After a couple of years of planning and petitioning the US and UK governments for permission, I was finally able to import some frozen semen from three of the top Clun Forest rams in the UK. The Clun Forest breed was one of the major commercial breeds in the UK during the 20th century, but lately flocks have been declining in number there. At the same time, the Clun is growing more popular here in the US.
While I wanted to improve my flock’s genetic with some imported English bloodlines, the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak in Britain, followed by the terrorist attacks here in the US delayed that project until this year. When both governments finally allowed the resumption of frozen semen imports and exports (at least temporarily), I had to move quickly. Working with top UK Clun Forest breeders Tom Francis of Guifron Farm in Shropshire and George Smith of Charcoal Lodge in Surrey, the rams were sent to CBS Technologies in Malvern, England for testing and collection in September. In December, the frozen semen straws arrived at the University of California at Davis in the care of Dr. Martin Dally, who will perform the AI procedure on my ewes in September 2004. It took a lot more time and money than I ever expected, but I hope to have some of the best Clun Forest lambs ever seen on this side of the Atlantic born here in February 2005.