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:
JEHOVAH-JIREH SHEEP & CATTLE, COLORADO
“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.