In the United States, support for endangered species of farm animals comes from a variety of different sources at the national, state, local, government and nonprofit levels. Various priorities guide the size and type of funding available to programs that have animal welfare, conservation and preservation as their guiding principles. Some of these programs advocate a return to pre-industrialization standards in the care and feeding of farm animals for the health and welfare of generations to come.
Farm Bill Incentives
The federal Farm Bill includes voluntary conservation initiatives that encourage farmers to ensure the preservation of wildlife habitat. For example, the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program pays up to 75 percent of the cost of enhancements to wildlife habitats on agricultural and private land. A program priority is the protection, restoration and development of fish and wildlife habitat of endangered species.
The Conservation Stewardship Program provides payments to agricultural producers who maintain a higher level of environmental protection for cropland, pastureland, rangeland and nonindustrial forestland. The parallel Environmental Quality Incentives Program offers 10-year contract incentive payments and cost-sharing benefits to farmers who take up conservation practices in line with national priorities. These practices include promotion of wildlife habitat for endangered species.
Heritage Farm Program
In New England, the goal of the nonprofit Heritage Breeds Conservancy is to preserve endangered breeds of livestock and poultry, thereby providing valuable options for the future of farming. The Heritage Farm Program aims to assist farms to locate and establish production herds of heritage breed livestock. The farms operate according to set market standards and HBC protocols. HBC selects program participants on the basis of informed and reliable farm workers, farms with between five and 100 acres of agriculturally zoned land and with the necessary infrastructure, including a barn, fencing and a fresh water source. Program membership provides for an array of services. They include technical assistance from the conservancy to create specific breeding programs, and consultation in areas like farm management, feasibility studies and stock assessment. The historic breeds ensure quality products from animals raised on grass, without antibiotics and growth hormone.
Farmland Trust Donation
Whidbey Island, Washington, is home to a 15-acre farm, Camelot Downs, that specializes in unusual, endangered colonial breeds of sheep, chickens, ducks and other livestock. Colonial breeds were the traditional breeds in the United Kingdom before the onset of industrialization. Industrial agriculture led to the extinction of many breed varieties of farm animals, including cattle, goats, pigs, horses and poultry. Camelot Downs carries on the tradition of genetically hardy colonial breeds with Southdown and Romney sheep; grey call and Rouen ducks; and Ancona, Minorca and Orpington chickens. Camelot Downs is the ultimate grant, the first conservation easement donated to PCC Farmland Trust, a nonprofit land trust, to preserve local organic farmland in perpetuity.
Farm Animal Welfare Trust
Based in Mamaroneck, New York, the Animal Welfare Trust offers grants to organizations that give priority to raising public awareness of farm animal welfare among other areas. Applications must include the requested grant amount, a brief project summary including goals and timeline and the benefits of this grant to the applicant, organizational background, and operating budget. As of 2010, the general range of grants was between $2,500 and $20,000, covering different project time periods from a single year to several years.