The Alabama Cooperative Extension System offered a series of basic management workshops across the state to educate animal producers on how to maintain small ruminants, to increase profitability and to sustain the environment. The third workshop was held in Citronelle on Saturday, Aug. 24 under the coordination of Extension Animal Scientist Dr. Maria Leite-Browning, Urban Regional Extension Agent Denise Heubach, and Extension Environmental Specialist Dr. Karnita Garner. The small ruminant workshop was offered in collaboration with the project titled “Addressing Critical and Emerging Safety Issues in Human, Animal and Environmental Health through Extension and Outreach” that was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2012.
Workshop presenters included Heubach, Browning, USDA Marketing Specialist David Garcia, and Urban Regional Extension agents Eddie Wheeler and Tommie Teacher.
Heubach introduced the newly developed Synergistic Efforts to Reduce Pharmaceuticals in the Environment Program that uses a cross-disciplinary approach to address safety issues in environmental, human and animal health science as it relates to toxic pharmaceuticals in the environment. In addition to marketing and parasite management training, local farmers learned how to minimize the impact of veterinary pharmaceuticals on environmental, animal, and human health. Producers also received information on how to properly dispose of unused or unwanted animal medication.
The afternoon session was held at Cricket Creek Goat Farm owned by producer Mark N. Craddock. Participants received live animal demonstrations on the FAMACHA system (parasite diagnostic tool), foot trimming, locating proper vaccination and injection sites, grading animals for market and other basic small ruminant management practices. After the demonstrations, there was an open discussion, and each participant received FAMACHA cards and a copy of Extension’s book Meat Goats: Reproduction, Nutrition and Health that was released in 2010.
A total of 42 farmers attended the workshop. Pre- and post-test surveys were used to determine gains in participant knowledge after the presentations and live demonstrations. Results of the surveys indicated that 98 percent of the participants learned that the criteria to use chemicals to treat sheep and goats with high gastrointestinal parasite burdens should be based upon fecal examination and the FAMACHA test. One hundred percent of the participants graded the workshop as “excellent” and requested further training in the near future.
Fourteen participants (33 percent) that had attended previous small ruminant educational workshops sponsored by Extension indicated that production efficiency had increased, the health of their herds had improved and profitability had increased by 20 percent.
Top photo: Participants visited the Cricket Creek Farm owned by Mark Craddock for live demonstrations.
Bottom photo: Workshop presenters from left to right Denise Heubach, David Garcia, Maria Browning, Eddie Wheeler, and Tommie Teacher.
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