Below are the resumes of the four Board of Director candidates for the 2014 BLU election. Good luck everyone!
Karen Szewc: Liongate Farm, Rogue River, Oregon
I own and operate Liongate Farm located in Southern Oregon with my husband Jon Updegraff. I am a shepherdess, fiberpreneur and maker of fiber crafts (as well as head barn cleaner) and would like to be considered for a board position with BLU. I have an “official” degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design and we both work FT outside of the Farm. I own an Etsy shop (Liongate.etsy.com) that features my fiber products and art and participate in 3 fiber shows and 4 craft shows throughout the year.
It all started with a quest for curly wool Santa beards. Wandering the aisles at the Black Sheep Gathering, touching, feeling, talking about what would be the right breed to add to my small flock of Navajo Churro Sheep. Then I met the Blues. Perfect curls, perfect size, perfect personalities. Love!!!!
Our farm has been in operation since 1997, and I obtained my first blues in 2010 and it was instant joy. Since then I have almost finished converting my entire small flock (15 ewes and 3 rams) to a nicely diversified genetic pool of Bluefaced Leicesters (Thank you Kelly, Robina and Jared). Our mission is to produce exemplary quality fiber, wool products and crafts and outstanding healthy breeding stock as well as a marketable meat lamb using a terminal sire.
We also employ 6 Tibetan Mastiff livestock guardian dogs to protect our sheep and are involved in promoting this passive form of predator deterrent. Our farm forest interface is negligible and we border a main water source which results in a large predator problem (cougar, bear, coyote, fox). Having the working dogs reduces our probability of predator kills. We are very active in preserving this great breed in the world wide. I served as the final rare breed registrar for the breed, submitting our registry to the AKC which resulted in obtaining AKC recognition for our Tibetan Mastiffs. We are current active members in ATMA .
This year when I attended Black Sheep Gathering I showed our Sheep for the first time and really enjoyed being involved with others in the breed. We plan to continue showing in order to represent this wonderful breed. We host Fiber on the Farm each August at the farm, promoting local fiber farm and providing an educational opportunity for the public to experience the farm, meet the animals and learn the processes of fiber production. I also have a large knowledge in ovine health based on experience love to assist others in this category.
I would like to take this a step further and be an active part of the organization devoted to my favorite sheep!
Thank you for your consideration!
Rose Ellen Schmidt-Landin: Cedar Fen Farm, Baldwin, Wisconsin
I have been breeding BFL’s and have been a member of the BLU since 2006-7 when I was 15. I started with two ewes and a ram, my 4H project for the year and plan to establish a commercial herd based on BFLs
and mule ewes bred from Xs with Icelandics which have been performing very well for us. With just a few credits left to go, I will shortly graduate from UWRF with an animal science degree. I am breeding 40
BFL ewes this year in partnership with my mother, AIing 30 of them with UK sires we imported in collaboration with some of the major UK breeders. Our primary breeding goal is to combine the meatiness of the
UK lines with the structural soundness, heavier fleece, and cold weather resistance of the US lines. I would like to help promote the Bluefaced Leicester breed as a member of the BLU board.
Sarah Williams: Sarah’s Fiber Farm, Beaver Dams, New York
My name is Sarah Williams I am a current member of BFL registry and I am running for a board position. I am interested in representing the youth of our registry. The youth represent the next generation of our BFL registry and future of all our hard work. I would like to incorporate and support programs to create youth involvement, new enrollment, and education. I am also available to attend the national BFL shows to create new opportunities for our registry’s youth.
I am currently a teen leader and a high school student. I volunteer in a community service club and am very active in my local 4-H. I’ve been managing my own sheep flock for 5 years and registered BFL flock for 3 years. I have also been active in the Maryland Youth Conservationist Program and the Empire State Sheep Improvement club. I am a hard worker, and am dedicated and committed to all my endeavors.
I look forward to helping the registry grow and am excited to be a part the BFL union that so many of our members have worked hard for.
Thank you for your consideration.
Bill O’Donnell: Shepherd’s Run, Auburn Twp., Ohio
My wife, Sharon and I started Shepherd’s Run farm 44 years ago. We are located in Geauga County in northeast Ohio. We have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.
I have raised sheep for more than 50 years. I started as a member in 4-H for 5 years winning many awards and achievements. I served as a 4-H Advisor for 15 years when my children were in 4-H. I have served on numerous committees including Junior Fair Sale Committee; 4-H Advisory Committee, and two terms as President of the NE Ohio Sheep Association.
As my children were growing up, we raised a few different meat breeds, i.e., Oxfords and Hampshires. Then once the children were grown, we switched to wool breeds.
Currently, we have a small flock of registered Border Leicesters and registered Blue-faced Leicesters. I appreciate the purity of both breeds and the specific characteristics and quality of the fleeces. The BFLs have received a lot of interest and excitement from spinners – locally and out-of-state. We showed a few lambs in August at the National BFL Show and also attended the dinner.
Only a member of the BFL Union of North America for 3 years, everyone I have met have made me feel very welcome and have been very willing to help. I even got a geography lesson about the eastern side of Oregon.
It has been really nice to see such a progressive sheep breed association, as I have been a member of several over the past 50 years. It comes from the strength of the product (BFLs) and great members and their dedication. I would enjoy the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors.