2015-2016 Annual Report


Flip through the pages above or download the PDF below to see some of the incredible work we've been able to accomplish, which has only been made possible through the generosity of our members, donors, sponsors, breeders, followers, and fans. 

Thank you for your support.

Download a PDF version of the 2015-2016 Livestock Conservancy Annual Report

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Conservation Successes

Since its founding, The Livestock Conservancy has never lost a breed ranked on its Conservation Priority List to extinction!

Discover, Secure, Sustain: Real-Life Success Stories

The Livestock Conservancy's conservation actions are shaped by the “Discover, Secure, Sustain” paradigm. Below are some of the success stories from the Conservancy's archives. These examples illustrate the application of “Discover, Secure, Sustain” in projects and actions.

Secure & Sustain: staff member Jeannette Beranger and former staffer Don Schrider developed a master breeder program for Buckeye chickens that has set the gold standard for expansion and selection of rare chicken breeds.

Secure & Sustain: In 1997 the Conservancy took a census of Heritage Turkeys. There were only 1,335 breeding birds in the whole United States. Between 1997 and 2002, the organization began to get the word out. A specialty newsletter was started and a project with Virginia Tech was initiated to compare the immune systems of Heritage Turkeys and industrial strains. With the help of marketing and education, by 2003, the breeding population had more than doubled, numbering 4,275. The Livestock Conservancy initiated an educational program on how to care for Heritage Turkeys, and how to select quality breeding stock. By 2007, the population exceeded 10,000 breeder birds.

Discover & Secure: One of the Conservancy's first rescues occurred in December 1987, when it learned that a unique population of feral sheep on Santa Cruz Island (off the coast of southern California) faced imminent eradication. Thanks largely to Phil Hedrick, Marion Stanley, and Dirk Van Vuren; a viable population was brought off the island.

Sustain: The Livestock Conservancy has defined the term Heritage for chickens, turkeys, cattle, and swine, helping to set standards for product marketing and helping to generate a niche market for these breeds.

Discover & Secure: The Marsh Tacky project was the culmination of a successful 4 year project to describe, document, and conserve an endangered horse breed previously thought to be extinct. The breed is from the lowlands of South Carolina and is of Spanish descent.

Secure: Former Executive Director Don Bixby initiated a gene bank to store genetic material in case of a crisis and to give breeders access to stored semen.

Secure & Sustain: During the 1980s, hog prices plummeted and many breeders sent their herds to market. In 1999, there were only 42 Red Wattle hogs and 4 breeders. In 2000, The Livestock Conservancy was asked to re-initiate a registry for the Red Wattle hog breeders. Only 3 hogs were registered the first year. The Conservancy helped facilitate communication between breeders. By June 2001, the population had increased to 90 and added 3 breeders and an association had been formed. In 2012 300 Red Wattle hogs were registered and the Red Wattle Hog Association have taken over the management of the registry. Red Wattle hogs were moved from Critical to Threatened on the 2014 Conservation Priority List.

Breeds Recently Graduated from our Conservation Priority List

Current Projects

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. Java chicken selection clinic

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.

Read Full Article

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. Florda Cracker cattle
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. Frank Reese Jr. teaching a Heritage turkey clinic
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.

Tamworth pigs

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. Alison Martin at Veterans Clinic
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. Tampica Criollo from a herd in Texas


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!

Past Projects

With over 35 years in the conservation business, the Livestock Conservancy has done a lot of work! Here is a small glimpse of some of our past projects.

Heritage Turkey Recovery Project: In 1997 The Livestock Conservancy took a census of Heritage Turkeys and found that there were only 1,335 breeding birds in the whole United States. Between 1997 and 2002, the Conservancy began to get the word out. A specialty newsletter (“The Snood News”) was begun, and a project with Virginia Tech was initiated to compare the immune systems of Heritage Turkeys and industrial strains. Through promotion and marketing, the popularity of Heritage Turkeys grew. By 2003, the breeding population had more than doubled, numbering 4,275. The Heritage Turkey market continued to gain momentum, and more people wanted to raise the birds. As a result, the Livestock Conservancy initiated an educational program on how to care for Heritage Turkeys, and how to select quality breeding stock. By 2007, the population exceeded 10,000 breeder birds. The work is not done, but the 17 naturally mating varieties no longer teeter on the brink of extinction.

Narragansette Toms

Marsh Tacky Discovery and Documentation:  The Marsh Tacky project was the culmination of a successful 4 year project to describe, document, and conserve an endangered horse breed previously thought to be extinct. The breed is from the lowlands of South Carolina and is of Spanish descent. The project included the initial discovery of the breed, documentation of the breed, networking with breeders throughout the Southeast, and re-establishing breeding and promotional plans to support the breed. Today, the breed is growing in popularity and has become the official South Carolina State Heritage Horse.


Buckeye Recovery Project: The Livestock Conservancy developed a production and selection program for chickens which has set the gold-standard for expansion and selection of rare chicken breeds. The project included hatching chicks, working with breeders to selectively breed chicks, and continuing selection over multiple years to increase productivity traits. As a result of this project, the Buckeye gained popularity and moved from the Critical to the Threatened category on the Conservation Priority List.. Buckeye
Wilbur-Cruce Rescue: A ranch strain of Colonial Spanish horse known as the Wilbur Cruce was rescued before the land was turned to a land conservation program. Dr. Phil Sponenberg, the Livestock Conservancy technical advisor, developed a conservation plan, and placed small breeding groups with breed stewards. Wilbur-Cruce Colonial Spanish Horse
Renewing America’s Food Traditions Project: The Livestock Conservancy served as a partner on a collaborative project to document and restore many of America’s heirloom foods (seeds and breeds). From tastings, to documentation of cultural traditions with breeds, this project explored a variety of ways heritage breeds have influenced food tradition and culture.
Heritage Definitions Project:  The term Heritage has been loosely used by farmers, consumers, marketers, and the public to describe traditional or historic breeds. To better codify this term for the marketplace, the Livestock Conservancy has taken steps to define Heritage for all species. Currently, the Livestock Conservancy has defined Heritage for turkeys, chickens, and cattle. Additional Heritage definitions are being developed Ankole-Watusi Cattle


Feel free to contact us to learn more about our projects, and how you might get involved!

Success Stories (.pdf,15.5MB)

International Heritage Breeds Week & Day

Save the Date! 20-26 May, 2018     #HeritageBreedsWeek

2017 Press Release

2016 Press Release

2015 Press Release


International Heritage Breeds Week aims to raise global awareness about endangered heritage breeds of livestock and poultry. Many of our traditional livestock breeds have been replaced with more "improved" breeds in modern animal agriculture, at the expense of a massive loss in genetic diversity. Worldwide, about one domesticated livestock breed every month is lost to extinction.


"To protect endangered livestock and poultry breeds from extinction."


International Heritage Breeds Week will be held during the third full week of May each year, with Interational Heritage Breeds Day being held the ending Saturday of that week.

What are Heritage Breeds?

Heritage breeds are traditional livestock breeds that were raised before industrial agriculture became a mainstream practice. These breeds were carefully selected and bred over time to develop traits that made them well-adapted to local environments and they thrived under farming practices and cultural conditions that are very different from those found in modern agriculture. Traditional, historic breeds retain essential attributes for survival and self-sufficiency – fertility, foraging ability, longevity, maternal instincts, ability to mate naturally, and resistance to diseases and parasites. Other names sometimes used interchangeably with 'Heritage' include: Native, Minor, Rare, Endangered, and others.


The first annual Heritage Breeds Week was held in May, 2015 across the United States to raise awareness about endangered heritage breeds of livestock and poultry in America. A national campaign was launched by The Livestock Conservancy promoting the weeklong event and heritage breed farmers, enthusiasts, and the public were encouraged to spread the word throughout their networks. The week of awareness culminated on with National Heritage Breeds Day where many farms and ranches held local events such as farm tours, workshops, or lectures to raise awareness in their communities.

The event was so successful in its first year that in 2016 The Livestock Conservancy partnered with a consortium of livestock conservation organizations from around the world to host International Heritage Breeds Week and Day. The fourth annual International Heritage Breeds Week will be held 20-26 May, 2018.

Participating Organizations

Ways You Can Participate...


Educate and Advocate

International Heritage Breeds Week is an opportunity for livestock conservation organization members, fans, and sponsors to advocate for conservation of heritage breeds in agriculture. It's a time to share with local, state, national, and international audiences what livestock conservation is all about and the impact it has on heritage breeds and agriculture every day. Help us promote International Heritage Breeds Week and Day by word-of-mouth, through social media, and to your local press.

Download Promotional Materials

Host an Event!

Host a classroom field trip to a local heritage breed farm or ranch or to a historical farm with heritage breeds in your area. Or, bring the breeds to the classroom! This provides a great opportunity for children to learn about the importance of genetic diversity and conserving heritage breeds.

Invite one or more state legislators to visit local farms and ranches or set up a visit to their state office. Leave them with livestock conservation materials and samples of heritage breed products.

Adopt-a-Nursing Home
Visit a local nursing home and consider taking heritage breed animals with you. Many older folks once raised heritage breeds and will appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with the animals.

Farmer’s Markets
Local Farmer’s Markets are a wonderful place to emphasize the importance of heritage breeds. Arrange to have music, samples, fun games for kids and make a day of it.

Heritage Breed Petting Zoo
Organize a petting zoo where children and their parents can see heritage breed animals and learn more about them. Provide your own animals, or work with local farmers and ranchers to provide the animals.

Host a Celebrity
Invite a local celebrity who is familiar with heritage breeds, raises them; or has a friend or family member who has been involved with them and request sponsorship of International Heritage Breeds Week. Hold an event and ask the celebrity to speak about a personal experience involving heritage breeds.

Library Display
Approach your local public or school libraries about organizing an exhibit during International Heritage Breeds Week. You might offer to arrange for a speaker or a lecture series about agriculture. Books about rural communities, animals, farms, etc., could be part of a special International Heritage Breeds Week section that encourages children to learn more about agriculture and how it affects their lives. The Livestock Conservancy’s book An Introduction to Heritage Breeds is a wonderful addition to any library.

International Heritage Breeds Day Breakfast
Host a Heritage Breeds breakfast for local government and business leaders. Identify a keynote speaker to talk about heritage breeds and plan your menu around locally grown and raised agricultural products.

Organize a Fundraiser
Host a fundraiser, such as a walk-a-thon, and donate money to national conservation organizations like The Livestock Conservancy and/or a breed’s registry, club, or association. Emphasize the importance of heritage breeds in the nation's agricultural system; pay tribute to a local farmer; or recognize all farmers who raise heritage breeds year-round.

Public Contest
Sponsor a community-wide event, such as a coloring or poem-writing contest for students. The children could acknowledge their breed or species. The drawings or poems could be displayed in local schools, hospitals, or nursing homes.

Public Exhibit
Showcase an exhibit at your local mall, shopping center, or public area to introduce the public to heritage breeds. Include examples of heritage breed products like wool, cheese, or eggs, as well as information on how these products are produced. Contact other local heritage breed producers to collaborate and display items and information. Consider conducting outreach and education in urban and underserved areas.

School Lunches
Encourage elementary schools to designate a day during National Heritage Breeds Week to distribute quizzes and puzzles with school lunches. This can also serve as an opportunity to explain the connection between farms and foods on the table. Contact your state’s School Food Service Association for guidance. Or, with cooperation of the school, donate items (milk, ice cream, meat, cheese, etc.).

Shows and Fairs
Promote a positive image of heritage breed conservation by sponsoring a local show or fair. Consider including exhibits, food stands, live animals or entertainment.

Tell the World!

  • Write and distribute a press release announcing International #HeritageBreedsWeek.
  • Place an article in your state or local newspaper(s) or a community blog about International #HeritageBreedsWeek and the contributions of heritage breeds to global Agriculture.
  • Host a press conference. Discuss an important agricultural issue in your community; honor a farmer or rancher; or bestow an "honorary" farmer title to a deserving politician or civic leader.
  • Host an editorial board meeting with leading state or local newspapers. Discuss the importance of heritage breeds on your farm or ranch and ways the public can become more involved in supporting rare breed conservation.
  • Suggest that your state or local newspaper solicit stories from heritage breed farmers or ranchers to discuss how they are working first-hand to protect genetic diversity and endangered breeds.
  • Follow and tag livestock conservation organizations on social media and use #HeritageBreedsWeek to show us how you're participating!

Rare Breeds Trust of Australia 

Rare Breeds Canada  
Heritage Livestock Club of Eastern Ontario  

Asociacin de Criadores de Bovinos de Razas Criollas y Colombianas de los Llanos Orientales Colombianos  

SAVE Foundation 

Actas Iberoamericanas en Conservación Animal

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 

Latin America:
Ganado Criollo Tarahumara 

Traspatio Iberoamericano (TRASIBER) 

New Zealand:
Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand 

Sociedade Portuguesa de Recursos Genéticos Animais

United Kingdom:
Rare Breeds Survival Trust 

United States: 
The Livestock Conservancy   
National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP) 
Smithsonian & SVF Biodiversity Preservation Project   

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Heritage Livestock Conference

The 2017 Heritage Livestock Conference is in Williamsburg, VA!

November 9 -12, 2017

Make your reservations well in advance since Williamsburg is busy during that time of year and the host hotel ALWAYS sells out!

The host hotel:

Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center
6945 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, VA 23185

For reservations call: (757) 220-2250

You MUST mention that you are part of The Livestock Conservancy National Conference in order to get the room rate of $109.

Room block expires: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Not to miss:

Full-day pre-conference sheep and horse clinics.

Friday on-farm chicken processing clinic

SPECIAL EVENT!   Sunday POST -  conference full-day card grading clinic featuring breeds from Colonial Williamsburg's Rare Breeds Program (sheep, cattle, horses)

Read full program here

Contact us if you're interested in having your meat, eggs, or dairy products featured at our 2017 banquet.

And don't forget about the Silent Auction!
We would love to feature your items on our website - with links to your farm or business - from the day we receive the item all the way through to the next year when we update our item list. If you donate soon enough that could be over a year!

"Each year I look forward to attending the Conference, networking with fellow Livestock Conservancy members, getting advice from the Conservancy staff, and learning valuable information at the workshops and clinics.  As a rare landrace breed association president, I have found that there is a lot that I can take back to share with our members to help ensure the future of our landrace breed, Pineywoods Cattle."
  -- Jess from MS

Veterans Workshop 2017

Thank you to all who participated!

The fourth annual Service to Stewardship farming workshop was held at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, VA April 7-8, 2017.





Click on the links below to download and print out these important documents

Hold Harmless & Photo Release Form (please print, sign and bring a copy with you) (.pdf)

Program Schedule (.pdf)

Map of Virginia Horse Center (.pdf)

Map of Appomattox Mezzanine (.pdf)

Check-in is at 7:30am on Friday morning! 

Bring  your labtop or tablet 

Dress: Farm clothes


Heritage Breeds Podcast

https://dl-web.dropbox.com/get/Heritage%20Breed%20Podcasts/1-administration%20files/Cover%20Art/2-300-iTunes%20Icon%20Heritage%20Breeds.jpg?_subject_uid=232504680&w=AADcVhaYpUbXRN_DyEITa3nKlwhaRhSg-qxf8jB3WUQW5QThe Livestock Conservancy is proud to announce the roll out of our weekly podcast series Heritage Breeds. Each episode showcases historic animals, their breeders, and people working to save them from extinction.

The Heritage Breeds podcast has been featured #1 in iTunes New & Noteworthy science section, #3 in Kids and Family, and on Stitcher. Here are a few ways you can listen: RSS Feed, iTunes, Stitcher, and at HeritageBreeds.org.

Here are a few of the episodes available for your listening enjoyment:
Introduction to Heritage Breeds with Alison Martin & Jeannette Beranger
Felting with Navajo Churro Sheep Wool with Minna White
Historical, Flavorful meats like out ancestors enjoyed with Jeff Duba
Pickin’ Chickens Part 1 & 2 with Jeannette Beranger
Rare Hare Barn with Eric Rapp
Fine heritage breed ducks travel the world with John Metzer

There are also few ways you can join in and help protect these historic breeds from extinction.  Please share our podcasting efforts with your friends, family, and followers. Visit HeritageBreeds.org for a complete list of all the episodes.


Here is your chance to spotlight your historic breed, its history, and any favorite stories or initiatives you want to share with the world. Schedule your interview with C S Wurzberger, TLCPodcast@TheGreenUpGirl.com or call 802-258-8046.


C S Wurzberger, The Green Up Girl. C S is a podcaster, internationally known green movement leader, consultant, speaker, and author. She is on a mission to inspire people to clean up this world and protect endangered animals. She brings 25 years of experience and extensive training in helping animal and conservation-related organizations showcase their green initiatives and conservation efforts for the world to see, experience, and unite. Visit: www.TheGreenUpGirl.com to learn more.


Help protect Heritage Breeds from extinction, while also improving your brand reputation.

Research shows consumers are loyal to brands supporting causes they love and support. “Americans say they are likely to trust (90%) and would be more loyal (90%) to companies that back causes.” *2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study.

Join the cause marketing movement and let your consumers know you care by sponsoring a podcast series. We’ll put your company in front of our 1.9 million annual website visitors, 15,000+ Facebook followers, and thousands of loyal listeners.

Contact C S Wurzberger, TLCPodcast@TheGreenUpGirl.com or Ryan Walker for details.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is The Livestock Conservancy's Mission?

"To protect endangered livestock and poultry breeds from extinction"

2. How many breeds do you work with?

Currently, The Livestock Conservancy works to protect over 150 individual breeds from 11 different species. See our Conservation Priority List here.

3. Do you sell animals?

No. The Livestock Conservancy does not own or sell animals, but many of our members do. To search for stock and products, visit our Breeders and Products Directory or our online classifieds site.

4. Where is the Conservancy located?

Our national headquarters is located in Pittsboro, North Carolina, but we have members in all 50 states and over 20 different countries. Our mailing address is PO Box 477, Pittsboro, NC, 27312.

5. How much is membership?

Basic membership is $45 and online student memberships are $25. To see more information on membership and become a member, click here.

6. Can I meet with you in person?

Yes! Feel free to drop by our headquarters at 33 Hillsboro St., Pittsboro, NC, 27312, M-F 9am-5pm Eastern Standard Time or catch us on the road at one of the many events we attend throughout the year. See the event calendar here.

7. How do I contact you?

You can reach us by sending an online message, or giving us a call at (919) 542-5704 M-F 9am-5pm Eastern Standard Time.

8. How can I make a donation or pay my dues?

Donations can be made online here, membership can be renewed online here, or you can send cash or checks to The Livestock Conservancy, PO Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312 or call with a credit card (VISA, MC, AmEx, or Discover) at (919) 542-5704.

9. Are you a charity / are my donations tax-deductible?

Yes. The Livestock Conservancy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. ID# 03 0270 281 See our Top-Rated Charity status here.

10. What is a Heritage breed?

The Livestock Conservancy developed the term "Heritage breed" to in order to help breeders of historic and endangered breeds of livestock market their animals. For more information on how we developed this term and to see the official Heritage breed definitions, click here.

11. Why isn't my breed listed?

The mission of The Livestock Conservancy revolves around genetic conservation of endangered breeds in the United States. Although some breeds may be rare, they don't always fit the criteria for our Conservation Priority List. To see the criteria for inclusion on the list, click here.

12. Do I have to own/breed animals to be a member?

Nope! In fact, over half of Livestock Conservancy members don't own animals, but still support our cause through their membership. We'd love to have you as a member. wink

13. Are there grants for people who want to raise heritage breeds?

Although there aren't usually grants specifically tailored to raising heritage breeds, there are some financial resources that may benefit people raising them. When we hear of these, we list them on our Financial Resources page here. If you know of additional resources we can share, please contact us to let us know and we'll add them to our list. Another good place to check is with your local Cooperative Extension office. They may know of local or state resources we are not aware of.

2016 Conference Program

2016 National Conference

Friday Kick-off Banquet Keynote: Tom Beeston

Featuring a kick-off banquet keynote address from Tom Beeston, Chief Executive Officer of The Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST) of the UK.

Tom is a British dairy farmer who has always worked around food, farming and wildlife; he became the CEO of RBST three years ago. RBST,  like The Livestock Conservancy, works to secure the future of rare and native breeds of farm livestock; it maintains the UK's National Livestock Gene Bank, something made possible only by working in partnership with others.

Read more about Tom

2016 Program Highlights

Deborah Neimann-BoehleLearn from Deborah Niemann-Boehle as she shares her insights and experiences in the Creating and Marketing Value-Added Products with Rare Breeds Clinic.

In 2002, Deborah relocated her suburban Chicago family to 32 acres on a creek "in the middle of nowhere" where they began producing 100% of their meat, eggs, and dairy products by raising heritage animals. Today they also sell meat, eggs, soap, and fiber products. She is the author of three books on sustainable living:  Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living, Ecothrifty: Cheaper, Greener Choices for a Happier, Healthier Life, and Raising Goats Naturally: The Complete Guide to Milk, Meat, and More.

Read more from Deborah

EXPANDED - 2 Part!

Breed Association Routes to Success

During the morning session Jeannette Beranger will be discussing the nuts and bolts of operating an association drawing upon the models of successful breed associations. The afternoon session, Finding Support for Your Organization, will be led by Livestock Conservancy board member, Judy Wollen, who brings a wealth of fundraising and relationship building experience in her many years as a resource development specialist for Heifer International and other charitable organizations and professional associations in the US and abroad. Livestock Conservancy staff member Ryan Walker will co-lead the second session, focusing on online development strategies using email, websites, social media, and more.



2016 Program Schedule

Thursday Meet & Greet Poster Session and Reception (7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.)

FRIDAY MORNING PRE-CONFERENCE CLINICS (8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.) ------------------------------

Creating and Marketing Value-Added Products with Rare Breeds ($69)
How can you make money with your rare breed livestock? In this three-hour workshop, you’ll get enough information to decide if you want to sell meat “on the hoof” or as individual cuts, what it takes to make and sell soap, and how to start a dairy to sell fluid milk or cheese. Learn about selling fiber or roving, yarn, or finished products - like scarves or rugs - even if you don’t know how to knit or weave. You will be able to see, smell, and feel sample finished products. And, you’ll learn how to successfully market your products using proven social media techniques..

Speaker: Deborah Niemann-Boehle
Location: Hampshire College, Franklin Pattison Hall, 893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002
More about Deborah:  In 2002, Deborah relocated her suburban Chicago family to 32 acres on a creek "in the middle of nowhere" where they began producing 100% of their meat, eggs and dairy products by raising heritage animals. Today they also sell meat, eggs, soap, and fiber products. She is the author of three books on sustainable living: Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living, Ecothrifty: Cheaper, Greener Choices for a Happier, Healthier Life, and Raising Goats Naturally: The Complete Guide to Milk, Meat, and More. www.antiquityoaks.com, deborahwrites@gmail.com

Introduction to Cattle Management ($69)
Join Pete Solis, the livestock and pasture manager for Hampshire College Farm, and Amye Gulezian as they discuss the management of the herd of Dutch Belted cattle at Hampshire College. Amye and Pete will describe the methods they use to manage the herd of Dutch Belted cattle at Hampshire College. Amye will also discuss the class she developed to enable more students to interact with the herd; this class includes information on safe handling, husbandry, reproduction, nutrition, and rotational grazing.

Speaker: Pete Solis & Amye Gulezian, Hampshire College Farm
Location: Hampshire College Farm, Thorpe Barn
More about Amye and Pete: Amye Gulezian has been studying agriculture at Hampshire College. For the last 2 years, she has focused her study on the production and management of the small herd of Dutch Belted. She is interested in the benefits that heritage breeds bring to agriculture and is hoping to grow the herd at Hampshire. Pete Solis is the Livestock and Pasture Manager at the Hampshire College Farm Center. He manages faculty interactions, student interactions, student workers, cattle, pigs, lambs, chickens and a llama.

Breed Association - Routes to Success (Part 1) ($29)
The nuts and bolts of operating an association (panel discussion)
The nuts and bolts of operating an association (panel discussion)
Breed associations, registries and clubs are vital to the conservation of endangered breeds but many struggle with turnover, conflict, and not having enough time to “do it all”. It doesn’t have to be this way! Drawing upon the models of successful breed associations, this workshop   covers topics such as how to set up and run an efficient registry, manage a studbook, promote the breed, and avoid conflict. The afternoon session will focus on fundraising opportunities and strategies for non-profit breed clubs and associations.

Speakers: Brian Larson, Jeannette Beranger
Location: Hampshire College, Franklin Pattison Hall, 893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002
More about the speakers:  Jeannette Beranger currently manages eight breed registries for rare breeds of cattle, sheep, horses and pigs. The Livestock Conservancy partners with over 150 breed associations and clubs to conserve and promote individual breeds, and they provide support and training to breed association in challenging times. Brian Larson has been a champion of the Lincoln Longwool breed for 30 years and is considered a Master Breeder among his peers. His strict selection for standard while keeping his eye on diversity has created one of the finest flocks in the country. To improve diversity for the breed in the U.S., he was one of the last people to import genetics from England and has carefully managed the bloodlines within his flocks.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON PRE-CONFERENCE CLINICS (1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.) --------------------------------

Breed Association - Routes to Success (Part 2) ($29)
Where’s the money and how can my association get some?
Current statistics show that Americans donated almost $260 Billion in 2014. Fundraising makes so many people uncomfortable…but with training and preparation, anyone can learn to do it – and perhaps even enjoy it! This workshop will be active and interactive so bring your Board members, volunteers, and good friends. Learn facts, best practices, and helpful information presented through a series of interactive and group exercises and small group discussions, and do case development work, which is helpful no matter how much skill a fundraiser has. Topics include: What Are We Selling? Where’s the Money? Why People Give, The Cycle of Fundraising, Creating A Fundraising Menu, and, “Six Quick Asks.”  This workshop is geared toward fundraising beginners.

Speakers: Judy Wollen & Ryan Walker
Location: Hampshire College, Franklin Pattison Hall, 893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002
More about speakers: Judy Wollen is a retired resource development specialist. Her fundraising experience includes working in the US and abroad with charitable organizations and professional associations. Ryan is the Conservancy’s Marketing and Communications Manager and has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of North Texas and is currently finishing a Master of Science degree in Agriculture & Consumer Resources from Tarleton State University. He is a former board member of the Young Non-Profit Professionals Network and has extensive experience in maximizing social media outreach.

Micro Dairying ($69)  **SOLD OUT**
Have you ever wanted to start a micro-dairy using heritage breeds? This on-farm clinic lets participants view various breeds of cattle and dairy goats (on the Conservation Priority List) and see the differences in size, color, and temperament. Learn about the various classes of dairy products, and taste milk and other products made from traditional dairy breeds; discover resources that can help with processing milk – including classes, forums, groups, and consultants; and find out how to get licensed to ship milk or sell raw milk. Learn the business aspects of setting up a micro-dairy including equipment needs, understanding costs, setting goals, and implementing a strategic plan to make their diary a success. Hear from regional producers who use heritage breeds who will offer their advice and share their experiences. This workshop will be appropriate for a home dairy or for potential commercial dairies.

Speaker: Shannon Nichols
Location: On Farm: 111 Teawaddle Hill Road, Leverett, MA 01054 DIRECTIONS
More about Shannon: Shannon is a Regional Planner specializing in Food Systems. Her research focus is on public perception of conservation land and how this informs land use management decisions. She has also worked extensively on dairy value chain analysis with special emphasis on traditional dairy systems, breeds and dairy processing.

Sheep Artificial Insemination ($69)
Techniques, perspectives, realities, and hope
Discover how to successfully do non-surgical artificial insemination.
Dr. Purdy’s interactive presentation explains the three elements that are essential to success with non-surgical artificial insemination of sheep: the ram- including semen collection, quality evaluation, freezing, thawing, and semen handling; estrous synchronization - understanding what the hormones are doing and the importance of following the protocols; and non-surgical artificial insemination - loading the insemination gun to deposition of the semen. Once you complete this clinic, even if you have never used these techniques, you should have the confidence to attempt them with your own flock and understand the necessary protocols to ensure the highest probability of success. Although this presentation is intended to educate producers and will be taught with that perspective in mind, the material will also be of great value to those in the frozen semen industry who have the expertise but may not know the complete set of techniques (estrous synchronization, semen preservation, artificial insemination) for this species. Dr. Purdy will provide his contact information to attendees so he can be a resource in the future.

Speakers: Dr. Phil Purdy
Location: Hampshire College, Franklin Pattison Hall, 893 West St, Amherst, MA 01002
More about Dr. Purdy: Dr. Purdy is an Animal Physiologist with expertise in germplasm (semen, eggs, embryos, DNA, tissues, organs) collection, cryopreservation and utilization from all agricultural species.  He also develops methods to evaluate germplasm quality before and after cryopreservation.  These skills are utilized for development of the germplasm collection at the national repository.

FRIDAY EVENING CONFERENCE (6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.) -----------------------------------

Kick-off Banquet, Silent Auction & Keynote

Secrets to Success
Make friends because …
-- They can share creativity, resources, responsibility and risk and can feed off each other’s energy and enthusiasm.
-- With their help you will attract more funding from a diverse range of sources
-- Friends can see different issues, solutions and offer support
-- Friends increase the potential for productivity/efficiency and more effective delivery of information.
Tom Beeston will talk about how organizations can partner together to further rare breed conservation. Whether it’s with like-minded organizations, universities, breed associations, or even celebrities, he will explore how “friends” can help each other more effectively deliver their programs and fulfil their missions.
Speaker: Tom Beeston, Chief Executive Officer, Rare Breeds Survival Trust
More about Tom: Tom is an English dairy farmer who's always worked around food, farming and wildlife, he took the reins at RBST around three years ago. RBST like The Livestock Conservancy works to secure the future of rare and native breeds of farm livestock. RBST holds the UK's National Livestock Gene Bank, something only possible by working in partnership with others.

SATURDAY CONFERENCE (7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.) -----------------------------------

BREAKFAST (7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m.)
Location: Hampshire College Dining Commons

PLENARY (8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.)
The Next 40 Years
Speaker: Alison Martin, Executive Director, The Livestock Conservancy

BREAKOUT SESSIONS (9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)

Shetland sheep: Soil Carbon Restoration Superheroes
We are all concerned about the challenges climate change is expected to bring in the future. What if we could do something about it right now on our own farms? Pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequestering it in our soils where it belongs is crucial. Ruminants on pasture are one of the keys to sequestering carbon. Heritage breeds, like Shetland sheep, thrive on a 100% grass-based system. These hardy, thrifty little superheroes have been feeding and clothing people for well over 1,000 years in the harshest of environments. Come find out how Shetland genetics have served us so well in the past and can help mitigate climate change in the future.

Speaker:  Erin Matica
More about Erin: Erin Matica and her family live in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts where they raise Shetland sheep, Nigerian dwarf dairy goats, and heritage breed poultry on their small farm. She teaches a sustainable agriculture class at Northstar’s Self-directed Learning Center for teens in Sunderland.

Selecting Cattle for Success
Recognizing and breeding the best stock in your pasture
Randall Cattle and many rare breeds suffer from small starting populations. Without a critical eye to the future wellbeing of any herd, they will become inbred beyond repair. Your eye is a good tool, but for a beginner something quantifiable is better. You will learn how to measure your way to success and how to train your eye to evaluate animal health. You will learn some cattle anatomy, and many nutritional tricks that can “cure” all sorts of fertility problems. You will also learn how to arrange breeding stock so that you will always have animals for sale, always be ready to destock for a drought, and keep your winter bills as low as possible. Passing knowledge of cattle, and pasture management is expected, but novices will gain entre to a secret world modern farming has forgotten. This is a talk about “doing” from a “git’er did” farm that has a high value on aesthetics! Pretty SELLS!

Speaker: Dugan Tillman-Brown
More about Dugan: Dugan is an ex-oil field R&D turned renaissance family farmer. He is a Jack of all trades - making  productive farms from scrub land and stripped properties. He loves breathing life into old style farming with modern technology and information. Firefly farms raise pigs, chickens, cattle, ducks, turkeys, and soon sheep, and rabbits.

The Heritage Chicks in the Classroom Project
For the past three years, the Livestock Conservancy’s Chicks in the Classroom Project has been a great success and has reached thousands of elementary students to promote heritage chicken breeds while teaching the children about the importance of diversity and its conservation. Learn how you can set up a program like this in your region and enjoy teaching children about the animals you raise while having them hatch  chicks for you in return.

Speakers: Jeannette Beranger & Ginger Cunningham
More about Jeannette and Ginger: Jeannette has been Research & Technical Programs Manager with The Livestock Conservancy for more than a decade and maintains a heritage breed farm with her family. Ginger Cunningham is Program Assistant, 4-H Youth Development at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Chatham County Center. She coordinates with local schools as part of their 4-H embryology curriculum and assists with incubation and observation of growing embryos. 

BREAKOUT SESSIONS (10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.)

Milking Devon Cattle: Past, Present and Into The Future
John will give a history of the Milking Devon breed from 1623 when Devons first came to Plimoth, MA. Till present day. Bonnie will discuss her experiences in creating a niche market for Devon meat and developing value added products such as ravioli. Together, they will talk about the value of becoming a member of the American Milking Devon Cattle Association and the importance of preserving this heritage breed!

**talk will be followed by the American Milking Devon Association meeting, in the same room, starting at 12:30pm.

Speakers: John and Bonnie Hall
More about John and Bonnie: John Hall, president of the American Milking Devon Cattle Association, who is life-long Devon breeder. John’s family has raised and bred Devons in Westbrook, CT since 1635. Bonnie Hall, registrar of the American Milking Devon Cattle Association. Bonnie has been the Registrar for two years. She markets the Devon beef products from their farm at farmer’s markets and in their Circa 1710 farm store.

American Guinea Hogs: Homestead Hog and Chef’s
If you’d love to raise your own pork but don’t want a half-ton boar on your farm, then the Guinea Hog might be just what you’re looking for. Weighing in at around 300 pounds with a docile disposition, they’re a homesteader’s dream pig. They’ll provide you with pork and plenty of fat so that you can render your own healthy lard. Also known as a “yard pig,” they eat grass and are extremely hardy. In this session, you’ll learn about their needs for housing, fencing, and diet, as well as information on farrowing and raising piglets. We’ll also talk about what to do with their tasty pork, either for your family or when marketing it to other families and even chefs.

Speaker: Deborah Niemann-Boehle (see bio above)

Saving Rare Equine Breeds
In most cases, the Livestock Conservancy considers rare breeds that are food producers.  In this country, this is not true of horses.  Consequently, different justifications are necessary to promote the idea of conserving horses.  The purpose of this discussion is to develop ideas to answer the question of “Why save that breed of horse?”  Some advocate marketing strategies that emphasize the heritage of the breed.  Others advocate promoting the breed’s unique characteristics. What other strategies can we find?  Also: How important are “strains” of horses to preserving a breed?  HOW to save these breeds? What breeding strategies would work best?  Do we advocate outbreeding to preserve unique gene pools?  How do we prevent bottleneck inbreeding?  And finally, how do we get Registries and breeders to work together?

Speakers: Dr. Richard M. Blaney & Heidi Reinhardt
More about Richard & Heidi: Richard Blaney has a PhD in Biology and retired after teaching 42 years (Anatomy and Physiology).  He has been involved with preserving Galiceño Horses since 2006.  Heidi Reinhardt has a BS in Environmental Science and is a HS teacher (Chemistry).  She is a partner in the Galiceño Ranch in Florida.

LUNCH (11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.)

PLENARY (1:00 p.m. – 2:00pm)

Plenary: Year in Review
The Livestock Conservancy staff tell stories of breeds whose outcome would have been quite different without the Livestock Conservancy, with a focus on eastern breeds.  2016 accomplishments are also addressed. 
Speakers: Alison Martin, Jeannette Beranger

BREAKOUT SESSIONS (2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.)

Not Every Pig is a Breeder and Why
Education is the root of a successful breeding program
Based on their experiences with Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs and Large Black hogs, Felicia and Kimberly will explain why not all pigs within a herd should be bred and the benefits and uses of the ones that aren’t. Topics include: registering only the best of the litter based on best conformation and best temperament, the practice of giving merit to a lower inbreeding coefficient while safe guarding the individual bloodlines within a limited genetic pool, possible illnesses and birth defects associated with indiscriminate breeding practices, why, even though a piglet may not have the qualities desired for breeding purposes, the quality of the pork will prevail, and how offering pork will entice more participation in the preservation of heritage breed hogs.

Speakers: Felicia Krock & Kimberly Ruessler
More about Felicia: Felicia has raised livestock all her life. She started specializing in Large Black hogs 7 years ago. Felicia owns and operates Triangle K Ranch in Kenton, Ohio with her husband. She has been the Secretary/Registrar of the Large Black Hog Association since 2011.

Seed Savers Integrated Management System
Learn how Seed Savers manages it gardens, livestock, farm fields and natural areas in an integrated system.  Join us to learn how heritage livestock are an important aspect of any farm or garden ecosystem, and the myriad strategies to accommodate both animal and land sustainability.

Speaker: Jim Edrington
More about Jim: Jim is the facilities manager at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. His responsibilities at Heritage Farm include facilities management, livestock care and management of the 890 acre grounds. Jim and his wife live at Badger Ridge Shetlands, where they raise Shetland Sheep and a variety of heritage poultry.

Eggs-traordinary Eggs
The Science, Secrets, & Politics of Eggs
Eggs are among the most nutritious, easily digestible and absorbed foods available on the planet. Eggs have been a staple food for humans since time began. Eggs are so adaptable that they can be used for a variety of dishes. They create elegant soufflés, hold meat loaf together. Learn how to select eggs for cooking and for hatching. Understand why some countries have laws to not wash or refrigerate eggs; and why the USA requires it. Did you know the USDA and FDA have no definition for "Fresh Eggs".  Gain insights into the secrets and politics behind eggs in this egg-solicit, eggs-citing workshop.

Speaker: Patricia Foreman
More about Pat: Pat is a sustainable agricultural author, a local foods advocate and popular speaker. She graduated from Purdue University with degrees in Pharmacy and Animal Science. She earned a Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) from Indiana University’s Graduate School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Pat has kept poultry for over 25 years, and has experience ranging from backyard homestead flocks to owning and operating a small-scale farm with free range, organic layers, broilers and turkeys. The commercial operation included keeping breeder flocks, incubating eggs, pasturing poultry and finished processing.

BREAKOUT SESSIONS (3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.)

Import Roundtable
Many breeders have dreamed of diversifying the genetics of their flocks or herds by bringing in genetics from other countries. Join our panel of experts to explore the process on how to make an importation while keeping in mind how to maximize its impact on the breed and how to keep from diluting important genetics already found here in the U.S. through “popular sire syndrome” often associated with an import.
Speakers: Julie Gauthier, Tom Beeston, Brian Larson, Dr. Phil Purdy, Elwood Quinn

More about the speakers: Chickcharney Farm is Julie Gauthier’s homestead in the North Carolina piedmont. Her small farm is a retreat after her day job as a USDA veterinary epidemiologist. Tom is an English dairy farmer who took the reins at RBST around three years ago working to secure the future of rare and native breeds of farm livestock in the UK. Brian Larson has been a champion of the Lincoln Longwool breed for 30 years and is considered a Master Breeder among his peers. His strict selection for standard while keeping his eye on diversity has created one of the finest flocks in the country. To improve diversity for the breed in the U.S., he was one of the last people to import genetics from England and has carefully managed the bloodlines within his flocks.

The SVF Story
SVF Foundation is a nonprofit which preserves germplasm, (semen and embryos) from rare and endangered breeds of food and fiber livestock. In collaboration with Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, SVF collects genetic samples and uses cryopreservation to ensure these genetics are available for future generations. SVF is currently in year 14 of a 20 year collection phase, and has partnered with the Smithsonian Institute to ensure samples are curated appropriately long term. Sarah will discuss the history and goals of this program as well as highlight specific breeds that have contributed to the genetic reposito1y.

Speaker: Sarah Bowley
More about Sarah: As Program Director of SVF Foundation, Sarah oversees the genetic preservation program - animal husbandry, sample collection and veterinary care - in addition to PR and Educational programs. She received a B.S. in Pre-Veterinary Science from URI, and was a veterinary technician and owner of a livestock and exotic-pet care business.

Practical Website and Facebook Marketing for the Busy Farmer
This presentation focuses on how a busy farmer can increase their visibility through their website and Facebook pages without having to hire a professional to do it for them or spend hours per day to keep it up to date. It would give practical recommendations for websites such as the free versions of Wix and Wordpress as well as content with which customers can identify and connect. The second half would focus on how to use Facebook to the farm’s advantage. A quick run through of basic information section before sharing ideas as to what posts might garner the most attention and "likes" . Both sections will stress that by spending about 20 minutes a day of FB posting new information or responding to messages and updating your website regularly will greatly increase customer awareness about the farm.

Speaker: Allena Tillman-Brown
More about Allena: Since joining Firefly Farms in 2015, Allena Tillman-Brown brought her considerable PR/Marketing/event planning experience to completely revamp her family farm’s website, social media, photo library, and printed publications. Her focus is conveying the farm’s purpose and goals in a friendly engaging way that makes the customer feel like family.

MEMBERS MEETING (5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.)