Cathy R. Payne, EdD, is the award-winning author of Saving the Guinea Hogs: The Recovery of an American Homestead Breed, published in 2019. She was raised in cities and suburbs. She retired in 2010 from a 33-year career in elementary education. She moved to an agricultural community in Northeast Georgia the day of retirement and began farming with no prior experience. Cathy’s sustainable farm, Broad River Pastures, specialized in nutrient-dense food and heritage breed livestock. She raised breeding stock of American blue and white rabbits, Gulf Coast Sheep, and American Guinea Hogs. Cathy’s skills developed in her teaching and research helped her with her new passion and business. These included long and short-term planning, setting specific goals, collecting data to determine effectiveness of strategies, asking questions, seeking answers, making observations, developing theories, and testing them.
When Cathy first learned about Guinea hogs in 2013, she became discouraged with the scarcity of information regarding the breed and its history. She discovered that nobody had written a book about this intriguing breed or documented how it was saved after near extinction. She set out to discover this for herself, beginning with interviews of people who raised the hogs. After two years of asking questions, interviewing elders, and interviewing dozens of major players who worked to preserve the breed from the early 1990s to 2009, she discovered bloodlines of the hogs that had not been well documented up to that point. In fact, there were several bloodlines that were not included in the registry of the American Guinea Hog Association that had been raised as pure breeds for many years. Saving the Guinea Hogs, reveals what she learned and how she worked with a network of breeders to document and preserve the historical bloodlines and become an activist for including them in the breed registry (American Guinea Hog Association). The Livestock Conservancy opened its Guinea hog archives to her and encouraged her recovery work. The book is part memoir since Cathy inserted herself in the story while discovering the breed history and, with three other women, helped increase the gene pool for the future.
Cathy plans to write a series of books highlighting the breed. These will include one based on interviews with chefs, a children’s book, one on marketing the breed, and a children’s book for elementary students. She also envisions a homesteader’s guide to buying and selling heritage breeds. Her books are available on this site’s online store along with a selection guide or matrix to assist Guinea hog breeders in selecting the best breeding candidates from their litters. Cathy has an active social media presence which she uses to educate others about Guinea hogs, their history, genetic lines, and conservation strategies. She has led two online book studies on breeding strategy books published by The Livestock Conservancy. Cathy’s work as a farmer and author has been featured in a variety of podcasts, newsletters, newspapers, magazines, and one textbook.