WILMINGTON, Ohio – The demand for goat meat is on the rise across the Buckeye state, creating a strong market for producers who are able to supply consumers with the specialty meat.
“The demand for goat meat is tremendous across Ohio and in neighboring states,” said Tony Nye, an Ohio State University Extension educator who coordinates OSU Extension’s Small Farm Program. “Thanks to the dietary preferences of many ethnic, religious, and health-conscious groups across the region, the demand for goat meat is thriving right now, with all indications that the demand will continue to skyrocket.
“Prior to 2000, the majority of goats produced in Ohio were dairy-based,” he said. “At this point, the demand for goat meat is outweighing the supply as producers aren’t growing enough goat meat to meet consumer demand.”
To help establish meat goat producers as well as other small farm production, experts with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are offering a Small Farm Conference March 11-12.
The “Opening Doors to Success” conference is designed to offer tips, techniques and methods to help make small farm operations more successful, profitable and sustainable, Nye said.
“That includes providing information on niche products like goat meat production,” he said.
The “Meat Goat Management” workshop is March 11 from 1-5 p.m. at the Wilmington College Academic Farm, 1590 Fife Ave. in Wilmington. Specialists Richard Browning, a meat goat expert at Tennessee State University, and Maria L. Leite-Browning, a meat goat expert at Alabama A&M University, will focus on meat goat production.
The workshop will discuss:
- Artificial insemination in meat goats.
- FAMACHA diagnostic system (eyelid scoring) training for the treatment and control of Haemonchus contortus, also known as Barber’s Pole worm, in goats and sheep.
- Criteria for culling, keeping and purchasing breeding stock for genetic improvement in commercial or seedstock meat goat operations.
In addition to the meat goat workshop, a workshop on “Micro Irrigation Essentials and Management” will be offered during the same time taught by Brad Bergefurd, an OSU Extension horticulture specialist. This workshop will focus on:
- Ground-Based and Remote Moisture Sensing.
- Deficit Irrigation.
- Irrigation Scheduling.
- Fertigation Basics.
- Irrigation Planning Resources.
Researchers and educators with OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, as well as industry experts, will conduct the workshops. OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college. A similar small farm conference is being held in Wooster on April 2, Nye said.
The March 12 session is from 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at Wilmington College’s Boyd Cultural Arts Center, 1870 Quaker Way. This session will feature workshops by Ohio State and industry experts. Participants will have the opportunity to attend a trade show featuring agricultural vendors and agencies offering assistance to beginning farmers.
Topics to be presented March 12 include:
- Farmers Market Vendor Best Practices.
- Enhancing and Expanding Your Online Marketing.
- Consumer Trends and Small Farm Opportunities.
- Developing Your Marketing Plan.
- Rabbit Production and Opportunities.
- Hair Sheep Production.
- An Overview of Goat Diseases from A to Z.
- Avian Bird Flu.
- Reality Check of My Farming Operation.
- Planning for Legal Liability.
- Beginning Farm Business Planning.
- Farming the Farm Bill.
- Networks, Opportunities, and Resources.
- Alpaca Production and Fiber Insulation.
- Artisan Cheese Making.
- Raising Dairy Goats, Making Soap and More.
- Utilizing/Protecting Pollinators on My Farm.
- Fertility Management of Fruits and Vegetables.
- Beekeeping Challenges in 2016.
- Pesticide Mixing and Hand Sprayer Calibration.
- Retiring to the Farm.
- Responding to a Farm Accident: Are You Ready?
- Organic Systems Planning.
- Value Added Grants.
- Local, Organic, Natural: What Consumers Really Want.
- Facts of Antibiotic Use in Livestock.
The conference is an outgrowth of the Ohio New and Small Farm College, an eight-week program created by OSU Extension that offers an introduction to the business of small farming for those who are new to the industry. The program offers information on budgeting, business planning and developing a farm structure, among other issues.
Registration for the “Opening Doors to Success” conference is $70 for both days, $20 for Friday only or $60 for Saturday only. The deadline to register is March 4.