About Us

Heritage Sheep Reproduction, LLC owned by Deb Nelson Gourley, B.S., M.S., is a new and novel company to assist USA sheep breeders of any size flock, but especially those raising unique breeds. The USDA/APHIS has approved Deb's import permits totaling 7,000 straws of frozen ram semen from 30+ breeds in the United Kingdom. The frozen ram semen shipments are stored under liquid nitrogen (-196C / -320F) long-term cryopreservation. This allows for trained personal to pack and re-ship semen tanks for distribution across the USA to meet both the USDA Scrapie Program and client needs.

Due to close working relationships with the numerous USA sheep breeders and breed associations, enormous sheep genetic diversity was achieved across the sheep industry while Deb Nelson Gourley was President/CEO and 3/4 owner of Elite Genetics, Waukon, Iowa:

  • 1st to ever receive USDA/APHIS import permits to bring frozen ram semen into the USA from United Kingdom, Iceland and Finland importing over 5,000 breedings
  • Marketed 550 rams from 54 sheep breeds along with ram semen collection, laparoscopic artificial insemination and embryo transfer
  • 1st to successfully collect, freeze and import ram semen from Finland’s nucleus flock of natural colored Finnsheep, Deb flew to the Arctic Circle of Finland to collect semen on 8 rams
  • Helped found the North American Wensleydale Sheep Association (start up breed), Deb bred and owned the very first 50% Wensleydale flock in the USA and also bred the first 75% Wensleydale lambs

Deb Nelson Gourley

Deb received both her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Master of Science in Animal Reproductive Physiology from the University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN. For her internship, she worked with Norwegian Spælsau Ram Semen Collection at the Veterinary Medicine College in Oslo, Norway. Deb then returned to the U of M and worked eight years as a Junior Scientist in Dr. E.F. Graham's Animal Reproductive Physiology Research Lab. Further experience came from two years as Quality Control Specialist at Tri-State Breeders Coop (cattle artificial insemination), Westby, WI; five years as co-manager University of Wisconsin Hayward Agricultural Research Station, Hayward, WI with 300 ewes and 100 beef cows; and eight years at Elite Genetics, Waukon, IA.

In more recent years, Deb became a National Award Winning author and publisher with her startup company, Astri My Astri Publishing in Waukon, IA. She published 13 bilingual English Norwegian books on Norwegian Heritage, Culture, History, Language and Genealogy with assistance from her two sons, Alex and Ben Huntrods, doing Norwegian to English translation and 100 year old Dano-Norwegian transcription, respectively. Their books are marketed internationally via her e-commerce website http://www.astrimyastri.com

Margaret VanCamp, Pitchfork Ranch, Michigan — Scrapie agent/recorder for UK Frozen Ram Semen, cell 810-814-3408, pitchfork3772@gmail.com

Great Lakes Sire Service, Earl and Melissa Souva, Bronson, Michigan — handle UK sheep frozen ram semen storage and/or re-shipping in USA

Reproduction Specialty Group, Inc., Dr Tad Thompson, DVM, Lebanon, IN — handle UK sheep frozen donor embryos storage, transplant into recipient [surrogate mother] ewes and/or re-shipping in USA

Erik Halber — Website Design / Development, Maine

Jennifer Brereton — Logo Design, https://jennifer/brereton.myshopify.com/