Summary of board meeting held January 6, 2016

The BLU board met for its organizational meeting on January 6th at 7PM EST. All board members were in attendance, including newly elected VP Joan Chapin of IN and board member Carol Densmore of MI. President Margaret VanCamp welcomed them to the board, and also recognized outgoing members Jared Lloyd and Cindy Cieciwa for their time and service to BLU.

Set/Treas Lisa Rodenfels gave the treasurer’s report. The current balance is $8068.70, with a net loss of $409.54 for the year 2015. Lisa went over some of the major reasons for this, which were some larger one time expenses such as computer financial programs and an ad in Spinoff Magazine.
In the secretary’s report, Lisa told the board that she has updated the membership list on the website with an alphabetic and by state list. It is also available to print out to use as a handout at events. She is working on a postcard to remind members to pay their 2016 dues. There are currently 82 members, of which 15 have paid their 2016 dues so far

Next were the committee reports. President Margaret VanCamp appointed Joan Chapin to the Youth Committee Chair. Still to be filled are the Bylaws/Standards, and Media chairs.
The Genetics Taskforce chair, Heather Landinr reported that although the border between the UK and the US has been opened, the new protocols that have been agreed upon between USDA and the EU make it difficult and expensive for UK BFL breeders to collect semen that passes these new rules. Now the entire flock must be bloodtested and all test negative on 2 separate occasions before a ram can be sent in for semen collection. A possible answer to this problem is the convince USDA to accept PRC testing semen for viruses, bacteria, etc., which is already an accepted practice in cattle.

The National Show Committee chair, Margaret VanCamp began a discussion on plans and ideas for the show at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on May 7 & 8. Joan Chapin volunteered to serve on the committee along with Margaret and Hilary Chapin. Carol Densmore and Sharon O’Donnell with organize the fiber show events. Heather Landin will help with calling hotels and restaurants for a room block and reservations for the banquet. Margaret and Hilary will concentrate on hospitality and trophies. Lisa will work on getting sponsors for awards, and keep the website and FB page up to date with information as it becomes available. A sponsorship was set at $50. Karen Szewc has some items for a display, which she will ship to Margaret. She will also make T-shirts for the event.
Lisa reported that she had designed and placed an ad in the MS&W festival catalog to showcase the national show.
Margaret reported that she has promised 40-60 BFLs in the show. There will be classes for both white and natural colored sheep.

A life membership was awarded founding member Judith Colvin of MT. Congratulations, Judy!

The next scheduled meeting of the board is set for April. A national show committee meeting will be February 6th at 12 EST.

Annual Election Approaches

The BLU election is coming in November !
Deadline to submit resumes to run for President or 3 board positions is OCTOBER 25th    ***
Send resume to BLU breed secretary at P.O. Box 2304 Frisco, TX 75034, or email to

Timeline for Election:

October 25th – Last day to receive resumes for candidacies.  Resumes will be posted on the BLU website during the election.
Nov. 1st – Election Supervisor will mail ballots to all BLU full members as of October 1, 2012.  Please check membership list on this website to be certain that your membership has been recorded.
Dec. 1st – Deadline for ballots to be returned to Election Supervisor.
Dec. 5th – Election Supervisor will count ballots and report to BLU president.
Dec. 6th – President to contact all candidates with results, and post on website.

***Check by-laws for eligibility rules and position descriptions

Your $$$ at work

As the sheep show and fiber festival season draws to a close with a flurry of fall events, BLU would like to remind our members of the advertising dollars spent promoting the breed and the breeders during the year.

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 advertising.

Here is a list of the shows and festivals where advertising dollars were spent in 2012.  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 – $150.00

Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival – $60.00

Black Sheep Gathering – $50.00

Shepherd’s Harvest in Minnesota – $25.00

Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival – $55.00

Michigan Fiber Festival –   $100.00

In addition,  requests to advertise with the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool festival and the Garden State Sheep & Wool Festival (NJ) have recently been received from our members.

Besides promoting BFLs at shows, there are also ads placed in the major sheep magazines – The Shepherd, Sheep!, and Sheep Canada all have paid listings in the breed section of each magazine, at a total cost of $110.00 per year.   The Banner magazine provides space for notes from breed associations at no cost – a great benefit!

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 here on the website.  (click on “about BLU” and then on “Promotional Materials”)

Are you missing from our membership directory?

Just a quick reminder to our membership… if you see that you are “missing” from our online Membership Directory, please renew today and we’ll add you back in!

Your membership is vital to BLU, and your visibility here helps people locate BFL breeders in their area… so it means business for you!

Plus, you need to be a member in order to vote in or run for office in our upcoming election.

President’s notes on Board meeting held June 12, 2012

The board met by teleconference the evening of Tuesday, June 12th. Our new treasurer, Cindy Cieciwa, reported that a new checking account has been opened, and submitted a treasurer’s report for the period of January to May, 2012.
Secretary Kris Barndt presented the minutes from the previous meeting in February. She also reported on her progress with the 2010-11 Flockbook. There is still a bit of work to be done, but she plans to have both years ready to post on the website within a week. She is also working on updating the membership list on the website. There are a few new members, and some of the existing members need their “paid through” date updated.
National Show Chair Robina Koenig led a discussion of the recent national show with the board. A financial report has been submitted, showing a profit of $45.08 from the show. These funds will be set aside to be used toward the expenses of the 2014 show. There was a brief discussion of possible venues for the 2014 show. Show proposals will be due by the January 2013 board meeting, so the membership needs to be reminded to work on these proposals.
The Bylaws & Standards committee chair, Margaret VanCamp had been approached by several members concerning the need to clarify what show category BFLs fall into; medium wool or longwool. After reviewing the existing breed standards, as well as other publications provided by BLU, it was decided that the informational tri-fold flyer available for reprint on the website needs to have the wording from the standards added to the section on wool. In the mean time, members who show BFLs might want to have the breed standards in hand should this question come up at shows where BFLs are entered. The flyer will be corrected as soon as possible.
Jolene Vezzetti, membership chair, reported that she has gotten a list of new members from the secretary and will verify that welcome packets have been mailed to all. After a discussion, it was decided that the treasurer should report paid memberships with the treasurer’s report so that the board will be aware of members status.
The genetics taskforce 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.
The upcoming election was discussed. A postcard reminding members of the schedule of election, as well as requesting resumes for the positions of president, and 3 board members should be mailed out by the end of the month. Annette Boose is willing to handle the mailing and counting of ballots again, and the board agreed that she should continue to do this.
The next scheduled meeting of the board is on August 8th.

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.

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.