On farm mentorship

The Seasoned Shepherd

Nurturing the Land, Cultivating Wisdom


Much like the simplicity of planting a garden, the principles of husbandry, growing soil and orchestrating a multi-species pasture symphony are tried and true. Yet the carrying out requires nuance, wisdom, hands-on experience and mentorship. You don’t have the time to learn everything the hard way. 

Our work is simple, exacting and enduring. And the endurance will leave a mark.

You will be marked with understanding, hope and renewal. That has been Reverence Farms’ chief externality for years, and we weren’t even trying to grow anything but food and soil. Hope sprouted anyway. 

Our farm’s purpose is fulfilled in your participation in it. We’ve decided that we want our legacy to be your farm dreams coming true. For years we’ve hosted interns, apprentices and veterinary students, but this is a different kind of immersive learning. For the first time, we are opening up the farm for short-term mentorship with the opportunity to join us later on for even more in-depth programs. One farm like this alone isn’t going to change the world. But hundreds or even thousands most certainly will…

We have been dairying on pasture with holistic husbandry for more than 50 combined years. We don’t always agree about everything. We don’t even always agree with ourselves from last year or last month. You will be party to these conversations as we wrestle with what works, what doesn’t, what’s worth pursuing and what is chaff to be discarded. 

Once you’ve walked with us side-by-side as we move cows in the parlor to milk or sort off baby calves in the evening, we are forever friends. Working together is a great equalizer, and the work has a way of forging connections that are foreign to a non-agricultural society. Your on-farm stay isn't just a visit – it's an immersion into the very soul of farming. And farming, at its core, is about relationship – with each other, the land, the animals and the Creator of all. 

Dairying is just like regularly farming with a lot more intimacy.

No one gets under a beef cow’s udder. Yet here is this creature that invites close-up encounters. This hands-on, in-the-thick-of-it  mentorship is like that in many ways. You'll roll up your sleeves and dive headfirst into the heartbeat of a working dairy that has the realities of commercial farming and the heart of homesteading.

From dawn till dusk, you'll be an integral part of leading the day-to-day tasks at Reverence Farms. Hue manages the parlor and Suzanne the pastures and together they tackle the husbandry. You’ll be up close and in all of it. We will at some point during your stay give you the herd and tell you it’s your turn to drive now. And we will be here to support you every step of the way. You’ll go home confident. Ready. And with a network to lean back on. 

Do you have dreams of creating a vibrant, regenerative farmstead, complete with your own dairy animals grazing on lush pastures?

Do you find yourself struggling to navigate the complexities of farming that heals when all you see is broken land, poorly bred animals and systems and infrastructure that are insufficient to hold what you know is true and good and possible?

Are you tired of sifting through endless information, trying to piece together the puzzle pieces and distinctly know that some of the pieces aren’t in your box? Do you wish that you could just ask someone who has been through it all the things so you can build your own dreams without so many hiccups?

Are you ready to cut through the typing warriors with only a few years (or less!) experience regurgitating ideals that you also espouse without the practical experience to back up the philosophies? Can you wait any longer to cut through the noise? Now is your moment.

Comfort and confidence await with knowledge you can implement immediately.

the season shepherd offers

Hands-On Learning Experience

At Reverence Farms, we work. A lot. And while there isn’t much time for tea or leisurely lunches, we do talk a lot when we work, and the shared work provides many opportunities for discussion. You’ll get to ask all the questions you’ve been wondering about, and given a whole new set of context to ask questions you haven’t even thought of, yet are bound to encounter. From the moment you arrive, you'll be welcomed into our vibrant on-farm family and given the chance to participate in all aspects of farm operations. Whether you're watching what was grass yesterday be milked into our glass pipeline today as you help manage baby calves in the parlor or having the distinct privilege of 150+ Jerseys of all ages following as you move them to the next pasture, you'll gain practical experience and invaluable insights that simply can't be found elsewhere. And don’t worry… there will be time for repose and reflection. That’s what we do when we pick up rocks and trash from the pastures (no, really!). You don’t know pasture agronomy until you’ve stooped over to pick up an errant piece of plastic that came in with the carbon and notice how seeds emerge better in a cow print. 
the season shepherd offers

Personalized Mentorship

There’s a term in design called WYSIWYG (“wizy-wig”). It means “what you see is what you get.” Nothing could be a better descriptor of our mentorship style. Hue calls it “no rose-colored glasses.” Suzanne says nobody has time for unsupported philosophies or untended gardens. Either way, we are frank, raw, real and warm. And invested in you. Hospitality is an extension of who we are.  From one-on-one conversations in the parlor to hands-on guidance in the field, you'll have access to expert advice and wisdom that only comes with lived experience. Whether you're a novice or experienced — looking to deepen your understanding of how to raise calves on cows, graze intensively, establish pastures, set up pasture systems, and feed, care for and work with dairy cows — we want you to succeed. The workday is our classroom. 
the season shepherd offers

Immersive Farm Stay Experience

You’ll wake up each morning in your own private tiny home, nestled in the trees along the garden and across from the bees. You are free from your own creatures’ demands and free to immerse yourself in possibility and invest in yourself. You will sleep within walking distance of the cow barn, and may be lulled to sleep with the occasional cow call. With your accommodations nestled within 435 acres to explore, you'll be fully immersed in rural life, and tucked right in next to a town of 1,000 people with no stop light and two farm-to-fork restaurants, a local coffee shop and award-winning brewery and nose-to-tail butcher shop. Farm-fresh meat, eggs, and milk from our farm are available to prepare your meals. Our sunsets along the river are consistently phenomenal. Stargazing opens every unclouded evening on your personal deck, or take a walk to the bridge with glow-in-the-dark pebbles (seasonal depending on tree cover). There are three miles of trails on the farm, including a mile along the Haw River. There’s plenty of creek bends to take a private dip. 
the season shepherd offers

Accelerated Learning Curve

Goodbye, toiling alone. Hello, lived-experience learning. Some things are only learned by doing: what does soil tilth feel like? How can you tell when a cow is about to let-down? How do you get cows to follow you? When is a pasture ready to graze? How do you tell if the pasture is nutritious enough for the cows? What kind of fences and equipment and watering systems do I really need to make this work? See, touch and experience all of it. Ask all the questions you want. 

What you can expect:

  • Hands-on animal husbandry, shepherding, milking and caring for a grass-fed dairy herd.
  • Personalized mentorship from seasoned farmers deeply invested in the land, their animals, their community and YOU.
  • Immersive farm-stay in a crisp and sweet tiny house surrounded by 435 acres of pasture, woods, creek, river and a short trail walk to our little village of Saxapahaw.
  • Participation in group activities as well as individual tasks.
  • Opportunities for networking and connections.
  • On farm, invite-only, mentorship reunion events (hosted once yearly, next event 2025).
  • Opportunity to be a part of Team Karreman (by invite only).


“Stepping onto the land here at Reverence Farms was the biggest breath of fresh air. The sheer size of the farm and all that happens here was a fast track to lessons learned and I realized just how quickly being in-person was way more beneficial than learning from you solely online. You offer so much wisdom and experience to your Stockholder’s and yet, being on farm was truly an immersion. On my first day there, I experienced more than months of online-mentorship could offer. From rotating pastures, seeing the various growth on pastures and hearing Suzanne’s wisdom on rotational grazing based off of HER location, witnessing two calves born on farm, one of which I carried from the pasture to the barn, sorting cows and calves with Hue, seeing jersey bulls up close, witnessing milk bottling, exploring the vast pastures and woods in my down time, and so much more! Having mentors like Suzanne and Hue truly offers a crash course in learning. I feel like what I learned would have otherwise taken me years.”

Lyndsay Stoker, Green Willow Farmstead
Graham, North Carolina

"Suzanne and Hue are a wealth of knowledge with a heart for teaching. Their wisdom encompasses not only caring for dairy cows, but also hot to steward the land in such a way that honors nature's cycles while increasing the production and health of the land and animal. Suzanne has become a dear friend of mine as we share similar beliefs and goals in the dairy world, her cows and mine goats. I appreciate their passion for teaching immensely."

Morgan Michaluk, The Chatty Goat

“Visiting Reverence Farms was a dream come true. All at once I was immersed in their day to day farm routine. The entire time I, like a dry sponge soaked in as much as I could! Working alongside Dr. Karreman & Suzanne was an absolute joy. Everything I learned came from an organic learning setting where I got to jump in on helping them treat cows & calves as problems arose, walk the fields picking up trash & talked about soil health. My only regret was not planning a longer stay!”

S. Gongol, Daffodil Hill Farms

Join Us in Cultivating a Sustainable Future!

Meet Your Mentors

Suzanne & Dr. Hubert Karreman

Suzanne started farming for two simple reasons. It was really homesteading, but that word wasn’t in the public lexicon at that time. She wanted eggs from chickens that ate organic feed and bugs and grass. There was zero organic feed available in the region at the time. And milk from a cow that ate grass and no grain. Little did she know that wasn’t as simple as the grass-reformers wanted everyone to believe. That began a 15-year quest to breed cows up for the job, and learn to regenerate soil sufficient to grow forage to feed them.

She didn’t realize that Jersey cows were, well, sort of addictive. One of her early mentors told her mother that he was afraid that Suzanne “had it bad, and there is no cure.” “What’s that?” her mother replied, genuinely horrified.”Cow fever, ma'am.”

Soon her cow habit enabled her poultry and pig dreams, as a trip to get some Redmond salt for her first cow, Greeley, ended with an alliance with a local organic dairy farmer to mill feed for her chickens (which she had been doing previously with a hand-crank mill with ingredients from the local grocery co-op). He went on to start the first organic feed mill in the area, and now Suzanne could scale-up her layers, broilers, turkeys and pigs. One cow turned into two, then twelve.

That’s about where things were at when she went to an ACRES USA conference in December 2015 and sat in the front row of a talk being given by a person she had long professionally admired and somehow never heard speak: Dr. Hubert Karreman, who had written three books on organic cow care. His very first words to her, notebook on her lap and pen in hand, were: “You’re here to learn.” And she was. But there was something about the way his words trailed off and his eyes looked upwards when he spoke that let her know his basis was deeper than natural treatments for dairy cows. 

Caring for God’s creation as individual animals and not just as a herd was their immediate connection. He took her for a horse and sheep person and a “Jersey breeder,” which she rebuffed at the time. Turns out he already knew her pretty well, better than she knew herself. 

Five months later they were married. Before the engagement came another real commitment, however, when Hue sent a postcard to his 100+ mostly Amish veterinary clients in Lancaster, Pa., and told him he was closing his practice to farm in NC. “Are you really sure you want to do this?” he asked Suzanne. “Yes!” she said. Ask Hue to tell you about the marmalade eyes in one of the St. Croix ewes that sealed the deal. 

The farm is a “full-color” new life for Hue, in his words. He had risen to the top of his profession as the foremost expert worldwide in the non-antibiotic treatment of infectious disease in dairy cattle and the non-hormonal treatment of infertility. He developed and successfully marketed products for organic dairy producers in a time when there were little to no effective treatments that met the no-drug requirements of the then–newly formed National Organic Program. 

From 2005 to 2010 he served as the chairman of the livestock committee of the National Organic Standards Board in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He oversaw much of the implementation of the NOP, and continually and sometimes as a lone voice advocated for animal welfare in the face of consumer-driven standards that didn’t always understand the on-the-farm realities of production agriculture. To this day, one priority that Suzanne and he share is to advocate for the revision of the NOP rule that absolutely prohibits antibiotics, even for sick animals, which punishes farmers for doing right by those in their care and causes untold and needless suffering for the animals. 

Hue cut his teeth as the herdsman for Seven Stars Farm, and it was there that he heard an inward call, “Go to vet school.” After graduating from University of Pennsylvania, he moved back near his hometown and practiced for more than two decades among 40-cow herds in Lancaster, Pa. During that time Suzanne was a reporter on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., for Roll Call newspaper, which was a subsidiary of The Economist, Inc

Neither Suzanne nor Hue grew up dairy farming. They like to joke that they now have 60+ pet cows. They were both back-to-the-land-ing when that was much weirder than it is now. They both learned a lot in self-imposed exile. As Hue likes to say, being a pioneer means you see all the sunrises and sunsets but you also get a few arrows in your back. For Suzanne, seeking to milk cows on grass and raise monogastrics on organic feed was not a popular or seemingly sensical choice fifteen years ago. For Hue, maintaining relationships of mutual respect with his veterinary colleagues while also advocating for a very different form of agriculture has at times seemed a bit like professional schizophrenia. 

One thing you will notice about Hue and Suzanne right away is their warmth and willingness to build bridges. They believe that farming is commonality enough, and many of their friends farm pretty conventionally. Rural communities are decidedly not rebuilt to endure with philosophies. Rural communities are rebuilt in the doing together. 

Suzanne and Hue still love each madly 8 years into their wildly perfect union. Their love of their shared life together reflects on everything they care for — and it’s quite a menagerie. They often laugh about how they should count all their cats and dogs, and sometimes they do… (it’s a lot — and they jokingly asked the local spay and neuter clinic for a punch card).

Their greatest joy is in sharing this life with others, and showing people the goodness of God in the land of the living. Their faith unites them and drives them and grounds them and inspires them. Hope abounds. Service to one another is the currency.

What You'll See...

We are decidedly leave-the-99-to-go-after-the-one folks. We believe very much in individual animal care, and treat all life as if it matters, because it does. That means we also believe in investing in individual education. This life is a calling to us, and we know that the only place our treasure can be stored is in heaven, but we’ve chosen to invest our earthly treasure in the soil — purchased compost was our engagement ring, true story! — the creatures that walk on it, our community — and in you. We want our legacy to be the return of dairy as the central pillar of thriving rural communities, with cows that can effectively turn sunshine into butter and fertile pastures that remind us all that we were created in a garden with a purpose. 

Here’s to teaching a new generation of teachers. We can’t wait to meet you, 

Hue and Suzanne
become a seasoned shepherd

Experience the Heartbeat of Sustainable Farming

Join Our Hands-On Mentorship Program

Example Schedule

Early morning: Two days while you are here (usually Thursdays and Sundays) you will milk with Hubert. Milking starts sometime between 5a and 6:30a, depending on the time of the year and the ambient temperature. Milking lasts all morning, as we also do some husbandry work during that time. And milking 60 cows with their calves is no joke. 

Five days a week we have a full-time milker, and she milks with one of her daughters. Hue and Suzanne sometimes do husbandry (dehorning, ear-tagging, weaning, preg checks, breeding — live cover or AI) and other treatments at this time, and you would be invited to join us. Hue usually leads the treatments and husbandry, and this is your time with him on days you don’t milk, as well as in the evenings.

On mornings you don’t milk, you will have free roam of the place (except the parlor) and you will have projects to work on, such as tending to silvo-pasture trees, building temporary paddocks, and listening to the birds as you pick up rocks or trash out of the fields. This is something we are serious about, firstly, because it needs doing, and secondly because it’s meditative.

You need time to prepare your mental seedbed to have the firehose of information be able to percolate into you in a lasting way. And there is no better way to observe pastures than to spend time really looking at them closely, and moving through the fields with a simple purpose allows for that beautifully. It’s Suzanne’s favorite pastime (for real). 

Morning: Sometime in the morning you will meet with our farm manager, Lyndsay, to talk about the day and the plan. Another thing that happens in the morning is preparing for the cows to go out to pasture, and making sure the lanes and water are set up, which Suzanne leads and will teach you to do so by the end of the week you are capable of doing it on your own — and the whole herd will tell you how well you did by whether they are in the right pasture when they start their day. ;) 

Timing will depend on weather (particularly to avoid the heat of the day), but in general we build fencing in the morning and sometimes again in the afternoon. This is when you will spend time with Suzanne, learning about pasture management and the kind of tips and tricks that you can only learn from a practitioner walking on the earth. She will show you what fences need building, taking down, as well as how we are managing the pastures for the season we are in. Yes, we graze (mostly) year-round. There are times in January and February when it is too wet to graze. 

Late morning to early afternoon: After milking we send cows out to graze for the day. You will be their shepherd. Sometimes that means moving them 2-3 times in a day. Sometimes that means just checking on them and making sure their water is working, they have adequate shade/shelter and the calves are where they are supposed to be. You’ll take a lunch break when it makes sense to do so, usually and hopefully after the cows go out, God willing and the creek don’t rise. 

Lunch: Except on the day you have lunch with Suzanne and Hue, you will be on your own for lunch. There are good local options (even by Suzanne’s standards) as well as an ability to cook on a grill outside your tiny home. Suzanne loves to cook and she occasionally cooks a big pot of something for the staff, and you’d of course join us for that. 

Afternoon: There is some flexibility in the afternoon. Suzanne and Hue usually work in the office or have meetings during this time. You will have a project to work on, and there’s also time for reflection or exploration: trails, pigs, garden, kayak the Haw River, curl up on a couch in the local coffee shop with a book — Saxapahaw is a very fun little town and you won’t exhaust the local sites in one weekend of even a week. There is always something that needs doing on the farm, however, and you are welcome to stick around and keep your hands in it. We do a lot of later afternoon and evening work, so this is a good time to recharge and eat, as well. 

Early Evening: Sometimes we will move the cows one more time in the afternoon, and there is almost always another group of baby bulls or close-up cows to tend to. The general routine is that we sort the babies off the moms at this time, usually in the barn. The cows stay in the barn overnight, and the dry cows and heifers go back out to pasture, sometimes to graze and sometimes to eat hay in a field we are working to make fertile.

It’s a lot of sorting — yet it’s also when we look at the animals up close, do necessary husbandry and make assessments. It’s important from a grass-management perspective that the cows graze as one herd, but they have to be split off into groups overnight for various reasons. This is another intensive learning time, and when you will have time to talk to Suzanne and Hue about what you are observing or questions that it brings up for you. We are often in the barn until around 9pm. It’s important to eat supper before evening chores. The heat of the summer especially means we have to work animals when it’s not so hot. And a lot can happen with dairy cows in 12 hours, so we like to make the time they are alone more like 9 hours. This time in the evening can feel like a fireside chat (except standing up and working).

Here’s to teaching a new generation of teachers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning is life-long and not just for kids. As more and more people check out of industrialized lives that are no longer serving them, the call for real-life education is as glaringly obvious as is the lack of meaningful places to obtain it. Both people and animals are suffering needlessly for this lack of knowledge. We believe that freely we’ve been given so much from people who have mentored us, and so freely we wish to give.

Nowhere is this need more acute than in so-called “grass-fed” dairy, where market philosophies don’t meet real-life practicalities so well. We want to help bridge what is now a great chasm by empowering you to be a light of hope in your community.

Not exactly. You are paying to stay here. We built our tiny houses originally for agritourism. It cost us a pretty penny and a huge amount of time to install them, and we had plans to rent them out to people coming to visit our tourist town, where there is a dearth of places to stay for concerts and the summer music festival, Saturdays in Saxapahaw

Something didn’t sit right. We know many people want to come here to learn, and we didn’t really want to instead engage with folks who were unengaged with the farm, but just wanting a hip place to stay. The idea of having to explain why we don’t have a Keurig and digging coffee grounds out of the trash so we could compost them (yes, we do stuff like that) didn’t fit our life goals. 

We are still trading work for education, as farmers have trained other farmers and tradespeople have been educated (by doing) since the dawn of civilization. The only thing we’ve added is a cool house to stay in — because we recognized you may not be local — because this opportunity is designed to be a fully ON-FARM experience, you will be charged a “boarding” fee.

Most internships or apprenticeships do not allow short-term visits because, frankly, it’s a huge amount of training time for the farmer, and by the time the person gets to be reliable help, the internship is over (the I’ll-train-you,-you-help-me trade is out of balance). Education is expensive and there has to be a balance between the student and the teacher in this way: heavy investment of time in the beginning, long working relationship pays back that investment over time. 

That structure may not work for you, however, and you are not alone. Most people who have pivoted their lifestyle and now want to really delve in and learn have too many attachments to go somewhere to be an intern for a summer. Yet the need to learn hands-on is still a big hindrance to forward progress. Hence, the 3 day weekend or 1-2 week internship. We’ve made the price per week less the longer you are here because the longer you stay, the more our investment in you is paid back with your time and efforts while you are here. 

Homesteaders, aspiring farmers, and anyone looking to roll up their sleeves and work inside of our program to understand pasture management, husbandry, natural and conventional treatments, cow-calf management, milking, infrastructure needs for grazing and organic soil fertility will find a full week or two or three. The work is the same for everyone, but our discussions while we are working will be catered to your interests.

The program includes hands-on experience in farm operations, personalized mentorship, accommodations in a cozy tiny home on the farm, grass-fed raw milk, eggs, and a selection of farm meats, as well as, a private lunch on Friday with Suzanne and Hue — and access to all farm facilities and goings-on.

Participants will learn about soil health, pasture management, animal husbandry, regenerative farming practices, holistic farm management while actually working on the farm. The work will provide context for our conversations and give you the confidence to readily apply what you have learned as soon as you get back home. We are passionate about sharing our knowledge with others and are committed to helping you succeed.

Yes, you will stay in your own cozy tiny home on the farm, across from the garden, near the cow barn and on the corner of our 435-acre property. Accommodations are included in the program fee.

No prior farming experience is necessary. Seasoned Shepherd is designed to accommodate participants of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced farmers. We will provide personalized guidance and support tailored to your individual interests and skill level.

Participants should bring comfortable clothing suitable for outdoor activities — including clothes for inclement weather appropriate to the season — as well as sturdy footwear, a hat, pocket knife and water bottle. We recommend having two pairs of boots — rubber boots to work in the barn and a more comfortable set of shoes or boots to be in the fields. PLEASE clean your boots before you come.There is high-quality prepared food available for breakfast, lunch and dinner from the Saxapahaw General Store and The Eddy Pub for weekend brunch and dinner, both within walking distance or a one-minute car ride. If you desire to prepare your own meals, you will be responsible for everything except the meat, eggs and milk. Detailed information will be provided upon registration.

Participants are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from the farm. You do not need a car while you are here. Parking is available outside your tiny house. The unincorporated village of Saxapahaw is about a 15 min walk from your tiny house along a river trail. 

A: No. Please don’t ask. 

To view an example schedule, please see above. However, we want to be fully transparent — Reverence Farms is a working dairy farm, so the day-to-day happenings are always different. Things happen without notice, animals need assistance, and farm life is one of surrender and going with the flow. Our primary purpose is like any farmers: we have to do our tasks and pay our bills and hopefully harvest more than we spend.

The advantage to being here is that you get to see the unvarnished view from the inside of a working farm with the realities therein, and as such, the education is likely to be far superior than anything you can get elsewhere. That comes with the reality, however, that our schedule doesn’t cater and flexibility is required. The learning is in the doing, the observing how we respond to things that come up, how we think through planning for the next season while we are focused on executing this season well — and participating in all of it. There’s creativity and mess and slog and moments of exuberance. You are welcome to be with us wherever we are working outside, and see any part of the operation during your stay.

You can expect an average of five to ten hours per week with Team Karreman. As Suzanne will say, you’re more than welcome to ask questions, talk with me about soil health and shepherding, but you better believe it’s going to happen while we work! The farm tasks never stop, so if you’re one who loves to learn and DO, Seasoned Shepherd is for you!

No. You have access to a hot plate and air-fryer in your tiny home, where you can cook all of your meals. We will provide our farm grown pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed meat, organically grown pastured pork and A2A2 raw milk for you while you’re on the farm, as well as one lunch on Friday from the Saxapahaw General Store with Suzanne and Hue. Beyond this, you are responsible for your meals and any other foods you may want!

No, all on-farm mentorship spaces are non-refundable. However, we understand that life happens and schedules change. If this is the case, please reach out to us at least four weeks in advance so we can see what accommodations we can offer.

No, because this opportunity is designed to be a fully immersive experience all participants are required to stay on farm in our tiny homes.This is part of the overall experience and while you will have personal down time, you will need to be on call as needed.

You can bring up to 3* additional people to participate in The Seasoned Shepherd Mentorship Program, for a total of 4 participants including yourself. Each of the two tiny homes can accommodate 2 people (one queen bed per home). If your group has more than 2 participants you will need to pay the booking fee** for both tiny homes.

*Based on availability for the week(s) you would like to come.

**Price per home is dependent on the number of guests.

The Seasoned Shepherd program is designed for people 18 and over, however we will consider children 13+ on a case by case basis. If you would like to bring them with, please reach out to events@reverencefarms.com to inquire about our policies on children participating in this opportunity.

If you have any further questions or would like more information about Seasoned Shepherd, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're here to help!

Have more questions?

Feel free to reach our to our team if you have further questions! We would be happy to assist!

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