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The Livestock Conservancy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Husbandry, Animal-Related, Animals, Food

Mission: The Livestock Conservancy was founded in 1977 to conserve rare breeds of cattle, horses, donkeys, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. Today's rare breeds are quite different from the "improved" stocks, which are very productive but require intensive husbandry. The rare breeds retain survival qualities such as disease resistance, foraging efficiency, maternal abilities, and longevity, which make them a perfect fit for organic, grass-based, and humane sustainable agriculture. As well as being useful to farmers today, rare breeds represent the genetic diversity essential for domestic animals to adapt to changing environmental conditions in the future.

Results: Effective conservation has allowed us to ensure survival for every breed on our Conservation Priority List, which now includes over 150 breeds.

Target demographics: save endangered breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction

Direct beneficiaries per year: thousands of small farmers and ranchers

Geographic areas served: North America

Programs: research on breed population size, distribution and genetic health; research on breed characteristics; gene banks to preserve genetic material from endangered breeds; rescues of threatened populations; education about genetic diversity and the role of livestock in sustainable agriculture; and technical support to a network of breeders, breed associations, and farmers.

Community Stories

54 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Karen294

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Livestock Conservancy is an organization dedicated to the preservation of domestic livestock genetics. Current corporate agricultural practices rely on heavy inputs with only a breed or two from each species use. Alarmed at the disappearance of breeds of domestic livestock that have attributes too valuable to lose this organization helps dedicated individuals discover, recover and stabilize breeding populations. They do this not by owning the animals but by assisting, supporting and educating breeders, chefs, spinners, etc. in their endeavors. The staff and technical advisors are dedicated and among the most knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There is little if no waste and the paid staff is as dedicated to the cause as any of the member.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Livestock Conservancy has educated me as to the importance of sustaining heritage livestock breeding populations. As an equestrian, I am specifically interested in the equine breeds but as a farming "groupie" I find the listings of bovine and poultry very informative. When I retire from teaching I hope to establish a small farm that will be populated with heritage breeds exclusively and will focus on most critically endangered species such as the Holland chickens and San Clemente goats and Lippitt Morgans. Thank you for showing me this path. Your work is vital and wonderful.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first heard of this group when they were called the "American Minor Breeds Conservancy". The Livestock Conservancy plays a critical role in connecting us with our agricultural past. They work hard supporting the many breeds would that would be lost.

Barbara184

Client Served

Rating: 5

When we converted our farming operations from commercial to heritage based breeds the Livestock Conservancy was invaluable to us. They allowed us to receive non-biased information on multiple breeds in order to select those best suited to us.

Stacy45

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a full time farmer. Several years ago, I came across the Livestock Conservancy and started reading about rare breeds of livestock and learned that we were in danger of losing many of these wonderful animals. I started raising rare breeds of poultry, hogs, goats, sheep and cattle. The Livestock Conservancy identified the breeds that were in trouble and farmers stepped up to help save them. They continue to support my farm through marketing, education and technical assistance.

Sue_98

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I raise a few Heritage breeds. It all started with a duck. That trio of ducks led me to The Livestock Conservancy. It was there that I soon realized exactly what that trio of ducks meant. They were endangered. I then discovered all of what this organization was doing to help promote the endangered breeds. They work tirelessly to promote & educate the public concerning livestock. These breeds played a major role in our agricultural history. Without the dedication shown by this organization, many would be lost.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

These folks do invaluable work in educating/ encouraging the return to using heritage breeds. They really help people the need to continue to keep these breeds/ species/ groups from extinction. We attended many sessions at their tent at the Mother Earth News Fair in PA; I came away with a profound understanding of the great importance of preserving these breeds for their own diversity, their environmental and economic impact, and the increased quality and variety of meat and dairy products. With their continued help/ input, I am certain we will select the right livestock for our homestead. If you plan to include livestock on your land-whether it's a few chickens or a herd of cows-I recommend you seek their guidance. They can help you determine what breeds would be suitable for your area.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A fabulous resource as a farmer to be able to locate stock and also to market my own stock. Great job!

Julia43

Client Served

Rating: 5

The loss of biological diversity in both plants, animals and ecological environments is one of the most shameful aspects of the modern era of industrialized agriculture and it threatens the regenerative power of Nature to sustain life on this planet, most notably, human life.

In the midst of this shameful legacy, The Livestock Conservancy stands out as a beacon of hope, not just through its work to save rare breeds of livestock, but with its broad message that livestock belong on farms, on the land, and in our diets.

My husband and I are proud to be longtime members and supporters of The Livestock Conservancy.

Jessica181

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

The Livestock Conservancy is the first site I visit when I want accurate information on a heritage breed. We raise heritage chickens, ducks and geese for eggs and we always research before adding a new breed to our flock. The Livestock Conservancy is a great resource.

Jessica ~ Cold Mile Farmstead

1 Sarah183

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Livestock Conservancy has been an indispensable source for me as a conservation breeder of rare sheep and cattle. When I first acquired my sheep and contacted the LC, they quickly responded to my questions and led me to breeding resources and other heritage farmers. Thanks to the amazing professionals at the LC, I have a solid breeding program to maintain the genetic diversity of my sheep. The LC has also assisted me in marketing meat from my heritage animals, as well as educating and informing customers, ag extension agents, and other farmers of the importance of breed conservation. They are incredibly supportive and excited about rare breeds and sustainable agriculture.

Justin33

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Awesome organization with a great purpose. It is sad to know that without organizations like this we could lose rare historical breeds.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The mission of this group to preserve numerous breeds of animals no longer bred for commercial purposes provides options for those looking for taste and hardiness and will provide breeding stock to fall back on should the handful of breeds used in factory farming collapse.
I attended one of their conferences and the information presented by numerous experts is useful for all from hobbyists to professional farmers and even the home cook.
The meals prepared for conference attendees from these endangered breeds were a revelation in the possibilities of taste.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to witness the work of The Livestock Conservancy on several occasions. This group of passionate individuals works hard to preserve heritage livestock throughout the United States. Without their work and dedication many breeds of pigs, sheep, rabbits, poulty, horses, asses, cattle, and goats would be lost forever. If we lose these animals we lose a piece of American history and culture. I am truly thankful for the work that this organization does for all of us.