BY JOHN LEIDNER
THE GROW TH OF THE sheep and goat production in the Southeast
has been directly and indirectly influenced by exhibits at the Sunbelt Ag Expo that have introduced potential new producers to the
rewards and challenges of raising the animals in the Southeast.
There’s no better place than Expo to get the information you
need if you’re interested in starting a small sheep
or goat herd. The
exhibits at Expo
have also ben-efitted from the
of the Historically
and Universities of
the Southeast, agricultural schools
that are also known as 1890 Land Grant universities.
Sheep and goats are ideally suited as part-time farm enterprises.
Another big advantage is that you won’t need extensive land resources to successfully raise these small ruminant animals.
This year’s sheep and goat exhibits are in the northernmost section of the exhibit grounds and north of F- 8, formerly the alpaca
barn. The Expo sheep and goat exhibit section is named after the
late Will Getz, long-time Extension animal scientist at Fort Valley
State University, who helped coordinate the exhibits for many years.
In keeping with tradition, Expo visitors will again be offered a full
schedule of seminars and demonstrations on key production topics.
Presentations will start at 9 a.m. each day with a goat milking demonstration conducted by Carlton Green, facilities and live animal unit
manager at FVSU. These will be followed Oct. 17 and 18 by sheep
At 10 a.m. each day of Expo, a team of sheep and goat experts
will be covering a wide variety of topics, including developing a marketing plan and plans for animal care. Visitors will see live animals
and observe animal traits that can determine whether the animals
would be good for use as breeding stock or as meat animals. Discussions will include body condition scoring, hoof trimming and overall
hoof care, vaccinations, deworming, and animal handling.
Those taking part include University of Georgia Extension Agent
Paula Burke from Carroll County; Extension Animal Scientist Niki Whitley from Fort Valley State University; Robin Rau of Shelby Acres Farm at
Colquitt, Ga., who raises Dorper and White Dorper breeds of sheep; Extension Animal Science Specialist Angela McKenzie-Jakes from Florida
A&M University; and sheep producer Henry Dorough, who is also the
county Extension coordinator in Talladega County, Ala.
At 11: 45 a.m. each day, the seminar topic will focus on scrapie, a
serious disease that attacks the nervous systems of sheep and goats.
It is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy disease,
which means that scrapie disease in sheep and goats is similar to
mad cow disease in cattle and chronic wasting disease in deer.
The USDA’s National Scrapie Eradication Program provides free
ear tags to sheep and goat producers, designed to help trace infected animals back to their original farms. There has been a large reduction in scrapie incidence since a slaughter surveillance program
was started in 2003. The latest regulations are aimed at completely
eradicating scrapie from U.S. sheep and goat populations.
Seminars at 1 p.m. each day will cover herd health management
and parasite control, by Dr. Mike Purvis, Extension veterinarian at
Florida A&M University, and will include demonstrations on how to
give vaccinations and deworming, as well as an explanation on how
to use body-conditioning scores.
Forage nutrition for small ruminants will be the focus of semi-
nars at 2 p.m. each day. Discussions will include feeding and pasture
management, and how forage analysis can help in choosing quality
hay. Samples of feeds and forages will also be on display. Speakers
will include Henry Dorough from Alabama Extension, Oct. 17; Ani-
mal Scientist Nar Gurung and Extension Agent Alphonso Elliott, both
from Tuskegee University, Oct. 18 and 19. The final demonstration
at 3 p.m. each day will be another goat milking demonstration by
Carlton Green of Fort Valley State University.
Sheep and goat farming: rewards, challenges
THE HOSS TOOLS Sustainable Living Center is a 15,000 square foot area
that includes an ultra-popular 12,000 square foot demonstration garden.
It’s located inside the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo on Block WB- 7.
The fan favorite garden is considered one of the most beautiful in
the Southeast. It is maintained and manicured by Greg Key, owner and
operator of Hoss Tools. He uses his quality tools in every aspect of garden preparation, planting, and maintenance.
For over 30 years, Key has been involved in horticulture and agriculture. An expert in organic and small-scale production, he has been at
the forefront of the local food movement. He enjoys studying the processes of food production and educating people about how to achieve
the goal of growing healthy, local food.
gardening being one
of his favorite hobbies,
he founded Hoss Tools
in 2009, with the goal
of manufacturing and
selling high quality,
American-made garden tools. Today, Hoss
Tools provides gardening tools and supplies to people all over the world, helping them to grow their own food.
The Hoss Tools Demonstration Garden contains a wide variety of
crops provided by Johnny’s Seeds, including new and upcoming crop
varieties and old staple varieties that are beloved and familiar to everyone. Visitors can meander among a variety of raised and traditional
beds, featuring new and heirloom okra varieties, lettuce varieties that
grow well in warm southern climates, varieties of kale, radishes, and
beautiful cut flowers.
Gardeners can see and learn about which cover crops can help fight
nematodes, and will have the opportunity to “test drive” the company’s
Wheel Hoes and Garden Seeders to see how much time and energy they
can save in their own gardens.
The Georgia Metals Exhibitor’s Pavilion at the Hoss Tools Sustainable Living Center links visitors to exhibitors with a wide variety of
products to help “grow your own food.” Items for sale include garden
tools, vegetable seeds, compost, and other sustainable products to
help maximize the potential of your garden.
New in the Georgia Metals Exhibitor’s Pavilion this year will be the
Georgia Citrus Association. They will offer citrus trees and satsuma jelly
and syrup. For at-home gardeners and small-scale farmers, the Hoss Tools
Sustainable Living Center is a must-see.
Be sure to see the Hoss Tools