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​Small ruminant producers will have an opportunity to learn more about Northeastern meat goat practices on a tour sponsored-in-part by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Registration is $10, with 38 available slots for producers from Alabama. The tour will take place May 22-26. The registration deadline is Wednesday, April 22. The registration fee includes meals and hotel reservations.
The small ruminant marketing tour is designed for small ruminant farmers in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee to explore new marketing opportunities that are common practice in the Northeast. Due to the large concentration of ethnic consumer groups in the northern United States, more than half of meat goats are consumed in this area.
“Participating in the tour will allow our Southern growers to better understand the needs of Northeastern livestock buyers,” Dr. Maria Leite-Browning, Extension Veterinarian said. “In addition to understanding the Northeastern practices, participants will have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and expertise for future on-farm use.”
On the tour, participants will learn how to improve live grading skills and evaluate the condition of their animal to satisfy target markets. Participants will also be provided with an opportunity to meet with livestock buyers and haulers and visit auction barns.
Producers will tour two large operations in central Virginia: the Shamoka Run Farm with 600 head of hair sheep with direct marketing capabilities run by Leo Tammi and the Vanguard Ranch LTD run by Renard Turner, a large commercial meat goat operator and direct marketer.
The tour will also serve to teach Southeastern producers about Northeastern marketing and buyer expectations. Participants will visit two auctions run by the New Holland Stable in Pennsylvania, the largest livestock auction house in the Northeast, and the Ken Smoker Sheep and Goat Buying Station.
The tour is sponsored by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System/Urban Affairs and New Non-Traditional Programs, Alcorn State University, Mississippi Meat Goat Producers Cooperative, NIFA/USDA and Tennessee State University.
To register contact one of the following individuals: Maria Leite-Browning at or 256-372-4954; Eddie Wheeler at or 256-264-5539; Tommie Teacher at or 334-624-8710; Terry Cook at or (601) 878-2433 ; Cassandra Vaughn at  or (601) 877-6541; Ricky Johnson at 601-702 -0255.
The tour agenda is listed below.
Friday, May 22
Buses depart from Alabama or Mississippi to Tazewell, TN
Tour #1: England Sheep Farm
Visit a 600-plus purebred Katahdin sheep farm run by James and Joann England, Tazewell, TN
Tour #2: Fugate Farm
Visit a Katahdin x Dorper cross hair sheep operation run by Rodney Fugate and sons, Tazewell, TN
Dinner: Cracker Barrel
Check-in at the Holiday Inn in Bristol, VA
Saturday, May 23
Buses depart from Bristol to Charlottesville, VA
Check- in at the DoubleTree Hotel in Charlottesville, VA
Tour #1: Vanguard Ranch LTD, Gordonsville, VA
Visit a commercial Kiko and Myotonic goat operation run by Renard Turner, Gordonsville, VA
Lunch: Vanguard Ranch
Sunday, May 24
Optional free day or take a group tour to visit Skyline Caverns and the Manassas Battlefield.
Tour #1: Skyline Caverns in Front Royal, VA – Cost: $8.00 per person
Lunch: Local Restaurant in Manassas, VA
Tour #2: Manassas National Battlefield Park – Cost: $3.00 a person
Dinner: Local restaurant in Charlottesville
Monday, May 25
Buses depart from Charlottesville, VA to Lancaster, PA
Check in at the DoubleTree Resort, Lancaster, PA
Tour #1: New Holland Sale Stables, New Holland, PA
Visit and interact with buyers and see the largest goat auction in the Northeast
Lunch: Local restaurant in New Holland
Tour #2: Feedlot Operation, Sunbury, PA
Learn about feedlot management.
Dinner: Federal Tap House, Lancaster, PA
Tuesday, May 26

Buses return to Alabama or Mississippi