Regional Meat Goat Production and Marketing Project: Phase 2

Final Report for ES05-081

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2005: $9,578.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Marion Simon
Kentucky State University
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Project Information

ES05-082 Regional Goat Project Phase II Annual Report Summary

The Regional Goat Project, Phase 2B summarized efforts of Extension professionals and producers from Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida in developing and addressing training needs of Extension Agents and goat producers. The project collaborators and producers from collaborating states met at Kentucky State University in 2008 (Part B). As a result of the projects, collaborators increased multi-institution educational programs and collaborative endeavors that include economic, marketing, and ethnic consumer issues, in addition to sustainable production education. Educational workshops and programs on sustainable goat production, business management, and marketing expanded across the region, as has awareness of the issues associated with ethnic consumers (including religious-based) and multi-state collaboration.

Project Objectives:

Objective 1. Agricultural professionals accept meat goats as sustainable farm enterprises for small farmers. They will initiate farmer education and hands-on demonstration programs on sustainable goat production including feeds/forages, breeding programs, parasite control, brush control, and environmental aspects, and economics. They will facilitate efforts to develop sustainable systems for meat goats, facilitate efforts to develop farmer cooperatives and goat associations, and identify potential markets for meat goats and their products.

Objective 2. Agricultural professionals target educational programs to nontraditional producers and consumers including Middle Eastern, Hispanic, African American, women, youth (4-H and FFA), religious groups, and small and limited-resource farmers. In delivering educational programs, professionals become sensitive to social and environmental issues as well as the economic production aspects of the goat industry.

Objective 3. Agricultural professionals and farmers share expertise to: 1) develop and strengthen multi-state, multidisciplinary collaboration (agencies, 1890, 1862, and farmers) and 2) provide cross-state educational programming in sustainable goat production/economic systems. Agricultural professionals broaden their scope and become “system thinkers”.

Objective 4. Fact sheets and curriculum type educational materials on sustainable goat production and marketing systems which are suitable for bilingual, low literacy, and 4-H audiences, and the professionals who train them, will be made available through SARE.


Small and limited-resource farmers are looking for new and alternative farm enterprises to sustain their operations. Supported programs such as tobacco, peanuts and cotton are in jeopardy in the collaborative states. Each collaborative state has regions characterized by low income, low educational attainment and poverty. Together these situations created the need for: 1) alternative, sustainable farm enterprises that have low “start-up” and investment costs, and 2) knowledgeable agricultural professionals, particularly County Extension Agents, Extension paraprofessionals, veterinarians, and farmer mentors who can deliver educational programs to small, limited-resource farmers and diverse, non-traditional farmer clientele. In addition to sustainable production systems, agricultural professionals working with these enterprises need to understand the existing and potential markets for the products. Goat production and marketing systems are expanding throughout the small farm economy in the South. Many small farmers are looking at goat production to enhance their income, or as their primary farm enterprise. Possibly the major behavior changes for agricultural professionals are to accept goat enterprises for their sustainable, economic value to the region, and to expand their educational efforts to include diverse, non-traditional farmers who are producing goats.
Goats are a rapidly growing small farm industry, but the research and educational
support base for the industry needs to be strengthened. Needed educational information includes climate and environmental concerns in addition to basic information on production systems, economics and marketing. Kentucky’s Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy has prioritized funding for goat production, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has added a marketing support unit for goats, yet the land grant support base is weak. The Kentucky Agricultural Advancement Council, an elected group of thirty farmers and Extension agents with delegates elected from county and district Extension councils and supported by SARE-PDP state funds, identified goat production and marketing as the primary research and educational needs of Kentucky agriculture since 2000. The Georgia Farm Bureau identified funding and support of the goat industry to be a top priority. Prairie View A&M University and Langston University have made major commitments to goat production through their Kiki de la Garza Goat Institutes, as has Fort Valley State University and Florida A&M University, but the economic and marketing components need to be strengthened in these existing programs. Recognizing the need for goat production and marketing education, the collaborative team shared goat production, veterinary, and marketing educational materials, conducted joint educational programming, and collaborated to identify educational needs and to develop materials. The central purpose was training for agricultural professionals, agencies, non-profits, paraprofessionals, and farmer mentors. A second purpose was to build a regional network of educators and mentors with expertise in sustainable goat production and marketing (initially meat goats, but potentially expanding into dairy goats) who provided training programs throughout the region. Lastly, through these networks, goals included developing longer term, multi-state education initiatives on sustainable goat production and marketing with producers, agents and consumers as collaborators and advisors.
As stated earlier, meat goats are a rapidly expanding alternative farm enterprise in the South, particularly in regions that are facing reductions in commodity programs, i.e. tobacco. Professionals and farmers are searching for research-based information, yet it is lacking in many locations. This project provided a Goat Symposium and training workshop on sustainable meat goat production and the Risk-Assessed Business Planning for Small Producers manual, plus provided a forum for assessing the results of the two Regional Meat Goat Projects and future plans to continue collaborative efforts. Collaborators: Kentucky State University, University of Kentucky, Tennessee State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Prairie View A&M University, and Langston University.


Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Kenneth Andries
  • Nelson Daniels
  • Will Getz
  • Terry Gipson
  • Terry Hutchen
  • Ray Mobley
  • An Pieschel
  • Paul Sizemore

Education & Outreach Initiatives



The working team met at Kentucky State University in 2008 for a Goat Symposium which included an educational workshop on goat farm business planning and kidding. Collaborators maintained contacts through e-mails, telephone calls, information-sharing networks, a Small Ruminant working group at the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, and numerous other activities.
Specific to this project, Regional Meat Goat Project, Phase 2B, the Goat Symposium served to summarize activities of the projects, summarize future plans, and provide an educational program on business management, kidding, pasture management, parasite management, health issues, and other topics.

Outreach and Publications

Agendas and sign-in sheets serve to document the participation in the Symposium. The now regular workshops and educational curriculums implemented in the Materials and Methods section shows many of the outreach mechanisms that are now in place throughout the region.

Outcomes and impacts:

1. Langston University, through the KiKi de la Garza Goat Institute, developed a “clearing-house of information” that is accessible to the region via their website, and is monitored by Terry Gipson, Steve Hart, and others.
2. Kentucky State University gathered research-based and reliable information, screened the information for its use in the Southern Region, and forwarded it to Langston. Kenneth Andries assumed responsibility for this task. He reviewed and researched articles, then forwarded them to Langston for use in the clearing-house.
3. The working team discussed outreach mechanisms for diverse clientele, the need for more producer meetings, problems associated with professionals not accepting goats as a commercial farm enterprise, and the need for agent and veterinarian training.
4. The working team identified parasite management to be a priority area.
5. The University of Kentucky shared a Goat Production and Marketing video and an upcoming SARE Meat Goat Production website.
6. Kentucky State University shared a Goat Foot/Hoof Care video and an upcoming production of a kidding video.
7. Langston University shared their Web-Based Training and Certification Program on-line curriculum and their Meat Goat Production Handbook.
8. The working team identified disaster preparedness as an important issue.
9. Tennessee State University announced its Goat Condition Scoring video and its forthcoming educational goat curriculum.
10. Kentucky State University hired a Hispanic Outreach Specialist in the Spring 2006 to assist with this and other Hispanic outreach activities.
11. At the Southern SAWG Conferences in 2006, 2007, and 2008 goat workshops were presented by Ken Andries, Kentucky State University and Steve Hart, Langston University. There were 350 attending the goat sessions, and about 1,230 participants in each SAWG conference.
12. Kentucky State University held the second meeting of the Regional Goat Project Planning Group and Collaborators on October 17-19, 2006 with 20 (ten professionals and ten producers) participants from Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Oklahoma. The meeting included the October 19 Goat “Third Thursday. The Regional Planning Group reported on their progress and identified items to be accomplished during the upcoming year. Educational sessions included a forage discussion, parasites and diseases, breeding management, and marketing to, and working with, non-traditional clientele. Training included meat cuts, health regulations, the preferences of ethnic consumers, and how to work with diverse audiences. An Animal Science Extension professional from Maryland provided an educational program on the tastes and preferences of ethnic groups that consume goats, working with these populations, preferred cuts and preparation of goat products, and direct marketing of goats to ethnic markets. Regional Project members discussed: Tennessee State University’s Goat Condition Scoring training information; the 1890 Risk-Assessed Business Planning for Small Producers training curriculum that was developed by professionals from four states; and the clearing-house of information that was set-up during Phase I. Plans were made how to make the information available to professionals across the region;
13. Tennessee State University has developed and implemented an annual “Third Tuesday” goat training school which averages 250 participants, has developed a condition scoring system for goats, and developed an educational package;
14. Kentucky State University has developed and implemented two annual goat educational “Third Thursdays” which average 350 participants annually;
15. The Russell County (KY) Cooperative Extension Small Farm Program (Kentucky State University – University of Kentucky) has developed and implemented two annual training workshops which average 200 participants annually;
16. Florida A&M University has developed a Master Goat Training and Certification Program that averages 50 participants annually;
17. Several collaborators now participate in other regional goat projects including the development of a Southern Regional Committee on Goats in conjunction with the Southern Association of Agricultural Professionals annual meetings which is now an official Small Ruminant workgroup;
18. Several collaborators were involved in the production of Langston University’s Web Based Training and Certification Program for Meat Goat Producers and Meat Goat Training Manual for Small Producers (funded by USDA-FSIS);
19. Prairie View A&M University and Fort Valley State University have used the funds to enhance their goat educational efforts;
20. The University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, and Tennessee State University have used the funds to send professionals to regional and international goat educational conferences and for in-depth training at Langston University on meat goats;
21. The working team emphasized the need for disaster preparedness for goat producers as a priority area;
22. The working team discussed “Third Thursday” and various methods of information delivery, workshops, and methods of educating agents, veterinarians, processors, state health/regulatory services, and the importance of farmer mentors;
23. Kentucky State University and Prairie View A&M University shared the 1890 Risk-Assessed Business Planning for Small Producers training curriculum that was developed by professionals from four states.
24. Kentucky State University hosted a Goat Symposium with 180 participants including 1890 and 1862 Researchers, Extension Specialists, agents, paraprofessionals, NRCS agency personnel, Kentucky Department of Agriculture specialists, and farmers. The Goat Symposium program and Evaluation is listed in the Results and Discussion below.
25. Areas listed as further needs: Although there is expertise in these areas, there continues to be the need for information sharing networks with scarce Extension networks. Establishment of dedicated BLOGS will be helpful as will be further establishment of web-based information.
26. Areas listed as further needs: Although there is a large body of knowledge available, research-based information is still limited and needed. Research based information, and knowledgeable professionals in these areas are needed. Forages (particularly warm and cool season grasses and the production of goa6ts on endophyte-infected fescue, parasites and diseases, breeding management, working with non-traditional clientele, the tastes and preferences of ethnic and religious consumers of goat products, working with ethnic consumers and players in the market, preferred cuts and preparation of goat products, and direct marketing of goats to ethnic markets.
1. The Regional Goat Project Working Group and Collaborators reported progress in professionals accepting goats as farm enterprises, yet see the need for continued agent, veterinarian, and USDA and state agency training.
2. They see the benefits of Langston University’s Web-Based Training and Certification Program on-line curriculum and the Meat Goat Production Handbook.
3. At the Southern Association of Agriculture Scientists February 2006 and February 2007, a working group for goats and small ruminants discussed the website and clearing house of information that was established in Phase 1. They discussed many issues related to research and extension needs and current research/extension initiatives. Eight professionals were supported to attend by this project. They also participated in the Southern Region Animal Science Association and the Southern Region Agricultural Economics Association meetings. In 2008, an official regional committee was established for goat professionals, Small Ruminants with a Goat emphasis..
4. Kentucky Cooperative Extension held a Sheep and Goat Summit in June of 2006 to address research and extension needs of the state. There were 65 professionals and farmers attending. Professionals crossed several disciplines. The University of Kentucky ANR Director and the Dean of the College of Agriculture called the Summit because they recognized sheep and goats as priority areas for Extension agent training.
5. Disaster preparedness for livestock producers became a priority area for the Southern Region Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Program Leaders in FY2006. Goats also were discussed as a rapidly expanding farm enterprise that needs Extension programming efforts.
On March 19, 2009, at the Kentucky State University “Third Thursday” Spring Goat Day, 115 participants were given an evaluation to determine their adoption of practices. Of these, 93% indicated they had made changes as a result of previous educational programs. Most changes were related to grazing management, parasite management, feeding, and fencing. Of these, 3% indicated that the educational programs caused changes to everything that they have done on their farm, from business planning to the entire operation.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:
Accomplishments/Milestones ES05-081

1. Meetings of the Regional Planning Group are to be held at Kentucky State University in 2008 (Phase I, ES04-075, and Phase II, ES05-082). Team members will also attend the Goat Summit which will have training workshops on the “Risk-Assessed Business Planning for Small Producers” curriculum, forages, and goat production.
2. Kentucky State University hosted its 10th Anniversary of the “Third Thursday Thing” and Small Farm Field Day in September, 2007. There were 850 participants.
3. The Kentucky State University “Third Thursday” Goat Days on March 2007 and October 2007 had 300 participants.
4. The Tennessee State University “Third Tuesday” Goat Workshop had 125 participants.
5. Kentucky State University established a cool season and warm season grasses component to the Research and Demonstration Farm in 2005. These were used in the July 2007 “Third Thursday” training meetings with 45 participants and the September 2007 Small Farm Field Day with 65 participants.


Potential Contributions

Evaluation of Goat Symposium October 14 to 16 2008

Information is in % of responses except for the ranking, a weighted rank was used to determine which would be the top priority. A rank of 1 received 8 points and a rank of 8 received 1 point, information was then totaled and the category with the highest total was top ranked issue.
1) Which category best fits you:
a. 89.47 % Producer
b. 3.51% Extension professional
c. 1.75% Researcher
d. 0% Allied industry
e. 5.26% Other (including beginning farmers who plan to produce goats)
2) What type of goat operation do you have or do you work with most often?
a. 16.67% Dairy
b. 76.67% Meat
c. 0% Fiber
d. 6.67% Sheep

3) The format for this program was based on the Small Farmer Conference held in November each year by KSU. We would like to offer similar programs for goat producers in the future depending on available funding. Please let us know if this time and schedule works for you.
a. 83.33% Time of year and schedule works fine
b. 1.85% Time of year fine but shorter program preferred
c. 12.69% Would prefer a weekend program
d. 1.85% Another month would work better
e. 0% Other timing or format

4) How did you feel the facilities were and the arrangements for the program?
a. 96.36% Fit the needs of the program
b. 1.82% Would have liked all programs in the same location
c. 1.82%Only participated in one day of the event
d. Any comments on locations would be helpful
Other comments are located at the end.

5) Several groups are meeting along with this program. To help us better understand who is here please indicate which group or groups your part of.
a. 18.64% Kentucky Sheep and Goat Summit
b. 6.78% Multi-State regional goat program
c. 11.86% County extension personal attending as in-service training
d. 62.71% Producer attending for educational purposes

Please provide us with your evaluation of the presentations, using the following scale:
1 = Very useful, 2 = somewhat useful, 3 = not very useful, 4 = not useful, 5 = did not attend that section

6) Programs on October 14, first day of the program: 1 2 3 4
a. Forages For Goat Production –Jean-Marie Luginbuhl 76 2 2 0
b. Resources For Finishing Goats on Pasture – Ken Turner 68 28 4 0
c. Goat Forage Research in Kentucky - David Ditsch 80 18 2 0
d. Selection of Breeding Stocks – Ken Andries 85 15 0 0
e. Soil Fertility – David Ditsch 65 27 8 0
f. Kentucky Goat Producer education Modules - Ricky Yeargan 44 47 9 0

7) Programs on October 15, second day of the program:
a. Risk Assessed Business Planning – Marion Simon 88 12 0 0
b. UK Sheep Research Farm Tour 64 21 0 14
c. KSU Research and Demonstration Farm Tour 70 30 0 0
d. SARE regional goat project meeting 81 6 13 0

8) Programs on October 16, third day of the program:
a. Risk Assessed Business Planning rap up – Marion Simon 73 23 4 0
b. Grazing and Parasite Issues with goats – Joan Burke 73 20 7 0
c. Goat health Issues – Patty Scharko 93 7 0 0
d. Use of Browse for Goats – Keenan Turner 77 9 9 5
e. Dairy Goat and Cheese production – Terry Hutchens 55 25 20 0
f. Research Updates 55 45 0 0

9) Please rank the following possible topic areas for future programs at KSU? (1 = highest and 8 lowest importance to you)
a. _1___Goat Health
b. _4___Goat Nutrition
c. _6___Forage and forage systems with best management practices
d. _3___Kid raising, care, and management
e. _5___ Selection for herd improvement and genetic tools
f. _2___Parasite management and control
g. _7___Issues around developing a commercial goat dairy operation
h. _8___AI and other reproductive issues with goats

Other Comments:
• Quite detailed presentation of the Risk Assessed Business Planning by Dr. Simon. Will take this back to our organization and try to train them 1 chapter at a time. Thank you very much.
• Excellent speakers and presentations
• Very informative-enjoyed the variety of classes and variety of settings. Hotel and dining were so nice, as well. We’ve gained a wealth of knowledge. We appreciate the hard copies to take home to study.
• A special thanks to all involved in the planning of this goat symposium and to the donors who made it possible. Every class, extremely helpful to a beginner like me, as was networking with others who are like minded.
• My comment has nothing to do with any of your questions, but I think you should request that people turn off their cell phones before meeting starts.
• Wish there was a “meet and greet” type situation for people. In the session with Marion Simon she had people announce what livestock they have – this was helpful to know who to speak with.
• Wish the food hadn’t been so good!
• Thank you for having such a good meeting. We always learn each time.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.