Seven Springs Speaker Spotlight: Alison Martin, Cattle Specialist

Reader Contribution by Erica Binns
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Get to know Alison Martin of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR?

My presentation is Introduction to Heritage Breed Cattle. The approach is for those who have never raised cattle, or who have a background in cattle and are now thinking about trying rare breeds. I’ll present an overview of the characteristics of several breeds on our Conservation Priority List and their suitability to different farm systems and different parts of the country. The talk will cover both beef and dairy, and touch on traditional uses for cattle as oxen and to clear land. Heritage cattle are a great choice for sustainable and grass fed production systems.

What are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees?

I’m looking forward to the Mother Earth News Fair! This will be my first visit, and I’m excited to talk with people and learn more about how they are raising animals and crops on their own farms.

Tell us about your background with your particular topic.

I’ve raised backyard poultry and rabbits, and have followed a long career in agriculture. My mom grew up on a working cattle ranch in California and also kept dairy cattle, so I grew up with stories of ranching and was versed in standard cattle breeds at a young age. Imagine my surprise to learn that some of the breeds that were standard when I grew up are now considered endangered! My dad was a plant geneticist and horticulturalist who specialized in tropical crops, so I also have a lifelong love of gardening and an interest in the plant side of farming.

How will you get to the FAIR, and how far do you have to travel?

I’ll be traveling to the FAIR with my ALBC colleagues from North Carolina. We will probably be driving, so we’ll enjoy the scenery through the Blue Ridge mountains along I-81.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose?

My colleague Jeannette said she would bring a flock of chickens to the desert island, so I’ll bring a toolbox to make the chicken coops! It might come in handy for other projects too. 😉

Thanks, Alison. We’ll see you at the FAIR!

Please visit the FAIR website for more information about the Seven Springs, Pa. FAIR September 24-25, and upcoming FAIRs in other locations. Tickets are on sale now.

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Keep an eye out for Trivia Ticket Tuesdays and Trivia Ticket Thursdays for your chance to win two tickets to the FAIR!