Sheep Ranching Questions & Answers with Henry Etcheverry, Laird Noh, Robert Ball & Ranching Friends

Friday, October 11, 2019  
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Community Library, 415 Spruce Avenue, Ketchum

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Henry Etcheverry
Etcheverry Sheep Company

“My Dad was the consummate sheep man dedicated and hard working. ‘Men like my Dad had a gleam in their eye. I’m going to make something of this. I can do it. And that’s what I think America was made of.’ Life as a sheep rancher takes that kind of commitment. Sheep can pay the bills and take care of you if you take care of them. It’s a lot of work but I am optimistic.”  - Henry Etcheverry

Henry was born in Pocatello, Idaho, in 1949 and worked the sheep as a boy beside his father. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1972 and had no doubt that he would return to the sheep ranch. Henry had always been inspired by his father Jean Pierre who, at the age of 16, arrived in New York City in 1929 from the Basque region of southern France. He immediately made his way to Nevada sheep country to work as a herder for $40 a month. Later with his new wife Louise Savala, Jean Pierre moved to Pocatello where she ran a Basque boarding house and he bought 1,200 ewes to begin his own sheep operation. The family moved to Rupert, Idaho, where the sheep operation is still headquartered.

Today, Etcheverry Sheep Company runs about 6,200 breeding ewes and 1,200 replacement yearlings and provides 80,000 pounds of wool to Pendleton Woolen Mills. The six bands of ewes lamb in the family’s lambing sheds north of Rupert from January through March. The pairs are trucked to southeastern Idaho in mid-May to graze near Lava Hot Springs and Soda Springs and then moved into the high country in the Caribou National Forest for the summer. In August, the lambs are shipped to Mountain States Lamb Cooperative, a rancher-owned processing and marketing facility. In September, the ewes reverse their route returning to the lower elevations around Rupert for winter.

Henry has served as a Director and President of the Idaho Wool Growers Association and President of Western Range Association. He is currently Director and President of the Idaho Citizens Grazing Association and President of the Minidoka Grazing Association.

Henry and his wife Kathy continue Etcheverry Sheep Company, often with help from their two grown daughters Nicole and Dominique—all seamlessly blending generations of hard work and dedication.   

Laird Noh
Noh Sheep Company

Born in 1938 in the original stone hospital in Twin Falls, Idaho, Laird lived at Artesian in southeast Twin Falls county from 1938-1942 on a ranch against the foothills on Dry Creek.  In 1942, the family moved to Addison Avenue.  Laird was educated in the Kimberly public school system, went on to get his BS in Business and Animal Science at the University of Idaho, then an MBA at the University of Chicago, and, finally, his Doctorate of Natural Resources, Honoris Causes, at the University of Idaho. In addition, he served in the Idaho State Senate for 24 years with 22 years as the chair of the Resources and Environment Committee.

Married to Kathleen Farnsworth, Laird and she have two children. John is the vice president and manager of Noh Sheep Company, and Susan is a research scientist in veterinary pathology and infectious diseases with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine and the Paul Allen School of World Animal Health in Pullman, Washington.

Currently, Laird serves as President of Noh Sheep Company.  In addition, he is Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Sheep Marketing Association, a producer-owned lamb and sheep marketing cooperative doing business in seven states. Since its establishment in 1975, it has marketed 3.1 million head of sheep. 

In addition, Laird is a Member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of Idaho College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and, he is a Member of the Liaison Committee of the USDA Agricultural Research Service Laboratory in Kimberly, Idaho.

Robert Ball
Ball Brothers Sheep Company

The Ball Brothers Sheep Company is a shining example of what it means to be a family farm. Robert Ball’s grandfather began feeding lambs in the early 1940’s and started Ball Brothers Sheep Company in 1946 with his two brothers. Robert’s dad was the youngest brother and took over the operation after his brothers had passed.

Robert started working full time once he was out of high school. With his two brothers, the three of them built the company including buying back allotments from cousins. Seventy years and four generations later, they now run over 7,000 ewes throughout Idaho and Wyoming each year. Many recognize that sheep ranching is ripe with tradition and history, but for the Ball family it truly is a part of who they are and have been for many generations.  Today, Robert, his nephew and son, Blake, are the primary family members at Ball Brothers. 

Note: During Trailing of the Sheep’s first Festival 22 years ago, Robert and his dad pulled a sheep camp with a team in the parade. We are excited to have them back this year!

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  Sheep Tales Gathering
Presents Mark Kurlansky
"Food As Culture”

Friday, October 11, 2019
7:00 p.m.
The Argyos, Sun Valley

For the 23rd Annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival, we are bringing in Mark Kurlansky to present “Food as Culture.” Mark is a well-known author with such popular books as Cod, Salt and, soon to be released, Salmon. He is one who fully understands stories and how they explain who we are and where we live.

Lamb's popularity as a nutritional, accessible food is growing.  And, people are interested in learning more about their food, where it comes from, how it is produced, how to prepare it and how it fits into our larger culture.  This event will be about celebrating lamb within our culture. 


Photography Outing
Your Very Own Sheep Shoot!

With Michael Edminster

Sunday, October 13, 2019
9:00 am - 11:30 am
Meet at Ketchum Post Office
$10 to ride in shuttle (free to meet and caravan!)

Join Michael Edminster on a sheep adventure. Meet at 9:00 am at the Ketchum Post Office and caravan to see the sheep in the mountains and self-direct your own photo shoot. Enjoy this morning journey to get the best shots of the weekend.

History of Sheepherding in the Wood River
Valley with John Peavey, Rancher, Flat Top Sheep Co.

Sunday, October 13, 2019
9:30 am - 11:00 am
Main Street, Ketchum

Local historian Jerry Seiffert and third generation sheep rancher, John Peavey,  Flat Top Sheep Co., will be on hand to tell stories of the Wood River Valley and the Lane Merc, a gathering place for sheepmen over the years.

Sheepherders’ Hike & Stories
(with shuttle service)

With John Peavey, Rancher, Flat Top Sheep Co. and
Jerry Seiffert, Local Historian

Sunday, October 13, 2019
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Ketchum Forest Service Park

Enjoy a guided hike through area aspen groves to view sheepherder tree carvings a disappearing western art form. Ride the Sheep Shuttle to the Sheepherder hike north of Ketchum. Third generation sheep rancher and former Senator,   John Peavey, Flat Top Sheep Co. and Jerry Seiffert will share stories and answer questions about the history and traditions of sheep ranching life. And, John will be on the bus to share stories during the ride!

$10 to ride in shuttle (free to meet and caravan!)

Special Thanks To:

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A division of Caldwell Transportation Company