- Animals: goats
- Animal Products: meat
- Animal Production: general animal production
The Regional Goat Project, Phase 2A and B summarized efforts of Extension professionals and producers from Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida in developing and addressing training needs of Extension Agents and goat producers. The project collaborators and producers from collaborating states met at Kentucky State University in 2008 (Part B). As a result of the projects, collaborators increased multi-institution educational programs and collaborative endeavors that include economic, marketing, and ethnic consumer issues, in addition to sustainable production education. Educational workshops and programs on sustainable goat production, business management, and marketing expanded across the region, as has awareness of the issues associated with ethnic consumers (including religious-based) and multi-state collaboration.
For Phase 2B, small and limited-resource farmers in Kentucky are looking for new and alternative farm enterprises to sustain their operations. Supported programs such as tobacco are in jeopardy. The state has regions characterized by low income, low educational attainment and poverty. Together these situations created the need for: 1) alternative, sustainable farm enterprises that have low “start-up” and investment costs, and 2) knowledgeable agricultural professionals, particularly County Extension Agents, Extension paraprofessionals, veterinarians, and farmer mentors who can deliver educational programs to small, limited-resource farmers and diverse, non-traditional farmer clientele. In addition to sustainable production systems, agricultural professionals working with these enterprises need to understand the existing and potential markets for the products. Goat production and marketing systems are expanding throughout the small farm economy in the South. Many small farmers are looking at goat production to enhance their income, or as their primary farm enterprise. Possibly the major behavior changes for agricultural professionals are to accept goat enterprises for their sustainable, economic value to the region, and to expand their educational efforts to include diverse, non-traditional farmers who are producing goats.
Goats are a rapidly growing small farm industry, but the research and educational
support base for the industry needs to be strengthened. Needed educational information includes climate and environmental concerns in addition to basic information on production systems, economics and marketing. Kentucky’s Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy has prioritized funding for goat production, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has added a marketing support unit for goats, yet the land grant support base is weak. The Kentucky Agricultural Advancement Council, an elected group of thirty farmers and Extension agents with delegates elected from county and district Extension councils and supported by SARE-PDP state funds, identified goat production and marketing as the primary research and educational needs of Kentucky agriculture since 2000.
Kentucky State University offered 12 educational “Third Thursday” workshops on sustainable goat production, value-added opportunities, and marketing. Additionally, some 50 county training meetings were held across Kentucky on sustainable goat production with over 2,000 participants reported. Tennessee State University held annual sustainable meat goat workshops with nearly 500 participants.
Objective 1. Agricultural professionals accept meat goats as sustainable farm enterprises for small farmers. They will initiate farmer education and hands-on demonstration programs on sustainable goat production including feeds/forages, breeding programs, parasite control, brush control, and environmental aspects, and economics. They will facilitate efforts to develop sustainable systems for meat goats, facilitate efforts to develop farmer cooperatives and goat associations, and identify potential markets for meat goats and their products.
Objective 2. Agricultural professionals target educational programs to nontraditional producers and consumers including Middle Eastern, Hispanic, African American, women, youth (4-H and FFA), religious groups, and small and limited-resource farmers. In delivering educational programs, professionals become sensitive to social and environmental issues as well as the economic production aspects of the goat industry.
Objective 3. Agricultural professionals and farmers share expertise to: 1) develop and strengthen multi-state, multidisciplinary collaboration (agencies, 1890, 1862, and farmers) and 2) provide cross-state educational programming in sustainable goat production/economic systems. Agricultural professionals broaden their scope and become “system thinkers”.
Objective 4. Fact sheets and curriculum type educational materials on sustainable goat production and marketing systems which are suitable for bilingual, low literacy, and 4-H audiences, and the professionals who train them, will be made available through SARE.