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A strategic planning committee was put together by Lincoln University Cooperative Extension early in the year to investigate how we might work together in developing markets for sheep and goats and how we might also form a new generation cooperative.
Value-added Fiber Program
The Value-added Fiber Program is taught statewide but its main focus is a statewide retreat held in March at Carver Farm. The Heart of America Festival in Nevada, southwestern Missouri, the World Sheep Festival held in Bethel, located in northeastern Missouri, the American Royal where urban youth are exposed to and taught about farm animals and adding value to natural fibers, and the Missouri State Fair held in August. We cover all aspects of instruction in adding value to fibers produced from farm animals; wool, mohair, angora, llama and alpaca. Training includes washing wool to carding, spinning, weaving, felting, natural and chemical dyeing and making marketable items.
Programs are held throughout Missouri and many workshops, conferences and short courses are taught at the Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Carver Farm.
On a daily basis, farmers contact Lincoln University Cooperative Extension for information on sheep and goats and for problem solving help in their operations. Toxic plants, feeding problems, coccidia infestation and control, internal parasite control, as well as breeding problems that occur every fall in most operations are some examples of problems solved for farmers. Working with veterinarians in their region is helpful to the producers. The estimated number of farmers seeking information to solve problems are in the neighborhood of 200.
A sheep conference was held in December of 2003 and another will be held in 2004 in November to deliver up to date information on scrapie, marketing, and selected topics by producers and members of the Missouri Sheep Producers to share at the conference to result in more profit to the producers of this state. Information on the animal id that is becoming mandatory all over the nation for all livestock was delivered and discussed in 2003 at the conference.
180 people attended our Fiber Retreat in March of 2004, 500 people attended the Heart of America Festival in June of 2004, 2000 people attended the Bethel World Sheep Festival in September of 2004, and all learned more about how to prepare their fibers to add value to their wool clips from many breeds and specie of farm animals.
Sharing Research-based Sheep, Goat, and Value-added Fiber Information
Dr. Helen Swartz serves on the Johne's disease and chronic wasting disease (CWD) committees for the Missouri Department of Agriculture Veterinary Division so that she can share this information with sheep and goat producers throughout Missouri.
The latest research-based information is shared with sheep and goat producers on all aspects of production and marketing. The sheep and goat strategic planning committee is identifying markets to increase the prices of sheep and goats. The impact of this committee has been to seek funding to conduct a feasibility study and business plan to pursue this in more depth in 2005. Cooperative Extension programs for sheep and goat producers have been delivered by invitation of field staff throughout Missouri. The invitations were from MU field staff or small farm education assistants following requests by new and veteran sheep and goat farmers. The subjects are varied and include management, nutrition, forage production, diseases that are metabolic or contagious, selection, breeding and marketing.
For more information contact:
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