Final Report for ES05-082

Regional Meat Goat Production and Marketing Project: Phase 2

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2005: $20,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Marion Simon
Kentucky State University
Expand All

Project Information

Abstract:

The Regional Goat Project, Phase 2A and B 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.

For Phase 2B, small and limited-resource farmers in Kentucky are looking for new and alternative farm enterprises to sustain their operations. Supported programs such as tobacco are in jeopardy. The 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.
Kentucky State University offered 12 educational “Third Thursday” workshops on sustainable goat production, value-added opportunities, and marketing. Additionally, some 50 county training meetings were held across Kentucky on sustainable goat production with over 2,000 participants reported. Tennessee State University held annual sustainable meat goat workshops with nearly 500 participants.

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.

Introduction:

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.

Phase 2A of the project focused on educational programs and materials development within Kentucky and Tennessee. Phase 2B focused on educational programs and materials development across the region.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Objective:
Description:

Methods

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.

In Phase 2A, Kentucky State University offered educational programs at “Third Thursday” workshops jointly with the University of Kentucky on sustainable production, marketing, and business management. Kentucky State University offered 12 educational “Third Thursday” workshops on sustainable goat production, value-added opportunities, and marketing. Additionally, some 50 county training meetings were held across Kentucky on sustainable goat production with over 2,000 participants reported. Tennessee State University held annual sustainable meat goat workshops with nearly 500 participants.

Outreach and Publications

Agendas and sign-in sheets serve to document the participation in the “Third Thursdays” and other workshops and educational meetings.

The fact sheets that will result from the Hispanic markets and the endophyte-infected fescue studies will assist with agent, paraprofessional and farmer education leading to more sustainable production and marketing systems.

A series of Business Planning for Goat Producers Fact Sheets are available from Kentucky State University.

A Meat Goat Production curriculum was developed by Tennessee State University.

A Goat Hoof video was produced by Kentucky State University.

Outcomes and impacts:

For results from Phase 2B, please refer to ES08-081. This will serve to document Phase 2A.

1. 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.
2. The University of Kentucky developed a Goat Production and Marketing video and is developing a SARE Meat Goat Production website.
3. Kentucky State University developed a Goat Foot/Hoof Care video and an upcoming production of a kidding video.
4. Tennessee State University announced its Goat Condition Scoring video and began using its educational goat curriculum.
5. Kentucky State University offered 12 educational “Third Thursday” workshops on sustainable goat production, value-added opportunities, and marketing. Additionally, some 50 county training meetings were held across Kentucky on sustainable goat production with over 2,000 participants reported.
6. Tennessee State University held annual sustainable meat goat workshops with nearly 500 participants.
7. Kentucky State University initiated an endophyte-infected fescue pasture research and demonstration study for weaned kids in 2008 on the Kentucky State University Research and Demonstration Farm and on two producers’ farms.
The results are presented and observed at “Third Thursdays.”
8. The University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University initiated a Hispanic Meat marketing project at grocery stores in central Kentucky in 2009. The results were presented at the 2009 fall goat “Third Thursday.”
9. In September 2008 Kentucky State University conducted an Animal Security and Health workshop for 20 county extension agents and small farm paraprofessionals on disaster preparedness for livestock producers.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

1. Meetings of the Regional Planning Group were to be held at Kentucky State University in 2008 (ES05-081 and ES05-082) as a part of the Goat Summit which focused 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. Kentucky State University offered 12 educational “Third Thursday” workshops on sustainable goat production, value-added opportunities, and marketing. Additionally, some 50 county training meetings were held across Kentucky on sustainable goat production with over 2,000 participants reported.
4. Tennessee State University held annual sustainable meat goat workshops with nearly 500 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.
6. Kentucky State University initiated an endophyte-infected fescue pasture research and demonstration study for weaned kids in 2008 on the Kentucky State University Research and Demonstration Farm and on two producers’ farms.
The results are presented and observed at “Third Thursdays.”
7. The University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University initiated a Hispanic Meat marketing project at grocery stores in central Kentucky in 2009. The results were presented at the 2009 fall goat “Third Thursday.”
8. In September 2008 Kentucky State University conducted an Animal Security and Health workshop for 20 county extension agents and small farm paraprofessionals on disaster preparedness for livestock producers.

Recommendations:

Potential Contributions

The research/demonstration projects conducted in 2008-2009 by Kentucky State University and the University of Kentucky will expand agents’ and paraprofessionals’ knowledge of:
1. The affect of endophyte-infected fescue on kid growth and production.
2. The meat cuts and products desired by Hispanic consumers, and how to approach and work with Hispanic consumers.

The educational programs will help the agents, para-professionals, and farmers to better understand business planning and record-keeping, sustainable production methods for goats, and how to work with new immigrant and minority audiences, producers, and consumers.

Future Recommendations

Future recommendations coming from this project are reported in ES05-081 as well as ES05-082. Specific to this part of the project:

1. More training is needed on disaster preparedness for small ruminant producers and agents.
2. More training is needed on the affects of endophyte-infected fescue on sustainable goat production.
3. More training is needed on understanding new immigrant farmers and consumers.

4. With today’s bearish economy, more training on performance records, business planning, and business management records is needed for goat enterprises to be sustainable and profitable.

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.