From what I can determine it appears that at least some of you in fact, don't raise herds of things, like sheep, for a living but participate in herding trials in order to train and prepetuate the historical qualities of the breed. My grandfather's last BC, a true "Sheppie" born of working farm stock knew when my grandfather headed for the barn that it was milking time, and that he was supposed to go get all the cows. As what you would call a "Free will" BC, he did it very well 2x a day, on time every time. What he did between milking times was his own business and he occupied himself with being a great family dog, chasing balls, keeping the grandkids and the chickens out of the road and hunting predators. Plus, he was very good looking in the "classic" or (insultingly) Barbie way -- and I'm guessing he possessed a sound constitution, since he worked hard, ate well and lived to a ripe old age. Would you have bred him?
I'm glad that there are folks out there that are preserving the herding traditions, because now adays most cows are kept in the barn 24/7 and 4-wheelers have mostly taken the place of a good dog (try and send that machine out on its own to retrieve stock!), and and worrying about the fate of the farmers and ranchers in America is beyond the scope of this board.
There's no sense (or any reason) to defend a position other than herding qualities first on this board, mainly because its your board, so you're entitled to guide the discussion, but in my mind both herding and agility competitors are doing the same thing -- breeding dogs for competitions because unless you farm or ranch for a living, what you're doing is a hobby. Those physical qualities so important in agility give the herding dog grace and ability to perform his chores. And honestly, what's wrong with a good looking dog that has a nice coat, markings, and a confirmation that are traditional to the breed I don't know much about genetics, but sometimes isn't color is linked to other physical qualities...
Now, I'm even worse. My idea of agilty is watching our dog jump a ditch or catch a ball. I have nothing to herd. I hopped onto this board because I wanted to learn more about our adoptee's modern body type and abilities... she's different than the traditional BC's I've known over the years. I have my answer She was a cast-off, and to all of you, probably worth nothing more than what she is -- a priceless companion.
So, have at it folks, and good luck. Just give the rest of us a break now and then. We pick up the washouts and give them a good home, give them something worthwhile to do, and for the most part prevent them from reproducing, even though your gene pool might need those qualities we value one day.
Recognizing that I have nothing in common with you, and that I'm probably viewed with contempt, I'll be dropping out of the board.