Endangered Hog Foundation

The Endangered Hog Foundation was established after a tragic fire at Maveric Heritage Ranch in South Dakota. The fire resulted in the loss of genetically significant Mulefoot, Guinea & Wessex Saddleback Hogs. The Foundation will help to preserve the 10 critically endangered hog breeds in the US. See our About Page for more info on what we do.

About the Endangered Hog Foundation

  • The EHF mission is to secure & distribute funds to assist breeders in DNA research, establish breeding protocols, maintain funds for herd rescue, public education, sponsorship of breeding animals & the importation/exportation of pigs to reinvigorate existing herds in the US, UK & Australia.
  • It was founded by the owners of Maveric Heritage Ranch Co. Maveric has been working with endangered breeds for 10 years & has come to realize that the Ranch’s resources would best be utilized in promoting the “Eat it to Save it”® plan & beginning farmer internships.
  • Maveric continues to raise endangered pigs & train new farmers, as well as market pork from endangered pig breeds, including pigs raised at other farms.
  • The Pig Breeds we work to save: Mulefoot, Guinea, Wessex Saddleback, Gloucestershire Old Spot, Large Black, Red Wattle, Ossabaw Island, Tamworth, & Hereford Hogs.
  • The immediate needs of the Foundation include the funds to import 10 Wessex Saddleback hogs from Australia to resuscitate the dwindling herd in the US (10 pigs remain). Additionally, DNA research is desperately needed create breed profiles & work with existing herds to maximize genetic resources.

How you can help…

Donations

Donations are greatly appreciated. Your donation will go toward DNA research, establish breeding protocols, maintain funds for herd rescue, public education, sponsorship of breeding animals & the importation/exportation of pigs to reinvigorate existing herds in the US, UK & Australia.

Work Days

Work days at the ranch are always an adventure! We welcome all helping hands, as the farmer’s job is never done. Guests are welcome to come and get dirty, feed some animals, help with farm chores, work the garden and a host of other activities depending on the season. Work Day volunteers will be fed a well deserved lunch of farm raised food and enjoy the company of people committed to keeping sustainable farms and endangered pig breeds alive and well.

Sponsor A Pig

Welcome to the Bachelor Pad at Maveric. The boys featured here are a significant part of our conservation work. These herd sires contribute a large portion of the genetics to our breeding programs and to the genetic diversity of their breed.

Each of these boys is cared for throughout the year, even when not in service (not breeding). They are critical to our program, but a costly contribution. A typical boar costs about $500 per year to feed, house and provide veterinary care for.

By sponsoring one of our boys, you will enable us to maintain a higher number of herd sires, thereby increasing the overall genetic diversity of the breed. This diversity helps all who wish to preserve these breeds.

Sponsorship comes with several perks. We will name you as a sponsor of your selected sire on our web page. You will receive updates on the breeding, siring and general status & photos of your selected sire via email. You will receive a receipt for your sponsorship.

We suggest a minimum sponsorship of $25 to be used directly for the care of your selected sire.

Updates Regarding the Fire at Maveric Heritage Ranch Co.

Dear Friends of Maveric:

In November 2008, a fire took our beautiful barn, beloved stallion, several rare Mulefoot hog sows with their litters of piglets, an extremely rare Wessex saddleback boar, a favorite guinea hog boar, my dearly loved cats, our equipment & feed.


“The concrete slab is all that remains of a once magnificent & historical gambrel barn”

Many volunteers have helped to clean up the debris, sort through the burned remains, rebuild the end of the second burned barn, put up siding on our walk in shed and help assemble portable shelters for the pigs.

Through your generous donations and moral support, we have been able to bring some sort of order to our lives after the fire, and have secured the pigs for the winter.

We still have an enormous amount of work ahead of us, anticipating the rebuild this spring. We are planning to make the rebuild a community event-not just our local community, but our US community through Slow Food, Animal Welfare Institute, Dakota Rural Action, Western Organizations Resource Council, and many others. Please follow along at our (insert blog) page at for information on the rebuild and how you can be a part of this historic event.

Our fund raising efforts will continue through the rebuild and beyond. Our immediate effort is to secure funds and assistance to rebuild our facility, but our long term efforts will be to continue our work with endangered pig breeds.

Over the past ten years, we have worked with 5 endangered pig breeds, focusing primarily on Mulefoot and Guinea hogs. We have expanded our work to include Ossabaw Island and Wessex Saddleback pigs as well. Our work consists of DNA research, identifying family bloodlines, establishing breeding protocols, increasing the population, placing breeding stock on other family farms and, most importantly, educating people about the need to preserve and save the biodiversity in pig breeds.

We believe that the best way to save these endangered pigs is to give them a job-an end use-and put them on the table. To borrow the phrase from our dear friend Poppy Tooker, you have to “Eat it to Save It”.

You can be a part of saving endangered pigs in the US. Support the work of the Endangered Hog Foundation and Maveric Heritage Ranch through whatever means you can. Be it a cash donation, assistance at the farm, serving pork from one of our rare breeds, spreading the word or using whatever special talent you have, you are a vital part of our conservation effort. It takes a village to save a rare breed!

We look forward to working with as many people as possible to save the endangered pig breeds in the US, and welcome your support.

Donations can be sent to the “Endangered Hog Foundation”; in care of Maveric Heritage Ranch Co. at the address below or by clicking the donate button below.

Thank you to everyone who has offered support. I cannot describe how it feels to stand in a place of profound grief and intense gratitude at the same time. We will carry on through the love and support of our friends.

Endangered Hog Foundation
Maveric Heritage Ranch Co.
47869-242nd St.
Dell Rapids, South Dakota 57022


Original Story…

Dear Friends of Maveric:

It is with the deepest and most profound grief that I write this message. At 5:30am November 19th, 2008, we awoke to our beautiful 100 year old gambrel barn engulfed in flames. Trapped within the barn was my beloved stallion, several rare Mulefoot hog sows with their litters of piglets, an extremely rare Wessex saddleback boar, a favorite guinea hog boar and all of my dearly loved cats. Although we made attempts to rescue our animals, we were unable to save any from the barn.

We were able to run pigs from their pens near the barn to the pastures and get them away from the heat & flames. Many animals in these pens were burned and have suffered smoke inhalation. Though it is several days after the fire, we are still losing animals we have been nursing and trying to save.

The fire burned with such intensity that it caught a large tree and our new barn on fire as well. The firemen were able to save our new barn, but our gambrel was a complete loss. The fire marshal reported that the fire was burning in excess of 2000 degrees due to the way the metal items in the barn melted and puddled. The fire was apparently caused by a failure in the main power breaker. When the power transformer began to melt, we lost power to the whole farm. This also left us without water, as our well is pumped by electricity.

All of our feed (approximately 1000 bales of alfalfa), our tools, watering troughs & feeders, buckets, piglet pens, fencing supplies, power cords, winter heaters, saddles & horse gear, construction materials for our new barn and so much more were completely destroyed.

We cannot replace our rare breed pigs. They simply do not exist. Our work for nearly ten years has been to preserve and save these breeds of pigs. We cannot begin to express our sense of loss over these animals, not just from our lives, but from all future generations.

This tragedy has made it even more clear to us that these rare breeds are in a very precarious situation. At any moment, a disaster, accident or disease could take yet another species from this planet.

Our friends have already begun to rally around us and offer support. We have received many calls and emails from the folks at Slow Food USA, Animal Welfare Institute, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and Dakota Rural Action. Because of this outpouring of encouragement, we feel compelled to persevere and insure that future generations are able to raise and enjoy these breeds, and that biodiversity amongst pigs is preserved.

The Endangered Hog Foundation has been established to help us rebuild and to help continue work with endangered pig breeds. We fully intend to carry on with our DNA research, breeding program, establishing new breeders and promotion of endangered pigs. We have already begun the process of cleaning up the debris and will begin construction of a facility to continue working with our pigs as soon as spring arrives in South Dakota. Temporary measures to provide for the pigs during the upcoming winter are underway.

We need your help. Our immediate needs are for physical labor to help with clean up and building temporary shelter to winter the pigs. Additionally, we need to find a source for alfalfa hay square bales, to obtain portable shelters for the pigs due to farrow in early 2009, hog equipment and hand tools.

Donations can be sent to the “Endangered Hog Foundation” in care of Maveric Heritage Ranch Co. at the address below or by clicking the donate button below.

Thank you to everyone who has offered support. I cannot describe how it feels to stand in a place of profound grief and intense gratitude at the same time. We will carry on through the love and support of our friends.

Endangered Hog Foundation
Maveric Heritage Ranch Co.
47869-242nd St.
Dell Rapids, South Dakota 57022

Let’s Take A Look At Our Boys!


George ~ American Guinea Hog
George is the Ambassador of Guinea Hogs and the patriarch of our herd. George has a sunny disposition and has made many trips to events to meet people and show them how wonderful and personable Guinea Hogs are. He loves to eat, especially bananas and cinnamon toast.

Image Coming Soon Archimedes ~ American Mulefoot Hog
Archimedes was the first boar to live at Maveric. He has been a wonderful herd sire, being prolific and easy to manage. He has taught us much about working with pigs, as he is a kind and gentle animal, with obvious pig instincts. Offspring of Archimedes have helped to establish many other Mulefoot breeders across the United States and Canada.

Bullwinkle ~ American Guinea Hog
Bullwinkle is a large and lovable Guinea Hog. He has been in service at Maveric for 2 years, and at other farms for many years prior to coming to live with us. Bullwinkle is from a line of Guineas that has fuzzy ears and a shaggy coat, making him and his offspring attractive and almost comical looking.

Carlos ~ American Guinea Hog
Carlos (and his brother Peter) are the only two remaining boars from the Hale line of Guineas. Initially thought to be extinct, this line was brought to us via our friends, the Hesters, in Indiana. Carlos is a chubby and talkative boar who loves to bask in the sun.

Image Coming Soon Peter ~ American Guinea Hog
Peter is a large and reserved boar, who prefers time with the sows to the company of his human caretakers. He is genetically significant as he is one of the two remaining boars from the Hale line. Peter produces wonderfully chunky piglets that are vigorous and growthy.

Image Coming Soon Holliday’s Big Boy ~ American Mulefoot Hog
Big Boy is a very prolific boar, direct from the RM Holliday herd. We estimate his age at about 8 YO. He has a wonderful personality and is easy to be around. His offspring have the typical mulefoot haircoat and straight tail.

Image Coming Soon Holliday’s Yankee Boy ~ American Mulefoot Hog
Yankee is a wonderful boar direct from the RM Holliday herd. He is an aged man, believed to be nearly 10 years old. He is still vital and interested in the sows. We continue to breed him ,as he is genetically significant in the Mulefoot population and produces wonderful piglets.

Borquin ~ Ossabaw Island Hog
Borquin is a somewhat shy boar with a friendly disposition. He has very primitive and interesting features, including fringed ears. Borquin is now retired from the program at Purdue, and will spend his days breeding and showing off for the visitors at Maveric.