Understanding Small Landowners' Perspectives in Adoption of Goat-Agroforestry Land Management System

2010 Annual Report for LS10-237

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2010: $27,961.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Buddhi Gyawali
Kentucky State University

Understanding Small Landowners' Perspectives in Adoption of Goat-Agroforestry Land Management System


This preliminary research grant seeks to collect preliminary information to develop a full proposal determining if goat rearing under agroforestry systems can become an effective land management and viable income-earning alternative for small farmers in Alabama. Majority of Alabama farmers are poor and small; their lands do not provide adequate returns. These farmers are eager to know how to diversify farm activities to obtain decent farm returns and retain farmlands. One way is to produce high-value specialty crops and animals. In some places, farmers have been raising meat-goats and have indicated that such business possesses potential to become a viable and cost-effective land management alternative. However, no systematic research has been conducted to assess the critical issues of goat-agroforestry farm profitability and sustainability for the smallholding landowners in Alabama. The goat-meat demand is on the rise due to increased influx of ethnic population whose meat of choice is goat meat. Although meat-goats have historically been raised for brush control in southern United States, it is not known yet if such practice is environmentally and economically effective.
The project has just been initiated due to delay in the set up of the budget and recruitment of students. Survey questionnaire are being finalized and plan for focus group discussions has set up for Summer, 2011. A no-cost extension request has been approved for another year.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The proposal will seek landowners’ perspectives in the three objectives:(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 are the assistance available to them from local and government agencies? About 100 goat herders across the State of Alabama will be interviewed by telephone survey to obtain preliminary information about goat heard establishment, management and marketing, problems encountered and feasibility to make goats an integral part of the agricultural system.


The project consists of two major activities: (1) telephone interview of 100 goat-farmers across Alabama, (2) conducting three focus group discussions in the eight Black Belt counties in southwest Alabama. To perform these major activities, financial support for the two-month release time of the Project Investigator (PI) and two-month assistantship to a graduate student were sought. Due to delay in budget set up, I was unable to recruit a graduate student and obtain the release time from the university from July 2010. However, we have made some progress in this year. We have already begun few project related activities. With the help from a graduate student, I am in the process of finalizing the sampling frame of the goat-farmers for interview, designing survey instruments, and collecting information for setting up focus group discussions. However, we will not be able to implement survey and focus group activities until Summer, 2011 due to my teaching load and limited availability of the graduate student in a regular semester period. In addition, based on my conversation with the potential participants in the proposed focus group discussions, summer season was found to be the best time for organizing these sessions. I would also like to mention that nothing has been spent from this grant as of today.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Since the project has not been implemented fully, there is nothing specific to report as impacts or outcomes at this time. The project will be implemented fully beginning June 2011 and the impacts will be assessed and reported in the next report.


Dr. Nar Gurung

Assistant Professor
Tuskegee University
301 B Milbank Hall
Tuskegee, AL 36088
Office Phone: 3347278457