New Classified Service for Rare Breeds and Rare Breed Products

1 / 4
This Gloucestershire Old Spot piglet is known as the sassy pig around the ALBC offices.
2 / 4
A Dominique cockerel struts its stuff.
3 / 4
A Red Poll calf.
4 / 4
Crucial Cuisine, the ALBC's 2009 conference, is set for November.

Pittsboro, North Carolina – The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC), a national, nonprofit organization securing the future of agriculture through the genetic conservation of endangered breeds of livestock and poultry, announces the launch of a new online classified advertising service for promoting rare breeds.

The new service,, allows the general public to browse listings of rare breed livestock and poultry for sale, rare breed products such as meats and wools and other items that help secure the future of rare breeds. The site is directly geared towards small farmers, breeders, producers, and conservationists, but also serves those interested in biodiversity and sustainability. 

“This is not just another online classified site, it is a critical vehicle for the conservation of rare livestock and poultry breeds,” says Charles Bassett, executive director of ALBC.

With the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimating that the world loses an average of two domestic animal breeds each week, this service comes at a pivotal time in the evolution of the world’s agricultural food system. In the past 15 years alone, the FAO has identified the extinction of 300 out of 6,000 breeds worldwide, with another 1,350 in danger of extinction.

Many livestock and poultry breeds are on the brink of extinction because owners of these animals find it difficult to carve out a niche for rare breed products in a highly industrialized market. The new website will serve as a platform to help breeders sell their animals and products in order to increase population numbers.

Breeds of livestock and poultry are becoming endangered because agriculture has changed. Modern food production favors the use of a few highly specialized breeds selected for maximum output in intensively controlled environments. Many traditional breeds do not excel under these conditions, so have lost popularity.

Agriculture, like all biological systems, depends on genetic diversity to adapt and respond to an ever-changing environment. Genetic diversity in domestic animals is expressed as distinct breeds, each with different characteristics and uses. Traditional or heritage 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. As agriculture continues to develop and change, we need to be able to draw on this genetic diversity for a broad range of uses and future opportunities. Once lost, genetic diversity is gone forever.

Anyone may view and respond to ads; however, only ALBC members may post classifieds on the site. ALBC membership is $30 per year and includes bi-monthly newsletters, a Breeders and Products Directory, free posting to the ALBC online classifieds, educational opportunities and more.

Cheryl Fanning of Dogwood Hill Farm in Lamar, MO, says, “I had a response to one of my ads the day after it was posted. This is a great tool for members and others.”

The site’s features include fully searchable including an advanced search feature; personalized accounts for each poster featuring individualized settings; easy navigation; photo uploads free of charge; featured listings; printer-friendly pages for printing classified ads; browsing filters; favorites list; and location mapping.

Annual conference

The ALBC will present its 27th Annual Conference November 13-14 at the Clarion Hotel State Capital in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The two-day conference, entitled “Crucial Cuisine: Putting Rare Breeds Back on the Table,” is packed with educational sessions and insights geared towards farmers, food aficionados, agricultural educators, historians, conservationists and others interested in the topics of biodiversity and sustainability. 

With pre-conference hands-on clinics, two plenary sessions and a day filled with concurrent workshops, presentations and discussions, attendees will learn new skills in rare breed management, explore emerging trends in biodiversity and come away with a revived enthusiasm for rare breed conservation.

In addition, participants will have the opportunity to attend A Rare-A-Fare dinner featuring rare breeds.

“The theme of this year’s conference is Crucial Cuisine and the goal is to get many of these breeds back onto the American dinner table,” says Jeannette Beranger, research and technical program manager for ALBC. “It may seem counterintuitive, but eating rare breeds helps develop a market for these animals.” Many of the breeds on the menu for this event have a total global population of fewer than 2,000 animals. 

ALBC’s conference is a primary source for education and training for those interested in or raising rare breeds of livestock and poultry and for those interested in genetic conservation and biodiversity.

The ALBC pre-conference clinics will be held Friday, November 13. Both morning and afternoon clinics are offered. A Rare-A-Fare dinner will be Friday evening from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. atop the Clarion Hotel State Capital. The full-day conference educational program will be Saturday, November 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the host hotel.

With the urban chicken trend gaining popularity, Friday’s attendees may be interested in the hands-on clinics teaching how to raise and breed Heritage Chickens. Chickens not your fancy? The Herons restaurant at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, North Carolina, in cooperation with ALBC, will be hosting a class on the Lost Art of Last Cuts, which will teach participants how to take advantage of underutilized cuts of meat. Seasoned chefs Scott Crawford of Herons and Bret Jennings of Elaine’s on Franklin restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, will lead participants in how to prepare underutilized parts from rare breeds. The clinic will include a luncheon featuring the chefs’ creations. Friday’s events will also include workshops on rare breed hog husbandry, microdairying, selecting breeding stock for rare breed rabbits and more. 

On Saturday, 14 educational sessions will be held. Want to learn how to incorporate rare breed into your farm plan? Interested in the new genetics technologies for breed conservation? Curious as to how heritage breeds have a competitive edge in grass-based systems? Need to know the legal logistics of starting a small farm? Learn the answers to these questions and more at the educational sessions.

Complete conference details and an online registration form can be found on the ALBC website. For additional information, contact Jennifer Kendall at 919-542-5704.

Registration costs cover the Friday Rare-A-Fare dinner, full-day conference seminars on Saturday and lunch, dinner and coffee breaks on Saturday. Pre-conference clinics are paid on a per clinic basis. Fees are: $135 for ALBC members registering by September 30; $165 for ALBC members registering after September 30; and $185 for non-members. An ALBC membership can be purchased for $30.

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect more than 170 breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction, including donkeys, cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. Founded in 1977, ALBC is the pioneer organization in the United States working to conserve historic breeds and genetic diversity in livestock. ALBC’s mission is to ensure the future of agriculture through genetic conservation and the promotion of endangered breeds of livestock and poultry.

For more information about ALBC or rare breeds, visit the website.