Darling, C.L.1; Hicks, G.T.2; Jakes, A.M.3; Tomlinson, A.P.4
1Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee County, Live Oak, FL, 32064
2CED/Agriculture /4-H, UF/IFAS Extension Hamilton County, Jasper, FL, 32052
3Small Farms Livestock Agent, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL, 32352
4Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Columbia County, Lake City, FL, 32055


Throughout the north Florida region an increase in small farms with small ruminants as an enterprise has been on the rise. The demand for locally made products from goats and sheep as well as the thought that these animals are “easier” than larger grazing animals has driven this type of farm or ranching activity. Therefore, the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension (UF/IFAS Extension) Columbia, Hamilton, and Suwanee Counties partnered with Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (FAMU) to develop a program to educate producers and assess the needs of those producers. FAMU already has a well-established and successful small ruminant program, thus the idea was to deliver one aspect of that program in combination with additional resources and information from UF extension to producers outside of the Tallahassee area. Ultimately the three Livestock Extension Agents from Suwannee, Columbia, and Hamilton, decided to partner with the FAMU small ruminant program coordinator to deliver the program in each county. All three counties either had no previous listserv of producers or had an outdated list. With the lack of contacts, programing was advertised using a flyer that was shared with any available contacts, through social media, posted at local venues and a newspaper article was written for the local newspaper that reached two of the counties. The goals, for this first meeting, were to: assess the number of small ruminant producers; determine what information was needed/wanted; and finally when and how did the producers want the information delivered. The same program material was offered at each location, with a single meeting in each county. The program focused on the end goal of livestock production, marketing. The program offered practical, profit driven information to those producers already in the business and allowed those deciding to better make a decision. Total attendance was 63 individuals from within the counties and surrounding areas. General interest extended even further down the state. Our goal of creating a listserv for each county was met and through survey data collected future program ideas have been offered.

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