An education opportunity for Upper Cumberland residents jumping on the growing trend of sheep and goat production is available.
Overton County Agriculture Extension Agent Jason Garrett said the Master Small Ruminant Conference will be October 1 and 2 at Camp Clements. Garrett said that every week he gets more calls from people with no agriculture background looking into small livestock..
“Individuals with small tracts of land are purchasing goats and sheep,” Garrett said. “They’re easier to maintain for them, small acreage is perfect. No large equipment like in cattle production.”
Garrett said education will cover topics from maintaining herd health to predator control. He said that while goats and sheep are easier to raise than cattle, people need to learn what they can before raising animals.
“There is so much to it,” Garrett said. “Pasture maintenance and one thing I’ve learned about goats and sheep are the health aspects, basically parasite control. My local veterinarian here says a goat when it’s born is looking for a way to get sick and from what I’ve seen in the past, that’s true. They have a lot of issues with diseases. Predator control is one, you need adequate fencing if you’re going to raise goats and sheep. In the Upper Cumberland we have coyotes running wild everywhere, feral dogs, black buzzards, anything that’s looking to harm your animals.”
Garrett said people need to register for the class by September 30. He said prices range from $75 for a Master Small Ruminant Certificate to $25 for a chance to just come and learn.
“You can get cost share through the Tennessee Ag Enhancement Program to purchase lambs, herd sires, livestock equipment and other things for your farm,” Garrett said. “Like the Master Beef, the Master Beekeeper, you will get a Master Small Ruminant Certificate that will get you cost share.”
Garrett said that one feature of this year’s class in Doyle is a chance to tour farms in White County.