December 16, 2011

Small ruminant production is becoming big business in Kentucky as farmers realize the potential of raising sheep and goats.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture is teaming up with sheep and goat breed associations, Kentucky State University and the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board to offer the 2012 Kentucky Small Ruminant Grazing Conference at the Western Kentucky University Ag Expo Center in Bowling Green. Scheduled for Jan. 14, the conference will offer many sessions for all levels of experience.

“We’ve got something for anyone who is interested in raising small ruminants,” said David Ditsch, director of the UK Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability in Quicksand. “We’re going to present science-based research that producers can  apply in their own operations.”

Registration begins at 9 a.m. CST with sessions starting at 9:10 a.m. The day will start off with an economics and marketing update, followed by several sessions related to forage management, nutrition and genetics. Topics include: 

    • Forages and nutritional requirements for producing choice lambs
    • Breed selection considerations for producing grade 2 kids
    • Importance of minerals to overall health
    • Potential impact of tall fescue forage on the production of meat goat market kids 

Two producers will also make presentations. Sheep producer Eden Myers of Mt. Sterling will discuss “High Health=Low Cost.” Sheep, goat and hog producer Greg Brann of Tennessee will discuss planning forage quality for animal performance.

Participants can attend an optional FAMACHA training at 3:15 p.m.

Registration, due Jan. 7, is $25 for the conference and an additional $15 for the FAMACHA training.

Those planning to attend the conference should send name, address, phone number and email along with payment to UK Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability, Attn. Jackie Allen, 130 Robinson Road, Jackson, KY 41339.

The 2012 Small Ruminant Grazing Conference is sponsored by the UK Cooperative Extension Service, Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office, Kentucky Goat Producers Association, Kentucky Sheep and Wool Producers Association and Kentucky State University.

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