Final report for LNE15-342

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2015: $236,815.00
Projected End Date: 10/31/2019
Grant Recipient: University of Rhode Island
Region: Northeast
State: Rhode Island
Project Leader:
Katherine Petersson
University of Rhode Island
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Project Information

Summary:

Gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) parasites, especially Haemonchus contortus, limit small ruminant (SR) production on pasture and are one of the top three health concerns of SR producers in the northeast, the primary beneficiaries of this project.  This four-year project offered an online training program on integrated parasite management (IPM) that included FAMACHA© training and certification, in addition to IPM workshops conducted around the region.  Education in the form of workshops and assistance with fecal egg counting and promotion of the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) enabled interested producers to factor parasite susceptibility into breeding decisions and use estimated breeding values (EBV) to consider parasite resistance with other important production traits. This project also expanded current research evaluating the anti-parasitic effects of cranberry vine on GIN infection in lambs.

The online IPM training resources and FAMACHA© Certification program was well received by SR producers, students and professionals around the region and country.  There were 362 participants who started the online FAMACHA© certification program with 237 (65%) completing it and receiving FAMACHA© certification by the end of the project.  In addition, several veterinary schools have incorporated the online resources into their curricula, and programs such as the USDA APHIS NAHMS 2019 Goat Study incorporated online resources into training for field staff and delivery of information to producers.  A QR code linked to video clip from the FAMACHA© scoring video demonstrating proper FAMACHA© scoring technique is now included on the back of the new FAMACHA© cards printed and distributed in the U.S. by the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC).  

There were 214 participants who attended one or more of 15 IPM workshops with 7 workshops including FAMACHA© training and certification (131 participants certified).   A total of 170 IPM workshop participants completed a post-workshop evaluation and 95% indicated an increase in knowledge on IPM topics.  An additional 286 participants received education on integrated parasite control, fecal egg counting and selective breeding for parasite resistance as part of 14 NSIP workshops (Years 2 and 3), with another 56 participants attending 3 workshops at other venues covering similar topics held during Year 1.  Out of 84 NSIP workshop participants who completed an optional post-workshop evaluation 100% indicated an increase in knowledge on NSIP mission, tools, resources, and use of EBVs. Fifty-four percent (138 out of 254 IPM and NSIP workshop evaluation respondents) indicated plans to adopt or improve at least 1 new practice.  Ninety-two percent of follow-up survey respondents with animals confirmed the adoption or improvement of at least one practice.   

There were 9 producers that enrolled in the NSIP program, with 5 conducting FEC analysis and/or submitting flock data; 29 producers indicated plans to enroll, and 12 producers are utilizing or plan to utilize NSIP breedstock.  A total of 44 unique producers (4 new and 15 existing NSIP members) participated in one or more years in the project supported fecal egg count analysis to assist with identification of parasite resistant animals and/or to generate FEC EBVs.  

Cranberry vine powder was successfully incorporated into a palatable pelleted protein supplement with a final inclusion rate of 50%.  Cranberry vine, whether pelleted or not, demonstrates a modest anti-parasitic effect on existing and developing infections of H. contortus.  Further studies are needed to maximize the anti-parasitic effect of CV against GIN of small ruminants.  Data from these studies is being prepared for publication. During YRs 1 and 2, field days were conducted presenting current research.

Performance Target:

Three hundred forty small ruminant producers, with an average of 30 lambs or 20 kids and reported problems with parasites in the past five years, will introduce or improve integrated parasite management practices including genetic selection for resistance. These behaviors will result in reduced death and productivity losses totaling $700,000.

Introduction:

Gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), especially Haemonchus contortus, limit small ruminant (SR) production on pasture. This is due to the combined effects of growing resistance of parasites to commercial dewormers, management practices producing parasite challenges that many animals cannot overcome, the lack of effective alternatives to anthelmintics and the genetic susceptibility of many SR to GIN infection.  In a survey conducted by the New England Small Ruminant IPM Working Group (results reported April 2013), 88% of SR producers considered GIN one of their top three health concerns. Over 70% of producers participating in our former NESARE project (LNE10-300) reported significant problems with GIN with 28% reporting death losses attributable to GIN. 

Our education efforts in LNE10-300 provided parasite control workshops in conjunction with farm visits. As a result, 80% of participating farms (130), that responded to follow-up surveys, reported incorporating one or more new integrated parasite management (IPM) techniques including FAMACHA© anemia scoring, body condition scoring, fecal egg count (FEC) analysis, pasture management and selective breeding for parasite control.  However, many producers were unable or reluctant to travel long distances and spend time attending a workshop. Confounding the problem, these workshops, which provide attendees with critical information on IPM, include hands-on training in using the FAMACHA© system; a training component required to obtain a FAMACHA© card for personal use. In addition, although many producers have expressed an interest in conducting their own FEC we have found this technique difficult for producers to master in one training session without continued support.

As we observed in LNE10-300, most producers fail to appreciate the long-term value of within-flock selection for parasite resistance and the utility of FEC and FAMACHA© scores to identify breeding animals that are inherently resistant to GIN. Additionally, only relatively few breeds have adopted cooperative strategies that extend beyond within-flock selection. The consequences are realized quickly when a producer needs to introduce a new ram and has no information on the genetic resistance of that ram to parasites. This scenario can set the producer’s parasite control program back years if a ram is introduced with high genetic susceptibility to parasites. Currently,producers in the northeast have few options for the purchase of breeding stock from producers that utilized estimated breeding values (EBV) for important production traits including but not limited to parasite resistance.

Finally, with parasite resistance to all classes of dewormers developing rapidly, producers have few options for alternative efficacious dewormers.

SOLUTION AND BENEFITS

Through resources initiated within the NESARE LNE10-300, we developed an online training program for integrated parasite control that included an online FAMACHA© Certification program that was endorsed by the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control.  The completion of an online assessment test and creation of a video demonstrating correct FAMACHA© scoring technique enabled producers to obtain FAMACHA© certification and purchase a FAMACHA© card, one of the most important tools in monitoring barber pole worm infections and previously only available to producers attending integrated parasite control workshops in person.  Online resources include two videos providing detailed demonstration of FAMACHA© scoring and Fecal Egg Count analysis developed during LNE10-300.  Producers had access to these resources 24 hours/day as needed for reinforcement or clarification on performing these procedures or interpreting this information correctly.  A 2-hour video of an IPM workshop was also completed and utilized as part of this project (LNE15-342) beginning February 2016. IPM and FAMACHA© training workshops were also conducted around the region. 

In addition to the novel resources listed above, this project also focused on the promotion of selective breeding for parasite resistance as a truly sustainable practice that can be incorporated into all SR producer production schemes. Producers had the opportunity to obtain project supported fecal egg count analysis for their animals. This enabled producers to identify animals that are genetically resistant or susceptible to parasites.  The goal of this approach was to reduce deworming costs, prolong the life of commercial dewormers and increase production in grazing animals that are able to meet the challenge imposed by GIN. Another novel aspect of this project was the education and assistance provided to seedstock producers in realizing the benefits of enrollment in NSIP. Producers enrolled within the NSIP are able to input flock production data, including FEC, and generate EBVs for important production traits, including parasite resistance, that they can then use to improve their selection of breeding stock. This not only benefits these enrolled producers directly but benefits other producers in need of breeding stock.

Finally, with parasite resistance to commercial dewormers growing at a rapid pace, the development of alternative dewormers is critical. The research component of this project was a continuation of LNE10-300 in which a cranberry vine powder (CVP) extract was evaluated for anthelmintic efficacy. We found that the CVP extract demonstrated anti-parasitic action in vitro against various life stages of the barber pole worm. In addition, we found that CVP administered directly to lambs caused a modest suppression in FEC. This project expanded these studies to evaluate the anti-parasitic effect of a CVP pellet on GIN infection in lambs and to potentially develop an easy to feed, economical form of this alternative dewormer.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Melanie Barkley
  • Holly Burdett
  • Nick Miniter
  • Dr. Reid Redden
  • Dr. Jess Reed
  • Dr. Anne Zajac

Research

Hypothesis:

Pelleted cranberry leaf powder (CLP) will have anti-parasitic efficacy against experimental and natural GIN infections in lambs.

Materials and methods:

The conventional method used to control GIN infections is the use of chemical anthelmintic (deworming) drugs.  With the growth of anthelmintic resistance in GIN, alternative methods are needed for GIN control. An anti-parasitic effect was demonstrated in sheep and goats consuming condensed tannin containing forages. One of the bioactive components of condensed tannins are proanthocyanidins (PAC).  Cranberries contain high levels of a bioactive extract of condensed tannin, PAC and are grown in New England. During this project we investigated the use of varying formulations of cranberry vine powder (CVP) against GIN infections of H. contortus in lambs. Cranberry vine (CV) from bogs owned by the A.D. Makepeace Company (Wareham, MA, USA) were collected, dried and chopped.  Fecal egg counts, packed cell volume and weights were monitored for all university trials.  FEC will be determined by the modified McMaster technique (Whitlock, 1948) using 2 g feces and sodium nitrate flotation solution. Packed cell volume will be determined by the micro-hematocrit centrifuge method. 

Trial 1: Effect of chopped cranberry vine on fecal egg counts in lambs experimentally infected with H. contortus. Lambs were experimentally infected with H.contortus and infection matured for approximately 35 days. Lambs were fed hay, grain, and either CV0 diet (0 g CV, 250 g chopped alfalfa hay (AH)), CV100 diet (100 g CV, 150 g AH), or CV200 diet (200 g CV, 50 g AH), CV200; n = 7) daily. Fecal egg counts (FEC; eggs per gram) were monitored for five weeks.

Trial 2: Effect of cranberry vine pellet (100% cranberry vine pellet; CVP100) on fecal egg counts of lambs experimentally infected with H. contortus. Once the infection (5000 L3 H. contortus) matured, lambs were fed CVP0 (0 g CVP100, 500 g grain) or CVP300 (300 g CVP100, 500 g grain) for a total of six weeks.  During the first three weeks of supplementation all lambs received trickle infections of 1000 L3 H. contortus 3 times/week.

Trial 3:  Effect of feeding varying amounts of a 50% CVP on FEC in lambs subjected to an experimental H. contortus infection (5000 L3) superimposed on a light pasture infection (four weeks prior to week 0).  Lambs were fed varying amounts of cranberry vine pellet for 10 weeks (n=7 per group; Control 0 g/day, CVP250: 250 g CV/day and CVP500: 500 g CV/day). 

Trial 4:  Anthelmintic efficacy of cranberry vine on a developing gastrointestinal parasite infection in lambs.  Chopped cranberry vine was incorporated into a 50% CV pelleted supplement (16% protein). All lambs were orally administered a trickle infection of 1,000 H. contortus L3 three times a week for three weeks. Lambs were individually fed one of three treatment rations daily for 9 weeks (n=9 lambs per treatment). Treatment rations were balanced for digestible dry matter: 1) Control – fed 1 kg commercially produced 16% protein sheep pellet daily; 2) CV1 – fed 0.5 kg of the control pellet and 0.5 kg of the CV pellet daily; 3) CV2 – fed 1 kg of CV pellet daily.  

Farmer trial:  Thirty-five lambs exposed to infected pastures were stratified by fecal egg count and sequentially assigned to one of two feeding groups with the resulting groups balanced by weight.  Lambs were fed either a control grain (n=19 lambs; 2 lb per lamb per day) or the 16% protein pelleted cranberry vine supplement (CVP, n=19 lambs; 2 lb per lamb per day) split between a morning and evening feeding.  The allotted control and treatment pellets were fed free choice.  Lambs had unlimited access to a high-quality pasture.  Fecal egg counts and weight were measured at -2, +2 and +4 weeks of supplementation.

Research results and discussion:

Trial 1: Treatments differed over time.  The FEC of CV0 and CV100 increased over time whereas the FEC of CV200 lambs did not increase indicative of a suppressive effect of the chopped cranberry vine.

Trial 2: The FEC of the control group was greater than the CVP300 group at week 6 post infection however palatability of the CVP was an issue such that the only half of the CVP offered was consumed. 

Trial 3: Unlike the increase in FEC over time observed in the control and CVP250 treatment groups, the FEC of lambs fed CVP500 did not change over time, indicative of a suppressive effect of CVP on fecal egg count. 

Trial 4: The cranberry vine pellet was well received by the lambs indicative of increased palatability.  In lambs fed the CVP there was a modest anti-parasitic effect on a developing infection of H. contortus.

Farmer trial:  During the course of the study, two lambs from the control group were sold and one lamb had to be dewormed and was therefore removed from the study resulting in 16 lambs remaining in the control group.  Palatability of the CVP was an issue as the lambs would only consume the CVP when fed at 70% of the total quantity of pellet offered.  There was no effect of feeding CVP on the final fecal egg count (control 453 eggs/gram ± 181 versus CVP 245 eggs/gram ± 65, mean ± SEM, P = 0.24). The average daily gain of the lambs fed the control pellet was greater than lambs fed the CVP (0.52 lb/day ± 0.03 versus 0.36 lb/day ± 0.06, P £ 0.02; mean ± SEM).  Data from all trials is being prepared for publication

Research conclusions:

Cranberry vine powder was successfully incorporated into a palatable pelleted protein supplement with a final inclusion rate of 50% of the final pellet.  Cranberry vine, whether pelleted or not, demonstrates a modest anti-parasitic effect on existing and developing experimental infections of H. contortus.  Under field conditions in lambs with access to high quality pasture, palatability of the CVP pellet topped out at 70% of the total pellet offered. Further studies are needed to maximize the anti-parasitic effect of CV against GIN of small ruminants and to increase its’ palatability in grazing animals

Participation Summary
1 Farmer participating in research

Education

Educational approach:

Our education program was extensively advertised using email and Facebook networks and newsletters targeting SR producer organizations, Extension programs and regional events throughout the northeast; a database of former LNE10-300 project participants and veterinarians; partner websites including the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (https://www.wormx.info/) and the New England Sheep and Wool Growers Association (https://www.nesheep.org/) and associated Facebook pages; as well as through postcards announcing project opportunities (Online FAMACHA© Certification and Project-supported Fecal Egg Count analysis) that were distributed widely to colleagues and at workshops and events.   In addition, this project promoted National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) enrollment and generation of FEC EBVs through project workshops and assistance with FEC analysis.  Additional outreach was conducted through the NSIP email network and Facebook page, as well through associated seedstock breed organizations.

Our educational program consisted of three components:

1) Online IPM training materials :  The project website (http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat) houses comprehensive educational videos and fact sheets on FAMACHA© scoring and fecal egg counting that were developed under project LNE10-300.  This project allowed for the maintenance and continued updates of online resources including the addition of a 2-hour video of an IPM workshop (completed February 2016) which is required for the Online FAMACHA© Certification program.  Other IPM resources, guidance tools and links to related sites were also available and continually updated and maintained.  An online test assessing producer knowledge of key IPM concepts was developed and administered using SurveyMonkey and then Qualtrics (starting May 2019); and reviews of participant submitted demonstration videos on proper FAMACHA© Scoring technique were provided for those interested in completing the Online FAMACHA© Certification program.

2) Integrated parasite control workshops: Multiple workshops were offered each year of the project (Years 1 – 3).   

3) Focus on selective breeding: Producers were supported in evaluating genetic susceptibility of sheep and goats to GIN through the use of FAMACHA© Scoring (completed by the producer) coupled with fecal egg count analysis provided by this project.  Multiple NSIP (www.nsip.org) focused workshops were conducted for seedstock producers interested in improving the genetic merit of their flock.

Milestones

Milestone #1 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

1) Small ruminant (SR) producers learn about the major components of the integrated parasite control program: 1) Online training materials in IPM, 2) Integrated parasite control workshops, 3) Focus on selective breeding.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
3000
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
3129
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 31, 2019
Accomplishments:

Milestone 1 has been met each year of the project (YRS 1-3) with targeted outreach continuing during YR4 as part of a no-cost extension.  Beginning in YR1, over 3000 SR producers were reached and accounted for on various small ruminant list servs and electronic newsletters throughout the Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada including the Cornell Sheep and Goat Management and Marketing list servs (over 475), the University of Maryland (UMD) Extension Newsletter (over 800), the University of Maine Sheep and Goat listserv (over 300) and the Vermont Sheep and Goat listserv (175) as a few examples.  Outreach through these channels continued during YR2 and YR3 with targeted outreach continuing during a YR 4 no-cost extension for the online FAMACHA© Certification program and project supported Fecal Egg Count (FEC) analysis components.  In addition to the above list servs, the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners list serv received an announcement promoting the online FAMACHA Certification program in November 2017.  This organization consists of 1,260 members. 

The URI Small Ruminant Parasite Control Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/urisrpc/ was established on February 4, 2016 and continues to receive new likes and new follows each month.  As of the end of the project (October 31, 2019), the page has received a total of 341 page likes and 370 follows.  Posts often reach over 500 to 1,000 people with many posts being widely shared with other producer and organization Facebook pages.  One post shared by the UMD Small Ruminant Facebook page reached over 3,300 people.   

The URI Website, Northeast Small Ruminant Parasite Control, http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/ is continually updated and maintained with project resources, opportunities and events.  The American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC) website (https://www.wormx.info/) continues to house links to the Online FAMACHA© Certification program and project videos, and posts project events, opportunities and updates on their blog.  Producer groups also continue to list project announcements on their websites and Facebook pages, including the The New England Sheep and Wool Growers Association, The Rhode Island Sheep Cooperative, and the National Sheep Improvement Association (NSIP).

Postcards advertising the Online FAMACHA© Certification program and the FEC analysis and selective breeding support were developed during YR1 and widely distributed during YRS 1-4 to Extension and SR organization contacts and producers during workshops and events, including a direct mailing to 55 veterinarians during YR1.

 

Milestone #2 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

2) Small ruminant producers will visit the project website each year of the project.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
6000
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
31937
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 31, 2019
Accomplishments:

Project Summary:

Milestone 2 has been met and exceeded for each year of the project.  The University of Rhode Island used Google Analytics to track website usage for each year of the project year including the no cost extension YR 4.  A total of 31,937 unique users visited the website during the project with 26,077 (82%) being from the U.S. and 11,789 (37%) being from within target Northeast states and neighboring states and regions in Canada which would have received direct outreach through Milestone 1.  The top three web pages with the most unique and total visits during each year of the project are: 1) the online FAMACHA© Certification program page; 2) the webpage housing the links to the online videos; 3) the home page which includes updates and events.     

Year 1 (9/01/2015 – 8/31/2016):  A total of 6,698 new users visited the website with 4,721 (70%) being from the U.S. followed by 283 (4%) from Canada.  By region, 2,366 (35%) new users were from target Northeast states and neighboring states and regions in Canada. Thirty-three percent of website traffic within the U.S. comes from social channels such as Facebook, with 27% being attributed to direct typing of the website address, followed by 23% from other website referrals (primarily the ACSRPC website). 

Year 2 (09/01/2016 – 08/31/2017):  A total of 5,798 new users visited the website with 4,929 (85%) being from the U.S. followed by 216 (4%) from Canada.  By region 2,382 (41%) new users were from target Northeast states and neighboring states and regions in Canada. Thirty-two percent of website traffic within the U.S. comes from social channels such as Facebook, with 31% being attributed to direct typing of the website address, followed by 14% from other website referrals (primarily the ACSRPC website).

Year 3 (09/01/2017-08/31/2018):  A total of 9,667 new users visited the website with 8,215 (85%) being from the U.S. followed by 442 (5%) from Canada.  By region, 3,564 (37%) new users were from target Northeast states and neighboring states and regions in Canada. Forty-five percent of website traffic within the U.S. was attributed to direct typing of the website address, with 31% being from social channels such as Facebook, followed by 3% from other website referrals (primarily the ACSRPC website).  The remaining 21% is attributed to search engines. A similar trend was observed in YR1 and YR2 in which the primary website traffic channels came from both social and direct sources and when added to referrals (79% total for YR3), is indicative of success with targeted outreach methods. 

Year 4 (9/1/2018 – 10/31/2019):  A total of 9,774 new users visited the website with 8,212 (84%) being from the U.S. followed by 376 (3.8%) from Canada.  By region, 3,477 (36%) new users were from target Northeast states and neighboring states and regions in Canada. Forty-five percent of website traffic within the U.S. was attributed to direct typing of the website address, with 20% being from social channels such as Facebook, followed by 4% from other website referrals (primarily the ACSRPC website).  The remaining 31% is attributed to search engines. Similar trends were observed in YR1, YR2 and YR3 in which the primary website traffic channels came from both social and direct sources and when added to referrals (69% total for YR4), is indicative of success with targeted outreach methods. During YR4, however, search engines increased by approximately 10% and social channels decreased by about 10%.  This is probably due to the fact that no workshops were conducted or advertised on the URI Small Ruminant Facebook Page during YR4 which were numerous during YR1, YR2 and YR3.

Milestone #3 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

3) Small ruminant producers will view IPM fact sheets each year of the project to stay informed on BMP for parasite control.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
3000
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
3069
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 31, 2019
Accomplishments:

Project Summary:

Milestone 3 has been met as of the end of the project.  The necessary Google Analytics programming to track the number of unique clicks or downloads on the project fact sheets housed on the website in PDF format, was not implemented until March 28, 2017 (half way through YR 2).  The number of unique page visits to the web pages housing the links to the fact sheets has been reported in addition to unique clicks on the PDF fact sheets as that information became available. 

The three IPM fact sheets are housed on two project web pages: the fact sheets and tools, and video pages.  In addition, the FAMACHA© scoring fact sheet is also housed on the Online FAMACHA© Certification program webpage.  The Online FAMACHA© Certification program and video pages received the most unique and total page views, respectively, for all four years of the project.  In addition, during YR 4, the USDA APHIS National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) conducted a 2019 Goat Study with 24 states including 4 Northeast states (CT, PA, NY, VT) and 5 neighboring states that received direct outreach as part of Milestone 1 (KY, NC, OH, TN, VA).  Approximately 1,315 copies of the Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring fact sheet are being distributed to goat producers as part of this study.  Project coordinators accessed original copies of the fact sheet from the project website.  More information about the NAHMS 2019 Goat Study can be found at the following webpage: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/monitoring-and-surveillance/nahms/nahms_goat_studies.  During Years 1 and 2, unique visits to the fact sheet and tools web page were accounted for, while during Years 3 and 4, the unique visitors clicking on each fact sheet along with the NAHMS Goat Study fact sheet distribution were tallied for a total of 3,069 unique visits or clicks. 

YR1:  The fact sheet and tools webpage received 341 unique page views (418 total) by users in the U.S. with 218 unique views (249 total) being from users within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.  The video web page received 1,416 unique page views (1,675 total) from users in the U.S. with 502 unique page views (607 total) from users within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada. 

YR2:  The fact sheet and tools webpage received 208 unique page views (232 total) from users in the U.S. with 116 unique page views (125 total) being from users within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.  The video web page received 1,934 unique page views (2,109 total) from users in the U.S. with 915 unique page views (990 total) being from users within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.  

Additional Google Analytics programming was established on March 28, 2017 to track the number of clicks or downloads on the project fact sheets which are housed on the website in PDF format.  Between March 28 and August 31, 2017 (last 5 months of YR2) the programming tracked the following total clicks or downloads as follows:

  • FAMACHA© scoring fact sheet – 151 total clicks among 65 unique users in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Fecal Egg Counting fact sheet – 71 total clicks among 33 unique users in the U.S.
  • Modified McMaster fact sheet – 93 clicks among 24 unique users in the U.S.

YR 3:  The fact sheet and tools webpage received 212 unique page views (230 total) by users in the U.S. with 160 unique page views (179 total) being from users within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.  The video web page received 1,576 unique page views (1,775 total) from viewers in the U.S. with 747 unique page views (840 total) being from viewers within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada. 

Additional Google Analytics programming was established on March 28, 2017 to track the number of clicks or downloads on the project fact sheets which are housed on the website in PDF format.  During YR3 the programming tracked the following total clicks or downloads as follows:

  • FAMACHA© scoring fact sheet – 249 total clicks among 224 unique users in the U.S. and Canada (260 unique users worldwide).
  • Modified McMaster fact sheet – 112 clicks among 112 unique users in the U.S and Canada (148 unique users worldwide).
  • Fecal Egg Counting fact sheet – 81 total clicks among 75 unique users in the U.S. (93 unique users worldwide).

YR4:  The fact sheet and tools webpage received 582 unique page views (617 total) by users in the U.S. with 283 unique page views (300 total) being from users within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.  The video webpage received 2,732 unique page views (3,137 total) from viewers in the U.S. with 1,092 unique page views (1,234 total) being from viewers within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada. 

Additional Google Analytics programming was established on March 28, 2017 to track the number of clicks or downloads on the project fact sheets which are housed on the website in PDF format.  During YR4 the programming tracked the following total clicks or downloads as follows:

  • FAMACHA© scoring fact sheet – 476 total clicks among 476 unique users in the U.S. (530 unique users worldwide).
  • Modified McMaster fact sheet – 159 clicks among 159 unique users in the U.S (177 unique users worldwide).
  • Fecal Egg Counting fact sheet – 159 total clicks among 159 unique users in the U.S. and worldwide.

While the number of unique users from the U.S. accessing the webpage that houses the online videos and fact sheets add up to the milestone goal, the number that are actually clicking on the PDF fact sheets is much less (this information has only been available since half way through YR2).  Efforts were made during years two, three and four to provide direct links to the fact sheet and tools page and/or specific fact sheets on Facebook posts and emails. It should be noted that all the information contained within the fact sheets is covered and presented within the project videos which are, perhaps, a preferred media for online access and viewing (see Milestone 4).  We also expect that fact sheets have been downloaded, copied and distributed by veterinarians, university instructors, etc. without our knowledge. The 2019 USDA NAHMS Goat Study is one example that was accounted for. The fact sheets were continually distributed at project workshops and to producers requesting hard copy information in lieu of online versions.

Milestone #4 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

4) Producers will view educational videos on FAMACHA© scoring or fecal egg counting (FEC) that will train, or reinforce training in these techniques each year of the project.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
1500
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
7658
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 31, 2019
Accomplishments:

Milestone 4 has been met and exceeded for each year of the project.  The videos are housed on the URI project website (http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/video/) as well as on the University of Rhode Island YouTube Channel Page (direct links provided on webpage).  YouTube statistics and unique page views on the project webpage housing the links to the videos were reported each year.  In addition, during YR 4, the USDA APHIS National Animal Health Monitoring System conducted a 2019 Goat Study with 24 states including 4 Northeast states (CT, PA, NY, VT).  Approximately 100 field coordinators and staff viewed the project videos as part of their training. More information about the NAHMS 2019 Goat Study can be found at the following webpage:  https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/monitoring-and-surveillance/nahms/nahms_goat_studies.

While thousands of views on each video were reported through YouTube Analytics, we cannot determine how many of the views were attributed to unique visitors.  The web page listing the videos and providing links to YouTube and that also allowed for viewing directly from the web page allows us to distinguish unique visitors.  A total of 7,658 unique page visits occurred by the end of the project.

YR 1 – the following YouTube statistics were obtained for YR 1: 

  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video (run time 31 minutes): There were a total of 4,701 views and 31,301 minutes watch time.
  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video clip: The ACSRPC requested that this 75 second video clip be made and included as a reference on the back of the new FAMACHA© cards that they are now printing in the U.S.  The ACSRPC has generated a QR code that is contained on the back of the new FAMACHA© cards which takes viewers to this video clip housed on the URI YouTube Channel page (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmeZkqGQnMg&feature=youtu.be).  All SR producers and veterinarians that obtain FAMACHA© cards in the U.S. now have access to this video clip which demonstrates the correct FAMACHA© scoring technique on a sheep; and then also shows common mistakes to avoid. 
  • Why and How To Do Sheep and Goat Fecal Egg Counts video (run time 72 minutes): There were a total of 3,935 views and 46,636 minutes watch time.
  • Why and How To Practice Integrated Parasite Control For Sheep and Goats video (published to YouTube February 17, 2016, run time 120 minutes, 11 seconds): There were a total of 837 views and 18,167 minutes watch time. 

The webpage that houses the project videos (http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/video/) received 1,416 unique page views (1,675 total) from users in the U.S. with 502 unique page views (607 total) from users within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.

YR 2 – the following YouTube statistics were obtained for YR 2:

  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video (run time 31 minutes): There were a total of 3,830 views and 25,193 minutes watch time (77% U.S).
  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video clip:  QR code printed on the back of U.S. FAMACHA© cards takes viewers to this clip housed on the URI YouTube Channel page (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmeZkqGQnMg&feature=youtu.be).  To date (10/26/2017), the video clip has 196 views. 
  • Why and How To Do Sheep and Goat Fecal Egg Counts video (run time 72 minutes): There were a total of 4,208 views and 46,648 minutes watch time (63% U.S.).
  • Why and How To Practice Integrated Parasite Control For Sheep and Goats (run time 120 minutes, 11 seconds): There were a total of 1,752 views and 40,014 minutes watch time (82% U.S.).

The webpage that houses the project videos (http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/video/)  received 1,934 unique page views (2,109 total) from users in the U.S. with 915 unique page views (990 total) being from users within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.  Additional Google Analytics programming was established on March 28, 2017 to track the number of clicks on the play button of the videos embedded within the webpage itself. Between March 28 and August 31, 2017 (last 5 months of YR2) the programming tracked the following total clicks on the play button:

  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video – 772 clicks on Play button among 171 unique users in the US and world.
  • Why and How To Do Sheep and Goat Fecal Egg Counts video – 608 clicks on Play button among 65 unique users in the US and world.
  • Why and How To Practice Integrated Parasite Control For Sheep and Goats video – 2,408 clicks on Play button among 313 unique users in the US and world.

YR 3 – the following YouTube statistics were obtained for YR 3:

  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video (run time 31 minutes): There were a total of 7,242 views and 43,103 minutes watch time (76% U.S).
  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video clip:  QR code printed on the back of U.S. FAMACHA© cards takes viewers to this clip housed on the URI YouTube Channel page (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmeZkqGQnMg&feature=youtu.be).  As of August 30, 2018, the video clip had at least 706 views total (over 500 new views during YR3.) 
  • Why and How To Do Sheep and Goat Fecal Egg Counts video (run time 72 minutes): There were a total of 5,393 views and 58,705 minutes watch time (60% U.S.).
  • Why and How To Practice Integrated Parasite Control For Sheep and Goats (run time 120 minutes, 11 seconds): There were a total of 2,053 views and 47,577 minutes watch time (83% U.S.).

The webpage that houses the project videos (http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/video/)  received 1,576 unique page views (1,775 total) from viewers in the U.S. with 747 unique page views (840 total) being from viewers within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.  Additional Google Analytics programming was established on March 28, 2017 to track the number of clicks on the play button of the videos embedded within the webpage itself. During YR3, programming tracked the following total clicks on the play button:

  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video – 722 clicks on Play button among 131 unique users in the US.
  • Why and How To Do Sheep and Goat Fecal Egg Counts video – 237 clicks on Play button among 81 unique users in the US and Canada.
  • Why and How To Practice Integrated Parasite Control For Sheep and Goats video – 2,186 clicks on Play button among 206 unique users in the US (230 unique users worldwide).

YouTube statistics also reveal that with the exception of the 2-hour IPM video in which 58% of the views came from embedded within websites, that only 20% of the FAMACHA scoring video and 9% of the FEC video were viewed from embedded within websites.  The information presented above represents a small fraction of the unique video views / users. 

YR 4 – the following YouTube statistics were obtained for YR 4:

  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video (run time 31 minutes): There were a total of 8,959 views and 52,662 minutes watch time (55% U.S).
  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video clip:  QR code printed on the back of U.S. FAMACHA© cards takes viewers to this clip housed on the URI YouTube Channel page (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmeZkqGQnMg&feature=youtu.be).  As of December 9, 2019, the video clip had at least 3,110 views total (over 2,400) new views during YR4. 
  • Why and How To Do Sheep and Goat Fecal Egg Counts video (run time 72 minutes): There were a total of 6,280 views and 71,780 minutes watch time (20% U.S.).
  • Why and How To Practice Integrated Parasite Control For Sheep and Goats (run time 120 minutes, 11 seconds): There were a total of 2,656 views and 61,163 minutes watch time (11% U.S.).

The webpage that houses the project videos (http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/video/) received 2,732 unique page views (3,137 total) from viewers in the U.S. with 1,092 unique page views (1,234 total) being from viewers within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.  Additional Google Analytics programming was established on March 28, 2017 to track the number of clicks on the play button of the videos embedded within the webpage itself. During YR4, programming tracked the following total clicks on the play button:

  • Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video – 3,560 clicks on Play button among 652 unique users in the US (688 unique users worldwide).
  • Why and How To Do Sheep and Goat Fecal Egg Counts video – 1,674 clicks on Play button among 159 unique users in the US and Canada (195 unique users worldwide).

Why and How To Practice Integrated Parasite Control For Sheep and Goats video – 7,508 clicks on Play button among 934 unique users in the US and Canada (1,006 unique users worldwide).

Milestone #5 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

5) 225 producers (75/year) will view the Integrated Parasite Control workshop and FAMACHA© scoring videos, take the online assessment exam and be certified in FAMACHA© scoring through submitting a video of their FAMACHA© scoring technique. Live video assessment such as Facetime or Skype can be used if needed.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
225
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
237
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 31, 2019
Accomplishments:

Milestone 5 has been met and exceeded.  The Online FAMACHA© Certification program was launched in March 2016 during YR1 of the project.  By the end of the project, (October 31, 2019) 362 participants started the online certification program and 237 completed it (65% completion rate of participants initiating the training).  Interest and participation for this online program grew with each year of the project and continues to grow weekly. Participants reside in 44 U.S. states, 6 Canadian provinces and Puerto Rico with the following states and regions having the most participation:  Canada, NY, PA, NC, MO, TX, FL, MA, VA, MD, and VT. Interest in a group facilitated class format began during YR2 and also grew during YRS 3 and 4. A poster about the Online FAMACHA© Certification Program was developed and presented at the joint international COMBAR-ACSRPC 2019 meeting, August 27-28, 2019 in Ghent, Belgium.  During Year 1, a detailed information sheet about the FAMACHA© system and its benefits along with detailed, step by step instructions for completing the online training program were developed and continually refined as needed to improve the process. 

Online FAMACHA Scoring instructions_8.22.2019

YR1 (March 2016 – 08/31/2016):  During the five months that the online training program was conducted, 30 participants initiated the training with 15 becoming certified.  The web page housing the information and instructions for the online training program had a total of 4,458 unique page views with 3,956 (89%) being from the U.S. 

YR2 (09/01/2016 – 08/31/2017):  During YR2, 85 new participants began the online training program with 53 completing it and receiving certification for a 62% completion rate.  Two YR 1 participants went on to complete the training during YR2 for a total of 55 participants. During the end of YR2, a VT college farm manager facilitated a group class format in which 10 participants started the training, and six went on to complete the training and receive certification.  One other inquiry for a group class format was received during the end of YR2. During YR2, the webpage housing the information and instructions for the online training program had a total of 6,075 unique page views with 5,579 (92%) being from the U.S. 

YR3 (09/01/2017 – 08/31/2018):  During YR3, 109 new participants began the online training program with 60 completing it and receiving certification for a 55% completion rate.  Eight YR2 participants also went on to complete the training during YR3 for a total of 68 participants completing the training during YR3. During YR3, Cornell Cooperative Extension facilitated a group class format in which 12 participants started the training, and 10 went on to complete it and receive certification.  This group class targeted producers who were limited by internet and technology resources and that preferred group learning. This group class was also used by project staff to refine methods for efficiency and success. During YR3, the webpage housing the information and instructions for the online training program had 13,487 unique page views with 12,482 (92.5%) being from the U.S.  

YR 4 (09/01/2018 – 10/31/2019):  During YR4, 138 new participants began the online training program with 91 completing it and receiving certification for a 65% completion rate.  Eight YR3 participants also went on to complete the training during YR4 for a total of 99 participants completing the training during YR4. During YR4, a PA university professor facilitated a group class format in which 14 small ruminant science students started and completed the training and received certification.  In addition, there were five additional inquiries from high school teachers and a producer group to conduct a group class format. The biggest challenge with conducting a group class format is the time on the facilitator’s part in assisting with the coordination of activities and resources depending on the group. The facilitator must complete the online training program prior to leading the class.  During YR4, the webpage housing the information and instructions for the online training program had 9,765 unique page views with 8,547 (87.5%) being from the U.S.

It has also come to our attention through word of mouth that veterinary schools are incorporating the online training resources into their curricula and/or have referred students to the online training program.  As an example, 13 North Carolina State University Veterinary School students have initiated the training with 10 completing it and receiving certification as of the end of the project. 

The following information was contained in the poster presented at the joint international COMBAR-ACSRPC 2019 meeting, August 27-28, 2019 in Ghent, Belgium.  The data was gathered from March 2016 through July 31, 2019 and the same trends have continued through the end of the project (October 31, 2019).

How participants heard about the program:

  • 27% Online search
  • 20% Word of mouth – includes mention at other conferences, workshops, and programs, etc.
  • 17% Group facilitated class
  • 15% Professionals needing it – researchers and veterinarians
  • 14% Facebook posts and other media
  • 7% Direct project outreach

 

Time to completion:  Project staff typically respond to requests for assistance in 1 to 3 days. Participants take an average of 33 days to complete the training (range 1 to 349 days). 

Challenges for completing the online certification program:

  • Participants lack time and generally need assistance with animal handling and filming their required video.
  • Participants fail to read the instructions and understand the full scope of the requirements upon initiating training.
  • Participants are interested but lack need or incentive to complete training due to having no animals or limited problem with H. contortus. This includes professionals and veterinarians. 

Program components and completion (as of July 31, 2019) – 333 participants initiated the training and 213 completed the training: 

  • 97% completed the post video assessment summary
  • 66% completed the demonstration FAMACHA© scoring video
  • 4% corrections on the demonstration FAMACHA© scoring video are needed
  • 1% follow up on the post video assessment summary is needed.

As of the end of the project, farmers, veterinarians and other professionals from over sixteen countries and regions outside the U.S. and Canada have requested general information or participation in this program.  These countries and regions include: Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Czech Republic, England, Finland, Greece, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Nepal, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, and the US Army reserves stationed in East Africa.  An international contact for more information and assistance is provided.

Milestone #6 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

6) 90 of these producers will implement or improve on-farm parasite control strategies (30/project year).

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
90
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
118
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 31, 2019
Accomplishments:

Milestone 6 has been met and exceeded.  Beginning in Year 2 (winter 2017), an online follow up survey was administered to program participants each year of the project (winter 2017 through fall 2019) using SurveyMonkey and then Qualtrics as of fall 2019.  A few participants requested and received hard copy surveys. Interim results were reported in annual reports for YRS 2 and 3. 

By the end of the project (October 31, 2019), a total of 313 unique participants initiating or completing the online FAMACHA© Certification program as of July 31, 2019 were emailed with the link to the follow up survey (by the end of the project, 301 of these participants had valid current email addresses or did not request to be removed from the project follow up list).  Participants were tracked and emailed with 3 to 4 reminders to complete the follow up survey approximately 2 to 4 weeks apart. 

One Hundred thirty (130) unique participants who participated in the online FAMACHA© Certification completed a follow up survey one or more years of the project for a 42% response rate.  Of these respondents, 7 participants (5%) did not currently raise animals, but all indicated increased knowledge and confidence in managing internal parasites.  Of the 123 remaining participants with animals, 119 participants indicated that they adopted or improved at least one integrated parasite control practice (97%), with 4 planning to adopt at least one practice. Highlighted practices were adopted or improved as follows:

Year 1 – 3 participants:

  • 82% FAMACHA Scoring
  • 57% Maintain minimum four-inch pasture height
  • 46% Genetic Selection for parasite resistance
  • 33% Fecal Egg Counts to make breeding decisions; 40% plan to adopt

Year 4 participants:

  • 96% FAMACHA Scoring; 4% plan to adopt
  • 48% Genetic Selection for parasite resistance; 26% plan to adopt
  • 52% Maintain a minimum four-inch pasture height
  • 44% Fecal Egg Counts to make breeding decisions; 26% plan to adopt

In addition, an online program evaluation is administered immediately following the online post video summary assessment component of this Online FAMACHA© Certification program.  As of the end of the project, 264 participants out of 353 (75%) completing the online post-video assessment with optional program evaluation indicated plans to adopt or improve at least 1 new practice.  We expect that several additional participants not captured in the follow up surveys have done so since participating in this project. In looking at the online FAMACHA© Certification participants who did report the adoption or improvement of at least one practice (96% of respondents), we can project that 253 participants adopted or improved at least one practice as a result of this project.  This does not include the numerous people who watched the required online videos and asked for the link to the post video summary assessment and never followed through to start the training.

 

Milestone #7 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

7) 360 SR producers will attend an integrated parasite control workshops (30/workshopx4 workshops/year=120 producers/year) and be certified in FAMACHA©.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
360
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
131
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 31, 2019
Accomplishments:

Milestone 7 has been partially met.  As of the end of the project (October 31, 2019), a total of 214 participants have attended one or more of 15 integrated parasite control workshops.  Seven of these workshops included FAMACHA© training and certification in which 131 participants received FAMACHA© certification.  These workshops were conducted YRS 1-3 in CT, MA, PA, RI and VT.  Project staff have had the opportunity to conduct IPC workshops at large events such as the Vermont Grazing Conference (January 2016) and the Southern New England Shepherd’s Forum (March 2016 and March 2018), which did not allow for the length of time or the facilities needed to conduct a full hands-on FAMACHA© certification workshop.  Furthermore, we have experienced workshop pre-registrations that were almost double the amount of participants who actually attended the workshop in some instances.

In addition, we focused efforts on conducting additional NSIP workshops listed under Milestone 10.  A total of 286 additional producers, students and professionals (not included above) received education on integrated parasite control, fecal egg counting and selective breeding for parasite resistance as part of 14 NSIP workshops conducted during March 2017,  August 2017, and May 2018. During YR1 (January and March 2016), an additional 56 participants received education on these topics at 3 workshops focused on selective breeding for parasite resistance and serving as a precursor to the NSIP workshops. These workshop participants are included under Milestone 10

Milestone #8 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

8) 135 SR producers will implement or improve on-farm parasite control strategies (45/project year).

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
135
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
78
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 31, 2019
Accomplishments:

Milestone 8 has been partially met.  Beginning in Year 2 (winter 2017), an online follow up survey was administered to program participants each year of the project (winter 2017 through fall 2019) using SurveyMonkey and then Qualtrics as of fall 2019.  A few participants requested and received hard copy surveys. Interim results were reported in annual reports for YRS 2 and 3. 

By the end of the project (October 31, 2019), 146 workshop participants were emailed with the link to the follow up survey (by the end of the project, 134 of these participants had valid current email addresses or did not request to be removed from the project follow up list).  Participants were tracked and emailed with 3 to 4 reminders to complete the follow up survey approximately 2 to 4 weeks apart. 

Eighty-nine (89) unique participants who participated in workshops completed a follow up survey one or more years of the project for a 61% response rate.  Of these respondents, 4 participants did not currently raise animals (4%), but all indicated increased knowledge and confidence in managing internal parasites.  Of the 85 remaining participants with animals, 78 participants indicated that they adopted or improved at least one integrated parasite control practice (92%), with 2 planning to adopt at least one practice, and 5 indicating no new improvement or adoption of practices which was largely due to these participants having a long history of IPM education and former project participation   

Highlighted practices were adopted or improved as follows:

Year 1-3 participants:

  • 60% FAMACHA Scoring
  • 48% Genetic Selection for parasite resistance; 25% plan to adopt
  • 47% Maintain a minimum four-inch pasture height
  • 40% Fecal egg counts to make breeding decisions; 26% plan to adopt

In addition, post workshop evaluations are administered immediately following most workshops where possible.  As of the end of the project, 138 workshop participants out of 254 (54%) indicated plans to adopt or improve at least 1 new practice, and we expect that several additional participants not captured in the follow up surveys have done so since participating in this project.  In looking at the workshop participants who did report the adoption or improvement of at least one practice (92% of respondents) we can project that approximately 126 participants adopted or improved at least one practice as a result of this project.

Milestone #9 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

9) 1500 seedstock producers will be informed of four NSIP workshops that will be held the first two years of the project (Sept 2015 & Sept 2016).

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
1500
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
3545
Proposed Completion Date:
September 30, 2016
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
May 9, 2018
Accomplishments:

Milestone 9 has been met and exceeded for YRs 1, 2 and 3 through the general outreach conducted as part of milestone 1 (3069).  Also, during YRs 2 and 3, additional targeted outreach was conducted through the NSIP program’s member listserv (453 producer members) and Facebook page; through emails to contacts for 23 national breed associations affiliated with NSIP, and through Extension colleagues that assisted with 13 local NSIP workshops conducted throughout NY, PA, VA, WV and New England (producers reached and not accounted for in Milestone 1 are unknown).

 

Milestone #10 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

10) 200 seedstock producers will attend an NSIP workshop (estimate 50/workshop x 2 workshops/year = 100 producers/year).

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
200
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
286
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2016
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
May 9, 2018
Accomplishments:

This milestone was met during YR2 (208) and exceeded in YR 3 (78).

During YR2, 208 producers, students and professionals participated in 7 workshops that provided detailed information about the NSIP program and the benefits and resources available to producers as part of enrollment and membership.  In addition, presentations on integrated parasite control and selective breeding for parasite resistance were emphasized. These workshops were conducted in NY, PA, VA, WV (March 2017), and in Wooster, OH as part of the Eastern NSIP Sheep Sale (August 2017).

Due to the interest and success of these workshops, 7 additional NSIP workshops were planned and conducted in CT, MA, ME, NH, RI and VT during YR3 (May 2018) and attended by 78 additional participants.

During YR1, 56 additional participants received education on these topics at 3 workshops focused on selective breeding for parasite resistance serving as a precursor to the NSIP workshops planned for Years 2 and 3.  These workshops were conducted at the Vermont Grazing Conference (January 2016) and the New England Shepherd’s Forum (March 2016).

Milestone #11 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

11) 15 seedstock producers (10 YR1, 5 YR2) will enroll in the NSIP program and generate estimated breeding values (EBV) for important production traits.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
15
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
20
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 31, 2019
Accomplishments:

In addition to annual follow up surveys administered YRS 2 through 4 of the project, a post-workshop evaluation and follow-up emails were administered to 182 participants who attended one or more NSIP workshops conducted in VA, WV, PA, and NY during March 2017 and New England during May 2018.  As of the end of the project, 9 producers enrolled in the NSIP program as a result of project workshops and outreach, however 5 of those producers conducted FEC analysis and/or submitted data to date. At least 29 producers indicated plans to enroll, and at least 12 producers are utilizing or plan to utilize NSIP breedstock.  Four new and 15 current NSIP members participated in the project supported fecal egg count analyses to generate FEC EBVs, with one other producer submitting data to NSIP though they did not analyze FEC samples.  

 

 

Milestone #12 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

12) 100 (33/year) producers from #6 and #8 will participate in FEC program to identify SR with genetic resistance.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
100
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
44
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 31, 2019
Accomplishments:

Milestone 12 has been partially met.  As a result of widespread project outreach and NSIP workshops during all four years of the project, 183 producers have received detailed fecal sample collection and shipping instructions, and a total of 44 unique producers (4 new and 15 existing NSIP members) participated in one or more years analyzing a total of approximately 2,710 fecal samples.  Interest and participation among NSIP members grew during YRS 2 and 3 of the project. All but 6 FEC participants have completed at least one follow up survey; these 6 participants are being included in the performance target due to their participation in this project component.   

During Year 1, Detailed, illustrated step by step instructions for the proper collection and shipping of fecal samples was developed.  During Year 2 these instructions were refined to include QR codes and YouTube links that directed viewers to two short video clips developed from the project video on Fecal Egg Counting to demonstrate proper fecal sample collection for two shipping methods (Express on ice and vacuum sealing for USPS). During Year 1, an information sheet that provides guidance on interpreting the FEC results was developed and distributed with participant FEC results for all four years of the project.

Fecal Sample Collection Express Shipment Overnight_FINAL

Fecal Sample Collection Vacuum Sealing USPS Priority Mail_FINAL

egg count interpretation final

While the number of interested producers exceeds the target milestone, the number of producers that actually collected and submitted FEC samples is less.  Communication with YR1 and YR2 participants indicates a few reasons for this including:

  • Costs associated with overnight shipping of samples. A vacuum sealing option has been offered since YR1 to provide another alternative.  We also offered to send the empty shipping containers back to producers beginning YR2.
  • The need to collect and send samples at least 4 weeks after the animals have been dewormed. At least two producers had to deworm their flocks too often to meet this time requirement during YR2. 
  • Overall, it appears that the time needed to collect and ship the fecal samples during the busiest time of year overrides the interest and best intentions.

Annual Summary:

YR1:  Detailed, illustrated, step by step fecal sample collection and shipping instructions; a sample submission form; and an informational sheet for interpretation of results were developed during YR1 for this project component.  Widespread outreach resulted in 16 producers (out of 48 interested) collecting and analyzing 346 FEC samples. 

YR2:  Fecal sample collection and shipping instructions were refined, including QR codes and YouTube links that directed viewers to two short video clips developed from the project video on Fecal Egg Counting to demonstrate proper fecal sample collection for two shipping methods (Express on ice and vacuum sealing for USPS).  Widespread outreach resulted in 14 producers (out of 61 interested) collecting and analyzing 652 FEC samples. Seven of these producers were NSIP members who had not previously generated FEC EBVs and four producers that also participated during YR1. 

In March 2017, a targeted email inquiry was sent to the 16 producers who participated in YR1 for feedback on how the FEC results were used.  This was in addition to sending the annual follow up survey. Eight producers responded to this email and all indicated that the results helped them with overall parasite management including selective deworming decisions and providing a baseline for genetic resistance information within their new flocks.  Three of these producers directly used the results to make selective breeding and culling decisions within the last year, with one producer submitting the results to NSIP to begin generating FEC EBVs.     

YR3:  Widespread outreach resulted in 18 producers (out of 57 interested) collecting and analyzing 846 FEC samples.  Eleven of these producers were NSIP members and six producers had also participated during YR1 and/or YR2.   

YR 4:  Widespread outreach resulted in 14 producers (out of 31 interested) collecting and analyzing 866 FEC samples.  Eight of these producers were NSIP members and 7 producers had also participated during one or more previous years.

Milestone Activities and Participation Summary

206 Consultations
4 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
362 Online trainings
6 Webinars / talks / presentations
28 Workshop field days
4 Maintain and update project website, https://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/; developed and maintain program Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/urisrpc/; 2,710 Fecal Egg Count samples analyzed for 44 producers; 9 producers enrolled in the National Sheep Improvement Program and 4 new and 15 current NSIP members conducted FEC analysis.

Participation Summary

877 Farmers

Learning Outcomes

272 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation
Key areas in which farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitude, skills and/or awareness:

272 farmers and other participants reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation.  Key areas in which participants reported changes in knowledge, attitude, skills and/or awareness:

During YRs 1 and 2, pre and post quizzes were administered at IPM/FAMACHA© training workshops to measure knowledge gained; 135 participants performed better on the post quiz.  During YR3, 27 workshop participants indicated on a post workshop evaluation that their knowledge increased a considerable amount on a variety of IPM concepts and practices.  A total of 162 IPM workshop participants out of 170 completing a post-workshop evaluation (95%) gained new knowledge.  

During years 2 and 3, a post workshop evaluation was administered to NSIP workshop participants; 37 out of 37 respondents (YR2) and 47 out of 47 respondents (YR3) indicated that they gained new knowledge about the NSIP mission, tools, resources, and use of EBVs.  The majority of these participants also agreed that there are economic benefits to joining NSIP, that their tools are valuable and that selective breeding for parasite resistance is important.  A total of 84 NSIP workshop participants out of 84 completing a post-workshop evaluation (100%) gained new knowledge. 

During YRs 1 and 2, a post field day evaluation was administered to 30 participants to measure knowledge gained concerning the anti-parasitic effects of cranberry vine; 26 participants (87%) indicated an increase in knowledge on this topic; 25 (83%) are somewhat interested or very likely to continue to follow the research; and 20 (67%) are somewhat interested or very likely to feed cranberry vine when guidelines are established.    

The online FAMACHA© Certification program assessment component will be revised to include a question that measures knowledge gained as a result of watching the required informational videos.  We expect that the majority of the 362 participants who started the training (237 completing it) gained new knowledge as a result of their participation in this project and that the final project number is closer to over 600 participants.

Performance Target Outcomes

Target #1

Target: number of farmers:
340
Target: change/adoption:

Introduce or improve integrated parasite management practices including genetic selection for resistance.

Target: amount of production affected:

5,610 lambs; 4,862 ewes; 3,120 kids; and 1,824 does with reduced death and losses attributed to GIN parasites.

Target: quantified benefit(s):

Reduced death and productivity losses totaling $700,000.

Actual: number of farmers:
260
Actual: change/adoption:

Adopted or improved integrated parasite control practices including FAMACHA scoring, fecal egg counts, genetic selection (breeding and culling decisions) based on parasite resistance, and pasture management practices to reduce exposure to GIN larvae and smart deworming practices.

Actual: amount of production affected:

5,249 lambs; 5,234 ewes; 1,399 kids; 1,577 does

Actual: quantified benefit(s):

Reduced death and productivity losses totaling $524,249.

Performance Target Outcome Narrative:

A total of 877 small ruminant (SR) producers, professionals and students participated in one or more components of this project and over 200 additional people received detailed information about project components or general parasite control through email or phone consultations by the end of the project.  The primary means of follow up and verification with program participants was through email.  

Through continued program evaluations administered immediately after workshops and the online FAMACHA© Certification program assessments, we learned that 264 online FAMACHA© training participants and 138 workshop participants planned to adopt or improve at least one practice totaling 402 participants. 

Through continued annual follow-up surveys administered through SurveyMonkey during YRs 2 and 3 (and through Qualtrics during YR4); as well as targeted email inquiries with FEC and NSIP workshop participants administered during YRs 2 and 3, we contacted a total of 480 unique program participants with current email addresses one or more years of the project.  This number was reduced to 456 participants with current email addresses or that did not request removal from the follow up list by the end of the project.

Of the 480 program participants contacted with one or more follow up surveys, 227 responded for an approximately 47% response rate.  Of these respondents, 216 currently raised animals (95%). Of the producers who raised animals, 204 (94%) adopted or improved at least one parasite control practice one or more years of the project, with 6 (3%) indicating plans to adopt at least one practice, and the other 6 (3%) indicating no new change or adoption of practices.  Seven (7) additional participants are being accounted for in the performance target due to their direct participation in FEC analysis or enrolling in NSIP and submitting data for a total of 211 verified producers.

Emails with links to the follow up surveys were sent to program participants during winter and spring months (after the first parasite season of their initial participation).  Reminder emails were sent 3 to 4 times each year about 2 to 4 weeks apart. Program participants were required to submit contact information as part of the follow up survey, and project staff tracked responses to avoid unnecessary email reminders being sent to producers who already responded.  Project staff also reviewed the responses, clarified as needed, and responded to any questions or comments as needed on each individual survey including verifying all of the ways in which a unique participant participated in this project. The one deterrent with this requirement for contact information is the potential reluctance of some producers to complete the survey even though participants were assured that their responses would remain confidential. 

If all 480 program participants with a current email address responded to one or more follow up surveys, we expect a similar trend (95% have animals, 94% of producers with animals have adopted or improved at least one practice) and estimate that approximately 428 participants have probably adopted or improved at least one parasite control practice.  As already mentioned, 402 program participants indicated plans to adopt one or more parasite control practices (post workshop and online assessment program evaluations), and again, a similar trend is expected in that 94% probably adopted or improved at least one practice (approximately 377 producers projected).  

We also documented in Milestones 2 and 4 through the use of Google Analytics that numerous unique participants visited the project website and viewed the project videos.  A total of 31,937 unique users visited the website during the length of the project with 26,077 (82%) being from the U.S. and 11,789 (37%) being from within target Northeast states and neighboring states and regions in Canada which would have received direct outreach through Milestone 1.  The webpage housing the links to the project videos received 3,256 unique visits from within target Northeast states and neighboring areas (7,658 unique visits from within the U.S.). YouTube analytics recorded thousands of views and watch minutes throughout the U.S. and world each year of the project (see Milestone 4.).

The calculations used to estimate the target reduction in death and productivity losses was based on 340 SR producers averaging 30 lambs or 20 kids and totaled approximately $700,000.  We can document $524,249 in reduced death and productivity losses from the 211 unique SR producers who completed a follow up survey reporting animal numbers and the adoption of at least one parasite control practice; or submitted FEC samples for analysis; or enrolled in NSIP and submitted data.  We slightly exceeded the number of target ewes by 372 and the estimated benefits from increased parasite resistance (and associated increase in productivity) by over $2000.  

We expect that based on the number of total project participants (877); consultations providing valuable IPM information and resources (over 200); the number of participants indicating plans to adopt at least one practice (402) through post-workshop and online assessment program evaluations; the overwhelming project website and video statistics; and the percentage of SR producers with animals indicating the adoption or improvement of at least one parasite control practice (94% of follow up survey respondents); that the performance target was met if not exceeded.

211 Farmers changed or adopted a practice

Additional Project Outcomes

2 Grants applied for that built upon this project
2 Grants received that built upon this project
$256,711.00 Dollar amount of grants received that built upon this project
2 New working collaborations
Additional Outcomes:

The development of an online FAMACHA© Certification program and the associated online resources provided several additional outcomes.  Examples include: thousands of viewers from around the region, country and world have come across this information on the website which has increased awareness of integrated small ruminant parasite control and the FAMACHA© system as evidenced by the continued email inquiries requesting general information or participation in the online FAMACHA© Certification program including several producers and professionals from over 16 countries and regions outside of the U.S. and Canada.  These requests were provided an international contact for more information and assistance. At least two veterinary schools have included project videos and fact sheets in their curricula.  Another outcome includes the creation of a video clip from the FAMACHA© scoring video and the development of a QR code that is included on the back of the new FAMACHA© cards printed and distributed in the U.S. by the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (with permission from the developers in South Africa).  In scanning the QR code, a viewer is taken to this video clip (housed on YouTube) which has had over 3,100 views since being printed on the new U.S. FAMACHA© cards (spring 2016).  Another example involves the 2019 USDA NAHMS Goat Study in which project fact sheets have been copied and distributed to over 1,300 producers in 24 states, and approximately 100 field coordinators and staff have viewed project videos as part of their training.  These are just a few examples of the additional outcomes that we have knowledge about.   

 We had several students, researchers, small ruminant professionals and veterinarians participate in one or more components of this project, many of whom raise sheep and/or goats at home in addition to conducting education, research and management in their professional capacity.  The majority of these students and professionals indicated increased confidence and knowledge in managing and/or advising small ruminant producers on integrated parasite control.  

Twenty-nine URI undergraduate students obtained experiential learning and 3 graduate students earned advanced degrees as a result of this project.

Success stories:

Sheep producer from Northwestern MA (8/26/2016):  “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to take the online FAMACHA© course and be able to use it with my flock of Leicester Longwool and Gotland Sheep. There are very few resources in my rural area for small ruminant farmers.  It was very complete and user friendly and I have been able to put it to work with my flock for a year now.”  In addition to completing the online FAMACHA©  training program, this producer submitted fecal samples for analysis and participated in an NSIP workshop in May 2018.

Dairy goat producer from Northwestern WV (9/12/2016):  “I believe it is a great idea (Online IPM/FAMACHA© training program approach).  There would have been little chance of me attending a workshop unless it was brought to me locally.  I believe this program will help those of us who are very rural. I had been operating under my own form of FAMACHA© but I have learned not only how to detect the worms correctly (both through FAMACHA and fecal exams) but also how to take steps in management to slow down resistance.”  This producer learned to do her own fecal egg count analysis through use of the project video and fact sheets on this topic, but also submitted fecal samples for analysis during summer 2019.

Sheep producer from central PA near State College (3/21/2017):  This producer submitted fecal samples for analysis.  “I’m very happy to be included in the next year of this research.  We used last years results to determine which ewe lambs to retain for breeding stock and which went to the butcher.  We even culled several of the yearling ewes based on the FEC results.  And we used the information on the ram lambs to determine which ones to use for breeding last fall.

Meat goat producer from southern VT (3/23/2017):  This producer had attended an IPC workshop (January 2016) and submitted FEC samples for analysis.  

I found the information that was provided through this program very helpful in many ways…the main areas that have been modified since receiving the results:

– The livestock that will be retained for replacements in my herd have changed
– My requirements for incoming bucks has been “upgraded”
– My grazing/browsing management has been improved
– The types of feed that were offered to the goats have been modified
-The timing of specific feed types being offered to the goats has been modified
-I haven’t dewormed the goats since the fall of 2015, famacha scores have improved from primarily 4-5’s to 2-3’s

This producer went on to participate in a NSIP workshop and enrolled in NSIP in May 2018.  

Sheep producer from northwestern NY on Lake Ontario (4/17/2017):  “We upped our game on the management side: more frequent paddock movements, refugia, multispecies, longer rotation intervals…The online FAMACHA© training was so helpful. The NSIP workshop provided a lot of information about how we might optimize our culling choices.”  This producer also submitted fecal samples as part of this project.

NSIP member sheep producer in south central PA near Harrisburg who submitted fecal samples for analysis and reported (9/16/2019):  “There is a dollar amount associated to sheep that have died to GIN, though it is very likely that our total loss to GIN is many times greater, in poor growth and performance.  Your program is helping us improve the health of our flock, financial efficiency by more growth per pound of forage intake, and less chemical dewormer required…We like it, we appreciate it, and we thank you for your service in this vital program.”  This producer also went on to identify some of the drawbacks with fecal sampling that we have identified under milestone 12, “The only drawback is the planning, time and effort it takes to collect the samples.” This producer described costs, and specific labor and other physical challenges associated with collecting and shipping numerous samples for a large flock.   

We had several small ruminant professionals and veterinarians participate in this project in a dual capacity in that they raised sheep and/or goats at home in addition to managing and/or educating within their professional capacity.  One professor from a PA University (who also raises small ruminants at home) participated in the Online FAMACHA© Certification program as an individual in Jan. 2019, and then facilitated his Small Ruminant Science Class (14 students) through the program during March – April 2019.  He then went on to work with contacts provided by this project to become the first Certified FAMACHA© instructor in PA.  These outcomes are a direct result of the resources and assistance provided by this project.

 

Assessment of Project Approach and Areas of Further Study:

This project enabled the development of the first Online FAMACHA© Certification Program and is endorsed by the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control who oversees the administration of the FAMACHA© System in the U.S.  This program has been well received by small ruminant producers, professionals and students throughout the region and country for several reasons: 1)  it is self-paced; 2) it does not require a significant amount of time to be devoted on a specific day; 3) travel is not required. Participants also appreciate that they can review the online videos as often as necessary to fully grasp and revisit the information presented.  For many participants, this is the only option available to them for receiving appropriate training and certification in the FAMACHA© System (and which enables them to purchase and use a FAMACHA© card).  There were very few complaints or constructive criticisms, however, a few minor changes were incorporated at the beginning of the project based on participant feedback such as making a slideshow hand-out version of the 2-hour video on integrated parasite control available on the website, etc.  At any given time, about 60% of the participants starting the program have gone on to complete the training (typically within a month’s time). Challenges and reasons for a long delay or lack of completion of this training program are presented in Milestone 5 and within a poster presentation developed for an international conference on small ruminant parasite control, August 2019 (attached product).

During Year 2 of the project, the first request for assistance with conducting this program in a group facilitated class format occurred with a Vermont college and this interest grew during the remainder of the project.  The majority of interest for leading a group of participants through this program was due to the desire of a university / college professor, agricultural high school teacher, or 4-H club leader to lead a group of students through the hands-on demonstration and filming of proper FAMACHA© scoring technique.  The viewing of the required online videos and completion of the post-video assessment summary was left up to each participant to complete within an allotted time frame.  Two group classes were successfully conducted with two university / college classes by the end of the project. Despite the increasing interest from several high school teachers, many plans to lead a class through the training never materialized partly due to logistics with school computer resources being unable to access outside websites and emails, as well as the time needed to view the informational videos and film the demonstration videos being more than allotted class time allows. 

However; we also conducted a very successful group facilitated class with a Cornell Cooperative Extension educator who led a group of interested producers in western, NY with limited technology and internet access, and that preferred group workshop learning.  The Extension educator organized a group viewing of the required online videos, assisted with the input of each participant’s online assessment summary (from a hard copy version completed by each participant) followed by group discussion of the content, and coordinated the group practice, filming, and uploading of each participant’s FAMACHA© scoring demonstration video.  We see this as a very important way to reach an under-served audience in extremely rural areas with limited technology and internet resources; and that typically respond better to traditional group, workshop learning. 

Through a new USDA SARE grant LNE19-381 obtained in recent months, we plan to continue to refine this program by updating and condensing the 2-hour video, developing a Spanish language version of the online videos and fact sheets, and continuing to reach out to professionals and organizations in the region to offer group facilitated classes to under-served audiences with technology challenges as well as educational institutions that prefer to take students through this training as a group class.

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.