Ray and Margo Hanson grew up in Minnesota, but spent most of their adult lives in Alaska. In 2006, they retired and returned to Minnesota, to property they had purchased years earlier along Marsh Creek. Marsh Creek meanders along the west side of their 85 acres before joining the Wild Rice River to the south. Before the road was built, people crossed the creek there, giving rise to the name, “Marsh Creek Crossing”.
After building a log home, they turned their attention to tearing out and replacing old barbed wire fences with high tensile electric. The fencing was competed late 2008, and the search began for sheep. Ray and Margo wanted calm, easy to care for sheep, with good mothering instincts. The local county extension agent had a flock of Border Leicesters, which seemed to be just what they were looking for. He directed the Hanson’s to Judy Lewman of Spring Creek Farm, who has been raising registered white Border Leicesters for over 35 years. Judy got them started with a flock of five ewe lambs, two old girls, and a ram. Ray and Margo were also able to retain her SFCP certification, and OPP negative health status. After hearing and reading about the horrors of OPP, they were thankful to have a flock that tested 100 percent negative. However they had no idea how difficult it was to find more registered Border Leicesters that were SFCP certified and OPP negative. Online searches led the Hanson’s to SuDan Farm in Canby, Oregon. Susie and Dan Wilson’s flock has been OPP test negative since 1998. Using AI, (artificial insemination) they have been able to close their flock and breed replacements with semen from some of the best Border Leicester rams in New Zealand. In the fall of 2009, Ray and Margo purchased eight ewe lambs, three natural colored and five white, from SuDan Farms. Now the combined genetics from Canadian and New Zealand bloodlines are producing superior lambs that are OPP negative and possess the beautiful luster and curled wool that is characteristic of the breed.