- Animals: goats
- Animal Production: grazing management, manure management, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, grazing - rotational
- Crop Production: agroforestry, forestry
- Education and Training: display, extension, focus group, participatory research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, market study, value added
- Production Systems: agroecosystems
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, social networks, sustainability measures
This participatory research project studied if goat rearing under agroforestry systems can become an effective land management and viable income-earning alternative for small farmers in Alabama via focus group discussions and surveys. The results of focus group discussions and survey indicated that majority of landowners who own less than 100 acres of land and who are mostly African-Americans do not know much about economic potential of goat-raising and they have shown high interest in engaging in such activity. Few landowners are interested to establish demonstration farms in their properties and begin agroforestry-based land management system with technical and cost-share supports from federal and state agencies or universities. In addition, the participants of the project were highly interested to collaborate with universities for experimental research and outreach services. The project could not accomplish all the stated objectives because of the Project Director’s job change and delay in the transfer of the subaward from Alabama A&M University to Kentucky State University. The preliminary results of the project were presented in the sixth National Small Farm Conference in Memphis, Tennessee, Sept 18-20, 2012. A paper is being developed and will be submitted to an extension journal soon. The preliminary results and feedback of this project are being used to develop a full proposal to submit to SARE’s Research & Education grant.
The objectives of the project were following:
1. To what extent does the integration of goats in the agroforestry system help to control unwanted vegetation and increase soil fertility?
2. Is the modified agroforestry system is cost-effective and provide a viable economic opportunity for small farmers?
3. What are the critical information needs associated to goat rearing and marketing and what is the assistance available to them from local and government agencies?