President’s notes on Board meeting held February 15, 2012

The board met by teleconference the evening of Wednesday, February 15th.  Our new treasurer, Cindy Cieciwa, was able to join us for the first part of the meeting.  The proposed budget for 2012 was reviewed.  The board is pleased with our progress toward building up fund reserves while still providing needed services to our membership.  The need for a new checking account with a bank near both the treasurer and the president was discussed.

Kris Barndt presented the minutes from the previous meeting in November.  She also discussed the need to make some changes to the website and forms to reflect the new treasurer, and to help remind the members to mail their membership dues directly to Associated Sheep Registries.   A postcard reminding members of the deadline for paying 2012 dues has been mailed out.

The BFL National show committee reported on its progress.  Trophies & ribbons have been ordered, the hotel has been reserved, a banquet has been arranged for.  The sheep show entry forms are nearly ready for publication, and the yarn, fleece, fiber arts, and photography contest forms are ready, as well.  They will be posted to the BLU website, Facebook page, and advertized in the next few days.

The genetics taskforce had several items to report.  All six of the most recent imported rams have been correctly entered into the ASR registry database, and new certificates issued at no charge.  Heather Landin has agreed to oversee the import process for the future to assure that BLU policy is followed, and the required paperwork is filed completely and correctly before new rams are entered into the system.  The next ram to be entered will be Myfyrian Blue Dragon, who was imported by our Canadian members this past summer.   Jared Lloyd reported on the progress in getting several new rams that have been collected into the US for our membership’s use.  There is a problem with the company that does the collection work that is being looked into by USDA.  It is hoped that it will be quickly resolved.

A committee has been formed to work on filing for non-profit status 501(c)(5) with the IRS.  Anyone with experience in this process would be welcomed onto this committee.

The upcoming Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival was discussed.  Jolene Vezzetti will help organize an informal gathering of BLU members and others interested in BFLs during the lunch break in the sheep show arena on Saturday.

A request to support the Michigan Fiberfest in Allegan, MI was considered by the board, and it was decided to make a donation.  BLU will be recognized in their catalog as well as listed on a banner in the showring.  As a reminder, if any members attend festivals, shows, etc., with sheep or fiber, please contact the board to request that BLU advertizes or supports the show in some way.  One of the functions of BLU is to promote the breed, and we’d like to do that as much as possible.

The next scheduled meeting of the board is on April 25th.

Of interest from the British BFL association

We are holding a meeting for those interested in hearing about the Bluefaced Leicester Association Performance Recording Scheme and our new “Performance Mule” initiative for the promotion of Mules sired by high index Bluefaced Leicester sires.

The “Performance Mule” initiative will help us supply the ever growing market for commercial ewes sired by high index rams that we are losing out on at the present time to our competitors.

This meeting is taking place at The Auctioneer, Borderway Mart, Carlisle on Tuesday 14th February, 2012 at 7.00p.m.

The main focus of the meeting will be a power point presentation given by Sam Boon of Signet this will be to show and discuss the benefits of Performance Recording in Bluefaced Leicester’s. We anticipate an increased demand for performance recorded Bluefaced Leicester’s with the launch of a recorded mule certification scheme.

We would encourage as many members as possible to attend this meeting.

If you would like to discuss this further please contact Matt Drummond on his mobile 07771934071 or contact myself on 07887 891678.
Myrfyn Roberts
Breed Development Chairman

***A group of US breeders have imported semen from performance recorded rams from both Mr Roberts and Mr Drummond.  The Bluefaced Leicester Union of North America encourages our members to use this data collected on UK rams as part of the criteria in selecting top sires for collection and import.

2012 National Show

The judge for the BFL show is Judy Moore. Judy is a nationally known and respected judge with experience judging BFLs. The show is scheduled for Friday, May 25th at 3PM. It is held at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival in Wooster Ohio.
Besides the sheep show, there will be competitions for fleece, yarn, fiber arts, and a photography competition. These will be held on Saturday, May 26th. Rules and entry forms are being completed and will be posted here on the website this week.

BLU board member makes national sheep news

BLU board member Jared Lloyd was recently interviewed for a Sheep Industry News article.  The article focuses on his flock expansion using Shetland and BFL genetics in a large western commercial flock.

BLU Election Results

The board election results are finalized. As reported by our election chairperson, 31 ballots were returned. Vice President Margaret VanCamp won re-election, as did board member Jared Lloyd. Our new board member, replacing Becky Utecht, who did not seek re-election, is Heather Landin. Please join me in congratulating them. The board will be meeting by teleconference in mid-December. All BLU members are encouraged to contact any board member with questions or concerns to bring before the board.

President’s notes on board meeting held November 16, 2011

On November 16th, the BLU board met by teleconference. The treasurer’s report and the minutes from the August 10th meeting were approved.

Our treasurer, Becky Utecht, is not running for a second term on the board, and does not wish to continue as BLU treasurer. So the board will be looking for someone from the membership to fill this position.

The flockbook was discussed. Since it is very time consuming for the secretary to produce on a voluntary basis, and to pay someone to do it would be a substantial expense, the board would like to find out just how important it is to the membership. To this end, the president and secretary will work on a set of questions to find out if the cost is justified and if the membership uses the flockbook, or might prefer the information in a different format. A survey will be set up for the membership in the next few months.

The national show committee updated the board on its progress. The committee is meeting at the fairgrounds in Wooster on Friday, November 18th to look at the facility and discuss how best to use it for demonstrations and the fleece/fiber competition. They will also make arrangements for hotel and banquet facilities.

The board voted to extend the contract on the website. They are very happy with the look and content of the website, and how it is maintained.

An issue with the way that American Sheep Registry is handling the registration of UK ram semen into our breed registry was discussed. It was decided that the Genetics Taskforce committee should appoint someone to oversee this process. Policy will be re-written to have the information already required for semen registry to be looked over by the committee to assure that all paperwork is in order before it is submitted to ASR, and then re-checked to be certain it has been entered correctly to ensure pedigrees are correct and the integrity of the registry is maintained.

A brief meeting is planned for December to welcome new board member(s). Two topics that will be discussed will be the open treasurer’s position and approval of the 2012 budget.
If there are concerns from the membership that the board

Candidates for BLU Election

For Vice-President:

I’m Margaret Van Camp, and I an running for re-election as the Vice-President for the BLU board. I have been a partner in Pitchfork Ranch inSwartz Creek,Michigansince 1996, where Cindy Cieciwa and I have a flock of 30 ewes. The flock was 100% Romney until 2005, when I got a good close look at a BFL fleece. BFLs now comprise about a third of our ewe flock.

I am pleased with the progress BLU has made under its first board of directors. We have codified and  standardized our operations in term of the bylaws, registry and treasury. We have selected a site for our third National Show to be held in the spring of 2012. We have a positive and modestly growing balance in our checking account, and, thanks to the magic of Skype and free teleconferencing, we have met regularly without costing BLU a dime. Registrations, transfers and membership numbers are increasing.

When I wrote my candidate statement for the previous election, I stated that BLU has a tremendous amount of potential as a unifying organization. This potential has, in my view, manifested itself in the conversations I have had with many different breeders and potential breeders in the last two years. Many of us are being approached by those seeking BFLs for a diverse set of uses: commercial production, meat sires, fiber flock, and, of course, for purebred breeding stock. I still feel that In spite of these diverse uses, the Registry should be the “big tent” under which we all can gather and share our enthusiasm for the breed. I am excited about the growing number of BFLs I see at shows, and the greater possibility of BFL breed shows at various venues.

If re-elected, I would like to work on capitalizing on the growing visibility of our breed by pushing for more breed shows, familiarizing more judges with our breed standard, and try to coordinate more joint advertising opportunities for our members with breeding stock and fiber products to sell. Say what you like about shows, but they are still the primary means by which the general public and the sheep community in particular are exposed to our relatively unfamiliar breed. I would also continue to in encouraging two-way communication between the board and the membership.

I would appreciate your vote.

2 Candidates for General Board Positions:

“Radioactive” is a word that has been used to describe me. I am passionate about producing the best lamb and wool. I grew up in a flock where my neighbors and my family raised high quality Suffolk range sires and a few market lambs. I inherited copies of the sheep gene from both sides of my family. The Purdins herded bands of ewes from Wyoming to Idaho. The Johnsons summered two bands of Columbia ewes on the Buzzard and wintered them in Mesa, where I was born.
I produce my own Bluefaced Leicester crossing sires that I use to breed Mules from my Shetland flock.
I am very data oriented in my production philosophy with developed breeds. I have been involved in beef production since I was, well, prenatal. So I’ve highly valued EPDs (Expected Progeny Differences) as a tool for producing competitive performance stock across the board. My flock is the first American flock enrolled in National Sheep Improvement Program, and my ewes and lambs are the first Bluefaced Leicesters with objectively analyzed data. I am also an ASI certified wool classer.
I’m preparing to launch the Blue Alliance©. It’s a private consulting and marketing program for prime, grass finished lamb and a genetics company to provide cutting edge, high-indexing AI sires for production of the highest quality lamb and wool from white and natural-colored mule ewes.
I helped organize the BFL National Show 2008, held at the Estes Park Wool Market. It was a small event, after big plans, but we had a lot of fun visiting and promoting Blues.
My enthusiasm for this breed is well founded, and I feel that they have a role to play in the production of the best lamb that North America has to offer. I’m here to do the legwork to get them recognized for what they are and what they can be.

Heather Landin    We have been working with BFL’s since 2006, when we purchased two ewes and a ram from LeeAnne Richert.  My daughter wanted to do sheep breeding as a 4H project so I talked her into my favorite wool breed, hoping to have fleece for spinning.  Little did I know than that we would soon be heading for a flock of 50 ewes and little time to pursue my fiber hobbies.  We simply fell in love with the sheep for their sweet disposition and lovely looks.  A bit of research and marketing experiments soon indicated their wool was a valuable commodity and their crossbreeding potential.  We were off to starting a business to utilize our 150 acre farm, focused on fleece and Icelandic/BFL crossbreds.  Then, to make sure I had no time at all for my hobbies, I took over the semen import that the BFL union members were organizing with a number of BFL breeders in the UK.  We successfully imported 6 rams last fall and are working on another import this fall.  In the process, I have gotten to know many of the BFL breeders in the US and the UK, the start of great friendships and and greater appreciation of my involvement with the breed and it’s potential as a crossing sire for the larger US meat industry.  I have also become aware of the unpleasant issues surrounding epidemic CL and OPP in the US sheep flock and am doing all I can to spread the word on how we can avoid having these diseases, as well as others less threatening, hurt our breed and our flocks.   I have also been a 4H poultry leader and active on the county 4H Breeding Livestock committee.  I have given seminars on sheep and fiber, including a full day fiber workshop for the Indian Head Sheep Breeders Association.


 In the rest of my life, I am a full time product development engineer for 3M’s Personal Care Division and a certified clinical research associate.  I have a BS in Chemistry and a BA in biology.  My most important job is being a single mother and raising 3 kids, one 20 year old, Rose, my sheep partner, and Mellissa, and Daniel, both 15.


 I would be honored to serve on the BFL Union board.   I see great things in the future for the Bluefaced Leicester breed in the US.