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

Friday, October 12, 2018  
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 seven 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. He is currently Director and President of the Idaho Citizens Grazing Association, President of the Minidoka Grazing Association and President of the Western Range 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
Documentary Film Screening:
"Gaucho Del Norte"
("Gaucho of the North")

Friday, October 12, 2018
7:00 p.m.
Sun Valley Opera House, Sun Valley
$20 Adults

For the 22nd Annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival, we are bringing in Sofian Khan and Andrés Caballero to screen their film GAUCHO DEL NORTE.   
In the quiet, bucolic Patagonian countryside in the town of Bahia Murta with 587 inhabitants we meet Eraldo Pacheco, a thoughtful man who has recently arrived at a momentous decision. “Things are worse here than ever,” Eraldo tells his father and family as he announces his plan to move to the United States to fulfill a three-year contract tending sheep almost 6,000 miles away in rural Idaho. In this observational documentary of impressive beauty and painterly cinematic images the imbalance of economic forces is seen in high relief.

Robert and Blake Ball, father and son, are the ranchers from Hamer, Idaho, who appear in the film.  Robert’s grandfather started the business in the 1940s and they have been feeding lambs for four generations and annually run more than 7,000 ewes through Idaho and Wyoming. They plan to attend and participate in the Q&A.

In addition, we are bringing in Carolyn Dufurrena to screen her short film: Sheepherders with Cell Phones. In this film, Carolyn and Linda Dufurrena ponder how cell phones have changed the lives of sheepherders who live with their flocks on isolated western ranges in this Deep West Video that premiered at the 2013 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Online registration begins Sunday, July 1, and runs through Thursday, October 1 at 11:59 pm.
Registration at Limelight Hotel Ketchum (Festival Headquarters) Friday, October 12 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm or at the Sun Valley Opera house starting at 6:00 pm until sold out.


The Story of Lamb

Presented by Megan Wortman

Saturday, October 13, 2018
10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm
Folklife Fair - Roberta McKercher Park, Hailey

Food is our common ground”…James Beard

Have you noticed lamb on more menus these days and in more local markets? It is exciting to be tempted by a slow cooked leg of lamb or the possibilities of grilled lamb burgers with mint and feta cheese for dinner.  

But what is behind this new interest? Lamb’s extraordinary delicious flavor? Its nutritional value?  Generations of families who care for and raise sheep?  Millennials who eagerly look for lamb on menus?  Yes, all these reasons and more.

Join us to hear The Story of Lamb with very special guest, Megan Wortman, Executive Director of the American Lamb Board. This organization took up the challenge to breathe new life into the age-old industry of lamb, a food that was almost unknown to many American diners as recently as 20 years ago.  

But, today lamb is back and Megan will discuss the fascinating resurgence and growing popularity of preparing and dining on lamb today.  Learn and meet US producers, discover new markets, explore the creative possibilities with chefs and the ease of cooking lamb in your own home.  The Story of Lamb is a story of traditions and cultures that go back centuries but it is also a story now told in modern dress.   

Megan Wortman, Executive Director, American Lamb Board
Megan has been working with the American Lamb Board since 2003. She was hired to oversee the board's marketing and communications programs and was promoted to Executive Director in 2008. Prior to working with the American Lamb Board, Megan had more than 10 years of experience working with agriculture trade associations and commodity checkoff boards. She has a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University and an MBA from George Washington University.  Megan lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two daughters. 


The Story of Wool

Presented by Cindy Siddoway and John Helle

Saturday, October 13, 2018
11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm
Folklife Fair - Roberta McKercher Park, Hailey

Cindy and her husband Jeff are the current majority shareholders of the Siddoway Sheep Company, Inc. She is also past president of the American Sheep Industry Association and past chairman of the Idaho Farm Service State Committee. Under Jeff and Cindy’s leadership, their ranch increased in size and scope. At one point, they had up to 14,000 breeding ewes. Since then, they have cut back to approximately 10,000. This translates to production of over 100,000 pounds of wool each year. Her knowledge of sheep, wool and the industry as a whole is vast and this is a presentation not to miss!

John Helle
Helle Rambouillet

John Helle is the second generation rancher of Helle Rambouillet, producers of fine wool sheep. He is part of this third generation family sheep ranch located in the town of Dillon, Montana. They run a fine wool range sheep operation that offers replacement ewes and Rambouillet rams for sale. 

In addition to producing fine wool and competitive carcasses, they are also being successfully used for resource management and weed control. Helle Rambouillet specializes in providing quality breeding stock and pride themselves on their fine wool which is now available through Duckworth.

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

Sunday, October 14, 2018
9:30 am - 11:00 am
Limelight Hotel
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.

Sheep Shuttle & Sheepherder Walk

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

Sunday, October 14, 2018
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!

$10.00 to ride in van (free to meet and carpool!)

Vans courtesy of:

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A division of Caldwell Transportation Company