Tuskegee University Goat Production Training Programs
During year one of the award period, four professional development programs targeting agricultural professionals and mentor farmers were held at Tuskegee University led by members the Tuskegee University Caprine Research and Education Group. Over 250 participants from five southeastern states participated in these programs. These events included the following: 1) Master Goat Producer’s Certification Training Program [August 2012; coordinated by Olga Bolden-Tiller], 2) TU Youth Goat Show and Goat Show Clinics [October 2012; coordinated by Nar Gurung with assistance from Uma Karki], 3) Artificial Insemination in Goats [October 2012; coordinated by Olga Bolden-Tiller] and 4) the Annual Goat Day program [April 2013; led by Nar Gurung and Olga Bolden-Tiller]. Collectively these programs resulted in the comprehensive training of agricultural professionals, mentor farmers and others in goat production practices and others to promote the diversification in agricultural operations related to the goat industry. The 2012 Master Goat Producer’s Certification Training Program (29 participants) held on August 2012, which represented the program’s fifth year, the program targeted more agricultural professionals and mentor farmers versus in past years at which only producers were targeted for the program. The participants took part in a comprehensive three-day intensive course (lecture and hands-on) in meat goat production, covering topics such as marketing, enterprise budgets, record keeping, facilities, livestock evaluation, parasite management, pasture management, nutrition, reproduction, predator management and more. Participants completed an exam to evaluate their ability to apply the newly learned information as well as surveys to assess the likeability of the events and to ascertain demographic information. In addition to presenters from Tuskegee University – Olga Bolden-Tiller, Chuck Okere, Yousouf Diabate, Karen Copedge, Sandra Solaiman, Wendell McElhenney, Nar Gurung, and Uma Karki, Byeng Min, other presenters included Maria Browning (Alabama A&M University), Nada Nadarajah, Christy Bratcher, (Auburn University), Will Getz (Fort Valley State University), Richard Browning (Tennessee State University) , William Weaver (USDA-NASS), David Martin (Gotcha Goat), Angela McKenzie-Jakes (FAMU), Derial Bivens (Tennessee Emergency Management Agency), Norma Tillman (Master Gardener), Tony Frazier (AL Department of Agriculture and Industries) and Ken Cearly (TAMU-AgriLife).
The 2012 AI for Goats Workshop (18 participants) held on October 13, 2012, targeting agricultural professionals and producers in an effort to increase awareness of and skill in AI goats. A workshop was presented in two parts: 1) Overview of female goat reproductive anatomy and physiology and 2) Hands –on artificial insemination activities for all participants (proficiency was visually ascertained by the instructor). Following the workshop, participants completed surveys to assess the likeability of the events and to ascertain demographic information. Eighteen participants: four farmers, five students (three undergraduate and two graduate/professional), and eight agriculture professionals, took part in the program representing three states (AL-16; FL-1; TN-1). Of the eighteen participants, eight responded indicating that the presentation and hands-on activities were of quality and value and provided the necessary materials (3.6-3.8/4.0); and that they would recommend the program to others. The majority of the respondents indicated that this was the first AI training that they had received and by its conclusion they had a better understanding of the artificial insemination techniques and its benefits.
The 2012 Goat Show and clinics were open to all Alabama youths less than 19 years of age. The Goat Show was held on the fourth Saturday of October (October 27, 2012) at the Tuskegee University Caprine Research and Education Unit. The show consisted of breeding classes, market classes and showmanship only. As per USDA regulations, USDA Premise ID was required to participate. The freshman students for the animal and poultry science programs were also encouraged to participate for the showmanship category after the actual event. The 6 weeks prior to the event, goat show clinics were held throughout the state to promote livestock judging among youth as a way to encourage interest in the livestock industry as well as develop animal management skills, social interaction, decision-making, and self-awareness, to nurture youth towards animal agriculture by exposing them at a younger age, help students gain age-appropriate knowledge and leaning experiences through competition, and engage in activities that strengthen positive interactions with fellow competitors and adults. Forty-six Alabama youth participated in the Goat Show with an additional 50+ taking part in the clinics leading up to the vent.
The 2012 Goat Day event was held on April 28 and provided common ground for scientists, governmental agencies, producers, and other stakeholders in goat industry an opportunity for information transfer through a series of technical presentations and research results during morning sessions and hands-on activities in the afternoon. The seminar topics included molecular and genetic basis of drug resistance in parasites and a historical view of general goat production by presenters William Witola (Tuskegee University) and Ralph Noble (North Carolina A&T University). Further, a round table discussion with producers focused on challenges, opportunities and outlook for goat industry. This discussion was led by agricultural professionals. For this event, 28 farmers, over 50 agricultural professionals and an additional 50+ students, including graduate and veterinary students were in attendance.
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.
During this period, of the four training programs were held as projected in the submitted proposal. Collectively, the programs served a significant number, totaling 278, agricultural professions, including educators, extension personnel, veterinarians, and USDA personnel as well as mentor farmers, representing at least five southern states. Relationships between agricultural professionals, mentor farmers and other participants were established all participants, including presenters, were provided with contact information for all participants/presenters and encouraged to use them as a resource beyond the program period. All presenters received the contact information for all participants as well. Subsequent to the programs, participants received notification of other goat related programs beyond those included in the current project from no less than three presenters for further professional development related to the goat industry. From each program, training materials were provided to all participants as a beginning information resource; a website or webpage for each program is available that contains program information and resources. Evaluations (pre- and post-) were developed and completed for two of the four programs (Master Goat Producer Certification Training Program and AI Workshop) to document success and self-assessed competency. Participants of the Master Goat Producer’s Training program were visited by TU personnel upon request within 6-12 months of the event for follow-up training and assessment at locations of their choosing, including facilities beyond the Tuskegee University Caprine Research and Education Unit. Likewise, personnel were available to assist with the preparation of individuals interested in participating in the Goat Show. Following the AI Workshop, personnel were available upon request for further training or as a resource/support for AI implementation beyond the “classroom.” Goat Day included a producer listening forum in which agricultural professionals took part. Between the four programs, participants received training materials, such as FAMACHA cards (with certification), collars, instruction manuals on showing goats, templates for business plans, software for livestock record keeping tailored for goat operations and more be used to train other individuals in these and related areas. In addition to the Tuskegee University training team, which included several faculty and staff members, collaborators from Auburn University, Alabama A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Florida A & M University, Tennessee State University and Texas A & M AgriLife served as presenters during one or more of the four programs, which was of benefit as participants from each of these states or bordering states took part in the events.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
At this time, the specific impacts of all of the programs have not been measured; however, during this period, the four training programs were held as proposed and impacts for the Master Goat Producer Certification Training (MGPC) Program as well as the AI Workshop are available based on pre- and post-test scoring, which indicated gains in knowledge related to the goat industry and goat production. Based on survey results, participants found the presentations to be of quality and value and the presenters knowledgeable with adequate materials, and they would recommend the program to others. An increase in post-test scores compared to pre-test scores, indicated that producers acquired knowledge that could result in improved herd management. In conclusion, the TU MGPC and AI Workshop both provided producers with valuable information necessary for meat goat producers to become competitive in this global economy. For the MGPC program, of the participants who elected to undergo a site visit, many had incorporated a number of the lessons learned during the program into their management systems or teaching of said systems. Lastly, the pre-program grants workshop that preceded the MGPC program was well attended with 20+ participants, some of whom specifically came for that event. Further, after the completion of one or more of the programs, it was also noted that additional information was requested by participants regarding additional TU goat programs and that several of the participants attended subsequent events while bringing along others to the events, serving as an additional indicator that the training the trainer had great impacts beyond the individual program participants. For the AI Workshop, the eighteen participants – eight responded indicating that the presentation and hands-on activities were of quality and value and provided the necessary materials (3.6-3.8/4.0); and that they would recommend the program to others. The majority of the respondents indicated that this was the first AI training that they had received and by its conclusion they had a better understanding of the artificial insemination techniques and its benefits. The Goat Show and Clinics resulted in an increase in the number of minority youth participating in such events in the state of Alabama as well as an increase in the number of individuals available to train youth on three areas of livestock judging, including Showmanship, Market Class and Breed Class. Agricultural professionals who had not previously supported goat shows in their area of the state, subsequently completed clinics in their target areas and a number of the youth taking part in those clinics in turn participated in the 2012 Goat Show. The Tuskegee University Goat Day remains the flagship technology transfer events for meat goat producers in the state of Alabama and beyond.
103 Mary Starke Harper Hall
Tuskegee Institute, AL 36088
Office Phone: 3347278403