In praise of the YCP program

By Margie Smith, PA 

What a wonderful program the Youth Conservation Program, held during the Maryland Sheep & Wool festival each year is!  It was an experience that I would recommend to fellow BFL breeders. I’d like to thank Elaine Ashcraft for directing such a wonderful program! This was my first year donating a registered BFL yearling and it was truly an honor to do. Elaine walked me through each step of the way with patience and lots of guidance. I enjoyed reading the entries from the youth who requested a yearling. The entry my husband and I chose was Tia Iversen from North Carolina. What a blessing she is to our breed! Tia took responsibility of our yearling, Marlindale Pippa, as soon as they were acquainted at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. By the time Pippa made it North Carolina, she and Tia had become buddies. As the weeks progressed, it turned out that Pippa had been bred. On June 19th, Pippa gave Tia her first lamb, a 10 lb ram lamb! Pippa trusted Tia so much that she let her handle and help clean the new lamb. What a wonderful time and experience. If any of you have a yearling you feel would benefit a youth, please help out by donating a ewe yearling. To see the joy this ewe has brought Tia and her family has made this all worth the efforts on everyone’s parts!

Your 2018 advertising dollars at work

As the 2018 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.
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.

Here is a list of the shows and festivals where advertising dollars were spent in 2018. 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 – $350.00 This includes support for the working herding dog demonstration given by long time breeder, Nancy Starkey, using BFLs. New this year was a sponsorship for a special award for the winning BFL fleece in the wool competition.
*Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival – $85.00
*Northeastern Youth Sheep Show sponsorship of $50.00

Because the 2018 BFL national show will be held during the Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon, there were special ads place in magazines to promote the event.
*Banner Magazine – $211.50
*Black Sheep Gathering – complimentary ad valued at $99.00

Besides promoting BFLs at shows, there are also ads placed in the major sheep magazines – The Shepherd and Sheep! both have paid listings in the breed section of each magazine, at a total cost of $80.00 per year. The Banner magazine provides space for notes from breed associations at no cost – a great benefit! And because BFLs were the featured breed in the September 2018 issue of The Shepherd, we also placed a color ad in that issue for $105.00.

Each year, Spin-Off Magazine publishes a natural fiber directory insert which lists fiber sources for its subscribers.  This year, BLU placed an ad in the breed association section, which runs $150.00.

Because we also have members in Canada, an ad was placed in Sheep Canada for $392.14

And because our breed display was in need of updating, a new banner was designed and ordered at a cost of $111.99.

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”)

2018 YCP yearling ewe winner

The winner of the Bluefaced Leicester yearling ewe from the Youth Conservation Program this year is Mackenzie Weist. Makenzie is the daughter of Jennifer and Kevin Weist, and hails from Creamton, PA. In her essay that is part of the selection process, Mackenzie states that she lives on a farm that her great, great grandparents purchased in the early 1900’s. The farm has a history of sheep on it, and now is home to Bluefaced Leicesters. She looks forward to using the fleece from her ewe to make a sweater, and a hat for her aunt. The ewe was donated by Pitchfork Ranch in Michigan. Pictured is Margaret VanCamp with Mackenzie and her new BFL ewe

34th North East Youth Sheep Show

34th North East Youth Sheep Show
July 19-22, 2018

Mallory Complex, Eastern States Exposition
West Springfield, MA

The North East Youth Sheep Show (NEYSS) is the 3rd largest and longest running youth sheep show in the country. It is the premier all-breed junior show in the northeast, attracting 200 youth exhibitors and 600-700 head of sheep, with 20+ breeds represented.

Weekend activities include:
? Breed Shows
? Market Lamb Show
? Fleece Competition
? Fitting & Showmanship Classes
? Skill-a-thon & Quiz Bowl Contests
? Educational Clinics
? Friday Fun Night – Pizza Party & Ice Cream Social
? Saturday Used Equipment Auction
? Presentation of the NESWGA Harry Hardwick Scholarship, Youth Grants & Spirit Awards

Premiums and participation awards are given, as well as breed Champion and Reserve Champion banners and sashes. The weekend culminates with the selection of the Supreme Ram, Ewe, and Flock awards. The NEYSS is open to youth 21 years old and under. The deadline to enter is June 15, 2018.

The NEYSS is sponsored by the New England Sheep & Wool Growers Association (NESWGA). It is supported by national breed associations, local organizations and individual sponsors. To learn more about the NEYSS or the NESWGA, please visit

2017 YCP winner Charles Boyle

In April 2017, youth farmer Charles O’Boyle wrote and submitted an essay for the Youth Conservationist Program. This program awards Heritage Breeds Yearling Ewe Lambs to 4-H members throughout the country. The 4-H members selected to receive a yearling ewe lamb, write essays on what the heritage breeds mean and how they can help preserve those breeds of our fore-fathers for future generations. Charles was awarded in May, a Bluefaced Leicester Ewe lamb named Kimmie. He has showed her in the Allegany County Fair in 2017. As part of the project, he bred her this past fall. She had twin lambs born this February.
Charles is a 4-H member of Allegany County’s Mountain and Valley club, Livestock Judging member and Livestock Skill-a-thon participant. He has shown livestock at the Allegany County Fair for the last 5 years. He resides on a small family farmette outside Cumberland, MD. Charles is also a Boy Scout from Troop 9.
Kimmie is a Bluefaced Leicester who was donated by Meredith Myers Null from Mount Airy, MD. Bluefaced Leicesters are known for their wool quality. They are a longwool breed of sheep with a very distinct Roman nose. The skin for these are blue with white lustre wool. There are some that are a natural colored wool. They have no wool on their legs and head. These sheep came from Leicestershire hence giving them their name. Kimmie is a white colored lamb. She has given birth to a white colored and a natural colored lambs.
Charles plans to show Kimmie and her lambs (yet to be named) at the 2018 Allegany County Fair and at the 2018 Maryland State Fair. He is excited to be starting his Bluefaced Leicester herd. For more information on the Youth Conservationist Program contact Elaine Ashcraft at 740-622-1573 or Charles at For more information on the Bluefaced Leicester Lambs you may contact either Charles or see the Bluefaced Leicester Union’s website

2018 Youth Conservation Program

BLU supports this program, and has secured a donation of a registered BFL ewe for this year’s event.
Youth interested in applying for the 2018 Youth Conservationist Program 
* Must be between 9 and 18 years old.  
*Submit an application postmarked by April 1, 2018 that includes:  
*An essay which introduces you and your experience with animals. Your essay should explain your interest in sheep and  answer the question: “Why I would like to help preserve a heritage breed of sheep.” If for any reason the animal will not  be kept at your own home, please explain in detail where it will reside and what exactly your responsibilities will be.  
*The applicant should indicate if they wish to be considered for a particular breed or for any of the breeds available.  
*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 application must include address, phone and if available, email address. Interested young people should contact  Elaine for an updated list of breeds available, then submit their letter of application/essay to: Elaine Ashcraft, 46118 CR  58 Coshocton, OH 43812  
*Requirements if selected:  
*Must be present to receive the ewe at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on Sunday,  May 6, 2018.  
*Must exhibit the ewe at least twice in 2018 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 2018, 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 scrapbook to the Donor Breeder by April 30, 2018 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  
By phone at (740) 622?1573 or by email at  (please note the underscore between “tankewe”  and “cr58”) 
Donors select the recipients from the essays submitted by the youth.