In an attempt to offset this trend the Heritage Poultry Conservancy (HPC) was founded in 2009. The mission of the conservancy is simple: to raise the awareness of the loss of heritage breeds and to help foster good practices of stewardship of these breeds among breeders and young fanciers alike.
From the outset, the HPC has been a hands-on organization with breeding programs at Moss Mountain Farm in central Arkansas. Since 2009 over 70 heritage breeds have been kept, improved, and shared with other breeders. Presently 40 breeds are maintained at Moss Mountain Farm.
The organization has and continues, to support local, state and national American Poultry Association (APA) sanctioned shows each year with premiums and ribbons. Both APA recognized breeds and unrecognized landrace breeds are supported with equal interest with a goal of maintaining main and increasing biodiversity within these flocks.
An emphasis on supporting 4-H Club members with their poultry projects has been central to the HPC’s work from its inception. Young exhibitors are encouraged to engage in the pursuit of breed conservation and the stewardship of these endangered breeds. Their efforts are recognized and awarded at poultry shows each year.
Recently, the American Postal Service (USPS) issued a series of stamps showcasing endangered breeds of livestock and poultry. The Heritage Poultry Conservancy presently keeps all four of the American breeds of poultry recognized by the USPS at Moss MountainMountian.
Each year the HPC hosts two ‘Chicken Chat’ events at Moss MountainMountian Farm. These are scheduled in the spring and fall, serving as an opportunity for like-minded individuals and 4-H members to come together to learn more about heritage breeds and purchase birds for their own breeding programs. The ‘Chicken Chat’ Facebook page is a popular site for supporters and fanciers to engage with one another and keep up with the work of the HPC.