Projects / Work

What does The Livestock Conservancy Do?

The Conservancy's mission is pretty straightforward – our mission is the genetic conservation and promotion of heritage breeds. However, implementing this mission involves a variety of projects and activities and the help of numerous partners, supporters, and members. 

The most common question we get from people that are unfamiliar with our organization is – do you own animals? As much we’d love to be around rare breeds all day, the Conservancy does NOT own animals, but it DOES serve a critical role in rare breed conservation.

Some things we do:

  • Maintain and annually update our Conservation Priority List (CPL) – a “watchlist” for the endangerment levels of rare breeds.
  • Conduct research to define breed characteristics for each rare breed on the CPL, and collect census data to track and report population numbers.
  • Provide technical and practical education to small farmers interested in raising heritage breeds.
  • Develop methods for marketing and promoting heritage breeds and their products to help make raising them a profitable and satisfying option for small farmers.
  • Conduct general outreach and education about genetic diversity, breed attributes, and the role of heritage breeds in sustainable agriculture.
  • Assist with genetic rescues of threatened breed populations.
  • Assist with DNA collection and analysis to further the understanding of breed populations.
  • Publish an annual directory of where endangered breeds of livestock and poultry are located across the U.S., and publish newsletters to help promote heritage breeds.
  • Serve as the registrar for several breeds, and network with breed associations to help these organizations serve conservation.

Our work is a journey, every day new challenges and threats are on the horizon. We never know when a new breed or strain might be discovered, or when an important herd of strain may be threatened with dispersal. Check out the What We Do section of our website to learn more about our current and past projects!