- 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
An online course encompassing basic production practices within the small ruminant enterprise for the state of Kentucky was developed and launched for public access. Stakeholder involvement in the design, development and delivery of this information was robust. Additionally, a field delivery of the content evaluated effectiveness of the training materials, and acquainted farmer-instructors with the process of training other producers. Development of a producer manual and slide presentations to accompany the online course will facilitate future field deliveries by Extension personnel and/or farmer-instructors.
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.