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2018 Shepherds of the Year: Jeff and Jan White

This year’s award celebrates a couple who have steadfastly demonstrated the courageous understanding that farming generally, and shepherding specifically, entails an ongoing process of trial and error—by being always open to jumping in, learning from direct experience, as well as actively seeking and being receptive to advice from others, and adjusting course as needed based on all of these. Jeff and Jan White, both working full-time off-farm jobs, grow vegetables, pigs, and sheep and participate in farmers market every week. Mentored by David Greene, Jeff and Jan got their first sheep in 2008. These were Katahdins, obtained from David, as well as some from Susan Schoenian. They have since moved to wool sheep—Corriedale and Corriedale crosses—and have been successful selling their fleeces at the Festival and elsewhere, while continuing to produce and sell lamb.

Along the way, both Jeff and Jan have embraced MSBA and our community of sheep and wool die-hards. Jeff didn’t hesitate to serve on the Board as a director, and then stepped up again in 2016 to become our Vice President. Jeff plunged in to MSBA believing that this organization and community would be helpful and constructive to him in pursuing his goals. His faith in us, and his willingness to be part of us, has lifted us up to be better. He has led the development of the Farm Market piece of the Festival, including rallying chefs to do lamb cooking demonstrations there. He is steady and dogged in his pursuit of promoting and marketing lamb, and attended the American Sheep Industry Association Annual Meeting in January to get a better handle on how they can help us. Meanwhile, Jan has also jumped into the deep end, taking on the critical and challenging role as Vendor Coordinator for the Festival. Together they have graciously hosted MSBA Board meetings at their home, and even with their over-full schedules on and off the farm, are always ready for spur-of-the-moment get-togethers to discuss how we can do more and better to promote sheep, wool and lamb products in ways that benefit us all. Our heartfelt congratulations to Jeff and Jan White, our 2018 Shepherds of the Year.