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 1/14/21

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.

Candidates for 2020 BLU election

Ballots have been mailed, and you should be receiving them soon. The deadline to vote and return them is December 1st, so be sure to get them back in the mail. Candidates will take office on January 1, 2021.


Katie Sullivan


Irasburg, VT

In 2019 and 2020, I have worked hard with the board of BLU to bring improvements and updates to our organizational resources. Our new website with increased functionality, our recognition of Silver BFLs as a color designation, and our ongoing efforts to keep Blues in the News are all accomplishments that the board and I are proud of.


Paul Genge

4G Farms

Ellensburg WA

Hi, I would like to be considered for re-election for a board position. I feel my passion for raising a traditional and correct flock of BFL’s while sticking to the highest standards would make me a good candidate for a position. My wife, Sharidyn, and I own 4G Farms which is a hay and sheep farm in the heart of Washington State. My passion for Bfl’s all started when my wife wanted to get a small flock of fiber sheep (6 ewes and a ram) which were all BFL/Gotland crosses. Well, with four of the ewes being related to my ram that put me out on a mission for a new unrelated ram. That’s when I got my first BFL, a ram named Walden and his daughter, and that’s when it all started! Then, over the next couple years, I have done a lot of research into the breed and talking with a lot of great people. I found out what characteristics/genetics I wanted in my flock, and then purchased Blues from a few different Breeders from across the country that met my breeding standards. These would be the beginning of my foundation flock. I have put a lot of emphasis on increasing the frame size and color while maintaining the true traits. We now have an all pasture/ hay flock without any grain being introduced. We currently have a flock of 30 plus BFL’s and still growing!! When it comes to my passion for the Blues, it doesn’t just stop at my sheep. Whenever possible, I try to promote the breed. Two years ago, we donated a Blue to our neighbor who was in 4H and she showed the very first BFL in the history of our Fair. I could say it was an eye opener for everyone attending, which met with a lot of questions and I was all so happy to talk about. It was also the first year we showed our own sheep at Black Sheep Gathering (also Nationals for BFl’s) which was a great experience and one that we will continue to do. I look forward to my continued involvement in the BLU, while also continuing to promote the breed!

Nancy Starkey

Trial & Error Acres

Mt Airy, MD

I am honored to have been nominated to serve on the Bluefaced Leicester Union Board of Directors, and I will do my best to support the best interests of our breed.  My first exposure to Bluefaced Leicester sheep was in 1992 at the Virginia farm of Frank Baylis.  Frank was one of only two BFL breeders in the US at that time, and his Bayshore bloodlines can be found in the pedigrees of many of our BFLs.  When I first saw Frank’s Bluefaced Leicesters, I was totally impressed by their regal appearance.  These beautiful sheep had clearly captured my attention and admiration!  Unfortunately, I was not able to purchase a breeding pair from Frank at that time (they were a bit out of my price range).  After my introduction to this unique breed at the Baylis farm, I hoped that one day I would be able to purchase and produce beautiful Bluefaced Leicesters.  In the interim, I purchased Border Leicesters, and started a Border Leicester breeding program.  A few years later, I was very fortunate to meet several of the founding members of the Bluefaced Leicester Union at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  This gave me hope that I would actually be able to achieve my goal of raising BFLs!  In 1999, I purchased two Bluefaced Leicester rams from Beechtree Farm to cross on my Border Leicester ewes.  In 2000, I was able to purchase several BFL ewes and an additional BFL ram.  In 2001, the first purebred Bluefaced Leicester lambs were born at my farm.  Gradually, more Bluefaced Leicesters were added to the flock, and the Border Leicesters were sold.  Over the years, I have strived to produce quality purebred Bluefaced Leicesters, and currently Trial & Error Acres is the home to a large flock of registered purebred BFLs.  I do not show my BFLs, but I do use them in the sheepdog demonstrations that we perform at venues such as the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  My lovely BFL yearlings certainly attract a lot of attention from the crowds.  I hope to continue to produce impressive Bluefaced Leicesters for many years to come, as I can not imagine not having a BFL flock on my farm.  

Margaret VanCamp

Pitchfork Ranch

Swartz Creek, MI

I’m Margaret Van Camp, and I am running for election to the BLU board. I have been a partner in Pitchfork Ranch in Swartz Creek, Michigan since 1996, where Cindy Cieciwa and I have a flock of 40 ewes, one third of which are BFLs.

I am well acquainted with the operations of the board. The policies and practices we have implemented have the BLU on a solid financial footing, with an excellent outlook. I am willing to use this experience to help the board continue this progress. BFLs are increasing in visibility and appeal to breeders with many different goals, and I hope to help continue this progress. In particular, I and encouraged by the growing interest of young breeders in our breed, and would love to see this growth continue.

I would appreciate your vote.

Breed registry office to reopen

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

Special Notice during Covid-19 National Emergency

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

Change to the color standard – NEW Black Silver designation


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 (, 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 : 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:
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:
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:
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:
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 ( or cell (810-814-3408).

Find a Farm

It’s been a long time coming, but we now have a farm search function on!

Visitors to 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 members who wish to offer sheep, products or services should sign up for an account, log in, and begin adding relevant information to their listings. Be sure to specifically list what you are offering – if you don’t add the keyword in your listing, the search bar cannot find you! Suggested keywords might be: breedingstock, rams, ewes, raw wool, yarn, or any other word commonly used to describe your products. Links to your website are beneficial for search engine optimization, so be sure to link your site to while you’re thinking of website matters.