Toolbox for Small Ruminant Educators: Building on the Small Ruminant Resource Manual

2010 Annual Report for ES08-089

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2008: $61,523.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
Linda Coffey
National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)

Toolbox for Small Ruminant Educators: Building on the Small Ruminant Resource Manual


Sheep and goat production is popular with many beginning farmers and is a new enterprise for some experienced farmers. Extension agents working with these farmers need tools to support them. Earlier SARE-funded work allowed us to create a whole-farm planning tool, the Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet, and a Small Ruminant Resource Manual on CD for Extension agents and for producers. These tools are currently available from ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, at However, all the materials needed to be expanded and updated, and agents required training with the new materials. This project will run until September 30, 2011, and will result in updated and useful tools for Extension agents and other educators working with sheep and goat producers. The Toolbox (a collection of Powerpoint presentations, publications, manuals, and supportive materials for agents) will be given to agents in Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Training workshops will focus on introducing agents to the tools and encouraging them to use the tools to assist sheep and goat producers. Whole-farm planning is the centerpiece of the Toolbox and is an area not often covered in producer training. Organic sheep and goat production information also is included and will be helpful to agents with interested clientele. The Toolbox is packaged on a jump drive, allowing agents to add files and folders as needed to customize it to their own work.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The overall purpose of this project is to increase the ability of educators to assist sheep and goat producers, thereby encouraging diversification of agricultural enterprises and increasing sustainability. This project will create new materials, improve on existing materials, and offer training workshops for educators. All activities will be done with input from sheep and goat producers. The products created during this project and used during the training workshops are described as “tools;” they are listed below along with the evaluation method for each project objective. The following are the desired results of this project:

1. At least 100 educators (Extension agents, NRCS field staff, Young Farmer advisors, Heifer International field representatives) will be better equipped to serve the needs of sheep and goat producers, especially limited-resource producers. At least 40 of the educators will actually use the materials within three months of receiving the training.
• Tools—PowerPoint library, tutorial, manual, FAQ list, and checksheet
• Evaluation method—list of participants and questionnaire three months after the training

2. At least 100 educators will know how to obtain further information about sheep and goat production and marketing.
• Tool—Small Ruminant Resource List and Small Ruminant Manual
• Evaluation method—list of participants and questionnaire three months after the training

3. At least 100 educators will gain knowledge of organic sheep and goat production and will have tools in their possession to help farmers interested in this option.
• Tools—organic information within the checksheet and organic chapter of the manual
• Evaluation method—questionnaire after the training to determine the use of the organic information

4. Educators will understand the value of whole-farm planning and will be equipped to present the Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet (a tool for whole-farm planning created during the previous project, ES02-060) to sheep and goat farmers in their area. At least 40 of the educators will use the materials within three months of receiving training.
• Tools—checksheet and workshops
• Evaluation method—questionnaire after three months; records of the number of educators trained, the number of producers who use the checksheet with an educator, and the number of workshops hosted by educators to present the checksheet to producers

5. Educators will be prepared to plan and deliver workshops for sheep and goat producers, and at least 15 will host a workshop in their region within three months of receiving training.
• Tools—PowerPoint library and workshops
• Evaluation method—questionnaire three months after training; records of the number of educators trained and the number of workshops hosted by trainees; feedback collected about the usefulness of all materials (PowerPoint library, Small Ruminant Resource List, Small Ruminant Resource Manual, Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet, training workshops)

The project leader will be responsible for compiling the data and information from each state and incorporating the feedback to improve materials.


2010 Progress
In 2010, we finalized, formatted, and produced:
• (updated) Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet
• (updated) Quickstart (handy for agents to assess needs of an audience)
• (updated) Small Ruminant Resource Manual (PDF, 897 pages) (currently available on the Toolbox jump drive)
• (updated) Small Ruminant Resource List
• notations on 22 NCAT PowerPoint presentations (some new, some updated)
• list of the contents of the Tennessee Master Goat Producers Program manual
• list (with page numbers to facilitate copying articles) of the contents of the NCAT Small Ruminant Resource Manual
• annotated list of all Powerpoints included in the Powerpoint library
o 22 NCAT presentations
o seven from Susan Schoenian
o 18 presentations and a 415-page manual, the Tennessee Master Goat Producers Program collection
• simple version of a PowerPoint “Jeopardy” game (questions and answers can be changed to suit the subject and audience, making it useful for review or to assess audience knowledge)
• FAQ list
• training-workshop plan
ATTRA sheep and goat publications, including the materials updated through this project, are found at

Next, we collected all of the above materials into electronic folders, wrote a table of contents for the entire collection (with notes about using it), and packaged it all into 2-gigabyte jump drives stamped with “Small Ruminant Toolbox 2010.” (See the attached jpeg for a photo of the jump drive and the attached document for complete contents of the Toolbox jump drive.) We purchased 300 jump drives initially and distributed 50 into each of the cooperating states. More requests followed, and we ordered another 300, which are currently being distributed.

We then planned the first training workshop, held December 14, 2010, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dr. Steve Jones hosted, and there were 28 attending. The training was very successful: evaluations were overwhelmingly positive. And as of this writing, there have been four new training sessions, including two short course series planned and scheduled by the participants in that first training workshop.

In Tennessee, Dr. An Peischel has done numerous training sessions centered around the Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet. She has also distributed the Toolbox jump drive to 100 agents in Tennessee. She has extended the project far outside the South as well, giving training sessions in the following states: Tennessee (Spring Hill and Jackson), California, Hawaii, South Dakota, and Maine. Dr. Peischel duplicated the Toolbox on CD for all those trainings, at her own expense.

Other state coordinators have planned workshops to be held in April 2011 and in early May 2011. They include the following:
Kentucky—April 14, April 22, and April 28 (three locations)
Georgia—April 7 and April 21 (two locations)
Oklahoma—May 13

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

By the completion of this project, many Extension agents and farmers in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia will have been introduced to the new tools and will have practiced designing workshops—customized for their own counties—around the tools. By working together to think about what could be offered in a training session, each agent and his or her partner farmer will be excited about the possibilities and will be motivated to collaborate to actually offer training in their county. This will result in more interest in hosting and attending training sessions and will improve communication and working relationships between agents and farmers. Sheep and goat farmers will have more support as they improve their enterprises.

In Arkansas, we have already seen impacts from this project. Participants in the first workshop are using Toolbox materials to offer a number of training opportunities:
• A workshop on internal parasite control (FAMACHA training) will be held April 23, 2011 in Yellville, Arkansas.
• An on-farm workshop on small-ruminant production will be held April 16, 2011, in Damascus, Arkansas, hosted by agent Jennifer Hawkins and introducing producers to the Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet. The workshop will also introduce the producers to using the Quickstart to assess their needs. The plans include a short course series to follow up and assist producers as they work through the checksheet. The short course series will be Tuesday evenings, May 3, May 10, and May 17, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
• Workshop entitled “Whole Farm Management Audits for Your Goat/Sheep Operation” will be held April 30, 2011, in Jasper, Arkansas. This workshop will introduce producers to the Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet and will assist them in assessing their own farm. The agent, Jack Boles, will be available to give personal assistance by phone, in his office, or on the producer’s farm, and he will do individual follow-up to support the producers. He will also use the Quickstart as a quick way to assess the needs of these clients for further education and will use his Toolbox for supportive materials.

These scheduled trainings show the power of the train-the-trainer program: efforts are multiplied and information is shared to benefit many more people than we can personally reach.

We look forward to completing the training sessions and the evaluations. Updated publications are available at Toolbox jump drives may be requested by emailing (for as long as they last).


Dr. Kenneth Andries
Kentucky State University
225 Cooperative Extension Facility
400 E. Main Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
Office Phone: 5025975094
Dianne Hellwig
Dianne Hellwig Consulting
970 Manse Rd.
Paint Lick, KY 40461
Office Phone: 8599252210
Will Getz
Professor and Extension Specialist
Fort Valley State University
Fort Valley, GA
Dr. Steve Jones
State Extension Specialist
University of Arkansas CES
2301 S. University Avenue
PO Box 391
Little Rock, AR 72203
Office Phone: 5016712067
Steve Hart
Research Scientist II
Langston University
PO 730
Langston, OK 73050
Office Phone: 4054666138
An Peischel
Small Ruminant Extension Specialist
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209
Office Phone: 6159631351