When it comes to conservation, Sharon Krause, strives for a comprehensive approach. As owner and operator of Dalla Terra Ranch, a grass fed organic lamb operation, and a member of the Earlham community, she has a love for preserving soil and water as well as town heritage and pride.
In the 30th episode of the Conservation Chat, host Jacqueline Comito met with Sharon, a native Iowan, to discuss her passion for lambs, healthy lands and her local community.
Sharon’s motivation for conservation and the love of the outdoors is credited to her parents who encouraged her to get outside and explore the world around her. They also supported her as she pursued her engineering degree at Iowa State University.
Upon graduation, she was the first female engineer hired at the Firestone in Des Moines and helped launch their recycling program. Her career then led her to Metro Waste Authority where she pioneered their Curb It! Program that made household recycling easier which has led to increased participation. Before the program began in 1994, an average of 8 pounds per household was recycled each week. In 2015, nearly 28,000 tons of material were recycled through the program.
From working a tire manufacturing plant to a landfill and now a farm, Sharon and her husband, Kyle, joke that “she is not having fun if she’s not dirty!”
Sharon began her lamb operation about 10 years ago and as a former engineer, she is using data and research to help make decisions. The operation maintains about 225 ewes that throw nearly 400 lambs each year. Using a smart phone app, she analyzes her operation’s performance by tracking time spent in each of the 23 smaller pastures of the larger 153 acres of pasture that the lambs rotational graze.
“I very intensely rotationally graze my animals over the course of the year. You want to be very care that you don’t let your foliage get too short. That’s very hard on the root system and there’s not enough leaf area to take in the sunshine. So the shorter you graze your pastures, the less production you are really going to get.”
In addition to implementing conservation practices on her land, Sharon is helping lead a project to revitalize the Bricker-Price Block on Main Street Earlham. Through community input, the project aims to provide a farm-to-table restaurant, community center and a youth gathering space. The conservation of the building’s history will help tell the story of the city and strengthen the vitality of the rural community.
Tune in to Episode 30 of the Conservation Chat for more of this great conversation with Sharon Krause! You can also download or listen to any of the previous podcast episodes on the Conservation Chat website and on iTunes.