Candidates for 2022 BLU election

Ballots are being prepared, and you should be receiving them soon. The deadline to vote and return them is December 31th, 2022, so be sure to get them back in the mail. Candidates will take office on January 1, 2023.
Since no election took place in 2021, 5, board positions are being filled. Per the BLU bylaws, the board will arrange for the staggered addition of board members before their terms end.

Below are the statements submitted by each candidate for the board positions. No candidates have come forward specifically for the positions of president and vice-president, so the new board will be discussing a resolution to this situation.

FOR BOARD POSITIONS (7 open)

  • Duckey Chute, Lempster NH

Hello. My name is Julia “Duckey” Chute from Lempster NH. My husband Scott and I are owners of Granite State Sheep Company. Currently we are raising and breeding primarily Natural Colored Blue Faced Leicesters. I have been raising and showing sheep since the mid 1970s as what started as a harmless 4-H project. I started with Suffolk sheep until 2009 when our son Daniel got us hooked onto the Dorper breed. We enjoyed the time spent together as a family raising and showing the Dorpers. Enough so that I went through the Dorper Judging Certification course. Which allowed me the opportunity to Judge the Dorper National Sale this past April. What led me to the BFLs you ask? I have always admired the beauty of this breed when The Chapin Family from here in NH raised and showed them. So when given the opportunity to purchase their Natural Colored flock I couldn’t resist. Currently I am finishing my term as President of New England Sheep and Wool Growers Association. I am serving as a board member for the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Growers Association.
Youth programs are very important to me, they are our future. So with that being said I have been heavily involved with the North East Youth Sheep Show since the early 1990s. As an exhibitor at the beloved Eastern States Exposition I am serving as one of the two sheep representatives on the livestock committee.In conclusion I am passionate about the sheep industry as a whole and even more excited about my BFL adventure.

  • Rachel Green, Greenbush, MN

My husband Roger and I both grew up in farming families.  We live in far northern Minnesota. Over the past many years we have enjoyed raising a number of sheep breeds. My passion for fiber arts spurred a change in direction from breeds raised solely for meat and more towards dual purpose sheep with quality fleece. We are currently focusing on Bluefaced Leicesters and Gotlands. I am an avid knitter and spinner in addition to processing some of my own fiber. We have 2 grown children and 2 small grandsons that bring endless joy to our lives. 

  • Floya Hawkins, Chana, IL

Hello,

I would like to introduce myself.  I’m Floya Hawkins.  My family has had sheep for the past 47 years.  Since I’m a hand spinner I do take the time to fight with ewes and lambs to keep their jackets on.  I fell in love with Bluefaced Leicesters at the Maryland Sheep and Wool show.  Then I bought my first breeding pair from Kelly Ward.  Since then I have many breeders I need to thank for helping to build my blue flock.  I’m in the process of learning how hard it is to get AI to be successful with a ewe.  I truly want fellow breeders to be successful with AI since we desperately need new genetics in the United States.  This breed is so special.  I love their fleece and personality as well as their ears.  I enjoy promoting this breed and talking to anyone interested.  

  • Ruth Pohl Hawkins, Baldwin City, KS

Hi, I would like to be considered for a position on the BFL board. While I am new to BFLs, I am not new to the livestock and fiber world or holding a board position. In 2011 I started our farm with a few Pygora Goats. While I absolutely love the goats, the farm was missing something… SHEEP! I added BFLs to the farm, in 2020, and fell in love with the Bluefaced Leicester breed. With a background in sheep and showing in 4-H, it is wonderful to have a small flock of sheep again! As a weaver & spinner, having my own wool to work with is pure joy. I have read over the Bylaws and Operations of the BFL Union and feel confident that with my experience I can contribute and help the BFL Union to continue forward.

  • Randy Pritchard, Ft. Collins, CO

My wife and I have been raising Bluefaced Leicester sheep in Colorado for about six years. Rainey loves to spin, dye, and create with wool and we started looking for a breed of sheep to raise for both meat and wool on our small acreage. After researching many breeds, we decided on BFLs…and we couldn’t be happier! They are easy to handle, interestingly entertaining, and they work well for our situation. Our foundation flock came from Montana and are of the Bitterroot line that Judy Colvin carefully developed using artificial insemination from most of the UK sires that were available at that time. I am a veterinarian and we continue to use artificial insemination from UK rams to raise BFL seedstock. We hope to continue to improve on the BFL genetics in the US while staying true to the breed standards.

I am running for a position on the BLU board of directors because I believe that BFLs have a lot of untapped potential to become a more popular breed here in the US. I would like to contribute to that effort in any way that I can. 

  • Nancy Starkey, Mt. Airy, MD

My first exposure to Bluefaced Leicester sheep was in 1992 at the Virginia farm of Frank Baylis.  Frank was one of the only BFL breeders in the USA at that time, and when I saw Frank’s BFLs, I was totally impressed by their regal appearance.  Since BFLs were quite rare in the states at that time, I hoped that one day I would be able to produce Bluefaced Leicesters at my farm.  In 1999, I was able to purchase two Bluefaced Leicester rams, and in 2000, I was able to purchase several BFL ewes.  My flock grew over the years, and I have been producing purebred BFLs since then.  In the thirty years that I have had sheep, I have served on several Boards.  These have included the Bluefaced Leicester Union, the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association, and the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival as a committee chairperson.   I am looking forward to continuing as a BLU Director this year, as I consider serving on the BLU Board to be an honor. 

BLU Advertizing Expenditure

Your 2020 Advertising Dollars At Work

As the 2020 sheep show and fiber festival season draws to a close, BLU would like to remind our members of the advertising dollars spent promoting the breed and the breeders during the year.  This has been a strange and difficult year for these events, with many cancelled, or held virtually online.

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.  This year, $1293.60 was spent, which is one quarter of the budget for the year.

Here is a list of the shows and festivals where advertising dollars were spent in 2020.  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 – $410.00  This included support for the working herding dog demonstration given by long time breeder, Nancy Starkey, using BFLs. Also included was a sponsorship for a special award for the winning BFL fleece in the wool competition. (this was paid in Dec 2019)
  • Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival – $195.00   The national show was to have been held here but was postponed.

Because of 2020 BFL national show, there were special ads place in magazines to promote the event.

  • The Shepherd Magazine – $410.00 for 2 ads during the year.
  • Black Sheep Gathering spring issue – $110.00
  • Ringside Magazine – $106.25

 Besides promoting BFLs at shows, there are also ads placed in the major sheep magazines – The has a paid listing in the breed section of each magazine, at a total cost of $40.00 per year.   The Banner magazine provides space for notes from breed associations at no cost – a great benefit!    

Because we also have 7 members in Canada, an ad was placed in Sheep Canada for $382.35 for 4 quarterly issues.

There is a new group on Facebook called the Wool & Fiber Arts (WAFA).  They were formed to provide a place for fiber vendors to sell during this time when so many venues have been cancelled.  It has been wildly successful, and now has more than 12,000 members.  This fall, they offered an online raw fiber source listing, and BLU paid $50 for a very nice ad in it.  

New on the website are 2 pages; Find a Farm and Classifieds.   Find a Farm allows you to list your farm email and website and provide a list of products you offer for sale.   The classifieds are for specific breeding stock, fleeces, fiber, etc that you may have for sale. 

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 from the website.  These materials are slated to be updated in 2021.

BLU Board Meeting 1/27/22

BLU board meeting – 1/27/22, 7pm EST, via ZOOM

  • Present: President Katie Sullivan, VP Meredith Myers Null, outgoing Sec/Treas Lisa Rodenfels, board  members Margie Smith, Karen Szewc, Nancy Starkey, Margaret Van Camp, Cindy Cieciwa, Paul Genge (joined at 7:30)
  1. Call to order : Present: President Katie Sullivan, VP Meredith Myers Null, outgoing Sec/Treas Lisa Rodenfels, board  members Margie Smith, Karen Szewc, Nancy Starkey, Margaret Van Camp, Paul Genge (joined at 7:30); Also Present: Cindy Cieciwa. Absent: none
  2. New secretary /treasurer appointed by vote of the board: Margaret Van Camp, with QuickBook assistance from Cindy Cieciwa
  3. Meeting minutes of last meeting (Jan, 2021) approved
  4. Reports
  5. Treasury: $8708.93 in checking, $10 in PayPal (Lisa)
  6. Secretary: 382 sheep registered, 83 members (Lisa)
  7. Media: (Katie) MSWF ad discussed – deadline for ad Jan 31. Poll posted Jan 28 for ad approval
  8. Bylaws: (Paul) No report
  9. Youth: (Meredith) – YCP Participation discussed, Meredith agrees to donate a yearling ewe. The board agrees to continue the $250 Youth Sheep Purchase Voucher program, which will require advertisement and execution (pitch to West Coast youth?)
  10. Genetics Taskforce: (Margaret) semen from two UK rams has arrived in the US via import by Heritage Sheep Reproduction/Deb Gourley; straws were used for breeding in November by BLU member. All straws are sold.
  11. National Show (Margaret) We will proceed with the plan to hold the event at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, September 9-11. Lisa reminded us that there is $500 in donated funds available from BLU for the show. Lisa has forwarded a list of people who had volunteered to help with the 2020 show that was cancelled.  Festival Committee members Randy Cutler and Robert Black have been in contact with Margaret since this meeting. Katie expressed the need for Nat Show Update announcements on Facebook and the BLU site.
  12. Old business: Lisa pointed out that 2021 elections were skipped, and when this happened once before, the board voted to extend their tenures until the next opportunity, which would be November, 2021. Board so moved and voted, approving the special extension of the tenures of the current board.
  13. New business: none. It was agreed that since Katie is dealing with family issues and Margaret is newly appointed Secretary / Treasurer, with a national show coming up in September, taking on new projects at this point would be ill-advised.
  14. Meeting adjourned 8pm, next meeting not yet scheduled.

Post meeting note: Deadline for MSWF catalogue ad is Jan 31. Margaret polled board members as to whether to place an for BLU, and 5/6 responded in the affirmative (Meredith did not vote). Due to the  tight deadline, Margaret worked up a couple of ad options and presented them to the board. A choice was made, and the ad was sent in and paid for by Margaret (to be reimbursed by BLU) on Jan 31. Katie approved of going ahead with this in spite of not getting 100% of the board to vote on the expenditure.

BLU Board Meeting 1/14/21

The BLU board met by ZOOM meeting on January 14th at 8PM EST. All board members were in attendance . The new youth board advisor, Kieran Van Horsen, was also in attendance. President Katie Sullivan opened the meeting by welcoming incoming board member Nancy Starkey, and advisor Van Horsen.The minutes of the previous meeting in June were approved.

The current balance in the treasury is $8231.18. The board confirmed Huntington Bank as the bank of record for BLU. Each board member was also provided with a copy of the income and expense detail for yearend 2020. 23 new member packets were sent out during 2020. There are 76 members, of which 7 are Canadian.

There were 357 new registrations(down from 417 in 2019) and 159 transfers processed by the breed registry, administered by Associated Sheep Registries in Wamego, KS. A postcard reminder for 2021 dues will be mailed. The youth committee is working on a project to spotlight each of our youth members.

The genetics committee had exciting news. A new company in the US, Heritage Sheep Reproduction, is working on importing semen from the UK. There are 3 rams that have been selected and the owners are willing to work with us. There is still a need for more people to place orders so that this project can get off the ground. The goal is to have this new semen collected and ready to use by the fall 2021 breeding season.The national show committee stands ready to react as is becomes more clear what the show/festival situation will be later this year. The media committee is looking at the feasibility of a proposal to help link BFL fleece producers with interested buyers through the BLU website. It also has the updating of BLU flyers on its agenda for the year.

Change to the color standard – NEW Black Silver designation

COLOR

Black Pattern vs Black Silver lamb

All purebred Bluefaced Leicester sheep are permitted in the Registry regardless of color: white or natural colored. Although moorit has not yet appeared, it will also be accepted. (Please refer to the Rules for Registration, Section 4.)

Natural Colored: Although the Bluefaced Leicester is predominately a white wool breed, it does carry a recessive black gene and natural colored lambs do appear. Natural colored Bluefaced Leicesters can range from almost solid, to dark animals with patterning (lighter areas of hair and/or wool) on the face, legs, saddle, and other areas. There should be no distinct (sharply defined) white spots in the colored wool on the body. These sheep are registered as “Black Patterned”. (BP)

Black Patterned (BP) lamb

An additional recessive color pattern, formerly recorded as “BP” without recognition of its distinctly different distribution of color, has now been formally recognized in the breed in 2020. Black Silver(BSi) lambs born will have silver/pewter colored body, black socks/legs, black ears, muzzle and eyes with varying amounts of light markings on these points. As yearlings, their wool will fade to off-white and will appear off-white in subsequent years with points retaining varying amounts of dark markings, most commonly around the eyes, muzzle, inside of ears, and on the legs. Although their wool may appear nearly white, these Bsi sheep are considered to be natural colored sheep.

Black Silver (BSi) lamb
Adult black silver (BSi) fleece

White: The ideal white Bluefaced Leicester has dark blue pigmented skin and white wool. On individuals with dark blue skin, the blue coloration shows through white hair on the head, and the insides of the ears are solidly dark. The pigment is also noticeable on the body skin itself (underneath the wool), on the upper parts of the legs, neck skin, and belly.

White lamb showing good blue pigment

Small black spots are permissible on the face, ears, neck, and legs. Lips and nostrils are preferably black, but mottled grey is acceptable. There should be no distinct black, dark red, or dark brown spots in the wool, on the body. There should be no rust-colored hairs, or dark red or dark brown spots/speckles anywhere on the legs or head.

Summary of 2-5-20 Board Meeting

The BLU board met by teleconference meeting on February 5th at 8PM EST. All board members were in attendance but Karen Szewc, who was moving her farm. The new youth board advisor, Kieran Van Horsen, was absent due to a midterm test.

The minutes of the previous meeting in August were approved. The current balance in the treasury is $8768.13, and $78.05 in the Paypal account. Each board member was also provided with a copy of the income and expense detail for yearend 2019. 11 new member packets were sent out during 2019. There are 75 members, of which 7 are Canadian. There were 417 new registrations(up from 332 in 2018) and 155 transfers processed by the breed registry, administered by Associated Sheep Registries in Wamego, KS. A postcard reminder for 2020 dues is ready to be mailed. It includes information about the national show and the new youth programs.

The committee chairs have been busy working on new projects for the association. The bylaws & standards committee had finalized the proposal for describing and adding “silver” BFLs that are currently registered as “black patterned” , giving them their own code on the pedigree so that interested breeders can track this color pattern. After some modification, the board voted to accept Bsi as the new color designation. The committee will work on an educational sheet with photos that will be provided to members so that they understand this new color designation and how to identify it. New registration forms will need to be made and distributed by the registry. Lisa will contact them to make those changes to the forms and also the rules for registration form.

The media committee announced that the redesigned website is completed. They will continue to make improvements as time permits. The next project is to update the woefully outdated promotional brochures. These need to be ready for the national show, and if possible for 2 summer Canadian sales events. The board approved a budget of $100 to pay a designer to rework the brochures.

The youth committee reported that they had contacted all our current youth with information about the new Youth Purchase Voucher program, and has distributed that information to some 4-H advisors. They asked the board’s help in spreading the word. There will be a listing in the Banner Magazine with contact info.

The genetics taskforce reported that there is a group of BFL breeders working together to collect semen from several rams in the UK. It is hoped that the rams will go into collection this year. 2 of the breeders are going to the UK in June to look at rams and talk with breeders there who are willing to provide rams for collection.

The national show committee provided an outline of show plans and went over it with the board. As information is received, it will be posted to the website. There will be both white and natural colored sheep classes, a fleece show, and skein class. A dinner is being planned for Saturday evening, with a speaker and a silent auction to benefit the youth programs.

In old business, the YCP program is looking for a yearling ewe to be awarded at the MS&W festival in May. Nancy Starkey has expressed an interest. Margie Smith is a backup for her. This will be the first year that BLU has provided a particl reimbursement for the ewe of $250.

The next meeting will be set at a later date.

Export to Canada : Explained (from a U.S. perspective)


By Margaret Van Camp, Pitchfork Ranch, Swartz Creek, MI (mavaca@usol.com, 810-814-3408)
Of late, our breed has been catching the eyes and the interest of our good neighbors to the north. BLU currently has five Canadian flocks as members, and doubtless there are more flocks that have BLU-registered sheep in them that are not (yet!) members. With inquires about exporting BFLs to the Great White North on the rise, I have been asked to help demystify this rather intimidating process.
Our farm here in Michigan has been export certified by the USDA since 2017. Our proximity to Canada was the main driving force behind this decision, and it was not made lightly. For certain, export certification is not for everyone. The additional record keeping, replacement of ear tags (BFLs wiggle out of them at an alarming rate) and of course the unpleasant task of removing and submitting heads of dead ewes are daunting, not to mention the annual inspection. It took us five years in the export monitored category before we were able to export our first ewe across the border. However, the payoff is that we have added an entire country to our potential market, and the border is only ninety minutes away.
We have exported both rams and ewes every year since certification, and are fielding Canadian inquiries at an increasing rate. As a result, I feel comfortable in explaining what the process looks like, typical costs and what needs to happen on both sides of the border to make the export / import happen.
First, we need to make a distinction between the requirements for rams versus ewes. Fortunately for Canadian breeders, the import of rams from the U.S. is much less restrictive in terms of the flock of origin. Due to the fact that scrapie is passed in birth fluids and milk, rams are not identified as vectors for the disease by the USDA. So the origin flock in the U.S, does not have to be in the export certified program. However, they must have a premise number registered with the USDA, and the ram must have permanently affixed a USDA approved scrapie ID tag with that premise number for traceability purposes. He must also have “USA” tattooed in his right ear (don’t worry if the green ink does not show up on the black skin of the ear—they will use a black light to read it). RFID chips can also be used as permanent ID, but the chip would have to be compatible with the chip reader at border station where you intend to cross.
The ram must be genotype tested by a USDA-approved lab. Allowable results are: codon 136AA 171RR or 136AA 171QR. We use Genecheck in Greeley, Colorado. They have a nifty ear-sampling system that lets you avoid collecting blood or having to ship a high-rate refrigerated overnight package. It takes a sample of tissue from the ear, leaving a tiny hole. A normal padded envelope will hold dozens of them. Each sample cup is $3-$4, and the test itself is $11 per head. The applicator needed to take the sample is around $30, a one-time expense. Here is the link to Genecheck : http://www.genecheck.com/ The turnaround time with this company is quite short – usually within 2-3 days of receiving the samples. The test results have to be submitted with the importer’s application for an import permit from the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the equivalent of the USDA). If the ram in question tests QQ at 171, or is untested, he can still be imported but the Canadian breeder must have been enrolled in the Canadian scrapie eradication program for at least a year and had at least one inspection. There lots of other restrictions on the Canadian side involved with a QQ / untested ram, so it’s much easier just to test and select a ram with the correct genotype. We routinely test all the ram lambs we intend to sell, so we do not charge the buyer for this testing. If you want to read rules yourself, here is a link to the latest CFIA requirements for import of small ruminants (sheep and goats) from the U.S. into Canada: https://www.inspection.gc.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/imports/import-policies/live-animals/2007-5/eng/1321032703935/1321032839418
Speaking of that permit: this is the first official paperwork that has to be completed to get the export/ import ball rolling. It must be applied for at the CFIA by the importing (Canadian) breeder. At last check, the cost was $35 CDN. The US breeder will need to supply the following information for each sheep to be imported to the Canadian breeder for the application: birth date, breed , color, gender, farm tag number, Scrapie number, and a copy of the genotype report. More than one sheep can be listed on the permit. The permit can take up to a month to be issued, but two weeks is typical. Take it from me: do not depend on federal or provincial offices to work speedily just because you need them to. If you have a hard deadline, begin the process at least 3 months ahead. The permits are good for ninety days. Here is the link for the CFIA: https://www.inspection.gc.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/imports/permit-application/eng/1374511671189/1374511696513
Once you have the ram tagged, tattooed, and tested, and the Canadian breeder has received the permit and sent you a copy, you can now make an appointment with your vet to issue the international health certificate. The vet can inspect the animal(s) before having the permit number, but they can’t issue the certificate without it. Vet charges vary, of course, but most charge more for international versus interstate certificates because the form is longer. For us, this is a pass-through expense for the importer. On our last export, this cost was $90 ($65 for the farm call, $25 for the papers – for one ram. Added animals would have been $10 each.)
With the CFIA permit, ram genotype results and international health papers in hand, you can now make an endorsement appointment at your local USDA office. The USDA has to look over all the paperwork and mark it as approved before the animal can enter Canada. Yes, this can be accomplished by mail. However, my experience strongly suggests that appointments are handled in a much more timely manner than mail-in requests. And you have a pre-determined date when you know the paperwork will be completed, because, barring any missing info, you will walk out of the office with all the paperwork needed to get the boy across the border. The fee for this service recently (October of 2019) jumped from $52 to around $120, with no difference in service (or explanation) provided. I don’t blame the people who work in the office … they are not told anything, either. At any rate, this expense also passed on to the buyer. Here is a link to USDA office locations: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/service-centers-endorsement-offices
Alrighty, if you are still with me, the next step is to set up the actual exchange of the animal. First, collect all the documents that must accompany the animal across the border:
CFIA permit (with USDA endorsement)
international health certificate (with USDA endorsement)
a copy of the ram genotype results
bill of sale
Optional: signed-off registration (if balance is paid)
double check to make sure all ear tag numbers in the documents match the actual tags
If you have neglected to tattoo “USA” in the right ear, now is your last chance
There are several options here, but the buyer coming to the farm of origin to see the setup there is the best way. One could also offer to meet the buyer on the U.S. side of the border and transfer the animal(s) there. Some buyers opt to hire a professional transporter. I do not suggest driving the animal across the border for the buyer to pick up on the Canadian side. There is a lot more hassle for a U.S. citizen trying to get an animal into Canada than there is for a Canadian, even if all the paperwork is in order. Whichever party is taking the animal across the border needs to set up an appointment with the vet at the border crossing they intend to use. The phone number of the Canadian customs office at the crossing point can be found by Googling it. There is no fee for customs or the vet inspection at the border. The vet will check the animals for obvious signs of illness and make sure all the tag numbers and descriptions match the paper work. When entering the border crossing, the transporter should go to the animal inspection area first rather than just lining up to cross, as the customs agents will simply send them there anyway. When making the appointment with the vet for the inspection, it’s a good idea to ask him or her about the best way to go about it.
Additionally, there may be a requirement to check if taxes are owed on the purchase of the animals. My experience has been that this is simply a paperwork formality and that taxes are not collected. I admit I am not as familiar with this aspect of the crossing, but anyone who has brought a purchased animal back across the border can shed more light on this. I can provide references in this respect.
As far as payment goes, we usually ask for a good faith deposit of at least 20% of the purchase price to hold the animal and commit to the export protocol. We always ask that the buyer pay the balance in U.S. dollars cash or money order, in advance.
And viola! You are done! Au revoir, mon ami ram! Easy peasy, right?
OK, so, maybe not. But it is certainly doable; you don’t need superpowers or friends in high places, and if you live within an easy drive of the border, it could open up a new market for your ram genetics.
And what about the ewes? Well, there is good news and bad news about the ewes. The good news? No genotype testing is required export from the U.S. to Canada. Other than that, the procedure for ewes is exactly the same as described above. The bad news? Female small ruminants can be imported only from flocks enrolled in the USDA’s Scrapie Flock Certification Program that are determined to be “negligible risk premises” – which is defined as Export Certified. If the previous information has not scared you off, here is a link to a document describing what it takes to become an Export Certified flock: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/scrapie/downloads/standards_current.pdf
Clearly, exporting sheep to Canada is not for everyone, just as importing them from the U.S. does not make sense for every Canadian flock. But the demand is there and growing, and if you want to possibly provide cornerstone ram(s) for motivated BFL breeder(s) in Canada, this is your chance.
I am hoping that a Canadian breeder who has experience importing from the U.S. will provide a similar guide from the Canadian perspective. I am reasonably sure that information provided here is correct – at least this is what I will be operating on for 2020 until I discover differently. If you have questions, you can contact me via email (mavaca@usol.com) or cell (810-814-3408).

Announcing the New Youth Voucher Award Program

BLU has a new program, available to all youth across the country. Applicants will be screened and the winner will receive a voucher for $250, which they can use to offset the cost of a registered BFL of their choosing. All the seller need do is present the voucher to BLU, and will be reimbursed. Attached are the rules to be downloaded, the application completed, and sent to the BLU secretary. Deadline to apply is May 1, 2020

Please help get this information out to 4-H, FFA, and other organizations where young shepherds will get the news. Do you have a state sheep organization? Send it to them. Post this on your own FB page. Post it on your website. Contact your local Extension 4-H advisor and ask them to pass it along to other 4-h offices. Not only will it benefit the young person who is awarded the voucher, but it will also help YOU by a potential sale of breeding stock. Please keep in mind, if you are approached by a young person later this year who wishes to use the voucher to offset the cost of the sheep they are purchasing, all you have to do is present the voucher to BLU and you will be reimbursed. So download this form and help spread the word!

New youth board advisor

In 2019, the board decided to add an advisory position from our youth membership. A letter went out to all our current youth members, and from that request, one of our youth stepped up to fill that position. Please welcome Kieran Van Horsen from Oregon to this new position! Kieran will attend board meetings, sits on the Youth Committee, and represents our youth at other events as well.

Hello, my name is Kieran Van Horsen and I am 19 years old as of this October.  I believe that I will bring a unique perspective to the title and do my best to fulfill my duties.

I have owned BFL’s since 2013 and have loved every second of it. I exhibit them every year at the Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon, as well as at the Oregon State Fair and many other fiber-centric festivals with the intent of promotion and education of the breed. I fully believe in the youth programs associated with the breed as I have been an active youth participant/breeder since I bought my first ram lamb from Liongate Farm in 2014. I am currently a student in the Welding program at a local college, and I am active in the agricultural community by working at my families sheep ranch as well as working for a local seed farmer and renting my BFL sheep out for pasture control to neighbors and grass seed farmers. I am also doing LAI and am wanting to import BFL Semen as my program continues to grow.  I acquired some more straws and fully intend on doing LAI with 3 “new-to-me” rams this coming year.

I would love to be a part of the board in order to share ideas I have for promoting this all-purpose breed and bringing more breeders together as we already have so many awesome people who are a part of BLU.

2020 Election Results

The BLU board election is completed. Vice President Meredith Myers-Null was re-elected to her second term. Elected to their first terms on the board are Margie Smith of Pennsylvania, and Karen Szewc of Oregon. Please join me in congratulating them. A heartfelt thank you to outgoing board member Shellie Ross (FL).The first board meeting of 2020 is scheduled for early January. Please contact any board member if you have an item for the agenda.