Regional Meat Goat Production and Marketing Project: Phase 2

2007 Annual Report for ES05-082

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2005: $20,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Marion Simon
Kentucky State University

Regional Meat Goat Production and Marketing Project: Phase 2


The Regional Goat Project, Phase 2A, 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, plus producers from each state that are on the working team, met at Kentucky State University in 2006, and will meet at Kentucky State University in 2008. 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). Small and limited-resource farmers are looking for new and alternative farm enterprises to sustain their operations. Supported programs such as tobacco, peanuts and cotton are in jeopardy in the collaborative states. Each collaborative state has regions characterized by low income, low educational attainment and poverty. Together these situations create 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. There is a needed for educational information that 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. The Georgia Farm Bureau identified funding and support of the goat industry to be a top priority. Prairie View A&M University and Langston University have made major commitments to goat production through their Kiki de la Garza Goat Institutes, as has Fort Valley State University and Florida A&M University, but the economic and marketing components need to be strengthened in these existing programs. Recognizing the need for goat production and marketing education, the collaborative team proposes to share goat production, veterinary, and marketing educational materials, cross state lines to conduct educational programming, and collaborate to identify educational needs and to develop materials. The central purpose is training for agricultural professionals, agencies, non-profits, paraprofessionals, and farmer mentors. A second purpose is to build a regional network of educators and mentors with expertise in sustainable goat production and marketing (initially meat goats, but potentially expanding into dairy goats) who can provide training programs throughout the region. Lastly, through these networks, develop longer term, multi-state education initiatives on sustainable goat production and marketing that include producers, agents and consumers as collaborators and advisors.
As stated earlier, meat goats are a rapidly expanding alternative farm enterprise in the South, particularly in regions that are facing reductions in commodity programs, i.e. tobacco. Professionals and farmers are searching for research-based information, yet it is lacking in many locations. This project will provide training workshops on sustainable meat goat production and marketing systems to agricultural professionals, farmer mentors, NGO’s, 4-H, and farmers in six southern states using the Kentucky State University “Third Thursday Thing” model or equivalent professional and farmer training program. The statewide and local workshops and educational activities will include hands-on activities, demonstrations, farmer listening forums, and professionals and farmers as instructors. Collaborators: Kentucky State University, University of Kentucky, Tennessee State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Prairie View A&M University, and Langston University.

Objectives/Performance Targets

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.


The working team composed of farmers, Extension Agents, and Extension State Specialists, Extension Associates, and Extension Professors met in 2006 at Kentucky State University for a conference on planning, issues, sharing of educational materials, and a goat “Third Thursday” workshop. They will meet again at Kentucky State University in 2008 for a Goat Summit and an educational workshop on goat farm business planning and kidding. Collaborators maintain contacts through e-mails, telephone calls, information-sharing networks, a working group at the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists, and numerous other activities.
Team members host educational meetings throughout their respective states utilizing the information that they developed plus information and educational packages that were developed by the collaborators. Trainings for professionals and producers that resulted directly, or through collaborative efforts, are listed below.

1. Langston University, through the KiKi de la Garza Goat Institute, agreed to be responsible for a “clearing-house of information” that is accessible to the region. This has been initiated, via their website, and is monitored by Terry Gipson, Steve Hart, and others.
2. Kentucky State University agreed to be responsible for gathering research-based and reliable information, screening the information for its use in the Southern Region, and forwarding it to Langston. Kenneth Andries assumed responsibility for this task. He reviews and researches articles, then forwards them to Langston for use in the clearing-house.
3. A meeting of the Regional Planning Group (working team) was held at Kentucky State University in 2006 (Phase II, ES05-081A) which included a “Third Thursday” workshop and a second will be held at Kentucky State University in 2008 as a part of a Goat Summit (Phase II, ES05-081B).
4. The working team discussed outreach mechanisms for diverse clientele, the need for more producer meetings, problems associated with professionals not accepting goats as a commercial farm enterprise, and the need for agent and veterinarian training.
5. The working team identified parasite management to be a priority area.
6. The University of Kentucky shared a Goat Production and Marketing video.
7. Kentucky State University shared a Goat Foot/Hoof Care video and an upcoming production of a kidding video.
8. Langston University shared their Web-Based Training and Certification Program on-line curriculum and their Meat Goat Production Handbook.
9. The working team identified disaster preparedness as an important issue.
10. Tennessee State University announced its Goat Condition Scoring video and educational goat curriculum that is being completed.
11. Kentucky State University hired a Hispanic Outreach Specialist in the Spring 2006 to assist with this and other projects.
12. Tennessee State University supported 2 Extension professionals to the National Small Farm Conference, October 2005.
13. At the Southern SAWG Conferences in 2006 and 2007, goat workshops were presented by Ken Andries, Kentucky State University and Steve Hart, Langston University. There were 350 attending the goat sessions.
14. Kentucky State University held the second meeting of the Regional Goat Project Planning Group and Collaborators on October 17-19, 2006 with 20 (ten professionals and ten producers) participants from Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Oklahoma. The meeting included the October 19 Goat “Third Thursday. The Regional Planning Group reported on their progress and identified items to be accomplished during the upcoming year. Educational sessions included a forage discussion, parasites and diseases, breeding management, and marketing to, and working with, non-traditional clientele. Training included meat cuts, health regulations, the preferences of ethnic consumers, and how to work with diverse audiences. An Animal Science Extension professional from Maryland provided an educational program on the tastes and preferences of ethnic groups that consume goats, working with these populations, preferred cuts and preparation of goat products, and direct marketing of goats to ethnic markets. Regional Project members discussed: Tennessee State University’s Goat Condition Scoring training information; the 1890 Risk-Assessed Business Planning for Small Producers training curriculum that was developed by professionals from four states; and the clearing-house of information that was set-up during Phase I. Plans were made how to make the information available to professionals across the region;
15. Tennessee State University has developed and implemented an annual “Third Tuesday” goat training school which averages 250 participants, has developed a condition scoring system for goats, and developed an educational package;
16. Kentucky State University has developed and implemented two yearly goat educational “Third Thursdays” which average 350 participants annually;
17. The Russell County (KY) Cooperative Extension Small Farm Program (Kentucky State University – University of Kentucky) has developed and implemented two annual training workshops which average 200 participants annually;
18. Florida A&M University has developed a Master Goat Training and Certification Program that averages 50 participants annually;
19. Several collaborators developed a clearinghouse of information for use with Extension throughout the South;
20. Several collaborators now participate in other regional goat projects including the development of a Southern Regional Committee on Goats in conjunction with the Southern Association of Agricultural Professionals annual meetings;
21. Several collaborators were involved in the production of Langston University’s Web Based Training and Certification Program for Meat Goat Producers and Meat Goat Training Manual for Small Producers (funded by USDA-FSIS);
22. Prairie View A&M University and Fort Valley State University have used the funds to enhance their goat educational efforts;
23. The University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, and Tennessee State University have used the funds to send professionals to regional and international goat educational conferences and for in-depth training at Langston University on meat goats;
24. The working team emphasized the need for disaster preparedness for goat producers as a priority area;
25. The working team discussed “Third Thursday” and various methods of information delivery, workshops, and methods of educating agents, veterinarians, processors, state health/regulatory services, and the importance of farmer mentors;
26. Kentucky State University and Prairie View A&M University shared the 1890 Risk-Assessed Business Planning for Small Producers training curriculum that was developed by professionals from four states. As reported above, the methods primarily used are training meetings and workshops, plus information sharing among collaborators so that their educational programs are accessible to other states.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

1. The Regional Goat Project Working 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 Langston University’s Web-Based Training and Certification Program on-line curriculum and the Meat Goat Production Handbook.
3. At the Southern Association of Agriculture Scientists February 2006 and February 2007, a working group for goats and small ruminants discussed the website and clearing house of information that was established in Phase 1. They discussed many issues related to research and extension needs and current research/extension initiatives. Eight professionals were supported to attend by this project. They also participated in the Southern Region Animal Science Association and the Southern Region Agricultural Economics Association meetings. In 2008, an official regional committee was established for goat professionals.
4. 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.
5. Disaster preparedness for livestock producers became a priority area for the Southern Region Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Program Leaders in FY2006. Goats also were discussed as a rapidly expanding farm enterprise that needs Extension programming efforts.