Diversifying with Small Ruminants for Profitability

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2006: $85,340.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Allison Shauger
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agricultu

Annual Reports


  • Animals: goats, sheep


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, housing, parasite control, grazing - continuous, feed additives, feed formulation, feed rations, herbal medicines, homeopathy, manure management, mineral supplements, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, probiotics, range improvement, grazing - rotational, stockpiled forages, vaccines, watering systems, winter forage
  • Crop Production: cover crops
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: hedgerows
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    Since submitting a version of this proposal last year, PASA has forged stronger relationships with partnering organizations in the small ruminant community. With the help of these organizations, PASA will serve the small ruminant community by positioning ourselves as the focal point for disseminating information and providing access to expertise relevant to small ruminant production. Specifically, we will serve commercial farmers who currently raise or would like to raise meat goats and lambs for ethnic markets and/or dairy goats and sheep for milk and value-added products such as cheese and yogurt. To this end, PASA will coordinate and/or facilitate over the three year duration of this project a minimum of eight farmer-to-farmer field days, three hands-on intensive learning programs, six conference workshops, two producers’ group meetings per region, and one pre-conference track. From interviews and surveys conducted with farmers and agricultural professionals, PASA has discerned a growing need for a comprehensive approach to small ruminant education that addresses issues specific to small and medium size operations. We intend to answer the needs of producers through farmer-to-farmer learning and clinical forums presented by experts and researchers. PASA recently expanded the capacity of our on-farm research program to include a collaboration with researchers from the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and farmers to conduct applied research relevant to small ruminant production in Pennsylvania. Through this proposed educational project, we will disseminate the results of this work. Producers have repeatedly told us that the opportunity to network with other producers is critical to the success of their individual enterprises. Therefore, in addition to hosting educational events, PASA will facilitate the formation or revitalization of regionally-based producers’ groups.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Of 250 farmers participating in this project, 35 will attend at least half of the technical programs and 25 will use the trainings to successfully introduce small ruminants to diversify operations or implement a change to significantly improve profitability of existing operations.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.