The Randall Linebacks
1990 Until Today
The 1990s saw a few other conservationists and organizations such as the Hamilton Rare Breeds Foundation, (HRBF), join the ranks of Randall Lineback breeders. However, the natural rate of reproduction was slow and most herds remained quite small. By 2002, there were only approximately 100+ purebred Randall Linebacks in the world, many concentrated in the Creech herd in Tennessee. The hot and humid Tennessee climate and foraging conditions were less than ideal for this New England breed. In May 2002, an undivided 25% interest in 64 purebred Randall Linebacks and 15 crossbred animals of the Creech herd was sold to The Chapel Hill Farm in Virginia. The Randall Linebacks began arriving in the Shenandoah Valley soon thereafter. Virginia brought with it the devotion of more manpower, better facilities and substantial financial resources for the conservation of the herd. It also promised better weather, cooler conditions with potentially fewer parasites, better fodder, the potential to use embryo transfer to propagate the herd, and professional local facilities to draw, freeze, and preserve purebred semen. Four objectives were agreed upon for the jointly-owned herd: “1. directly increasing the numbers of breeding animals from the Artemis Farm herd; 2. the preservation of the distinct Randall Lineback bloodlines; 3. the creation of other sizable satellite herds; 4. the promotion of the breed.”
Though she could not stay in Virginia full-time, by the spring of 2003, Ms. Creech had moved essentially all of the Tennessee herd to Chapel Hill Farm and by the fall had taken up residence on the Virginia farm. Despite promising beginnings, by summer of 2004 Ms. Creech had found other opportunities and moved on to Connecticut. To divide the herd, Dr. Sponenberg’s friendly offices were used to balance the genetic representation of the herd remaining at Chapel Hill. Additionally, much of the Randall Lineback purebred stock residing at Swiss Village and the Hamilton Rare Breeds Foundation in Vermont were transferred to Chapel Hill Farm. Ms. Deborah Hamilton and Mrs. Pat Hastings, who owned these Randall Linebacks, now serve on the Board of The Randall Lineback Breed Association.