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.
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.
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.
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.