Letter from the Chairmen
Thank you for your membership!
Valais Blacknose Society
Valais Blacknose Society
As you know, the society was newly formed in January 2021 following the merge of the Valais Blacknose Breed Society and Valais Blacknose Sheep Society UK. The Working Group committee was established with equal representatives from both societies in 2020 to drive and navigate us to this monumental milestone. In bringing both societies together it has enabled us to take ownership of the registry, combine our resources to support members and work to preserve the breed as best we can.
Grassroots will continue to administer the registry under instruction of the Valais Blacknose Society.
Please continue to maintain your flock details as you have done previously.
Aims for 2021
While there are many aspirations for 2021, we feel that we must also be realistic with the potential limitations we will face because of COVID-19.
Where possible we will strive to deliver what we can and most importantly, as safely as we can.
- Workshops & Training Days
- Breed Classes at Shows
- Breed Sales
- Blacknose Beauties
- Flock Management Online Library
- Implementation of Breed Policies
Shows and Events
Keep up to date with information on shows and events via the society website and social media channels.
Although we will be known amongst our previous member communities, we are possibly new faces to many. Therefore, we thought it might be helpful to let you know a little more about us and formally introduce ourselves.
Raymond Irvine – Joint VBS Chairman
I am a 3rd generation farmer based in Tomintoul in the Scottish Highlands. We farm a 4000-acre mixed and hill farm. We have a commercial herd of 50 cattle, 50 pedigree Charolais cattle, 800 Scottish Blackface and a flock of around 80 Valais Blacknose. I am known more for breeding pedigree Charolais bulls and the Charolais showing circuit.
Like everyone else, we fell in love with the Blacknose instantly. They have an inexplicable pull which you naturally gravitate toward, coupled with a welcoming temperament. And they are cute!
My partner Jenni and I first introduced the Valais Blacknose to Scotland in May 2014 after much researching of the breed and top shepherds in Valais, Switzerland. However, access to breeders and information was limited on the internet at the time. It was evident that we had to visit the home of the Blacknose and connect with breeders directly. It was at this stage where the real adventure began and the dream to have our own Blacknose flock, started to become reality.
Albeit the export process was a long and challenging one, it has been one of the best things we have done. Not only have we found this wonderful breed, but we have also met wonderful people from all over the world and lifelong friendships have been formed.
Jenni McAllister, Jamie Wood, and I formed the Valais Blacknose Society UK (VBSSUK) in 2015 following the first import of the breed into the UK. We shared the view of extending Swiss traditions behind the Blacknose here in the UK, working together to help establish, develop, and protect the breed. We are invested in the Blacknose and enjoy spending time with breeders in Valais to expand existing knowledge to best support and encourage the Blacknose.
I would like to thank the VBSSUK Committee for their hard work and commitment, the Blacknose Beauties Committee for the fantastic event they produce each year and finally the member community for their input and continued support.
David Hodge – Joint VBS Chairman
To those members who may not know me, my name is David Hodge, and I was the Chairman of the Valais Blacknose Breed Society from 2016-2020.
My partner Julian and I imported our own graded Valais Blacknose sheep directly from Switzerland in 2014. I have been involved with sheep breeding for all my life and have shown and judged other breeds of sheep before we became involved with the Valais Blacknose sheep.
We run a hill farm on Dartmoor in Devon and run a large commercial flock as well as pedigree Exmoor sheep, Belted Galloways, and have a large stud of native ponies that we also compete in the show ring.
We have bred naturally from our initial imported flock while acquiring a few outside pure swiss bloodlines to help develop the lines. We are committed to the Valais Blacknose and the development of the breed here in the UK.
We have been lucky within the South West that the county shows had soon established breed classes within their schedules. Now the number of county shows which have followed to add breed classes are increasing all the time. I am a firm believer that the Valais Blacknose sheep can compete well in interbreed classes and already results around the country have proved this.
I would like to thank both the committee and members from the Valais Blacknose Breed Society for their hard work and involvement which have enabled the fledgling society to develop further. Hopefully, those members will now support this new venture with the interest and passion that they have shown before.
We are both thrilled that the two societies have now merged, this is a positive step forward to help continue supporting and strengthening the breed. We look forward to the next steps and the prospect of everyone working together.
2020 was a difficult year for everyone due to COVID-19. The cancellation of shows and compulsory restrictions have impacted us all greatly, both economically and socially. We both hope that 2021 will have more positive things in store for everyone.
Keeping in Touch
We recognise that members may have many questions in relation to the merge, questions in general or how certain processes now work. A forum has been created for those who have access to Facebook to provide access to a support network if required. You are welcome to join the group and engage with other members, share your thoughts, concerns, or simply use as a social channel to remain connected to your fellow members: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vbsmemberforum
You can also email the society mailbox at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Society Needs You
As we embark with the new Valais Blacknose Society it gives us opportunity to implement new processes, look at new ideas and ways to better support the member community.
We would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions whatsoever. It could be an invaluable tip we can share in flock management guides, online event ideas, merchandise, or general feedback. Please email email@example.com or contact a council member.
Give your input for better output!
Once again thank you and welcome. We look forward to seeing you, hopefully in person, over the course of the year.
Raymond Irvine and David Hodge
Valais Blacknose Society
VBS Mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org