2020 National Show venue sought

by Lisa Rodenfels on March 13, 2019

  The BLU board is accepting applications for show venues for the 2020 BFL National Show.   Please contact any board member to make suggestions for the venue.  There is an proposal form available which covers many of the questions, requirements, and considerations to be made when choosing a site for the show.   It should be completed and submitted to the breed secretary, listed on the form.

2020 National Show Proposal Form

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Choosing the BFL for profit

by Lisa Rodenfels on March 4, 2019

This article was originally published in The Shepherd Magazine.  Written by Katie Sullivan, Vermont

It took a few years and some mistakes to come around to the Bluefaced Leicester.

I started out with five mutt sheep that cost $250 total. A combination of Montadale and Corriedale, they had nice wool from their Corriedale ancestry and great meat frame size from the Montadale side. But finding a matching ram? Impossible. I used several Cormo rams in pursuit of fine fleece, but struggled to maintain other traits. Soon, I had an unruly gang of sheep of all shapes and sizes and no way to effectively breed them into uniformity in a reasonable timeframe.

It was plainly time to find a consistent animal who would deliver delicious lamb and highly desirable wool. Being accustomed to selling Cormo, I wasn’t really keen to have to convince my customers that they were going to love something rough or primitive. Since every ewe can produce $100 or more of wool value, well marketed, it seemed a waste to consider hair breeds. On the other extreme, finewool breeds do not thrive in our damp climate and with land prices in our area being high, I knew I would need a breed that would produce twins and triplets reliably. I had noticed that many producers in our area did not consider carcass economics carefully, choosing breeds that finished at weights too light to be economical where slaughter costs more than $100 per animal.

The Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) checked boxes that other breeds didn’t. They are fairly large and finish at a larger size than many breeds favored by hobbyists. They provide tender meat and incredible length of loin, increasing the proportion of the most desirable cuts. BFL ewes can carry lambs from the largest terminal sires with ease. My BFL ewes are so milky that I am struggling to dry them off after four month’s lactation. Their lambs are enormous and well-conformed.

On the wool side, I’ve discovered that every beginning spinner is sent out seeking BFL fiber to spin. Yarn buyers and felters appreciate the tightly purled curl and silky sheen of BFL. The fiber blends well with precious fibers, offering shiny, drapey yarns that flatter the wearer.

Most importantly, BFLs were one of the last breeds imported to the US as live animals, meaning that BFLs in North America were not bred up from a parent breed. While genetics got a little tight in the ‘90’s, the importation of a dozen diverse, award-winning sires from the UK during the 2000’s has made the breed gene pool wide and healthy again. Almost every ewe in my flock has a champion UK ram in the third or fourth generation.

Other shepherds sometimes ding me by accusing the BFL of being too delicate. Mine have proven as hardy as any other sheep and have weathered Northern Vermont winters with ease. They want a little supplementation to stay in tip-top condition, sure, but when you compare their productivity with that of an unimproved breed, you quickly realise that a small grain bill isn’t a big price to pay for vigorous twins, valuable wool and long, large carcasses in the locker.  

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Bluefaced Leicester: A Breed For All Markets

January 30, 2019

This article was originally published in The Shepherd Magazine.    Written by Carol Densmore,  Cross Wind Farm, Michigan. Learning to spin opened the door to the fiber arts world and led to the rediscovery of the hard work and farm life that I grew up in. As a hand spinner I knew I couldn’t live […]

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Summary of the January 17th BLU board meeting

January 23, 2019

The BLU board met by teleconference meeting on January 17th at 7PM EST. All board members were in attendance, as well the as Sect/Treas. Incoming President Katie Sullivan (VT) welcomed new board member Paul Genge (WA). During the meeting, the board voted to appoint Margie Smith (PA) to the board seat vacated when Katie took […]

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Year End Financial Statements

January 21, 2019

BLU is in a good financial position.   The board is pleased to be able to continue spending on advertising and promotion of the breed, as well as working to encourage youth participation in our organization. 2018DecBalSht 2018DecYTDP&L

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2019 Dues

December 6, 2018

It is time for 2019 dues to be paid.  Please complete a work order, make out the check to BLU, and mail it to ASR at the address posted on our website.  You can also print a copy of the work order there.   It’s important to pay your dues within the 60 day grace period […]

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2018 Election Results

December 6, 2018

The BLU board election is completed. Our incoming President is Katie Sullivan of Vermont, beginning her term on January 1st. Elected to his first term on the board is Paul Genge (Washington): and re-elected to the board are Margaret VanCamp (Michigan) and Kat Bierkens of Oregon. Please join me in congratulating them. A heartfelt thank […]

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Blueland Farm – Living the Dream

December 3, 2018

Blueland Farm, owned by BLU Vice-President Meredith Myers-Null and husband,Dan.   Read the entire article here: https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/economy_and_business/agriculture/frederick-s-farms-living-the-dream-generations-gather-on-mount/article_09be2877-ddf8-5ec0-b4cb-bc703c81f91e.html?fbclid=IwAR19PU_TQSLv-A83OH88clON9Wnk0fJ6TjUhtGo4y23hOj7eM7Q6DPpltCk

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Candidate Statements for 2018 election

October 29, 2018

Ballots will be mailed out  the 1st week of November, and are due back to the election chairperson by December 1st. Ballots will be mailed to all active members as of October 1st. Here are the candidates: CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT Katie Sullivan Cloverworks Farm Albany, VT Hi, my name is Katie Sullivan and I live […]

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1st White longwool ewe at Rhinebeck

October 21, 2018

Bluefaced ewe takes first longwool white ewe at Rhinebeck. Congratulations to BLU member Elora Chapin.

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