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Meat goat bootcamp offers producers hands-on training
Tue, October 11, 2016
Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources
Thanks to DASNR’s annual Oklahoma Meat Goat Bootcamp, producers from more than two dozen states have been able to more easily develop needed skills and insights to take advantage of the business opportunity that is meat goat production.
“Many individuals interested in raising meat goats begin with little or no experience in agricultural production, and even producers with experience in other livestock operations quickly discover they need to adapt their management practices to the specific needs of a meat goat operation,” said JJ Jones, OCES area agricultural economist.
The bootcamp is a three-day program combining hands-on activities, classroom exercises and presentations. Production methods taught and demonstrated include ear tagging, hoof trimming, parasite control, castrating, herd health practices, kidding, neonatal care, forage management and testing, ration balancing, reproduction efficiency, pregnancy detection and others.
“A strength of the bootcamp is that each participant can take away what he or she needs,” Jones said. “Participants not only have the opportunity to learn how to perform specific production practices, they also are able to hone their skills by working with live goats as many times as they feel necessary.”
Pre- and post-tests have shown a 37.9 percent increase in knowledge among boot camp participants. Producers also have indicated the education received has an average perceived value of $312,868 per bootcamp.
Oklahoma is the nation’s third-largest goat producer with approximately 95,000 head, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics.
By Donald Stotts