VSU To Offer Goat/Sheep Program Oct. 20

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  October 13, 2017

Contact: Michelle Olgers, Marketing & Communications Dept., 804-304-4200, molgers@vsu.edu

This Year’s Small Ruminant Field Day Will Focus on Optimizing Nutrition

Small Ruminant Field Day will be held on Friday, October 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Virginia State University’s Randolph Farm, 4415 River Road, Ettrick. 

Optimizing nutrition is the theme of this year’s field day, with focus on how to ensure sheep and goats are getting a balanced diet and their nutritional needs are being met.

“When I go out and meet with producers, they often have questions about what to feed and whether what they’re feeding is correct and sufficient, and how can they tell,” said Dr. Dahlia O’Brien, small ruminant extension specialist at Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University. “I hope attendees will get information on how to go about making sure their animals are getting what they need, and to understand that if animals are not fed optimally, they can’t produce optimally.”

Participants will learn about how to feed different classes of animals; for example, a growing lamb or kid, a pregnant female, a breeding male or an animal that’s nursing its young. There will be information on nutritional disorders that can occur; health problems that can occur from deficiencies in certain nutrients; and alternative feedstuffs to reduce costs.

Dr. Steve Hart, a research scientist at Langston University in Oklahoma, is this year’s keynote speaker and will make two presentations. Dr. Adnan Yousuf will speak about nutrition research being conducted at Virginia State University’s College of Agriculture.

Demand for sheep and goat meat remains high in major American cities, including metropolitan areas in Virginia. Both are dietary staples of many ethnic groups, with about 60 to 70 percent of the world regularly eating goat meat. According to North Carolina State University, since 1991 the United States is a net importer of goat meat. In 2014, 43,188 million pounds of goat meat were imported for a total value of $94.7 million, compared to 2,994 million pounds in 1990 for a total value of $1.9 million. As populations from the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean increase, so does the demand for these meats, with goats and sheep of all ages often fetching premium prices.  

Goats and sheep can be raised on relatively small amounts of land, which presents an opportunity for many of Virginia’s smaller farmers to fill this niche. Virginia Cooperative Extension at VSU focuses on providing extension assistance to the Commonwealth’s small, historically underserved and limited-resource farmers and ranchers.

Registration is $10 per person and includes lunch. To register, visit www.ext.vsu.edu/calendar, click on the event and then click on the registration link. 

If you need further information or are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Mollie Klein at mklein@vsu.edu or call (804) 524-6960 / (800) 828-1120 (TDD) during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations no later than five days prior to the event.

Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. VSU is an equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.





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