Our Work

We’re Launching an Alternative to Factory Farm Poultry

Preservation Through Food Production

In the early 1800s, millions of American bison roamed the plains. Less than 100 years later, their numbers had been reduced to a mere 541 animals. While early conservation efforts helped raise this figure modestly, it was only when farmers began raising bison for meat that their population grew back into the hundreds of thousands.

Much like the early bison, the millions of healthy happy Standardbred chickens and turkeys that used to occupy the American landscape are now on the brink of extinction.* Their populations have been replaced by a sick mono-crop of over nine billion fast-growing industrial hybrids, which live short and difficult lives.

*Based on census numbers provided by – The American Poultry Association

56 Day Growth Rate of Broilers Over Time

Source: “Growth, efficiency, and yield of commercial broilers from 1957, 1978, and 2005” by Zuidhof et al.

The breeder parents of these birds are kept in total confinement and many must be artificially inseminated to reproduce. Their living conditions and compromised immune systems have led to many outbreaks of highly pathogenic viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In contrast, Standardbred varieties thrive in the outdoors and represent the gold standard in genetic health and animal welfare for poultry species.

Frank Reese, now in his 70s, is the last remaining breeder of certified Standardbred poultry for commercial food production in the United States. If we do not preserve his legacy, these birds will disappear.

Just as conservation through food production saved the American bison, so will we save America’s most important market breeds of poultry. Through our efforts and with your support, the great extinction of America’s natural poultry breeds and its holistic farming system will be reversed.

The New Chicken of Tomorrow

In 1948 the Chicken of Tomorrow contest was held with the goal of ushering in a new age for poultry. Replacing the healthy and vibrant Standardbred varities of the time with newer “better” hybrids. In fewer than 50 years, the Contest’s objectives were achieved. The Standardbred poultry industry had been replaced with a system that raises sick and suffering birds by the billions. We will undo this work and crown a new Chicken of Tomorrow.

Within 100 years of the original contest, we will increase the near-extinct populations of commercial Standardbred birds to 10,000,000+ happy healthy animals raised on 1,000+ farms throughout the United States.

This will re-establish Standardbred as a cornerstone of American agriculture and permanently turn the tide seeking to extinguish independent poultry farming from existence.

We will not only save these birds from extinction, we will repopularize them in such a way that it will transform the face of agriculture.

With your help, we can crown Standardbred as the new Chicken of Tomorrow!

The Goal

To increase the number of our most important market breeds to

10,000+ birds on 10+ farms by 2023
100,000+ birds on 100+ farms by 2028
1,000,000+ birds on 500+ farms by 2038
10,000,000+ birds on 1,000+ farms by 2048

How We Do It

Conceptual Renderings of the Good Shepherd Conservancy Center.

We are on our way to achieving our conservation goals by rebuilding America’s historic Standardbred poultry industry through our Farm Fellowship program.

The Fellowship provides a new generation of farmers with training, mentorship, critical husbandry consultation, marketing benefits, financial aid, and access to America’s premier line of Standardbred stock.

Producing heritage poultry in today’s market is extremely difficult, with a great many factors working against the farmer. We do everything we can to help our Fellows overcome these obstacles so they can profitably participate in our mission.

Together with our Fellows, we are growing the populations of American Standardbred poultry and taking back our industry, one farm and customer at a time.

The entirety of this effort will be based out of the Good Shepherd Conservancy Center (GSCC), a one-of-a-kind cultural landmark and headquarters that’s currently under construction in Lindsborg, Kansas.

The center will captivate the general public through exciting poultry exhibits and an interactive multi-media learning center focused on the history of agriculture, Standardbred poultry, and the fast-food industry. Whether for a short visit, half-day program, or immersive multi-day agrotourism stay, it will be a place for the public to taste, touch, and learn at a working farm.

Through these programs, The Good Shepherd Conservancy will facilitate the launch of thousands of Certified Standardbred poultry farms across the country. This will save these biodiverse breeds from extinction, increase our food sovereignty, enhance animal welfare, and drastically improve the quality and health of America’s poultry supply.

Get Involved

Looking to join our efforts? You can help the Conservancy by donating, put your farm into service through our Farm Fellowship, and support producers by buying Standardbred.

Farm Standardbred

Build the Center

Buy Standardbred

Donation Amount
  • Friend $25+
  • Supporter $100+
  • Sustainer $1,000+
  • Partner $10,000+
  • Founder $100,000+