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“These were the best hogs I’ve ever seen,” said seventy-five-year-old Cohen Archer. He grew up with the amiable black Guinea Hogs in Washington County, Georgia. Cohen’s father died when he was just twelve years old, in 1954. His mother subsequently sold the hogs, and Cohen didn’t see another one until he visited Cathy Payne’s farm in 2017.
This book is the first definitive history of the Guinea Hog breed. It is a comprehensive overview of the people who raised Guinea Hogs from 1940 to 1995, told in their own words and colorful stories. These first-person stories reveal the subjects’ deep fondness for and attachment to the amiable Guinea Hogs. Some recall a time when their families did not have access to electricity or indoor plumbing. The Guinea Hog was utilized head to tail, providing meat, lard, and grease to meet crucial family needs.
The Guinea Hog is a small, black, hairy, sturdy, and gentle breed of hog kept in the Southeastern United States prior to the Civil War. The Guinea Hog has long been a part of America’s cultural history. Due to a confluence of factors, it was nearly extinct by the 1990s. The loss of any breed’s unique genetic material can leave the future of a species in peril.
Around 2004, a group of dedicated conservation breeders, encouraged by The Livestock Conservancy, stepped forward to save the Guinea Hogs. Cathy Payne interviewed many of the breeders and reports their stories. Her diligent research over several years retraces the history of the Guinea Hogs while preserving the memories of those who kept them.
When Cathy’s research brought her in contact with rare genetic bloodlines not preserved during the formation of the American Guinea Hog Association (AGHA) in 2006, she worked with a network of women to obtain these genetics and work with the registry to add valuable genetic diversity to the national herd.
Cathy takes what she has learned from her contacts with these breeders and focuses on strategies to preserve this breed and its distinct family bloodlines. These homestead hogs are survivors worth preserving for future generations!