MEETING THE EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF A GROWING INDUSTRY
County Extension Agent, Agriculture
Situation: The 2007 Agriculture Census ranked Marion County number one in small ruminant production, housing twenty-four percent of the state’s 2,001 farms. Throughout Florida, the growing demand of alternative red meat sources for health-conscious consumers has increased substantially. Other cultures including: Muslims, Hispanics, Caribbean Islanders, etc., have increased demand for sheep and goat meat. Escalating feed costs have made small ruminants a more economical option due to their ability to generate more cash-flow per acre, when compared to other large livestock. Methods: The Central Florida Livestock Agents Group (CFLAG) developed a one-day educational conference focusing on small ruminant production. Topics discussed ranged from small farm pasture management and fencing and round-table sessions to health and parasite control. The FAMACHA® parasite management certification was also offered. A farm tour and a chute-side animal handling demonstration were conducted during the conference. An evaluation was carried out to determine further educational needs for this demographic. Results: Survey response rate was thirty-nine percent (n=24). Ninety-six percent (n=22) indicated the information was useful. Eighty-seven percent (n=21) would consider implementing new farm management practice changes. Examples of practice change include: pasture management (n=8), improved parasite management (n=4) and herd nutrition (n=1). Conclusion: The survey results indicated a significant need for more educational programs targeting sheep and goat ranchers in the State of Florida. Educational needs identified were; reproduction (n=4), herd health (n=3), financial management (n=3), nutrition (n=2), value added products (n=2). Based on this producer feedback, CFLAG will conduct an annual Small Ruminant Production Conference.
Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC
This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.
A poster file has not been provided
Authors: J. Bosques
Bosques, J. County Extension Agent Small Farms, UF/IFAS, Florida, 34470