Great progress has been made on efforts to establish a formal organization for Arapawa goat breeders in the US. Long time registrar for US Arapawas, Al Caldwell of Long Path Farm Rehoboth, MA was the driving force behind the effort.
Over the past winter and spring Caldwell collaborated with Arapawa breeders across the country to draft by-laws (PDF) with a mission statement. The AGB mission is to protect and promote the genetics, identity, and versatility of the critically endangered Arapawa Island Goat through collective conservation efforts, member and public education, networking and collaboration with like-minded individuals and organizations, and maintain an accurate pedigree registry and breed standards.
The first formal meeting of the AGB Board of Directors was held by conference call on April 7, 2011. The new board consists of Al Caldwell, Sarah Bowley of SVF Foundation, Newport, RI, Cynthia Lewis of Fort Lewis Preservation Farm, Jefferson, ME, Will Ober of Windsown Farm, Trumansburg, NY , Lee Royer of Wee Bigger Farm, Taneytown, MD, and John Truelson of Surprise Farm, Middleboro, MA. Truelson is also Rare Breeds Barn Manager for Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth MA.
Sarah Bowley was unanimously elected President. Her experience as Program and Livestock Manager at SVF Foundation has given Bowley a solid understanding of rare-breed conservation which will be extremely helpful to the AGB. Will Ober was unanimously elected Vice President. Cynthia Fort-Lewis stepped up to serve as Secretary, Treasurer, and to maintain the website. Al Caldwell agreed to continue as registrar, despite the fact he is passing his herd on to Sarah and Nicholas Bowley and will no longer keep goats on his farm.
Arapawa goats are likely the rarest breed of goat in the United States today. As of 2010's census there were only 147 purebred Arapawas on the continent. This small population has been gaining popularity among conversationalists over the past few years. The AGB plans to support all interested Arapawa breeders by providing a communications network, identifying niche marketing opportunities for the breed and educating the public on the importance of genetic diversity within livestock populations.
The correct pronunciation of Arapawa is ah-rah-PAH-wah, with the emphasis on the PAH. This was confirmed by AGB member Marilyn Burbank of Rogue River, OR, who traveled to New Zealand in 2006 to arrange for semen collection from four bucks from the herd of breeder David Hughes, thereby doubling the genetic material available in the United States. The AGB is currently working in conjunction with geneticist Dr. Phil Sponenberg to utilize this frozen genetic material to increase the stability of the US Arapawa population.
Arapawa Goat Breeders – US is an open organization, welcoming all owners of Arapawa goats and interested conservationalists.