The Livestock Conservancy works on a variety of projects to support its mission of genetic conservation of heritage breeds. Here is a snapshot of a few of our current projects!
|Java Chicken Recovery Project: Through careful selection and breeding, The Livestock Conservancy is working with a pilot group of breeders to bring back the production characteristics of the Java chicken. In its first year alone, the project increased the number of Java chickens in the United States by 10%, but more quality breeding stock is needed. For the coming year, the project will be expanded and new breeders and producers will be added. The Livestock Conservancy is also working with breeders and producers to develop economic models for successfully raising and marketing heritage chicken breeds which will benefit all farmers raising heritage chickens.|
Classroom Heritage Chicken Hatching Project: This past spring, (2013) The Livestock Conservancy was approached by Ginger Cunningham of our local Cooperative Extension to help with an embryology program was conducted by a 4-H School Enrichment Project. Previously the program acquired eggs from a local commercial hatchery but our good friends at Extension believed that perhaps it would be more interesting for the students and teachers if they used Heritage breed eggs. That’s when Ginger came to the Conservancy.
|10-Year Livestock Census: The goal of this project is to complete a ten-year population census update for heritage (and commercial) livestock breeds. The Livestock Conservancy was the first organization to conduct a national census of heritage breeds; this has been an invaluable tool in sustaining a science-based focus for our conservation work. The current census will assess both endangered and non-endangered breeds to produce an overall picture of the diversity of livestock breeds in the United States. The resulting census data from this project will drive national and international conservation objectives.|
|Master Breeder Program: This program is based on the fundamental premise that the existence and continuity of “old-time” (Master) breeders’ knowledge is critical to conservation. Master Breeders are historians who help bridge production knowledge from this generation to the next. They are a critical resource for conservation. This project includes in-the-field interviews with recognized Master Breeders, documentation and teaching of their methods, and publication of the findings.|
|Saving Endangered Hog Breeds Project: The Livestock Conservancy is working with a number of partners and universities to make Heritage Pork production an economically-viable enterprise for small and mid-scale farmers, to increase endangered breed swine populations so that they are numerically and genetically secure, and to develop models for pastured, heritage swine production that can be applied nationally. This three-year project is in its first year.||
|Heritage Breed Outreach Initiative: Many people do not realize that many of America’s historic breeds are threatened with extinction, and The Livestock Conservancy is leading the quest to educate the public and change perceptions and understandings of agriculture. The Heritage Breed Outreach Initiative brings The Livestock Conservancy's expertise and services to those people around the country who are eager to learn more about raising and conserving heritage breeds.|
|Discovery Project: According to The Livestock Conservancy's Technical Advisor, world-renowned conservationist and professor Dr. Phillip Sponenberg, the window for rediscovering “lost” breeds and strains is closing. Many breeds were parked on islands or thrived in harsh environments – and they were essentially forgotten about or only known to a few people. With the loss of old-time breeders and the continuing threat of urban sprawl, these breeds and their histories may disappear forever. The Livestock Conservancy is working with its partners to “re-discover” lost breeds and investigate rumored unique or isolated populations.|
Ongoing: In addition to these projects, The Livestock Conservancy staff works tirelessly to support conservation in a variety of other ways: through publications, marketing materials, presentations, answering emails and phone questions, workshops, field-work, farm visits, flock evaluations, and much more – The Livestock Conservancy keeps conservation at the forefront of its mission!
Are you interested in in helping with one of these projects or providing funding to expand a project? Please contact us!