With over 40 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.||
|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..|
|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.|
|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||
|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.|
Feel free to contact us to learn more about our projects, and how you might get involved!