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K Bar K Farm
About Us
Ken and Kathy Soder
5867 Eberle Road, Petersburg, PA  16669
(814) 669-1374

K Bar K farm raises foundation style/traditional/production oriented Dorset sheep, including Dorset rams and Dorset ewes. Raised on a forage based system, selected for true Dorset characteristics. Contact us for a listing of sheep for sale.

The farm is owned by Ken, Kathy and Nathan Soder. We are located in picturesque southcentral Pennsylvania, approximately 20 miles southwest of State College (home of Penn State). Please take a virtual tour of our farm, and feel free to contact us with any questions, requests for purebred stock, freezer lambs, or just to 'talk Dorset'!

 

Ken and Kathy Soder first became interested in raising sheep in 1991 when we moved 2000 miles west (from Pennsylvania to Montana) for Kathy to pursue her Master's degree in Animal Science at Montana State University.  With very little previous sheep experience, we suddenly found ourselves in charge of 500-1000 sheep (depending on season) at the university sheep farm where we lived (Fort Ellis Experimental Research Station), and Kathy conducted research with a 500 ewe flock on the university ranch (Red Bluff) 35 miles away. Let me tell you, there is nothing like hands-on experience to drill hard lessons into your head. After finishing her degree, they remained in Montana for two more years, with Kathy working at the Montana Wool Laboratory and Ken building new houses in the area. At one point, Ken went on a sheep shearing crew, and met a lot of great Montana ranchers, saw a lot of territory, and had some experiences he will never forget. He shears our flock now, as seen in the picture to the right. Kathy obtained her Wool Classer certification and also traveled with the shearing crews. 

 

After working for two years we decided to move back home for Kathy to pursue a PhD in Animal Science at Penn State. We sure miss Montana and would love to live there again, but don't regret our decision to move. Once again we packed everything into the U-Haul and traveled 2000 miles. Kathy has since finished that degree (yes, we are finished traveling across the country.....at least for awhile), and since 1998 has been working for USDA-ARS as a Research Animal Scientist, working with pasture-based dairy and livestock systems. Ken is very versatile in his working abilities, and is currently working as a zoning officer for a local township (with a hankering to become a full-time farmer). A year after moving back to PA, we purchased a 17 acre farmette with two barns, an OLD house (that needed lots of work), and an apple orchard.  One year later (October 1997) we brought home our first sheep, which was the beginnings of K Bar K Farm. In April 2002 we sold the first farm and  purchased a 96 acre farm (which also needed a TON of work) about 40 miles south of the other farm, and moved the flock. The motivation for the move was a combination of a desire to escape development pressure and to obtain more land to expand our flock.

 

The Flock

At first we had a hard time deciding what breed of sheep to purchase. We both really liked Targhees after working with them in Montana, but found several drawbacks to this breed in the Eastern US:  1) they were difficult to locate, 2) of the Targhees we could find locally, they just weren't of the same type as the western sheep, 3) we were concerned about their adaptability to our wetter climate, and 4) with the strong ethnic market, we needed sheep to lamb all year round, and 5) the wool market was depressed, and it seemed that a meat breed of sheep that would lamb out of season was the way to go.  So we started looking for Dorsets, at the time not knowing anything about show or production Dorsets.  We lucked into a lady (on Sheep-L) in Binghamton, NY who was selling her flock. So we brought home 14 Dorset ewes- many of which were Beaver Brook farm breeding. Many were very old style, and three of the younger ewes were out of a prominent show flock ram with VERY different body type. These foundation ewes have worked well for us, and gave us a good leg on the beginnings of K Bar K Dorsets.  For more information on our sheep, please see our Flock page. 

 

The Farm Help

We have a variety of working dogs on the farm, including Border Collies to herd the sheep, and livestock guardian dogs (Great Pyrenees or Spanish Ranch Mastiff x Polish Tatra). The picture of the two Border Collies includes a picture of Ned (on the left) who was Ben's sire (Ben is on the right), and a great herding dog. We brought Ned home with us from Montana. He was put down in 2000 at the ripe old age of 15. We still miss him. Ben was put down in Dec. 2010 at the age of 12. Maggie (far right) is our current working girl and Nell, a fully trained 3-year old Border Collie (not shown) joined our ranks as our newest employee. 

    

 

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Copyright 2016 

K Bar K Farm                                                                                                                                                

Last Updated August 23, 2017

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