2009 Annual Report for ES08-089
Toolbox for Small Ruminant Educators: Building on the Small Ruminant Resource Manual
Sheep and goat production is popular with many beginning farmers and is a new enterprise for some experienced farmers. Extension agents working with these farmers need tools to support them. Earlier SARE-funded work allowed us to create a whole-farm planning tool, the Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet, and a manual on CD for Extension agents and for producers. These tools are available currently from ATTRA, The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (www.attra.ncat.org). However, all materials needed to be expanded and updated, and agents trained with the new materials. This project will run until March 31, 2011, and will result in updated and useful tools for Extension agents working with sheep and goat producers.
The overall purpose of this project is to increase the ability of educators to assist sheep and goat producers, thereby encouraging diversification of agricultural enterprises and increasing sustainability. This project will create new materials, improve on existing materials, and offer training workshops for educators. All activities will be done with input from sheep and goat producers. The products created during this project and used during the training workshops are described as “tools”, and the evaluation methods for each objective are listed below. The desired results of this project are that:
1. At least 100 educators (Extension agents, NRCS field staff, Young Farmer advisors, Heifer International field representatives) will be better equipped to serve the needs of sheep and goat producers, especially limited-resource producers. At least 40 will actually use the materials within six months of receiving the training.
• Tools: PowerPoint library, tutorial, manual, FAQ list, and checksheet
• Evaluation method: pre- and post-tests, questionnaire six months after training
2. At least 100 educators will know how to obtain further information about sheep and goat production and marketing.
• Tool: Small Ruminant Resource List, Small Ruminant Manual
• Evaluation method: post-test, questionnaire six months after training
3. At least 100 educators will gain knowledge of organic sheep and goat production and will have tools in their possession to help farmers interested in this option.
• Tools: Organic Sheep and Goat Resource List, organic chapter in manual
• Evaluation method: pre- and post test, questionnaire after training to determine use
4. Educators will understand the value of whole farm planning and will be equipped to present the Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet (a tool for whole farm planning created during the previous project, ES02-060) to sheep and goat farmers in their area. At least 40 will use the materials within six months of receiving training.
• Tools: Checksheet, workshops
• Evaluation method: questionnaire after six months; record number of educators trained and number of producers who use the checksheet with an educator, workshops hosted by educators to present the checksheet to producers
5. Educators will be prepared to plan and deliver workshops for sheep and goat producers and at least 15 will host a workshop in their region within six months of receiving training.
• Tools: PowerPoint library, workshops
• Evaluation method: post-test after training, questionnaire six months later; record number of educators trained and number of workshops hosted by trainees; collect feedback about usefulness of all materials (PowerPoint library, organic resource list, small ruminant resource list, small ruminant manual, checksheet, training workshops)
The project leader will be responsible for compiling the data and information from each state and incorporating the feedback to improve materials.
In the summer of 2009, NCAT interns Ann Bartlett and Chelsey Ahrens worked to update the Small Ruminant Resource Manual. It has been circulated to collaborators for suggestions and changes and can now be formatted. After the updated Manual is formatted, it will be saved on jump drives for distribution to states for their Extension agents.
The jump drives will also hold 10 PowerPoint presentations on topics we have identified as important for the region’s producers and prospective producers, including Marketing Sheep and Goats, Making Money With Sheep and Goats, Organic Sheep and Goat Production, Managing Forages, and Getting Started With Sheep and Goats. These will have notes attached and single-page handouts ready to use in workshops. Completion of these PowerPoint presentations and the notes and the jump drives with the Manual is set for late summer 2010.
The Small Ruminant Resource List has been updated and needs to be formatted. The Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet has been expanded and is now being revised to incorporate excellent suggestions from collaborators. It will be tested by farmers and then formatted.
After finalizing the publications and a FAQ list, we will conduct trainings in each state. We have received a no-cost extension to allow us to complete the project and evaluate the project.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
By the completion of this project, many Extension agents and farmers in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia will have been introduced to the new tools and will have practiced designing workshops around the tools, customized for their own county. By working together to plan a training, each agent and their partner farmer will be excited about the possibilities and will be motivated to collaborate to offer training in their county. This will result in more interest in hosting and attending trainings and will improve communication and working relationships with agents and farmers. Sheep and goat farmers will have more support as they improve their enterprises.
Kentucky State University
225 Cooperative Extension Facility
400 E. Main Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
Office Phone: 5025975094
Dianne Hellwig Consulting
970 Manse Rd.
Paint Lick, KY 40461
Office Phone: 8599252210
Professor and Extension Specialist
Fort Valley State University
Fort Valley, GA
State Extension Specialist
University of Arkansas CES
2301 S. University Avenue
PO Box 391
Little Rock, AR 72203
Office Phone: 5016712067
Research Scientist II
Langston, OK 73050
Office Phone: 4054666138
Small Ruminant Extension Specialist
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209
Office Phone: 6159631351