Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office
Kelley Yates

 

Kentucky’s Small Ruminant Profit School (SRPS) is an educational training program that was started in 2014 to help beginning farmers interested in small ruminants start and maintain operations that will market quality sheep and goats. SRPS has assisted sheep and goat producers in two ways. First, a network of mentors was developed and each participant in SPRS was assigned a mentor to immediately assist them with the challenges of small ruminant production. Second, a series of classes was developed to offer intensive education to beginning small ruminant producers within Kentucky and surrounding states. SRPS has been hugely successful and in 2014 graduated 57 small ruminant producers. We are in the second year of the program and have 55 producers currently registered. While we are extremely pleased with participation in the first two years of the program, we feel this program needs to be continued. Kentucky has once again had an extremely wet year and many new sheep and goat producers have struggled with parasite and foot problems and are choosing to exit the business. SRPS is needed to continue to create an environment that offers education as well as a mentor support network that encourages new producers to stay in the industry.

The success of the SRPS program, however, has identified a second obstacle to the long term sustainability of the small ruminant industry in Kentucky; readily available sources of quality breeding stock. Many of the students completing SRPS have struggled to locate breeding age females to begin or expand their sheep or goat enterprise. High market prices for lightweight lambs and kids has heightened this problem because ewe lambs are often worth upwards of $150 per head when marketed in the 60 to 80 pound range and doe kids can bring upwards of $180 at a mere 60 pounds. Producers are choosing this guaranteed market rather than growing ewe lambs and goat kids and marketing them as replacements. Kentucky needs an organized marketing effort for replacement quality sheep and goats for two reasons. The first is to help ensure quality breeding stock is readily available to producers wanting to enter into the industry. The second is to encourage experienced small ruminant producers to keep more replacement females from entering into meat marketing channels by offering an organized market outlet for those females where they will be expected to bring a premium above market price. We would like to organize such an event for October of 2016.

NSIIC Grant Report: Improving Education and Access to Breeding Stock for Kentucky’s Small Ruminant Producers

January 2016- June 2016

A.      Timeline, task and objective comparison

Objective 1. - Continue Kentucky’s Small Ruminant Profit School program in order to provide education on all aspects of sheep and goat production and marketing to new and potential producers.

Task

Original Projected Completion Date

Task Status to Date

Actual Project Completion Date

Planning begin for 2016-2017 SRPS classes

First class September 2016

All class dates, topics and locations have been identified

 First class scheduled for September 10, 2016

Mentors were surveyed for program update and needs

Information was tallied and used to create the class topic order and locations

Mentors were provided survey results from SRPS

June 2016

SRPS promotion

June 2016

SRPS flyers were created and provided to all Cooperative Extension Agents, mentors, KY Sheep and Goat association membership, posted on the KY Sheep and Goat Development website and facebook page. Registrations are already being accepted

June 2016

SRPS notebook files prep for printing

April 2016

Files are still being prepped for printer, but notebooks will be completed by the end of July

July 2016

Objective 2. - Establish an organized marketing opportunity that will offer quality replacement females to beginning sheep and goat producers as well as provide a premium market outlet for established producers to market their quality stock.

Task

Original Projected Completion Date

Task Status to Date

Actual Project Completion Date

Establish sale committee

October 2015

Committee was established prior to the grant agreement

October 2015

Create sale guidelines

February 2016

Guidelines were completed

February 2016

Consignor registration forms and on-farm screening forms completed

February 2016

Registration forms and fees were established along with the on-farm screening forms.

March 2016

Consignment sale website determined

March 2016

Several websites were analyzed for price and access to desired buyers. 32auctions.com was chosen and 2 mock auctions were created to become more familiar with the site

April 2016

Sale promoted to SRPS participants

March 2016

All SRPS participants from the past 2 years were given information regarding the sale

March, April, May, June 2016

Consignors recruited

August 2016

Flyers, emails and facebook posts were created to recruit consignors to the sale. Several consignors have already committed to the sale.

August 2016

Buyer recruitment through advertising plan

June-September 2016

Flyers, emails, facebook and advertisements to recruit buyers have already started. HoofPrint ad was placed in April 2016 issue and KSGDO website posted details of the sale. Ads in regional publication and increased facebook page posts will be made from June-September

September 2016

 

B.      Reasons why timeline not met

a.       We are behind in getting the SRPS notebooks printed because we are working with the University of Kentucky Ag Communications Department. We had to receive approval to use the department because we are an outside organization. Once approved, we had to make sure we could meet their printing requirements. The notebook files are being converted and printing should be complete by the end of July.

b.      Consignor forms and on-farm screening forms were about 2 weeks later in being established than planned. Our committee wanted to make sure we had all the necessary information included.

c.       Choosing the sale website was the most difficult part of the process. We considered using Farm World but were concerned about it reaching the target commercial producer audience. We were also concerned about the cost and did not think we could reasonably handle the expense. Therefore, we did 2 mock trials with 32auctions.com before deciding to use it. Even though it is not a livestock auction site, it would offer us the same capabilities (minus video) as Breeders World but at a much better cost ($160). We have decided to use the KSGDO website and facebook page to post videos.

d.      Advertising is a little behind schedule currently but expected to be back on track by the first of July. We are getting farm logos of the consignors to put on the sale website. We won’t have pictures of the animals to be consigned until September as it will take August and September to make all the farm visits.

B.      Problems, delays or adverse conditions which will materially affect attainment of planned objectives

a.       At this time, we have not been effected by any adverse conditions that have hindered us in completing our tasks.

b.      The only major change in the consignment sale timeline is due to scheduling conflicts with the KIO Tri-State Small Ruminant Summit. Originally, the sale was to coincide with the Summit, however, our main speakers could not do October 8, 2016 so it was moved to October 1, 2016. The consignment sale had already been promoted at the time of the schedule change, thus we will continue to conduct the sale on October 6-9, 2016. We now have the opportunity to increase promotion of the event at the Summit and allow people to sign up as buyers during the event. Buyers will also have an opportunity to meet many of the consignors in person and we are planning to show pictures and video of the animals to be consigned during the Summit.

C.      Objectives established for next reporting period

a.       By the next reporting period, we should have done the following:

                                                              i.      Started advertising the consignment sale in print and online promotions

                                                            ii.      Recruited all the consignors

                                                          iii.      Made all the farm visits and posted information on the sale site

                                                           iv.      Completed three of the five SRPS classes

                                                             v.      Conducted the consignment sale

 

 

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