A passion of pursuits... On August 26th and 27th Black Valley Farm had the honor of hosting two events--a Field Day with PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture), and the 1st Annual AKBA (American Kunekune Breeders Association) Conference. Over the course of these two days the Kunekune Breed took the spotlight... Rebecca Robinson of PASA titled August 26th "Niche Farming in Diverse Times: The Role of Kunekune Pigs on a New Livestock Farm"... People traveled from various regions of our home state, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, New York, and California. The morning of the 26th started with a round of introductions that included what our visitors were hoping to discover about the Kunekune Breed. Why is our breed different? What does it have to offer that other breeds lack? As the saying goes--Seeing is believing... As we spent the day walking our pastures and interacting with our 20 odd Kunekunes of every age, size, and color we began to see others thrill to the opportunities that the Kunekune could offer each of them in their own farming environment. Brian and I purchased our first breeding boar from Texas without even seeing a photo, and here we were, offering people the opportunity to see first hand just how amazingly endless the remarkable qualities of our breed truly are. Ease of handling? Cornelius, our favorite breeding boar roamed the tent while we discussed conformation...Worried about agressive mothering? Ramona grunted contentedly as we picked up and displayed her five day old piglets...Ability to be fattened on pasture? We don't own any skinny Kunekunes. Do they really not root? Our audience will attest to the lack of damage our pasture sustains.
Our goal for the two days was to extend the position that whatever your pursuit--companionship, pastured pork, even the simple ability to turn a profit-- we feel that our breed has a great deal to offer.
Lori Enright, founder of AKBA and the first importer to the United States to freely offer breeding stock for sale to the public, lended authority and passion to the theme of both days. Her passion for the breed, combined with her unchallenged knowledge of Kunekune husbandry, along with her pioneer venture into the meat market allowed her to share with those who were able to attend a wealth of knowledge not easy to come by for new and perspective breeders.
Cyndi Berry of Kunekune Preserve has generously offered the once out of reach lines imported in 1995 to registered breeders accross the country. To honor her commitment to the future of the breed Lori Enright presented her with the Patron of Porcine Award. Having met in person for the first time it was a tender moment for both.
At the end of our time we felt confident that we were able to kindle an interest in a breed that allows the small farmer the opportunity to expand their pursuits in whichever direction they care to follow. As many of you know, the market for pastured pork is expanding, the general public is beginning to show a desire to slowly shift into self sufficiency, hard times are urging us to seek out new opportunities for financial independence... Black Valley Farm encourages you to take a look at the Kunekune breed. (Or in our case we had to take a second look before venturing in.)
We cannot adequately convey our gratitude for those who braved the weather of hurrican Irene to attend the 1st Annual AKBA conference. Our group, though small, demonstrated the mutual enthusiasm of breeders accross the country that we have a breed with potential and are ready and willing to sacrifice to allow others the chance to participate in the rewarding experience of Kunekune husbandry.