Small Ruminant Program

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Cooperative Extension Small Ruminant Program

Small ruminants are grazing mammals, such as sheep and goats. The advantage of these animals, compared to large ruminants (cattle), is their low cost, small size, and marginal land use, which convert into high-quality animal products. Since sheep and goats are relatively cheaper to keep, and the demand for alternative products has risen, farmers have expressed growing interest in small ruminant production and management.

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE) Small Ruminant Program is here to help underserved, limited-resource farmers succeed in their small ruminant farming ventures.

Challenges of Small Ruminant Production

  • Parasites and animal welfare
  • Nutrition and pasture management
  • Marketing and risk management
  • Animal breeding and selection
  • Lack of business models and strategic plans
  • Limited engagement between producers and the livestock industry

Opportunities of Small Ruminant Production

  • Improved production efficiency and optimization
  • Enhanced pasture management, including multispecies grazing
  • Niche markets, exporting and value-added products
  • Entry into the livestock industry for beginning and advanced farmers
  • Climate-Smart commodities

Small Ruminant Program Strategy

The Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE) Small Ruminant Program provides research-based educational programs to underserved, limited-resource sheep and goat producers. Topics are designed to help small farmers make decisions based on various factors: data from markets, health regulations, value-added products, adequate management pasture-animal, systems to set up breeding and selection, and strategic infrastructure for small-farm systems. We aim to help underserved sheep and goat producers succeed by increasing their knowledge and skills necessary for the profitability, sustainability, and development of small ruminant farm systems.

The Lincoln University Small Ruminant Extension Program provides education to increase knowledge in small ruminant production and management. Small farmers benefit from a combination of instruction and hands-on-learning experiences.

Educational Programs

  • LU Farm Field Days
  • Workshops
  • FAMACHA (Parasite Testing) & Fecal Eggs Count Clinics
  • Shearing School
  • Webinars (farmer-to-farmer)
  • Fact and guide sheets
  • Farmers' field days & events
  • Marketing workshops
  • Economics and costs
  • Nutrition clinic
  • Pasture management
  • Parasite management clinic
  • Goat and sheep management
  • Health and lamb/kid care
  • Goat and sheep breeds
  • Crop-animal mix species systems
  • Breeding and selection clinic
  • Infrastructure (fences and other management systems)
  • Valued-added dairy products
  • Design of infrastructure
  • Alternative markets
  • Business plan models
  • Reproduction and animal selection
  • Meat and milk contamination tests
  • Slaughtering and meat processing
  • Carcass characteristics and performance evaluation
  • Online database information for decision-making