Denice Rackley – Contributing Writer

My journey has been a winding path that has led me to regenerative ag, sheep production, and border collies.  I grew up outside Cincinnati, Ohio, in the suburbs but always felt like I should have been born 100 years ago. Knowing I wanted to teach or work with animals, I went to a local college for a biology degree. After college, I did some teaching, interned at a Florida nature center, and volunteered in the wildlife rehabilitation center. The combination of animals and medicine struck a chord; I came home and enrolled in a veterinary technician program.

After eight years, I was ready for an adventure, so I moved to South Dakota. I worked in a vet clinic, taught in a 2room schoolhouse, lived on a ranch, and loved the western way of life. Having my own cattle seemed like a stretch, but sheep, that was doable. So I began raising bottle lambs, immediately falling in love with sheep. With a good mentor to help me along the way, I purchased five bred ewes. A full-time job and a growing sheep flock were tough to manage. That is where the border collies came in. I needed efficient help managing the ewes. Where else does a dog person look for help except a dog bred for the job? 

I have made too many mistakes to count. Now, after 27 years raising sheep and 22 using working dogs, the mistakes are fewer.  I help other livestock producers who raise stock and want to use a working dog to assist with management avoid the common pitfalls sharing advice from someone who has struggled on that path.

I breed, raise, train border collies on my southern Indiana farm at Clearfield Stockdogs. I hold clinics twice a year, inviting the best clinicians in the US, Canada, and the UK. On the rare occasions I am not outside, you can find me reading or at the computer typing away, combing my love of learning with sharing knowledge as a freelance writer.

If I can be of assistance, feel free to get in touch –


Denice Rackley