and producer groups have made a strong effort to help address the needs
and challenges of the goat industry within Alabama. Unless someone has
attended some of these meetings, they may not realize all that has taken
place over the past year. For those who may not be aware, this article
will summarize many of these accomplishments.
in February, ACES held a goat and sheep workshop in Huntsville. It was
attended by over one hundred potential and existing small ruminant
producers from Alabama and Tennessee. The temperatures outside were cold
but the snow cooperated by staying in Tennessee.
Auburn took the initiative a few months later and held a goat workshop
at their University. They utilized some of their own experts and brought
in others from out of state. The event organizers did a good job of
bringing in attendees from all over Alabama and Georgia.
a month later, Tuskegee University held their annual goat workshop. For
many years Tuskegee has been doing an impressive job of addressing the
needs of goat producers throughout all of Alabama and Tennessee. They
were conducting goat workshops when goat production was just beginning
to take hold in Alabama.
a month later Auburn University held another workshop, this time
specifically addressed to dairy goat production and producers. This is
the first time that such a workshop had solely addressed issues
associated with dairy goats and diary goat milk production. The event
was well attended and greatly appreciated by dairy goat producers
throughout Alabama and Georgia. It is not often an entire workshop
focuses on this niche area of production. There are plans for another
one in 2007.
May, the organization of Goat and Sheep Producers of Alabama held their
own Goat Festival in Talladega. No, it was not held at the raceway, but
it was as much fun as a race. People came from Alabama and Georgia to
see a variety of goats and sheep, listen to speakers discussing issues
relevant to small ruminant production, and watch a variety of
demonstrations including herding dogs working with sheep and goats. It
was definitely a well-attended festival that offered some form of fun
for all family members, including the goat dressing contest.
June, the Small Farms Research Center of Alabama A & M University
held a seminar that focused on alternative enterprises in agriculture.
They addressed goat, rabbit and organic vegetable production. The
audience filled the conference room of the Agribition Center in
Huntsville. The topics and displays were greatly appreciated by those
attending this event.
July, ACES hired a Scientist and a Specialist whose focuses are on
nothing but goat, sheep and rabbit production issues. They hit the
ground running, getting the word out that Extension is here to help
goat, sheep, and rabbit producers and address their needs.
July through November, ACES was a part of at least sixteen workshops.
That averages out to slightly over three workshops per month! Their
efforts took place throughout the entire state, and a few times outside
of Alabama. Their goal was to let people throughout Alabama realize that
ACES is here to help all producers in the state.
in the counties of Escambia, Mobile, Montgomery, Clay, Randolph,
Limestone, Lauderdale, Marshall, and Madison all had opportunities to
attend workshops in their areas. If you are interested in having a
workshop of this type in your area feel free to contact someone from
Cooperative Extension and request such a workshop be held in your
does 2007 hold with outreach efforts that benefit the Small Ruminant
Industry within Alabama? So far the following are planned: The Goat and
Sheep Producers of Alabama have a meeting scheduled for January 9th in
Talladega. Cooperative Extension has plans for a series of goat
workshops to be held in various locations throughout the state that
focus on parasite identification and management.
also have planned a Goat Herd Health Management Seminar on March 17 in
Huntsville. Auburn University has plans for another goat workshop in
March or April. Tuskegee University has plans for their annual goat
workshop a short time later. In May or June, the Goat and Sheep
Producers of Alabama will host their annual Goat & Sheep Festival.
June, Cooperative Extension has plans for a Dairy Goat Workshop in North
Alabama. On September 29th, Cooperative Extension will host a
Reproductive Management Workshop in Huntsville.
you can see there are already lots of activities relevant to goat and
sheep production that are planned for 2007! If you would like to make
something happen in your area, feel free to contact Robert Spencer at
256-766-6223 or Maria Browning at 256-372-4954. They are looking for
opportunities to help throughout the entire state!
Spencer is the Urban Regional Extension Specialist in the Urban Affairs
and New Nontraditional Programs Unit & The Urban Centers in North
America for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.