Sheep, goats topic of forum on Oct. 13

September 26, 2006|by JEFF SEMLER

Did you know that sheep and goats were some of the first animals domesticated? Most historians and archeologists believe that man started herding these animals about 8,000 years ago. Then as now they were prized for their meat, milk, wool and pelts.

Today, more and more Americans are turning to these animals for food, fiber and business. With the influx of nationalities more accustom to goat meat in their diet the demand for chevon or cabrito is rapidly growing.

Couple this with the expansion of smaller land holdings better suited for smaller livestock such as sheep and goats and you have a need to meet. Thus, the Forum for Rural Innovation wishes to announce, Meat Production with Goat and Sheep in the Mid-Atlantic: Turn Grass into $$$.

This event is the third in the last two years and is an extension of a session offered at the March 10 meeting. In fact the Forum has invited back Dr. David Redwine of the Scott County Hair Sheep Association to highlight a very successful model that is affecting producers in several states. Can this model be duplicated in the Mid-Atlantic Region? What successes can be found in the area? Are there already organizations in place that can provide a structure for growth of sheep and goat production? What is the economic potential for sheep and goats in this region?


These and other questions will be addressed during this six-hour seminar. There will also be an opportunity to discuss what additional educational and organizational opportunities are needed to "grow" the sheep and goat industry in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Local businesses that provide supplies and services to this industry will be on hand to provide additional insight to established or potential producers.

Who should attend?

The conference is planned to provide farmers, landowners, rural business owners, local elected and appointed officials, Extension educators, economic development and planning professionals an opportunity to see and hear innovators in the goat and sheep industry discuss practices and methods for agricultural development.

The forum will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, at the Best Western Lee-Jackson Motor Inn & Conference Center, 711 Millwood Ave., Winchester, Va. For registration information, contact the Extension Office or go to I hope to see you there.

Jeff Semler is an Extension educator, specializing in agriculture and natural resources, for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. He is based in Washington County. He can be reached weekdays by telephone at 301-791-1404, ext. 25, or by e-mail at

The Herald-Mail Articles