The BLU board met last night and decided, due to the Covid19 situation, and the changes in the festival format, the National show will be postponed to 2021.
ASR will reopen for registry business on May 4th. If you sent in paperwork and did not receive it back during the shut-down, it was because there were errors in your submission.
Thank you for your understanding during our stay at home order. It was greatly appreciated. Just letting you know as of Monday, May 4th our staff is back in the office full time as our stay at home order has been lifted for our type of business. We are working to catch up on work before we get into the busiest time of the year.
We were able to stay without a week of time in our office on error-free registry work. People who submitted work that contained errors we just did not have the resources to get them called during the stay at home order. We are working to resolve these now since we have more than one person in the office. Please, if you have the ability to remind breeders to double check their work before submitting it, it would be greatly appreciated. Around 30% of all work received contains errors. Missing tag numbers, birthdates, wrong amount of payment, transfer information missing, are just some examples of what is in error.
I will be working to catch up on emails that have been received that I just did not have the time to answer.
Again, thank you for your patience and understanding during these interesting times we all are facing.
Associated Registry StaffJeff, Amber, Rene, Janette & Joelle
PO Box 231, 420A Lincoln St – Wamego, KS 66547Phone: (785) 456-8500 Fax: (785) 456-8599
Kansas Governor Issues Stay At Home Order
The Kansas Governor issued a stay at home order for non-essential businesses on Saturday, March 28th. The order will run through April 19th. With that said the Associated Registry office will have limited services during this time period. Jeff will be opening mail, returning emails and phone calls and processing any rush work that is submitted. He will be in the office weekdays for a limited amount of hours. If the need is urgent he can be reached on his cell phone at 785-458-9174. Thank you for your understanding during these challenging times. Please stay home when you can so everyone remains healthy and we can return to a somewhat normal life. Jeff Ebert
Associated Registry Staff
Jeff, Amber, Rene, Janette & Joelle
PO Box 231, 420A Lincoln St – Wamego, KS 66547Phone: (785) 456-8500 Fax: (785) 456-8599
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Margaret Van Camp, Pitchfork Ranch, Swartz Creek, MI (email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or cell (810-814-3408).
It’s been a long time coming, but we now have a farm search function on bflsheep.com!
Visitors to bflsheep.com can now go to the (hopefully self-explanatory) Find a Farm tab and search for what they are looking for, be it breedstock, wool, a local farm, yarn, etc.
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!
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.