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Lasting Change 

Our History

Heifer's past is filled with significant achievements. But we will not stop until there truly is an end to hunger. Then we can truly say we've made history.


  • 1938 Spanish Civil War relief worker Dan West develops his "not a cup but a cow" concept


  • 1942 "Heifers for Relief" is founded by the Church of the Brethren in Indiana
  • 1944 The first shipment of 17 heifers leaves Mobile, AL.; curbs milk shortages in Puerto Rico
  • 1945-1950 "Seagoing cowboys" begin escorting livestock overseas after WWII; thousands of dairy goats go to war-torn Japan, other animals are given to refugee resettlement centers in West Germany


  • 1952 Heifer begins placement of more than 70,000 hatching eggs in Korea
  • 1955 Projects with black and white tenant farmers in Mississippi cultivate relationships across racial lines
  • 1956 A cross-breeding program in India quadruples milk production
  • 1956 A shipment of cattle to a Soviet orphanage builds a bridge over the Iron Curtain
  • 1957 Shipments of animals to Central and South America show a change in focus from war-ravaged nations to underdeveloped areas of the world


  • 1960 Heifer transitions from shipping animals internationally to purchasing and redistributing local livestock
  • 1962 Heifer co-sponsors Peace Corps teams to run programs in Ecuador and Bolivia
  • 1967 The shipment of the one-millionth chick is celebrated
  • 1968 Four hundred and eighty students in the Dominican Republic receive intensive training in animal husbandry


  • 1971 World headquarters moves to Little Rock and 1,200-acre Heifer Ranch is purchased
  • 1972 The Korean Ministry of Agriculture estimates that half the chickens in Korea are descended from Heifer hatching eggs supplied after the Korean War
  • 1975 A national dairy development program begins in Tanzania


  • 1985 A cross-breeding program in the Chinese city of Ya'an increases local goat milk production by up to 80 percent
  • 1986 President Reagan's Commission on Volunteerism presents Heifer with the Volunteer Action Award


  • 1990 Heifer articulates its "12 Cornerstones", or guiding principles
  • 1992 Heifer starts programs in Central and Eastern Europe to promote small-scale farming and community involvement
  • 1996 Heifer begins its first urban agricultural project in the U.S. and adds a Disaster Rehabilitation fund for rapid livestock recovery
  • 1997 Heifer projects in Uganda have produced 3.6 million gallons of milk
  • 1998 President Clinton visits project partners in Uganda


  • 2004 Heifer International receives the world’s largest humanitarian award from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • 2007 Heifer's Headquarters building receives Platinum LEED Certification, the highest rating in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design


  • Jo Luck, former President and CEO, is named co-laureate of the World Food Prize
  • Heifer responds to the devastating earthquake in Haiti
  • Heifer names new President and CEO, Pierre Ferrari
  • Commitment is made at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting to help Haiti
  • EADD awarded an extension grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Heifer receives Kiwanis International World Service Medal
  • 2015 Heifer projects have served 22.6 million families around the world