Division of Agriculture seeking input from sheep and goat producers
Oct. 9, 2023
By Sarah Cato
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- Division of Agriculture seeking information from Arkansas sheep and goat producers
- Multiple opportunities to provide input available.
- Online survey open Oct. 1 – Oct. 31
LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is looking to evaluate the state’s sheep and goat industry in an effort to make improvements. To do so, extension specialists are requesting input from sheep and goat producers across Arkansas.
Dan Quadros, extension small ruminant specialist for the Division of Agriculture, has developed a working plan to assess the current production system in Arkansas for sheep and goats, identify issues and challenges within the production system, and organize solutions to existing challenges in the entire value chain. However, each step in this process requires direct input from producers.
“To start, we really want to X-ray our production system for sheep and goats here in Arkansas,” Quadros said. “We want to know the basics of the farms in our state. Are they commercial or hobbyists? How many animals do they have? What are their health management practices? This is the basic information we are starting with.”
To gather this basic data, Quadros and his team have developed an online survey for Arkansas sheep and goat producers. The survey takes about 10-20 minutes to complete, and all responses will remain anonymous.
The survey is open from Oct. 1 – Oct. 30.
The next step is to gather more in-depth and informal information from producers, for which there will be two options: interactive webinars and an online open channel.
“In addition to this basic data from the survey, we want to know firsthand from producers what the challenges and the bottlenecks — on- and off-farm — are in the small ruminant industry in Arkansas as well as collect suggestions on how to overcome them,” Quadros said. “Hopefully this will give more context to the basic data collected in the survey and give us a better idea of what issues we should be focusing on.”
The first option to participate is a series of interactive webinars. There will be five webinars, all following the same agenda. Each will involve a presentation, a special guest and open participation.
“We’re hoping these webinars will provide a space where producers can give honest answers about the challenges they face,” Quadros said. “We need to know what their biggest concerns are and what possible solutions we need to pursue.”
The webinar schedule is as follows:
- Thursday, Oct. 12, noon — Special guest: Johnny Gunsaulis, Benton County extension staff chair
- Friday, Oct. 20, 9 a.m. — Special guest: Bryce Baldridge, Lawrence County extension staff chair
- Monday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m. — Special guest: Jennifer Sansom, Little River County extension staff chair
- Wednesday, Oct. 26, 3 p.m. — Special guest: Stacey Stone, Nevada County extension staff chair
Those interested can join the webinar via Zoom at the above times.
For those who are unable or do not wish to participate in the webinars, there is an online, open channel available to give written responses. This allows producers to outline their main challenges – on and off the farm – and provide any suggestions to overcome these challenges and strengthen the sheet and goat value chains in Arkansas. The open channel is available Oct. 1 – Oct. 31.
At the end of this process, we will invite several organizations and representatives of different segments of the small ruminant value chain to discuss the results and build our development program.
Read more about the survey, webinars and open online channel on the Division of Agriculture Small Ruminants Blog.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu/. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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