ALBC, Tractor Supply Partnership

article image
courtesy The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
Java chickens do well when given the opportunity to free range.

Pittsboro, North Carolina – The American Livestock Breeds
Conservancy (ALBC) is pleased to announce a new promotional partnership with
Tractor Supply Co. (TSC) to raise awareness of endangered and heritage poultry

Beginning this
month, more than a thousand Tractor Supply stores across the country are
participating in the annual Chick Days program through May 9. This year, the
program includes a number of heritage breeds of poultry, many of which are
considered endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

partnership will bring awareness to a critical issue facing the American
agricultural system – dwindling diversity and the subsequent loss of many breeds
of livestock and poultry,” says American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Executive
Director Charles Bassett. “For ALBC, this is an opportunity to educate Tractor
Supply’s current and future customers by providing them with the support and
information necessary to raise endangered poultry breeds.”

As part of the
partnership, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has provided research,
information and technical expertise, helping Tractor Supply to share the
message of heritage breed conservation with their customers.

“Heritage breeds
are the original backyard chicken,” says Jeannette Beranger, research and technical
program manager for ALBC. “It makes sense for hobby-farmers, ranchers, and even
suburban and rural homeowners to take interest in these breeds. These are the
breeds of our grandparents and great-grandparents – and they are disappearing.”

The United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 21 percent of
livestock breeds worldwide continue to be at risk of extinction. The American Livestock
Breeds Conservancy is the only organization in the United States working to stop the
extinction of these breeds – ensuring the future of our agricultural food

“We are proud to
be associated with ALBC,” says John Wendler, senior vice president of marketing
for Tractor Supply Co. “The popularity of backyard flocks in America has spurred demand for
additional information and support. As the leading farm and ranch store, our
relationship puts TSC in the unique position to help those interested in
raising poultry to get started successfully while raising awareness of the
diversity of breeds out there, many of which are in need of conservation.”

In 2011, the
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy listed more than 180 breeds of livestock
and poultry on its Conservation Priority List, a list that designates
population levels for endangered domesticated breeds. Twenty-nine poultry
breeds were listed as critically endangered, making the TSC partnership an even
more important step in the promotion and conservation of heritage breeds.

For more
information about endangered poultry breeds, visit the ALBC’s website.

For more
information about TSC’s Chick Days program, visit the website of Tractor Supply

The American
Livestock Breeds Conservancy is a nonprofit membership organization working to
protect more than 180 breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction. Included
are 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.

Tractor Supply
Co. is the leading retail farm and ranch store brand in America. Founded in 1938, Tractor
Supply Co. operates more than 1,000 stores in 44 states supplying daily farm
and ranch maintenance supplies to a targeted customer base. The company’s
stores are focused on supplying the lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and
ranchers. The company also serves the maintenance needs of those who enjoy the
rural lifestyle, as well as tradesmen and small businesses.

Why are domestic
breeds of livestock and poultry in danger of extinction?

agriculture and food production favors the use of a few highly specialized
breeds selected for maximum output in intensively controlled environments. Most
traditional breeds do not thrive in these conditions, so they have lost
popularity and are faced with extinction.

Why is genetic
diversity important?

Like all
ecological systems, agriculture depends on genetic diversity to adapt to an
ever-changing environment. Genetic diversity in domestic animals is revealed in
distinct breeds, each with different characteristics and uses.

historic breeds retain essential attributes for survival and self-sufficiency –
fertility, foraging ability, longevity, maternal instincts, ability to mate
naturally, and resistance to disease and parasites. As agriculture changes, 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.