2016 Youth Conservation Program winner

William and his new ewe Lydia, with breeder and donor Margaret VanCamp

My name is William O’Boyle and I am from Cumberland, Maryland. As a member of the Mountain and Valley 4-H club, I have been a part of 4-H for eight(8) years and was also a part of the homeschool 4-H as a clover and Junior member for four (4) years. I am currently in my first year as a senior member of 4-H. I am also a member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 9 where I am working on the rank of Eagle and have completed numerous merit badges including Animal Science.
As a 4-H member, I have raised animals for the showing and judging at my local fair for about six (6) years but have been around animals my whole life. I started showing at the fair with just sheep and bunnies; the following year I added hogs and breeding sheep. I did not show hogs again until last year. I also show goats. My brother, who is also in 4-H and I also have raised bottle babies successfully for the last five (5) years. The breeds of sheep we have raised are Khatadins, Suffolk, Hampshire and a Jacob. My Khatadins were breed and I had a herd of 16 strong when I sold them. I sold them to a local breeder who was looking at getting into hair sheep instead of wool. I wanted to focus on goats at the time because I was more interested in them at the time.
I have been looking at getting back into sheep flocks and am getting passionate about raising heritage sheep because of the verstility of them in many ways. These ways include being more adaptable, having resistence to diseases and parisites as well as better foraging abilities. I enjoy history and learning how our founding fathers did farming, work, making supplies and the way of life then. Also, heritage sheep were used by our founding fathers for wool, meat, and breeding. I would like to keep the heritage breeds alive and teach others the way of old and show them those ways as well about our past. I would love to be a breeder of sheep again and more specifically of heritage sheep because preserving our heritage is something I am passionate about doing and sharing with others.
This year I received a Blue Faced Leicester Ewe from Margaret Van Camp and Cindy Cieciwa from Pitch fork Farms MI. I have showed her “Lydia” in the District show as well as in my local county fair (Allegany County, MD Fair and Ag Expo) in July where Lydia took Reserve Grand Champion in Breeding Ewes.
20160509_124915 Currently we are preparing to go to the MD State Fair beginning August 24-29th, 2016. I am learning something new about Heritage/wool sheep each day. I am enjoying handling Lydia and sharing about Blue Faced Leicesters with others. I plan to breed her this fall and am currently looking for a breeder.
William O’Boyle

20160508_145023William and the other youth participants in the Youth Conservation Program.
The Youth Conservationist Program is a way to enable youth to experience the joys and responsibilities of conserving heritage wool sheep breeds.
Youth interested in applying for the 2017 Youth Conservationist Program need to be between 9 and 18 years old. If selected, youth must be present to receive the ewe at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on the Sunday of the event. They must agree to exhibit the ewe at least twice in 2017 at: 1) a county fair or local sheep show; and 2) the State Fair in the state where the recipient lives. They must also agree to breed the ewe to a registered ram in the fall of 2017, and must agree to either use the ewe’s fleece to personally make a woolen item or sell the fleece to a spinner, felter, or weaver. Finally, they must submit a one-to-two page report, with pictures to the donor breeder by April 30, 2018.
Applications from interested youth must be postmarked by April 1, 2017. In the application/essay the youth should describe themselves, their experience with animals, explain their interest in sheep, and answer the question: “Why would I like to help preserve a heritage breed of sheep?” The total application/essay should be no more than 2 pages in length. The application must include address, phone and, if available, email address. The applicant should indicate if they wish to be considered for a particular breed or any of the breeds available. Each applicant must also include a “letter of recommendation” from his or her 4-H Advisor, FFA Advisor, Veterinarian, Teacher, or Clergy.
Interested young people should contact Elaine Ashcraft for an updated list of breeds available, and then submit their letter of application/essay to: Elaine Ashcraft, 46118 CR 58, Coshocton, Ohio 43812 or by email: tankewe_cr58@yahoo.com

Youth News!

BLU Youth members Ellora Chapin and Iris LaRochelle had a great time at the Northeast Youth Sheep Show this past weekend.
Iris showed her natural colored yearling BFL ewe and they won champion AOB wool ewe.

Ellora showed Pitchfork Harry Potter and they won reserve champion AOL ram in the wool show.ElloraHarryPotter
Looks like Ellora had fun at the show. ElloraChapin

Attention Youth Showmen!


Northeast Youth Sheep Show
July 14 – 17, 2016

The 32nd annual Northeast Youth Sheep Show (NEYSS) will be held July 14th-17th at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds in West Springfield, MA. The NEYSS is the premier all-breed junior sheep show in the northeast, attracting over 200 youth exhibitors showing close to 800 head of sheep. The show is open to all youth 21 years old and younger.

Highlights of the NEYSS include:
• Breeding Sheep Show
• Market Lamb Show
• Fleece Show
• Fitting & Showmanship Classes
• Skill-a-thon, Quiz Bowl & Clinics
• Family Fun Night, Pizza Party & Ice Cream Social
• New England Private Treaty Sale & Used Equipment Auction

Class winner and participation awards are given, as well as Supreme Champion and Reserve Champion Awards. The NEYSS is sponsored by New England Sheep & Wool Growers Association (NESWGA) and is supported by individual, local, and national breed associations and sponsors.

The NEYSS entry deadline is June 15th.

For more information about this event, or to learn about New England Sheep & Wool Growers Association, please visit http://www.nesheep.org.

2016 Youth Conservation Program

Youth ages 9-18 can help preserve a heritage breed of sheep through the 2016 Youth Conservationist Program. Application deadline is April 1, 2016. I yearling BFL ewe has been donated by Pitchfork Ranch/Somerhill Farm. She is entered in the BFL National show, and so is both top quality, and fitted for show.

* Must be between 9 and 18 years old.
*Submit an application postmarked by April 1, 2016 that includes:
An essay which introduces you, your experience with animals, if for any reason, the animal is not being kept at your own home, explain, in detail where it will reside and what exactly your responsibilities will be.
Your essay should explain your interest in sheep, and answers the question:
“Why I would like to help preserve a heritage breed of sheep.”
Each applicant must include a letter of recommendation from their 4-H advisor, FFA advisor,veterinarian, teacher or clergy.
The total application/essay should be no more than 2 pages in length.
The applicant should indicate if they wish to be considered for a particular breed or for any of the breeds available.
The application must include address, phone and if available, email address.

Interested young people should submit their letter of application/essay to:

Elaine Ashcraft
46118 CR 58
Coshocton, OH 43812


All essays must be mailed, will not accept emailed essays!

Requirements if selected:
Must be present to receive the ewe at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on Sunday, May 8, 2016.
Must exhibit the ewe at least twice in 2016 at: 1) a county fair or local sheep show and 2) the State Fair in the state where the recipient lives.
Must breed the ewe to a registered ram (of her breed) in the fall of 2016, should consult the donor breeder for their recommendations.
Must either use the ewe’s fleece to personally make a wool item or sell the fleece to a spinner, felter or weaver.
Must submit an article the following Feb/Mar to their local newspaper covering their year and including information concerning the next year’s YCP program.
Must submit a one to two page report, with pictures, to the Donor Breeder by April 30, 2016 and provide a scrapbook to be used at the Maryland Festival which is then given back to the youth.

Any questions please contact

Elaine Ashcraft,
46118 CR 58,
Coshocton, Ohio 43812


Donors choose the recipients from the essays submitted by the youth.

My Day with the YCP

rsz_greystone_and_brenda_and_maggie (1)Maggie, donor Brenda Lelli of Beechtree Farm, and Greystone

By Maggie Hoffman
Hi, my name is Maggie Hoffman and this year I won a Bluefaced Leicester yearling ram through the Youth Conservation Program. The Youth Conservation Program’s mission is to encourage the youth to raise and show heritage breeds of sheep such as the Bluefaced Leicester. A heritage sheep is a breed of sheep that has low numbers in the United States and may even face extinction. Every year to encourage youth breeders to raise these heritage breeds of sheep the Youth Conservation Program gives away several sheep to inspiring shepherds. These sheep are donated by farms all across America that raise heritage breeds of sheep.
To win one of these sheep I had to enter and essay contest. I had to write a little bit about me and my experience with animals than I had to answer the question: ‘Why would I like to raise a heritage breed of sheep?’ You then can request what kind of sheep you would like to recieve and I choose Bluefaced Lecesters because that is the breed that I raise.
I was so excited when the Youth Conservation Program called me and told me I was in the top 15 contestants to recieve a sheep. I would be traveling to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festible to pick up my new sheep. Usually the Youth Conservation Program gives away yearling ewes, but because I only had ewes they talked to the breeder that was donating the ewe decided that it would best to donate a Bluefaced yearling ram this year. The ram, Beechtree’s Greystone, was donated by Brenda and Mark Lelli from Beechtree farm in Michigan.
The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was a lot of fun. I got to meet Greystone and Brenda and Mark from Beechtree Farms. After the presentation and I recieved my ram I got to participate in The Parade of Breeds. Greystone is such a beautiful ram and he behaved really well throughout the whole ordeal.
Now that I’ve recieved my ram I have to fill several obligations throughout the next year. Once I got home from the festival I sent Mark and Brenda Lelli a thankyou note and I will keep them updated on what Greystone is up to. For Christmas I will use Greystone’s wool to make a Christmas present for Greystone’s breeders. I will also be keeping two scrapbooks on all the fun things that Greystone and I are doing. One of the scrapbooks goes to the donater while I get to keep the other after it is shown at theMaryland Sheep and Wool Festival next year. This fall I will also be breeding him to three regitared Bluefaced ewes and hopefully be showing their lambs this coming year at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festible.
I had a lot of fun writing my essay and receiving my new ram. I encourage any young shepherd to give it a try.

At the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival, youth rule!

From Jill Johnson, Boyd, WI
My boys, Blake(age 11) and Tyler(age 9), have 15 BFLs.   BLU members LeeAnne & Weldon Richert (Cable, WI)  have helped them get started with a nice little flock. The boys make management decisions for their flock with a little help from us. They are also involved with the care and management of our 50+ ewe Cormo flock. They also enjoy helping with the marketing of our wool and help with educational presentations on sheep and wool.

Blake and Tyler had an exciting weekend during the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Blake won champion youth fleece, champion natural colored fleece, and ultimately reserve supreme champion fleece with a natural colored Bluefaced Leicester fleece.
The fleece was the lamb fleece of RiverWinds 255 Muffy.

Blake and Tyler also exhibited the champion Natural colored ewe, RiverWinds 254 Miffy,(twin to Muffy) at the Great Lakes BFL show at WSWF. They also exhibited the reserve champion colored BFL ram and reserve champion white BFL ewe.

Tyler and his reserve champion white BFL ewe

To continue with my motherly bragging they also placed 1st and 3rd in the beginner division of the Youth sweepstakes held at the festival. The sweepstakes is a points competition based on all the youth activies at the festival. In all they had a good weekend.


Blake and his champion natural colored BFL ewe

Blake has shown his BFLs at our county fair for 3 years introducing something other than a Suffolk. Both boys have shown at WSWF for the last 3 years in the Great Lakes BFL show and the Junior show. Last year Blake actually showed the reserve supreme champion wool breed of the junior show with his white BFL yearling. Tyler has also had success in fleece competitions last year he exhibited the reserve champion white fleece at
Shepherd’s Harvest (Minnesota’s main sheep and wool festival)in a competition with more than 100 fleeces and then sold that fleece for $100 at silent auction.

Comments from fleece Judge Letty Klein: Out of about 130 fleece entries, there was one BFL, a natural colored one. It was stunning! I placed it 1st in the NC long wool class, then Champion NC
Division. Well, I then made the fleece Reserve Supreme over all the fleeces.

Photos by LeeAnne Richert