Search for Excellence in Livestock Production
Sheep & Goat Specialist
1 Assistant Professor/Small Ruminant Specialist, Delaware State University, Dover, DE, 19901
2 Associate Professor/Small Ruminant Specialist, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA, 23806
3 Extension Specialist, Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, GA, 31030
4 Sheep & Goat Specialist, , Keedysville, MD, 21756
Gastro-intestinal parasites (worms) are the primary health problem affecting small ruminants in warm, moist climates. The need for producer education is continuous, as there is a constant influx of new producers, as well as existing producers who continue to struggle with the problem. The restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic made face-to-face programming impossible in 2020. As a result, educational needs were met with increased online education, including online FAMACHA© certification. Nine weekly worm webinars drew 2471 participants from multiple states and countries. The webinars had 6474 views via YouTube. The PowerPoint slides were viewed 6685 times on SlideShare. Follow-up surveys indicated that more than 90 percent of participants in the weekly worm webinars learned something new, with 60 to 100 percent planning to use information they gained in the webinars to better manage internal parasites in their flocks/herds. There were 396 participants in an online FAMACHA© Certification webinar. The recorded presentation had 667 views via YouTube. The PowerPoint slides were viewed 597 times via SlideShare. There were 365 responses to the online quiz. The average test score was 87%. So far, 98 videos demonstrating FAMACHA© scoring have been submitted in fulfillment of FAMACHA© certification. Eighty-four people were FAMACHA© certified in 2020. More than 90 percent of participants in FAMACHA© trainings use FAMACHA© to make deworming decisions. They have fewer parasite problems and deworm less frequently. The WormX web site (wormx.info) provides a link to fact sheets, articles, videos, podcasts, and other information pertaining to internal parasite control in small ruminants. The web site had 162,082 page views in 2020, a 21% increase from 2019, with over 62K new users. It is recognized nationally as the go-to place for information about internal parasite control in small ruminants. Online programming fulfilled the educational need during the 2020 pandemic and will continue to be an important learning tool for small ruminant producers.