Jeanne and her late husband Dan, have owned and operated the Imperial Stock Ranch (1871) since the late 1980s. Their focus was stewardship of natural resources. In 1999, they faced a new challenge. With a collapsing wool market due to offshoring, Jeanne led them from commodity wool sales in a new direction. She pioneered taking their wool direct to market at scale, and built fiber supply chain relationships as close to home as possible. Connecting their ranch’s heritage and mindful stewardship of land and animals to the products, she built a growing customer base for textiles with an attachment to place. Her efforts eventually took her to the world stage as a partner to well-known fashion brands. Known as the “Farmer’s Market of Textiles,” she is recognized across multiple segments of the U.S. fashion industry and beyond. She has been the voice and source of American wool for Ralph Lauren’s Team USA Olympic uniforms since 2012.
In 2016, Imperial Stock Ranch became the first ranch in the world certified to the leading global standard for sheep and wool production, called the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). With demand increasing, Jeanne established Shaniko Wool Company in 2018 to scale the supply of U.S. wool meeting RWS certification. Shaniko Wool is now 10 ranches grazing 2.6 million acres. In early 2020, she launched a Carbon Initiative to measure the ecosystem and climate impacts of their ranching practices. Today, Shaniko is also NATIVA Regen certified.
Sustainable Sheep: Honoring the Animal, Healing the Planet
Come hear from regenerative sheep producers Elena Miller-ter Kuile from Cactus Hill Farm near La Jara, Colorado and Jeanne Carver of Imperial Stock Ranch / Shaniko Wool Company near Shaniko, Oregon on how they have developed their agricultural practices to regenerate the land and improve soil health as well as honor the animals they raise but maximizing the value of those animals in their marketing. These two women have been involved in a variety of direct marketing and value-added products, including carbon markets, and will also share about the markets they have created and how they have engaged their communities in that effort. Whether you raise sheep or not, this split plenary will provide food for thought on how human creativity and community building are critical to regenerative agriculture.
Book: Stories of Fashion, Textiles and Place — Evolving Sustainable Supply Chains by Leslie Davis Burns and Jeanne Carver