Alison Martin, PhD is the Conservancy’s Executive Director. As a teenager, Alison raised backyard poultry, waterfowl, rabbits and horses. This early experience led to a career of more than 20 years in poultry science, specializing in health and vaccine development. She was a key leader on the world’s first in ovo (in the egg) vaccine for coccidiosis. Alison has a PhD in Genetics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, where she specialized in disease resistance in poultry. Alison’s skills in building collaborative partnerships have helped The Livestock Conservancy to expand its strategic scientific and technical capacity in conservation programs.
Jeannette Beranger is the Research & Technical Programs Manager for The Conservancy. She came to the organization with 25 years’ experience working as an animal professional including veterinary and zoological institutions with a focus on Heritage breeds. She has been with The Conservancy since 2005 and uses her knowledge to plan and implement conservation programs, conduct field research, and advise farmers in their endeavors with rare breeds. She is co-author of the best-selling book “An Introduction to Heritage Breeds.” At home she maintains a Heritage breeds farm with a focus on rare breed chickens & horses. In 2015 she was honored as one of the top “45 Amazing Country Women in America” by Country Woman magazine for her long standing dedication to endangered breed conservation.
Michele Brane serves as the Conservancy's Donor Information and Research Manager. She has a background in technical writing, editing, and documentation of medical and accounting software. She is responsible for managing the database and fine-tuning the capacity of this software. In addition, Michele works actively with the organization’s donors and works to research new funding and grant opportunities for the organization.
Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD has served as the Technical Advisor for the Conservancy since 1978. He is employed as a veterinary pathologist and geneticist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. He has written several books on color genetics and rare breed conservation. He is sought after as a speaker on genetics as well as rare breed conservation. Phil has taken the lead on Spanish horse rescues and is a conservation breeder of Spanish horses, and Tennessee Fainting goats. He works closely with several breed organizations as well as individual breeders of several different breeds.
Angelique Thompson currently serves as the Conservancy’s Operations Director. Thompson oversees the financial operations of the organization, human resources, information technology and systems development, and meeting organization. Thompson also serves as a liaison to the Board in planning and organizing Board meetings. Thompson works directly with the Executive Director and Board to facilitate long-range planning geared towards operational effectiveness and organizational success.
Ryan Walker is a native Texan and currently serves as the Marketing & Communications Manager for The Livestock Conservancy. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of North Texas in Denton, TX, and is currently finishing a Master of Science degree in Agriculture & Consumer Resources from Tarleton State University. Ryan handles advertising, is the press contact, and is the editor for The Livestock Conservancy News, E-News, Breeders and Products Directory, and much more! Ryan's agricultural experience includes raising goats, sheep, cattle, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, and horses. He also enjoys judging hay and forages. Connect with him on Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Ches Stewart serves as a Porgram Assistant. He has more than a decade of experience working with and volunteering for food organizations at the local and state level, including North Carolina and Ohio, and is a former manager of a farmers market in Simpsonville, South Carolina. Ches was a primary contact for the Conservancy's poultry census and is currently working on a project regarding Caspian horse conservation. He is also a recent first-time father of twin girls and is a mushroom farmer and blacksmith.
Dorothy Hammett is our newest staff member and serves as an Administrative Assistant for The Livestock Conservancy. Dorothy comes to us with a wealth of experience and talent supporting non-profits. At home, Dorothy is an organic gardener, and she is enjoying learning about the many animals on the Conservation Priority List.