We are Eric Verstappen and Louise Liebenberg and our two children Jess and Roy.
We have always had a great love for all animals and especially working dogs.
We started sheep farming together in 1992 in the Netherlands, and decided to move to Alberta, Canada in 2008.
We have bought 480 acres in northern Alberta to develop into our commercial sheep and cattle ranch. We rent an additional 1000-1500 acres a year for hay and grazing land. We do some additional grazing projects with our sheep and have grazed private land, yard sites and a local museum grounds land, doing vegetation control.
I was born and raised in South Africa, my love and interest in all animals and nature, was nurtured there.
I had my first dog to train, a German Shepherd Dog when I was sixteen, soon a border collie; Ace was added to my menagerie of birds, reptiles, horses and other animals. I was fanatical about training my dogs in various dog sports starting with obedience, tracking, companion dog, some showing, and agility and with the Border collie, sheepdog trials.
After my university study (BSc), majoring in psychology, I traveled to Europe with my border collie Ace. In the Netherlands I met Eric and we continued on together. We were active in training and raising border collies and went trialing all over Europe. My kennel name TRELOSS is registered with the International Sheepdog Society. My best trialing achievements were twice 4 th on the Continental Sheepdog Championships, and was Dutch Practical Sheepdog champion.
I have worked on various farms in various countries as a shepherd. I have lambed Scottish Blackfaces in the mountains around Oban, in Scotland, have travelled extensively in Europe and the UK. I have worked on many sheep farms lambing ewes from Texels to high prolific breeds such as the Flevolander.
We have been front runners with RFID technology in Europe and have always been innovative in our flock management.
In 1992 we started a grazing company and where hired with our flock of sheep, at times comprising of 1200 ewes, to graze nature areas, dykes, military grounds, parks, golf courses, heather regions and grass lands. We built up an extensive organic grazing company and advised in many other projects of this kind. We were also raising American quarter horses and drafts. Despite the fact that our company was doing very well, Eric and I did not want to live in the Netherlands much longer. We wanted a new challenge and wanted to live in a less populated country with lots of nature, our choice was Alberta, Canada. When our visa was finalized we moved to Alberta at the end of August 2008.
We have bought our farm of 480 acres, bordering crown land and National Forest. On this farm we will now concentrate on establishing a good commercial sheep and cattle ranch , raising and training our border collies and Sarplaninac livestock guardian dogs and of course raising our two wonderful children to love and respect nature.
Our ranch became the first ranch in Canada to be certified Wildlife Friendly. We manage our sheep and cattle in such a manner that we can co-exist with the native wildlife. You can find more information about predator maneagment and wildlife friendly practices on this website. I do a number of presentations, talks and seminars each year on these topics, as well as working with livestock guardian dogs. I have spoken at a number of international events, to local sheep groups and large conferences on predator management.
I love sharing stories and photography about our dogs, our ranch, our stock and our lives.
These can be found under the BLOG button on this website.
I started out as a farmhand at 16 years of age, I knew my future would be in farming. My parents did not have a farm so I would have to find a way to do it. My first step was to go to Agricultural College in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands. I graduated in 1987.
After that I worked in Belgium for 1 year in sheep farming, grazing sheep in the harbors’ of Antwerp. . Then I got a job on a research station in pig farming. After 6 month Provimi asked me to work for them as a nutritionist for Ruminants.
I took that job and started a course at Wageningen University on Nutrition of animals. For Provimi I worked as trouble shooter in different countries to help out the sales teams of feed companies.
In 1993 I started the Grazerie together with my wife Louise. I stopped my job at Provimi and started working as a free lance consultant in farm management and sales support to feed companies.
Our sheep farm did very well after about 5 years and we built up our own small farm.
We had about 500 sheep and I was still working full time as consultant. In 2002 I started taking on less consultancy work and got more involved in the sheep farm as it was growing bigger and bigger.
I worked as specialist in the sheep and goat dairy industry. I have consultated internationally on various dairy goat and dairy sheep farms. I have spoken at conferences on these topics.
Between 2006 and 2008 we were concentrating on selling the farm in the Netherlands because we new we were going to move to Alberta, Canada. We moved in 2008 and started the process of building up our ranch here.
I have always raised and trained border collies, I breed ISDS registered border collies is my prefix or kennel name is ROCKSTEADY.
In 2011, I made the decision to focus a part of my attention on running and owning my own insurance company.
This move was primarily made to help the ranch survive the big recession in 2010.
I enjoy the professional side of this business and the day to day interactions with my clients.
During her High School years, Jess was very involved in 4-H, where she did projects such as horse, steer, sheep, and market lamb. She has been an avid rider helping out with cattle drives, barrel racing and grand entry rides. In 2013 she was the High Prairie Pro Rodeo Queen. In 2014, she won the prestigious 4-H Premiers Award. Her passion is showing her livestock. She is attending Lakeland College and doing her diploma in Environmental Sciences, following this she will complete her diploma in Agri- Business.
She gives numerous clinic's on sheep showing and grooming, judging clinics, public speaking and cattle showmanship.
She has been on various judging teams at 4-H and college level.
She has started her own registered herd of Black Angus Show cattle, and has a small commercial angus herd and commercial dorset ewes.
Roy is very active in 4-H and spends a large amount of time feeding and caring for his 4-H animals. He has done many projects such as steer, sheep, breeding stock, horse, small engines and outdoor living. Roy plays an integral role in the ranch, helping out with feeding, health care, day to day chores, socialising the dogs, haying and all the jobs that are found on a ranch.
He enjoys showing his livestock.