News from Garfield Farm
Reservations and registrations are now being taken by Garfield Farm Museum for its annual Rare Breed Livestock and Poultry Show to be held Sunday, May 18 with a special class on May 17 on Chicken Selection by Don Schrider of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC). The seminar will be held from 10 am - 3 pm on Saturday and the show will be open from 11 am - 4 pm the following day.
The Chicken Selection Seminar is the first to be regionally held by experts from the ALBC. Don Schrider is the Communication Director and poultry expert for the ALBC and will discuss techniques successfully applied to rare Standard bred poultry lines by himself, Frank Reese, Art Cosner, Mark Atwood, Paul Gilroy, and others. From basic questions like how to tell if a hen is an active egg layer, which young should be retained and raised for breeding, to the more complex evaluation of productivity of chickens will be addressed. The program will include discussion and hands-on opportunity to apply skills learned using Garfield Farm Museum’s conservation flock of the rare Black Java Chicken. Reservations for the seminar are required and the $20 fee will include materials and lunch. Contact (630) 584-8485 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owners of rare breeds of livestock and poultry are invited to exhibit their animals at the May 18 show. As fewer Americans farm and those that do, raise only breeds that make the most money that the mass market demands, hundreds of breeds of animals are facing extinction. The bright spot for these endangered breeds is the new awareness of where or how food originates. From local production, organics, sustainable farming, community supported agriculture farms, the Slow Food movement, and even interest in home textile production, members of the public are willing to pay for quality and diversity that is generally lacking in chain stores. As a result, individual producers find characteristics and traits in these rare farm animals that they develop for their market niche. Different types of sheep produce different types of wool just as different types of hogs will produce different flavors of meat with different levels of fat content. Hardiness, mothering abilities, disease resistance, are all just some of the many different traits the breeds have that meet specific economic, environmental, production, or traditional cultural needs.
To apply to the show, contact the museum at (630) 584-8485. Potential exhibitors are also invited to submit topics for 20 minute lectures to be held during the show. Sheep shearing by Loren Marceau will also be available for a fee.
Garfield Farm Museum is a 370-acre historically intact, former 1840s Illinois prairie farm and teamster inn that is being restored by volunteers and donors from 38 states and 2800 households as a 1840s working farm museum. It has hosted the Rare Breeds Livestock Show and Sale since 1987 and has a conservation flock of Black Java chickens in addition to its Narragansett turkeys, Pilgrim geese, Merino sheep, Milking Devon oxen and the last known pair of old type Berkshire hogs. Garfield Farm Museum is located five miles west of Geneva, L off ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, founded in 1977, is a non-profit membership organization working to protect over 150 breeds of cattle, goats, horses, asses, sheep, pigs, rabbits and poultry from extinction. It is the pioneer organization in the U.S. working to conserve heritage breeds and genetic diversity in livestock. For more information contact: The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, PO Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312, (919) 542-5704, www.albc-usa.org.