Ward Farms Information
Kelly and Mike Ward
760 West V.W. Ave
Schoolcraft, MI 49087
Leicester Union of North America (BLU) - Secretary/Treasurer,
Ward Farms evolved from an apple orchard/grape vineyard operation into a sheep only business on the Schoolcraft prairie. I started with one sheep in 1978, added some angora rabbits along the way, and got myself into the "fiber related" business - big time. Mike & I moved to Schoolcraft in 1989 expanding and focusing on the the sheep end of things.
In 1995 I purchased my first Bluefaced Leicesters, buying the Bayshore flock from Frank Baylis, VA, and my whole direction in sheep changed.
From that point I took two trips to Nova Scotia to buy Bluefaced Leicesters from David Firth, and later bought a ram from Bruce Blacklock, also Nova Scotia, via Lisa Rodenfels. Then Deb Gourley, at that time associated with Elite Genetics, brought in semen of quality United Kingdom Bluefaced Leicester rams - "Jamie", "Rossibank Laird" and "Beeston Loyalty". Through artificial insemination & embryo transfer by Dennis Gourley, and recently AI with Martin Dally, Ward Farms has gotten a jump start on genetic diversity and improvement of the BFL breed here in North America. Currently there are direct descendants here of "Jamie", "Laird" and "Loyalty", plus we have the only genetically tested purebred BLACK Bluefaced Leicesters in North America. - "Blackjack", "Ace", "Sooty", and white-black factored "Shadow" and "Misty". In 2003 two more black ewe lambs were born.
On a trip to the UK in 2002 I selected a black Bluefaced Leicester ram, "Blackmoor", from A. L. S. Smith-Maxwell's Beeston flock. In 2005 I purchased semen from two white Bluefaced Leicesters from the Gigrin flock of Mr. E. Powell, Rhayader, Powys, Wales. "Rhayader" and "Red Kite" will be a welcome addition to the continuing improvement of the breed.
When I created the Bluefaced Leicester Union of North America registry - ably managed for BLU by Associated Sheep Registries, Iowa - the proper documentation of lineage of purebred BFLs began. As the number of registrations increase, the future of the Bluefaced Leicester is assured in North America. The membership in BLU was begun by a small dedicated number of breeders, and in the past few years the increase in members has shown the expansion of this wonderful breed from coast to coast.
In leicesters, blue is finer!