Vern and Susan Thorp

Windrush Farms is a diversified farming operation of row crops, hay and livestock on 1000 acres.  The main farm is located 5 miles north of Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Highway 63.  The additional farms comprising this operation are further north of the main farm and south of Oskaloosa.

Vern Thorp has been involved in farming and raising livestock all his life.  He has always had cattle and sheep, showing sheep professionally as a young man.  He raised and trained Quarter

Horses for many years in reining, pleasure and roping.  To supplement his farm income, he was a farrier for 20 years.

Vern and Susan started with a commercial cow/calf herd and small feed lot.  In 1993 they began raising purebred Fleckvieh Simmental Cattle. The genetics for this purebred cow/calf operation came from Arnold Brothers, McIntosh, South Dakota.

In the early 90s Dorset sheep were added.  The beginning ewe flock came from the Poynters in Illinois. This flock has been maintained since then with only an infusion of bloodlines from Mississippi State and the infrequent purchase of outcross rams. Lambing takes place in the fall and late winter.

Full Blood and percentage Boer Goats have been the latest addition to Windrush.  Thorps have become very involved in the meat goat industry and are founding members of the Iowa Meat Goat Association.  Susan is President of this group and co-chairperson of the Iowa State Fair Show and September Show. 

All of the livestock work is done with the help of their Australian Kelpies, the top working stock dog in Australia.  In 1982 Windrush Kelpie Stud was established with two quality imports from Australia, *Clovaville Oak and *Scoriochre Emma II.  Their first litter of top-notch working Kelpies was produced in 1984.  Vern and Susan have made several trips to Australia to bring back additional bloodlines to enhance their breeding program.  The latest import, *Capree Ollie, arrived in 2000.  The dogs are used daily to chore gathering livestock from pastures, moving stock from lot to lot and working in the barns.  They are also used to sort livestock, help with chute work and load animals into trailers.

Educational seminars and clinics on the use and training of stock dogs are held at Windrush Farms three times per year. In conjunction with one of these events a unique livestock handling seminar is taught by Vern. The events are sponsored by the Australian Fund that was established in 1992.  The proceeds from these clinics and seminars are used to bring renown Australian stockmen over to the United States to educate clinic attendees on training, breeding, and use of stock dogs and stockmanship.  Family involvement is stressed in these clinics by inviting both the Australian clinician and his family.

Thorps are members of the Working Kelpie Council, Inc. of Australia and are the Midwestern overseas United States Representatives of this organization.  They have been members of Working Kelpies, Inc. since 1986, serving the organization in several capacities,

President, Secretary and Treasurer. Thorps hosted the Nationals twice for this group. Working Kelpies, Inc. is the United States association representing the Working Kelpie breed.

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