last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven
and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again."
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This article appeared in the May/June issue of the ALBC newsletter. ALBC members receive 6 bi-monthly newsletters that contain articles about the breeds of livestock and poultry that we work to conserve as well as the people involved in these efforts. Members also receive an annual breeders directory that provides contact information for ALBC members who have breeding stock available, as well a list of products from these breeds that they offer for sale.
From the May/June 2008 ALBC Newsletter:
From the Director
Let me start my report to you with sincere thanks for your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions as it relates to a strategic direction the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy might take in the coming 3-5 years. Many of you responded to my request in the March/April 2008 issue of ALBC News by answering five questions we felt were important as definers of ALBC’s current and future state. To refresh your memory, these questions focused on ALBC’s strengths and weaknesses, existing and potential challenges and opportunities, and members’ expectations. As you might guess, your answers to each of the questions were as diverse as the breeds we work so hard to conserve. That being said, there were some very interesting and thought provoking trends that emerged when your answers were collated and consolidated for review by the Strategic Planning Committee of the Board of Directors. I thought you might be interested in knowing what your fellow members are thinking.
Most responders recognized ALBC’s qualified and dedicated staff and volunteers, and praised the excellent job ALBC has and continues to do to conserve and promote rare breeds in the Americas. Specifically, “It (ALBC) has identified the breeds, developed and applied a rational system for measuring the stability of their populations, and generally helped foster a community of interest in these animals. In these ways, it has done far more for heritage breeds than any other organization. We – and I mean this entire country – are in your debt.” Despite this success, many felt ALBC can and should do more in the areas of education and marketing, expanded regional outreach programs, support of small farms and local agriculture, and further promotion of the benefits of conserving rare breeds. Specifically, “More networking opportunities, more focus on business/marketing/breeding protocols as interest & demand increase.”
Frequently mentioned challenges were
Specifically, “Stagnation. Remember you always have new members that are reading it for the first time. Don’t fall into the trap of catering just to the old guard,” and “Hence, anything that threatens the small farmers’ way of life also threatens ALBC’s work.”
Members’ expectations ranged from the very specific, “an expanded and more easily accessible reference library,” to the broadly general, “a stronger sense of group identity.”
These results, as well as all of the others that were generated by both the internal and external stakeholders assessment, will be presented to the ALBC Board of Directors at its strategic planning retreat this summer.
I will close by letting you know that we have already taken steps to address two of the biggest challenges facing the overall growth and expansion of ALBC’s programs. The first is a significant expansion of our library and data storage capability with a corresponding increase in accessibility to that information. The second is the physical relocation of the ALBC office to larger, more modern facilities. The move will be this month and should result in minimal disruption to the flow of work as the new office is only 30 yards from the old one and therefore we will not have to change our mailing address or telephone and fax numbers. The library upgrade will begin with the new fiscal year in July 2008 and continue for 12 to 18 months.
Thank you again for your thoughtful feedback. As a member of ALBC, you are an important stakeholder in or conservation mission, and it is essential to our long-term success that we listen to what you have to say and work to meet your expectations.