Garfield Farm Heading

Garfield Farm home page | News Index

News from Garfield Farm

May 10 Deadline for Exhibitors for
Garfield Farm Museum’s Rare Breeds Show May 19

CAMPTON HILLS, IL: Owners of rare breeds of livestock and poultry need to register by May 10 to participate in the 33rd Annual Rare Breeds Show on Sunday May 19 from 11 am until 4 pm. This is the longest running show in the Midwest that has featured rare breeds of farm and working animals. Members of the national organization, the Livestock Conservancy have participated every year.

What has taken centuries of breeding to produce is now in danger of disappearing from the face of the earth as the current era emphasizes just one or two breeds of anyone animal for meeting mass market needs. Preserving the historic genetic lines of various breeds is like saving money for a rainy day. Invariably things change as Garfield Farm Museum best demonstrates and depending on just one breed or variety of animal or crop can greatly impact future society. The limited varieties of potatoes in Europe in the 1840s resulted in the great potato famine that lead to over 1 million deaths and millions of lives uprooted as people left their homes for other lands.

The Rare Breeds Show depends upon individuals who are champions for particular breeds that they find meet their needs. From sheep that shed their wool to horses better adapted for arduous horse trekking competition, breeds were developed to meet a wide range of specific needs. High yield means nothing if the animal cannot survive in a hot environment. A too highly interrelated popular breed can be decimated by a new disease.

For any owner of such rare breeds, the practical and economic reasons to raise these breeds are also augmented by the owners’ love of a particular breed from its appearance to its behavior. It is thus in the owner’s interest to insure the breed will survive by making others aware of these breeds and encouraging those inclined to become owners and breeders. Although the internet has put many more people in touch with breeders around the world, it is still the discovery process and seeing up close what a particular animal is like that will encourage new breeders.

The interest in local food production and organic farming has created a whole new generation of traditional farmers that are discovering the qualities of these breeds that set their operations apart from the mass market.

The show is set in the pastoral farmyard of the museum, with the animals and their owners stationed around the grounds speaking with the visitors who have many questions. Exhibitors are also welcome to bring and products which range from wool fleeces to home made soaps. Breed representatives may also bring displays and information even if an animal is not available. Others may offer lectures about their breeds or general topics about caring for, marketing, etc livestock and poultry.

To register contact Garfield Farm Museum at Box 403 LaFox, IL 60147 or call 630 584-8485 or e-mail The public is invited to attend with a $6 donation for adults and $3 for children under 13 years of age. Garfield Farm Museum is five miles west of Geneva, IL of ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road.