Kentucky Sheep and Goat Herder Curriculum - Phase I

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2007: $90,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Ricky Yeargan
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service

Annual Reports


  • Animals: goats, sheep


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, housing, parasite control, grazing - continuous, feed additives, feed formulation, feed rations, grazing management, herbal medicines, livestock breeding, mineral supplements, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, range improvement, grazing - rotational, stocking rate, stockpiled forages, therapeutics, vaccines, watering systems, winter forage

    Proposal abstract:

    Kentucky Sheep and Goat Herder Curriculum - Phase I

    Kentucky is experiencing explosive growth in the meat goat industry, and significant growth in the sheep industry. Producers need
    objective, research-based information to ensure sustainability of their enterprises. There are few extension personnel in the
    state with full-time meat goat responsibilities, and none working with sheep.
    This project creates a collaborative effort among UK, KSU, farmers, and producer associations to expand the state's outreach capabilities. We will develop modules for a web-based and field-deliverable Kentucky Sheep and Goat Herder (KSGH) curriculum.
    Updatable curriculum modules will address Kentucky-specific production and marketing issues. The project team will train extension agents, small farm assistants, and farmer instructors
    to deliver KSGH locally, through a web-based Facilitators' Guide and inservice trainings.
    Producer participation in Kentucky Sheep and Goat Summits, advisory panel membership, service as farmer-instructors, or attendance at two pilot KSGH offerings involve end-users in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the project.
    Goals include:
    -increased knowledge base of trainees
    -development of skills, confidence, and competence to teach KSGH
    -adoption of best management practices in Kentucky sheep and meat goat operations
    -improved public perception of the industries
    -increased capacity of associations to assist their industry
    -expanded capacity of state sheep and goat outreach efforts
    Pre-/post-training surveys will be used to measure progress. Follow-up surveys will document actual producer practice changes. Tracking of web-based course participation and test scores will indicate capacity building among producers and other agricultural professionals. The ability of associations to secure funding for KSGH
    continuation will measure capacity building within those groups.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Recent estimates indicate Kentucky has 1,800 sheep producers and 32,000 sheep, and 2,500 meat goat producers and 70,000 meat goats. Three full-time state extension personnel (one KSU specialist, two UK associates) are working to serve the needs of the meat goat industry; no extension personnel have full-time sheep responsibilities.
    This project aims to expand this capacity by developing state-specific, updatable educational resources, then training field staff and farmer-instructors to deliver the information to producers. We anticipate the following results:
    Trainees (UK extension agents, KSU small farm assistants, farmer-instructors) increase their knowledge base of sheep and meat goat enterprises.
    Trainees develop skills and competence/confidence to teach KSGH to producers across Kentucky.
    Trainees increase their ability to serve a new clientele base - producers and consumers who may have non-farm and diverse ethnic backgrounds.
    Trainees will embrace sheep and goat enterprises as commercial, rather than pet or hobby, ventures.
    Extension field personnel will accept producers and consumers as effective trainers.
    UK extension agents aspire to complete web-based KSGH modules. Financial incentive provided by module inclusion in career ladder system, wherein professional development results in salary increases. Distance learning products are convenient,
    cost-effective components of the career ladder.
    Marketing of web-based course builds capacity among other agricultural professionalss (for example, high school agriculture teachers, adult vocational agriculture teachers, agricultural professionals at regional universities).
    Web-based modules also allow independent study by producers, the ultimate end-user audience.
    All participants (trainers/producers) should promote/adopt KSGH best management practices to enhance profitability, environmental stewardship, and overall sustainability within Kentucky sheep and meat goat enterprises.
    Public perception of these enterprises will improve through:
    -Association of KSGH with other high-profile programs such as Master Gardener, Master
    Cattleman, Master Grazer in Kentucky
    -Project media efforts to highlight sheep and meat goat enterprises as environmentally sound, economically sustainable, and the source of wholesome, healthy consumer food products
    Producers and producer associations will build capacity to assist the industries through involvement in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the KSGH project.
    The Kentucky Sheep and Goat Summits, attended by representatives of the producer associations, farmers, and personnel from UK, KSU, KDA, and Kentucky's regional universities, will provide the framework for cooperative action. A valid role model exists in the cooperation of the Kentucky Cattlemen's Association with UK, and formation of
    the Kentucky Beef Network since the mid-1990s. Resulting advances in the Kentucky beef industry include expanded certified pre-conditioned feeder calf sales, beef production/marketing facilitators located throughout the state, a robust Master
    Cattleman educational program, and a head start on the National Animal Identification System. We expect state and local goat associations to pursue additional funding during this project to support sustained field delivery of the curriculum.

    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.