to the barn. I was reminded to ask Sharon about her sheep sorting system that I had read about on her website. It was designed by the world famous Temple Grandin, and I wanted to know more about how that came to be. The story is simple. Sharon admired Dr. Grandin’s work. Dr. Grandin was speaking near Des Moines so Sharon reached out to her and asked her to come to the ranch to help her design a system for her sheep. And Dr. Grandin came. Now Dalla Terra has a sorting system for the sheep that allows the animals to move through quietly, without the agitation and fear that comes with more traditional sorting systems. It is yet another example of that care and concern that permeates through the FarmHers and RanchHers I have met, and the millions more I haven’t.
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