Mid-Atlantic Sheep - Goat Marketing Project
Domestic demand for sheep and goat meat exceeds current production levels, particularly in the Eastern U.S., and producers often do not know how to take advantage of the opportunities that the ethnic/religious markets present. The purpose of the Mid-Atlantic Sheep & Goat Marketing Project is to build on the accomplishments of the Northeast Sheep & Goat Marketing Program by continuing to improve the marketing infrastructure for sheep and goat producers in the Mid-Atlantic region. A major goal of the project is to develop the original web site into a national resource on sheep and goat marketing.
Of the 400 sheep and goat producers participating in this project:
a) 20% will change their breeding, feeding, and/or marketing programs to target ethnic/religious markets.
b) 10% will pool their sheep and/or goats for transport to a regional livestock.
c) 5% will increase their net market price by marketing their sheep and/or goats through local livestock auctions or special graded sales.
d) 10% will direct market their sheep and/or goats to consumers, slaughterhouses, live markets, restaurants, and/or meat markets.
e) Of the producers who allow on-farm slaughter, 90% will implement humane slaughter practices on their farm and dispose of offal in an environmnetally safe manner (e.g. composting).
Sheepgoatmarketing.info has been established as a national resource on sheep and goat marketing, though progress was hindered by security issues affecting the server at the University of Maryland. All components of the web site are fully functional: producer directory, marketing directory, marketing inquiries, and calendar of events. There are 599 sheep and goat producers listed in the producer directory.
An oral presentation was given at Appalachian Grazing Conference (Morgantown, WV; 3/05).
P.I. conducted market readiness workshop for goat producers in New York state.
Oral presentation was given at North American Hair Sheep Symposium (San Angelo, TX; 10/05).
Oral presentation was given at American Society of Animal Science joint meeting (Cincinatti, OH; 7/05).
Oral presentation was given at National Small Farm Conference (Greensboro, NC; 10/05).
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The purpose of the web site is to connect buyers and sellers. Many producers have sold (and buyers have found) breeding stock and market animals as a result of their listings on the web site. Here are some sample testimonials:
One producer attributed 15 sales to his listing in the producer directory of the web site.
One producer sold all her goats before they were born.
One producer sold goats 1 day after listing his farm on the web site.
One producer has developed a thriving on-farm market for his goats as a result of his listing on the web site.
A large sheep producer in VA (700 ewes) used the web site to establish sales with a processor in Connecticut.
The web site has numerous other uses:
An ethnic buyer used the web site to find a suitable knife for religious slaughter.
Six producers requested the humane on-farm slaughter poster.
20 producers and/or associations requested copies of the ethnic/religious calendar.