- Animals: goats, sheep
- Education and Training: decision support system, display, extension, mentoring, networking, technical assistance
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, community-supported agriculture, cooperatives, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, agricultural finance, market study, risk management, value added
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, urban/rural integration
While demand for sheep and goat meat in the Eastern U.S. exceeds current production levels, many producers do not know how to take advantage of the opportunities that the ethnic/religious markets present. The Mid-Atlantic Sheep and Goat Marketing Project will build upon the accomplishments of the Northeast Sheep and Goat Marketing Program (NESGMP) to improve the marketing infrastructure for sheep and goat producers in the twelve northeastern states and expand the impact of the program further south. Feedback obtained from regional marketing summits and individual producers regarding the NESGMP indicated that what producers valued most was the information the program provided about the ethnic/religious markets and the identification (contact information) of potential ethnic/religious markets for sheep and goats. The Mid-Atlantic Project will conduct educational programs at various locations in the Mid-Atlantic region to teach producers how to target the ethnic/religious markets for sheep and goat meat. The NESGMP’s directory of producers, feeders, live markets, livestock auctions, dealers, slaughterhouses, and wholesale and retail meat markets will be expanded to encompass the states in the Mid-Atlantic region. Armed with increased knowledge and contact information, sheep and goat producers will improve their marketing practices and receive a greater income from their small ruminant enterprises, which will help maintain producers in the business, as well as further develop the small ruminant industry in the Eastern U.S.
Performance targets from proposal:
Of the four hundred sheep and/or goat producers participating in the workshops or obtaining information from the directory and/or educational materials (web site, etc.):
- 20% will change their breeding, feeding, and/or marketing programs to target the ethnic/religious markets. 10% will pool their sheep and/or goats for transport to a regional livestock auction. 5% will increase their net market price by marketing their sheep and/or goats in a through local livestock auctions or special graded sales. 10% will direct market their sheep and/or goats to consumers, slaughterhouses, live markets, restaurants, and/or meat markets. Of the producers which allow on-farm slaughter, 90% will implement humane slaughter practices on their farm and dispose of offal in an environmentally safe manner (e.g. composting).