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American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s 27th Annual Conference seeks to put rare breeds back on the table

Posted Sunday, August 16, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC), a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the future of agriculture through the genetic conservation of endangered breeds of livestock and poultry, will present its 27th Annual Conference at the Clarion Hotel State Capital in Raleigh, NC, November 13-14, 2009.

With ALBC protecting over 170 livestock and poultry breeds, some with population numbers more critical than the endangered Giant Panda, this conference comes at a pivotal time. Traditional breeds are disappearing on a global scale, contributing to the loss of biodiversity within our agricultural food systems.

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,” said 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 7:30pm – 9:30pm atop the Clarion Hotel State Capital in Raleigh, NC. The full-day conference educational program will be Saturday, November 14, from 8:30am – 5:00pm at the host hotel.

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

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About the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy:
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect over 170 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 U.S. 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.

Conference Costs:
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.
$135 for ALBC members registering by September 30, 2009
$165 for ALBC members registering after September 30, 2009
$185 for non-members, (an ALBC membership can be purchased for $30.00)

Conference Highlights:
Friday, November 13: 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, NC, 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, NC, 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.

Saturday, November 14:
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 one of 14 educational sessions.

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