BLU… Dedicated to the breed and its breeders.
BLU MISSION STATEMENT
The purpose of the Bluefaced Leicester Union of North America is to:
- educate the public regarding the multi-dimensional qualities and advantages of the Bluefaced Leicester Sheep.
- maintain a website for education, promotion of the breed, and the promotion of its Members.
- support and encourage the breeding of purebred Bluefaced Leicester Sheep in North America, and in doing so, expand the numbers of Bluefaced Leicester Sheep.
- register, and encourage the registration of, the purebred progeny of Bluefaced Leicester Sheep in a professional manner, and to ensure the integrity of all pedigrees.
- support and encourage a high standard of excellence for the Bluefaced Leicester Sheep, through maintaining and/or improving the established standards of the breed.
Brief history of BLU and important milestones
Nearly a decade after their original importation into Nova Scotia from the United Kingdom, small numbers of Bluefaced Leicesters had finally arrived in the US by the early 1980s. Serious preservation efforts were started in 1995 by a handful of interested breeders.
Growing concern for the breed led a number of US breeders to import frozen semen from the UK to expand the genetic base of the Bluefaced Leicester in the US. In 1997, the first “new blood” since the original importations arrived in the United States.
Following this very important milestone, the Bluefaced Leicester Union of North America (BLU) was organized in 1998 to educate, preserve and promote the breed, and support its members. BLU established an official Registry with the 1998 lamb crop.
2006 was witness to another new milestone for the breed in the United States; the publication of the first national flock book by BLU, beginning with sheep registered in 2005.
2007 also proved to be a very important year for the Bluefaced Leicester in the US; the first-ever National Bluefaced Leicester Show was held in conjunction with the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival, in Rhinebeck, NY, in October. It was also the 2007 Featured Breed at the Festival.
The combination of a nationally-recognized Sheep & Wool Festival, National BFL Show, and Featured Breed display was invaluable… not only for bringing together BFL breeders and enthusiasts from across North America, but also in bringing the breed further into the public awareness.
Also of major importance, several US breeders exported Bluefaced Leicesters to Canada in the summer and fall of 2007, with the first landing in Nova Scotia on July 17. It was generally considered “the return of the Bluefaced Leicester to Canada” after an alleged absence of the breed from the country since the mid-1990s.
BLU played an important part in this undertaking. BLU continues to aid our Canadian members and breeders in their quest to build up the Bluefaced Leicester breed north of the border.
In 2009, BLU was incorporated as a non-profit corporation and elections were held at the end of the year. After years of dedication and direction, the reins of BLU were handed down from the very capable hands of Kelly Ward to the first Board of Directors, who took office at the beginning of 2010.
BLU now has more members than ever, has published 5 annual flock books, and has sponsored and organized 3 National Bluefaced Leicester Shows. Sheep registrations continue to grow.
BLU and many of its members maintain close ties with the UK Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders’ Association, and breeders and judges throughout the UK. BLU and its members continue their efforts to import new genetics from the UK, so that greater flock expansion can occur via AI.
BLU continues to work tirelessly to promote the breed, support its membership and the breeders, and educate the public about the Bluefaced Leicester. We hope you’ll join us on our journey!
In Leicesters… BLUE is finer.
Founding Members of BLU, 1998
Chuck and Lisa Rodenfels, Somerhill Farm, Ohio
Anne Bisdorf, Wool ‘N Wood Farm, Ohio
Anne Barclay Priest, Blue Island Farms, New York and Nova Scotia
LeeAnne Richert, Red Oak Farm, Wisconsin
Brenda Lelli, Beechtree Farm, Michigan
Linda Phillips, Longhope Farm, North Carolina
Karen Malcor-Chapman, KPM Cornerstone Flock & Fiber, California
Barbara Wellman, Michigan
Kelly Ward, Ward Farms, Michigan