Merck Forest and Farm Center Farm Management Rupert Vermont
Teaching and demonstrating the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland

News & Events

April 19, 1pm - 4pm

Join fellow knitters for a social knitting club. All skill levels welcome. Ideal for those who want to get started on a project, continue a project or have a question and need advice. Just show up! Open to all ages. Meets at the Joy Green Visitor Center.

April 26th, 8:30am - 3pm - Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT
April 27th, 8:30am - 3pm - Merck Forest and Farm Center, Rupert, VT

The Vermont Sheep and Goat Breeders Association will sponsor two Vermont Sheep Shearing Schools this year: April 26th at Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT and April 27th at Merck Forest and Farm Center, Rupert, VT. These are beginner and intermediate sheep shearing schools.  Participants will have a hands-on experience shearing sheep with the guidance of professional shearers.  All aspects of shearing will be discussed including shearing day preparations, equipment set up and basic maintenance, fitness, the shearing pattern, sheep handling and control and basic wool handling. We will also go over the angora goat pattern and some of the special techniques associated with shearing goats. Participants will receive an ASI shearing binder that covers all the course work and has a wealth of additional pertinent information. Also, this year we will give instruction for shepherds on how to crutch and deal with fly strike. Even if you are not interested in shearing sheep for a living the course will offer valuable information to the shepherd regarding the process and the equipment.

Participants should have their own equipment.  Oster Shearmasters or equivalent electric machines are ideal.  There will be a limited number of loaners available for the day.  We will also have a sharpening wheel available for combs and cutters. As always there will be lunch time entertainment by The Ruminators.  We will supply coffee and bagels, participants should bring a bag lunch.

The lead instructor will again be our own "Old Shepherd", Chet Parsons.  The course is also open for auditing without the actual shearing.  The cost for the complete course at either location is $125.00. For auditors the cost is $50. The VSGBA offers one scholarship a year for young shearers (The Dan Korngeibel Scholarship).  Schools start at 8:30am and usually wind up around 3pm (or when all the sheep are sheared). We have limited openings this year so register early.

To register or for more information call 802-483-2463802-483-2463 or email Jim McRae at

Cost: $125 - complete course fee at either location / $50 - complete course fee for auditors

Saturdays, April 19 through June 14, 2pm - 4pm
Thursdays, June 19 through September 4, 2pm - 4pm (except 7/10)

Put on your boots and grab your camera. Join Merck Forest's staff for afternoon farm chores. Peek in the nest boxes to see if you can spot some eggs. Have you ever fed pigs, or given water to sheep? How about haltering and moving horses to pasture? Farm Chores gives families the chance to learn about the farm routine and the animals--it's a great interactive experience. Call to sign up; groups are limited to ten people. Please arrive early to pay.

Cost: $2.00/person

Daily 8am - 2pm
Late June through August
Please call to make sure berries are in season!

Pick-your-own juicy raspberries and blueberries will be ripe and ready to be picked at Merck Forest and Farmland Center this summer. Visitors, while you walk up to the berry patches enjoy the spectacular views, tour around the farm, and then gather berries. Quart and pint containers are available in the Visitor Center, or feel free to bring your own basket/bucket for collecting. The farm's raspberries and blueberries are not sprayed with any chemicals.

Cost: Berries are $3.00/lbs.

Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13, 8am - 4pm

Come spend the day at the farm! Merck Forest and Farmland Center's Sheep Dog Trial and Farm Festival provides a great way to experience part of Vermont's heritage of sheep farming. The two-day family event allows visitors to see handlers and their border collies compete for the title at the Merck Forest Open! MFFC's Farm Festival will include food from Sherman's General Store (serving kielbasa and sausage from Merck's farm), local crafters who specialize in fiber arts (this year will include an alpaca fiber vendor, batik artist, and a variety of homespun yarns, loomed rugs, towels, etc), horse drawn wagon rides, a variety of children's activities, and more.

Tickets: $5/adult, $3/child ages 4 - 12, under age 4 are free

Volunteers are always needed at this event, if you are interested in volunteering, please contact

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We are not affiliated with, nor do we receive annual support from Merck & Co. Inc.
We are not part of any government agency. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent
allowed by law and are greatly appreciated!

Banner photo courtesy of Dan Sullivan
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