Regional Meat Goat Production and Marketing Project: Phase 2
The Regional Goat Projects, Phases 1 and 2, have brought Extension professionals and producers from Kentucky (1890 and 1862 professionals and producers), Oklahoma (1890 professionals and producers), Texas (1890 professionals and producers), Tennessee (1890 and 1862 professionals and producers), Georgia (1890 professionals and producers), and Florida (1890 professionals and producers) to assess the training needs of Extension Agents and goat producers and to conduct training programs. The project collaborators met at Langston University in 2005, Kentucky State University in 2006, and will meet at Prairie View A&M University in 2007. As a result of the projects, collaborators have 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 and marketing have expanded across the region, as has awareness of the issues associated with ethnic consumers (including religious-based).
Providing education on sustainable meat goat production and economic systems to agricultural professionals, paraprofessionals, non-profits, state and federal agencies, veterinarians, and farmer mentors, when combined with farmer listening forums should result in these behavior changes.
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 and facilitate efforts to develop farmer cooperatives, goat associations, and to identify potential markets for goats and goat 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, small and limited-resource farmers. In delivering educational programs, professionals become sensitive to social and environmental issues as well as the economic and production aspects of the goat industry. As a result, the professional strengthens his/her social and outreach skills leading to the inclusion of diverse groups in programming.
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. Continue the work of the Phase I project, including the clearing-house of information for the region and to provide web-based information that has been proofed by professionals.
Educational activities included:
1. Goat workshops “Third Thursdays” were held at Kentucky State University on March 2006 and October 2006 with 425 participants. The March 2007 “Third Thursday” had 85 participants. In 2006, Kentucky State University goat training programs had 598 participants that were county extension agents, USDA and state agency professionals, extension paraprofessionals, state extension specialists and researchers, and veterinarians and 3,831 participants that were farmer mentors, producers, consumers, and 4-H and FFA members.
2. Tennessee State University held a Goat Management School, March 2006, with 115 participants, a Goat “Third Tuesday”, April 2006, with 175 participants, and a Small Farm Annual Field Day in the fall with 450 participants.
3. At the Southern Association of Agriculture Scientists in February 2007, one professional was supported to attend the small ruminant discussion group. He also participated in the Southern Region Animal Science Association meeting.
4. Kentucky State University established a cool season and warm season grasses component to the Research and Demonstration Farm in 2005. These were used in the March 2006 and July 2006 “Third Thursday” training meetings with 245 participants.
5. Langston University held a Goat Management School in May 2006.
6. Prairie View A&M University held a Goat Management School in September.
7. Florida A&M University had numerous programs related to disaster preparedness for livestock producers.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
1. The Regional Goat Project Planning Group and Collaborators reported progress in professionals accepting goats as farm enterprises, yet see the need for continued agent, veterinarian, and USDA and state agency training.
2. They see the benefits of the Web-Based Training and Certification Program on-line curriculum and plan to use it in their programming.
3. Kentucky Cooperative Extension held a Sheep and Goat Summit in June of 2006 to address research and extension needs of the state. There were 65 professionals and farmers attending. Professionals crossed several disciplines. The University of Kentucky ANR Director and the Dean of the College of Agriculture called the Summit because they recognized sheep and goats as priority areas for Extension agent training.
4. Disaster preparedness for livestock producers became a priority area for the Southern Region ANR Program Leaders in FY2006. Goats also were discussed as a rapidly expanding farm enterprise that needs Extension programming efforts.
1. Langston University’s Web-based Training and Certification Program for Meat Goat Producers is being used across the region.
2. Southern Region ANR Leaders recognize goats as farm enterprises and are committing efforts to serve goat producers.
3. Educational videos and information has been shared among collaborators and other states, including the Northeast Region’s e-mail BLOG to support goat educational efforts among professionals.
4. New collaborators are working on regional projects that will impact sustainable goat production in the Southern Region.