Puerto Rico Goat and Sheep Educational Program Initiative (PR-GOSHEPI)

Progress report for LS21-350

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2021: $48,036.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2023
Grant Recipients: University of Puerto Rico;
Region: Southern
State: Puerto Rico
Principal Investigator:
Abner Rodriguez
University of Puerto Rico
Co-Investigators:
Dr. John Fernandez
University of Puerto Rico
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Project Information

Abstract:

Over the last 4 years, Puerto Rico has been experiencing one of the worst economic crisis in its history. This has stagnated economic development, reduced employment markets and led to the creation of the Financial Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA)by the Federal Government.  Hurricanes Irma and María, two earthquakes during 2020, and the COVID-19 outbreak, have increased this crisis. Although this series of events has weakened our fragile food security, an increased interest in small ruminant production has been observed. Lamb and dairy goat producers have seen an opportunity to enhance their production systems and improve marketing strategies of edible products. In addition, a recent program sponsored by the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture Small Ruminant Production Fund (DA-SRPF) to import purebred replacement ewes and goats, and the use of sheep to manage grass in solar farms, and weeds in coffee and citrus plantations, have increased animal inventories. However, Puerto Rico continues to import lamb meat and goat dairy products for domestic consumption at higher prices than local products. In order to meet this demand, other livestock producers are responding by entering into the this sector. On the other hand, there are knowledge gaps on proper sheep and goat production management practices, especially nutrition, genetics, reproduction, parasite control, and marketing strategies thus, leading to sustainability challenges. It is imperative that the local producer have access to the necessary tools to improve the competitiveness and promote the development, expansion, and the sustainable production of the animal industry, and the subsequent process of locally produced lamb and goat edible products. To increase small ruminant productivity, sustainability, and profitability, a program developed to aid producers with appropriate educational materials is necessary. Through the knowledge of low-cost production management practices and enhanced productivity, producers will achieve optimum production while producing a high-quality product. Also, information in Spanish on sustainable small ruminant production in tropical areas, specifically in Puerto Rico and the continental USA, is limited. The few available publications focused on that topic are only available in English. This fact limits the accessibility of information uneducated producers or those with limited internet access. Therefore, developing educational materials in this clientele’s native language is necessary. The objective of this proposal is to create the Puerto Rico Goat and Sheep Producer Educational Program Initiative (PR-GOSHEPI) that will target members of the DA-SRPF, independent producers, Agricultural Extension Service county agents, and other clientele to educate them on 1) understanding Sustainable Small Ruminant Production 2) Nutrition and Feeding 3) Water 4) Pasture Management, Grazing and Browsing Systems, 5) Reproduction, Genetics and Selection, 6) Parasite Control, 7) Biosafety and Animal Well-being, 8) Lamb Meat or Milk Goat Properties 9) Economics, Records, Budget, 10) Waste Management and, 11) Marketing Strategies. The PR-GOSHEPI will be using webinars and webpages as main delivery methods. As part of the proposal, a handbook or training manual for Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production in the Tropics will be written. An annual conference will be held with the participation of invited speakers.

Project Objectives:

To create the Puerto Rico Goat and Sheep Educational Program Initiative (PR-GOSHEPI) to develop educational materials to enhance sustainable small ruminant production on the island. Specific objectives include:

1.      Development and presentation of educational conferences via webinars for producers, county agents and other interested clientele on Sustainable Small Ruminant Production in the Tropics.

2.      Development of a handbook or training manual for Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production in the Tropics.

3.      Organization of the Annual Conference on Sustainable Lamb or Dairy Goat Production in the Tropics with the participation of invited speakers from mainland United States or Latin American countries.

4.      Assessment of the impact of the PR-GOSHEPI on producers and county agent’s knowledge on sustainable small ruminant production.

Research

Involves research:
No
Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

35 Consultations
2 Published press articles, newsletters
11 Webinars / talks / presentations
1 Other educational activities: International conference entitled “Reproductive Technologies to Enhance Sustainable Small Ruminant Production

Participation Summary:

40 Farmers
120 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

The objective of this proposal was to create the Puerto Rico Goat and Sheep Producer Educational Program Initiative (PR-GOSHEPI) to target members of the DA-SRPF, independent producers, Agricultural Extension Service County agents, and another clientele to educate them on topics related to sustainable goat and sheep production. The PR-GOSHEPI is using webinars and webpages as main delivery methods. As part of the proposal, a newsletter “Gaceta – Rumiantes Pequeños” with information of Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production in the Tropics have been develop. An annual international conference was held with the participation of an invited speaker.

Eleven webinars related to sustainable goat production were presented by professionals from seven countries invited as speakers (Table 1). 

Speaker

Institution

Country

Webinar

Abel Trujillo, DVM

University of Querétaro

México

Sustainable goat production

 Héctor Andrade, Ph.D.

University of Querétaro

México

Feeding dairy goats

. Suzika Pagán, Ph.D.

University of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Water and its importance in goat production

Homero Salinas, Ph.D.

Lincoln University

United States

Pasture Management for goat production

Camilo Sánchez, DVM

Andina Premier

Colombia

Goat reproductive management

María T. Paramio, Ph.D.

University of Barcelona

Spain

Reproductive technologies for goat production

Juan Pizarro, DVM

Department of Agriculture

Argentina

Dairy goat health: Establishments and products

Dr. Felipe Torres Acosta

University of Yucatán

México

Building sustainable control of gastrointestinal nematodes in goats

Francisco Rivera M.Sc.

NRCS – Caribbean

Puerto Rico

Fence recommendations for goat production

Leyda Ponce, Ph.D.

University of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Elaboration of dairy products with goat milk

Loyra Rodríguez, MD

Medi-centro Clinical Center

Honduras

Milk goat in human nutrition

Conferences presented in Spanish were transmitted by the University of Puerto Rico, Agricultural Extension Service Educational Media and Information office using social media. An average of 120 participants attended the live webinar conferences. Videos of the conferences are available in the PR-Goat and Sheep Educational Project Initiative Webpage https://www.uprm.edu/sea/pr-goshepi/ and the University of Puerto Rico, Agricultural Extension Service FaceBook page Servicio de Extensión Agrícola - Oficial | Facebook, and the Department of Animal Science Facebook page.

As part of the educational project, an international conference entitled “Reproductive Technologies to Enhance Sustainable Small Ruminant Production” was held on March 2022.  Small ruminant producers, agronomist, extension agents, students, and other interested clientele attended the 2-hour conference.   Conference was conducted with cooperation of the University of Puerto Rico Agricultural Experimental Station. 

A newsletter “Gaceta Rumiantes Pequeños” with information based on Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production in the Tropics was develop.  Newsletter information is available in the project webpage GACETA - Servicio de Extensión Agrícola (uprm.edu).

An average of 120 participants including small ruminant producers, agronomist, extension agents, students, and another interested clientele attended the live webinar conferences.  Recorded conferences have been viewing by an average of 950 participants (range 1300 to 191) including international participants.

Information Products

    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.