Raising rabbits is a potential revenue source for Virginia's small farmers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  October 26, 2018

Contact: Michelle Olgers, Marketing & Communications Dept., 804-524-6964, molgers@vsu.edu 

SFOP Workshop Will Highlight Benefits of Adding Commercial Rabbit Production to Farm Operations

The Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP) will host the educational workshop, Pastured Raised Commercial Rabbit Production, on Thursday, November 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at VSU Randolph Farm Pavilion, 4415 River Road, Petersburg, Va.

“Through our programs we aim to educate small-scale and limited-resource farmers about different revenue-generating opportunities,” said SFOP Director William Crutchfield. “Rabbit production provides a meat product for revenue while simultaneously allowing producers to reduce the cost of fertilizer and other soil amendments.” 

Attendees will get practical information about Virginia laws for processing and selling rabbit meat. They will learn about barn, cage and processing unit construction, and enhance their knowledge about which rabbit species are best suited for meat. Participants also will learn how rabbit production can become part of a nutrient management plan to efficiently manage waste as a cost-effective, organic soil amendment in the garden and on the farm.

Rabbits convert feed to meat more efficiently than cattle, and have been called the next big thing in pastured livestock. They may be raised for commercial purposes, including meat consumption, as pets and for laboratory use. According to the 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), there were 13,420 farms with rabbits with an inventory of 400,049 and 852,837 rabbits sold. 

This educational workshop is free and open to the public. Space is limited, so register early. 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 the Small Farm Outreach Program office by email at smallfarm@vsu.edu or call (804) 524-3292 / TDD (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.

The Small Farm Outreach Program, which is part of Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University, aims to encourage and assist limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and military veteran farmers and ranchers to own, maintain and operate farms and ranches independently, to participate in agricultural programs and improve their overall farm management skills. The SFOP provides outreach and assistance activities in production management, financial management, marketing, available USDA farm programs and other areas to increase farm profitability and promote sustainability. Currently, the program provides educational programming in approximately 64 Virginia counties, which have the highest concentrations of limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers in the state. For more information, visit https://www.ext.vsu.edu/small-farm-outreach-program/.

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. 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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