Summary of April 26th, 2018 meeting

The BLU board met by teleconference meeting on April 26th at 6PM EDT. All board members were in attendance, as well the as Sect/Treas.
The minutes of the January 17th meeting were read and approved. The current balance in the treasury is $10,378.63. There are several ads to be placed in magazines and festival catalogs which will be paid soon.

The committee chairs have been busy working on new projects for the association. The genetics taskforce has been working on a video promoting the data collection system, NSIP, which is an industry wide program to collect data which will allow breeders to improve the commercially important genetics in their flocks and compare to other flocks using EBVs. BLU will make this video available on the website, and encourages its members to consider using this data system to make breeding decisions in their own flocks. With enough interest from members, there is a possibility of offering financial incentives to breeders to help offset the costs incurred, as all BFL breeders will benefit from the improved productivity and ability to select breeding stock based on desired traits.

The bylaws and standards committee has developed an addendum to the breed standard in which BLU recommends following veterinarian and industry standards on tail docking length. This will be on the website, sent out to new breeders, and made available to judges at shows, along with the judging scorecard.

The youth committee has suggested a scholarship program for our youth members, and will be working on a proposal for the next meeting. An online questionnaire, geared toward getting to know our youth and their needs, is being prepared.

The media committee is also hard at work. There will be an issue in the Shepherd Magazine this fall featuring BFLs. Several breeders have volunteered to write articles on different uses of the BFL. Also, the logo that we currently use will be updated so that we have a larger file for printing. The board decided to keep the style similar, but will need a new BFL head for it. For that, the media committee will be holding a photo contest. It is hoped that the 7 life members, all of whom were founding members of BLU, will agree to judge the contest.
Other projects being worked on include a video on how to grow and prepare a BFL fleece for competition, and another video on how to fit a BFL for showing.

The national show committee reported that final plans are being made for the show in June.

Board meeting notes from 1-17-18 meeting

The BLU board met for its organizational teleconference meeting on January 17th at 6PM EST. All board members were in attendance, including newly elected VP Meredith Myers-Null of MD as well as board members Katie Sullivan of VT and Shellie Ross of FL. President Margaret VanCamp welcomed them to the board, and also recognized outgoing members Joan Chapin, Carol Densmore, and Heather Landin for their time and service to BLU.

Sect/Treas Lisa Rodenfels gave the treasurer’s report. The current balance is $10,117.43, with a net gain of $716.27 for the year 2017.
In the secretary’s report, Lisa told the board that she she is working on a postcard to remind members to pay their 2018 dues. There are currently 106 members, up from 98 in 2016. There were 383 registrations and 235 transfers made in 2017.

Next were the committee reports. President Margaret VanCamp appointed Kat Bierkens to the Youth Committee Chair. She will begin working on an online survey for our youth to answer, since the mailed survey did not net results.
Shellie Ross is the new Bylaws/Standards chair. She will work on a draft to improve the current breed standards to include line drawings showing examples of good and poor conformation, as well as showing desirable breed specific characteristics. This draft will be presented to the board at a later time.
Katie Sullivan is the new Media chairperson. She will work on providing articles and photos to media to better promote our breed.
Margaret will take over as the Genetics Taskforce chairperson.

The National Show Committee chair, Karen Szewc, began a discussion on plans and ideas for the show during the Black Sheep Gathering on June 29th. There are 2 hotels on the fair grounds, but they do not accept blocked rooms, so it is first come, first served. The festival committee will allow us to have whatever classes we’d like. They provide ribbons, and Karen is arranging for small trophies for all class winners. Would like to get a list of the entries to the show in order to have a program printed. There will be gift bags for all exhibitors, and a banquet is planned. There will be an auction at the banquet, and it will be open to all people interested in BFLs, not just BLU members. There has been an ad running in the Black Sheep Newsletter for the past 4 quarters, and a full page ad is planned for the spring edition. She would like to donate a basket to the BSG with BFL fiber in it. There will be classes in the wool contest for BFL fleeces. Lisa will keep the website and FB page up to date with information as it becomes available. A sponsorship level was set at $50.

New business included the upcoming Maryland Sheep & Wool festival. A yearling ewe is needed for the Youth Conservation Program to be donated during the festival. Meredith Myers-Null will provide a ewe for the breed display. The board voted to add a $50 cash award to the top placing BFL fleece there.
It was also decided to have a contest for the most new memberships sponsored by existing members. BLU has always recommended buying a membership for youth members and breeding stock buyers, and would like to encourage BLU members to do this for their customers.

2017 Election: Candidate Statements

Ballots will be mailed out by the 1st 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 VP
Meredith Myers-Null – BlueLand Farm – Mt Airy, MD

I am excited for the opportunity to serve as the BLU Vice President. I have significant experience that should serve me well in this role. Most recently I served on the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association (MSBA) Board of Directors for three years. MSBA puts on the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, the annual Maryland Wool Pool, and sponsors several other educational and promotional activities through the year.
I have been in love with and owned Bluefaced Leicesters for 12 years. Over those past 12 years first my mom, Connie, and I and since her passing, now my husband, Dan, and I have been building a flock that has quality fleeces on sound, fast growing frames. We are very proud to be a part of this breed. BFLs have such a unique position in our current market that places emphasis on quality and sustainable production, and I am looking forward to representing the breed through our organization.

Two (2) Candidates for Board Positions
Shellie Ross – Celtic Oaks Farm – Merritt Island, FL

I would like to be considered for a board position with BLU in the 2017 election. I feel I am a good candidate for this position due to my past positions of director and secretary on a national rare breed rabbit club. I am excited about the breed, and introducing them this far south here in the US to help further first hand education at fairs/shows/festivals.
Our farm sits 10 miles from the Atlantic ocean on a true island complete with ocean breezes and palm trees. Our front porch is prime viewing of launches from Kennedy space center which is due east of us as well. We are a military family with 2 sons at home. The youngest (almost 7) has his own herd of competitive show Satin Angora rabbits. He has taken to the sheep & is anxious is have his own lambs in spring to work with. We purchased him a local club lamb this year to learn with/from, this little wether has sparked his interest even more.
We selected BFL as our breed due to our climate, and guidance from a friend who said the long wool would handle our rain/humidity better as well as provide excellent meat. I enjoy spinning, and needle felting. The BFL blends beautifully with our satin angora rabbit for projects. We will remain focused on meat production as well as hand spinners fleeces with our flock. Our family is all in family with the farm. Our oldest and my husband build whatever is needed for the animals. Our youngest helps clean stalls, feed, and socialize everyone. I am the researcher, planner, record keeper, and point of contact for the farm.
Since we are so far south, with extreme weather, we have started small. 3 ewes (2 yearlings and a lamb) as well as 1 ram. I may be new to the breed, but I am excited for the future with them, and the opportunity to serve the club in any way possible.

Katie Sullivan – Cloverworks Farm – Albany, VT
Hi, my name is Katie Sullivan and I live in Albany, VT.  l have been raising BFLs since 2016 but have been raising sheep since 2012.  My professional background is in dairy goat management and genetics.  Using my knowledge of statistical sire evaluations,  I have helped several herds increase their milk yields and improve general conformation and udder traits.  I want to continue BLU’s work in promoting the breed and encouraging continued improvement of our breeds’ health and vitality.

2017 BLU Election Approaches

Deadline to submit resumes to run for Vice-President or 2 board positions is OCTOBER 25th ***
Send resume to BLU breed secretary at 44011 County Rd 23, Coshocton, OH 43812, or email to

Timeline for Election:

October 25th – Last day to receive resumes for candidacies. Resumes will be posted on the BLU website during the election.
Nov. 1st – Election Supervisor will mail ballots to all BLU full members paid as of October 1, 2017. (please check the current membership list to be certain your membership is paid for 2017)
Dec. 1st – Deadline for ballots to be returned to Election Supervisor.
Dec. 5th – Election Supervisor will count ballots and report to BLU president.
Dec. 6th – President to contact all candidates with results, and post on website.

***Check by-laws for eligibility rules and position descriptions

Your advertising dollars at work

As the 2017 sheep show and fiber festival season begins, BLU would like to remind our members of the advertising dollars spent promoting the breed and the breeders during the year.
Since 3 of BLU’s stated goals are promotion related:
To engage in the education and promotion of Bluefaced Leicester sheep,
To provide interested people with information about Bluefaced Leicester sheep and their products,
To promote interest in the Bluefaced Leicester breed of sheep wherever possible in order to attract new breeders for the propagation and well-being of the breed.
the board feels strongly that a large portion of the budget each year should be spent on promotion and advertizing.

Here is a list of the shows and festivals where advertising dollars were spent in 2016. These events have traditionally been attended by BLU members, either showing sheep or BFL fiber, or as vendors in fiber shows.
Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival – $350.00 This includes support for the working herding dog demonstration given by long time breeder, Nancy Starkey, using BFLs.
Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival – $40.00
Shepherd’s Harvest in Minnesota – $30.00

Because the 2018 BFL national show will be held during the Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon, the board will be placing ads in the Black Sheep Newsletter each of the next 4 quarters. Each ad will be $99.00.

Additionally, ads are planned for the Michigan Fiber Festival and for the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool festival in 2017.

Besides promoting BFLs at shows, there are also ads placed in the major sheep magazines – The Shepherd and Sheep! both have paid listings in the breed section of each magazine, at a total cost of $80.00 per year. A special ad costing $350.00 was placed in the SpinOff Magazine in their winter issue which featured Bluefaced Leicester wool. The Banner magazine provides space for notes from breed associations at no cost – a great benefit!

The board would like to invite any member who attends a show or festival with their BFL sheep or fiber to submit a request to advertise at that show. We’d also like to remind you that BLU has banners available to borrow if you’d like to promote the breed registry at events. Besides banners, there are also promotional materials available to print here on the website. (click on “about BLU” and then on “Promotional Materials”)

BLU Notes

A reminder to our membership; 2017 dues must be paid by March 1st to avoid interruptions in membership privileges. They are payable by check, or now by using a credit card. Make checks to BLU, and be sure to send them to the breed registry service in Wamego KS.

The BFL National show committee had selected and announced the site of the 2018 show will be the Black Sheep Gathering, June 22, 23, and 24th in Eugene, OR. Please make plans to join us for the sheep and fiber events!

Each year, the Youth Conservation Program held during the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival awards a yearling ewe to youth who have expressed their interest by completing an application and submitting an essay. Several different breeds are represented and BLU supports this program. We are looking for a member to donate the ewe for 2017. Please contact a board member or email

Also, if any members attend festivals, shows, etc., with sheep or fiber, please contact the board to request that BLU advertises or supports the show in some way.  One of the functions of BLU is to promote the breed, and we’d like to do that as often as possible.

Summary of January 19th 2017 board meeting

The BLU board met for its organizational meeting on January 19th at 7PM EST. Board members in attendance included newly elected member Kat Bierkens of Oregon. In the absence of President Margaret VanCamp, due to illness, VP Joan Chapin welcomed Kat to the board, and also recognized outgoing board member Bill O’Donnell for his time and service to BLU.

Set/Treas Lisa Rodenfels gave the treasurer’s report. The current balance is $9,401.16, with a net gain of $1332.46 for the year 2016. She provided the board with a detailed printout showing each entry for income and expense throughout the year.
In the secretary’s report, Lisa told the board that she is working on a postcard to remind members to pay their 2017 dues. It will also mention the site of the 2018 National Show, the new credit card payment option for registrations, and that we now have a new BFL chat group on Facebook. There are currently 98 paid members, up from 82 at the end of 2015.

Next were the committee reports
The chair for the 2018 National Show, Karen Szewc, told the board that she has confirmed that the Black Sheep Gathering will be thrilled to host our show. They have stated that we can have whatever classes we would like. Besides the usual, the board suggested adding best headed ram and ewe, and also having aged ram and aged ewe classes. A special class to feature our youth exhibitors was also discussed. Karen will work on that plan, and will be looking for BLU members who would like to sponsor special awards for some of the classes.

The Genetics Taskforce chair, Heather Landin reported on the likelihood of importing semen from the UK now due to the long quarantine requirements and repeated bloodtesting. A possible answer to this problem is the convince USDA to accept PRC testing semen for viruses, bacteria, etc., which is already an accepted practice in cattle. She asks that interested members continue to call to push USDA to consider this option.

Youth chair Joan Chapin provided the board with a draft copy of the questionnaire she would like to send out to our current youth members. The board felt it was a good idea, and the list of questions were comprehensive. Joan would like to use the project to showcase our youth, and get to know them better, while still protecting their privacy.

A life membership was awarded founding member Becky Utecht of MN.

A follow-up meeting has been scheduled for February 1st at 7PM EST.