- Animals: goats
- Animal Production: feed/forage, housing, parasite control, animal protection and health, grazing - continuous, feed additives, feed rations, grazing management, livestock breeding, mineral supplements, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, range improvement, grazing - rotational, stocking rate, therapeutics, vaccines, watering systems, winter forage
- Crop Production: food product quality/safety
- Education and Training: general education and training
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, value added
- Production Systems: holistic management
- Sustainable Communities: ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change
Goat production has become one of the fastest growing enterprises in the livestock industry, offering new business opportunities for farm families to diversify small farm operations and to explore alternative enterprises and innovative marketing systems to increase their farm income. The Southern U.S. has a competitive advantage on goat production ability due to its favorable climate's ability to supply forages year-round. However, before this industry can become truly viable, goat producers must be able to produce safe products on a consistent basis to ensure consumer confidence and to be competitive globally. Unfortunately, many agricultural professionals have little to no training in goat production. For more than twenty-five years Tuskegee University has played a leading role in caprine research and serves as a resource for those involved in goat production. The objective of the current proposal was to utilize our longstanding Annual Goat (Field) Day as well as more recent programs, including an Annual Goat Show, an Artificial Insemination Workshop, and a Master Goat Producer Training Program to positively impact the goat industry by providing agricultural professionals with transformative opportunities to move the industry forward by boosting self-confidence among individuals interested in goats and effectively moving these individuals toward positive change that will result in sustainable collaborations, ultimately resulting in increased knowledge of the industry by agricultural professionals and their target audiences. To address this objective, four goat training programs, indicated above, were held at Tuskegee University twice each over a two year period. Overall, the programs resulted in increased knowledge of agricultural professions, mentor farmers and others in the area of goat production.
The objective of the current project was to increase the knowledge base of information and resources of agricultural professionals, which we believe in turn, will increase the ability of a larger number of producers who are able to achieve diversification in their agricultural operations through the implementation a comprehensive Goat Production Training Program that consists of four events:
- Master Goat Producer's Certification Training (MGPC) Program, a three-day lecture and hands-on training program that trains attendees on proper goat management from establishing facilities to nutrition and reproductive management and beyond, including enterprise budgets, marketing and more. A pre-program seminar was presented by James Hill (S-SARE) that focused on grants available by S-SARE on the evening before the start of the MGPC program.
- Artificial Insemination (AI) Workshop, a one-day workshop with lecture and hands-on training on AI in goats.
- Annual Goat Show preceded by Goat Show Clinics, an opportunity for participants, primarily youth, to show their prize goats. Agricultural professionals will be trained in goat showmanship and, subsequently, instruct youth groups in the practice of goat showmanship. Youth receiving this subsequent training will be eligible to receive goats from TU and participate in the Annual Goat Show.
Annual Goat Day, a one-day workshop/field day that acquaints attendees with new advances in goat production research.