Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Southwest Missouri Sheep and Goat Conference on March 23

The Southwest Missouri Sheep and Goat Conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, March 23 at the McDonald County Fairgrounds, 100 Mustang Lane (near intersection of Hwy 76 and 71B and adjacent to the high school), Anderson, MO.

"If you want to raise sheep or goats for meat or milk, you can learn how to raise them successfully at this conference," said Dr. Jodie Pennington, small ruminant educator with Lincoln University Cooperative Extension who is located at the Newton County Extension Center in Neosho. The conference will provide basic information that participants need to work with sheep and goats, including a panel discussion by producers on how to maximize profits with sheep and goats.

Speakers at the conference include Mark Kennedy, Missouri State Grasslands Specialist with NRCS and a long-time goat producer, who will talk about profits with sheep and goats and fencing and facilities. Dr. Charlotte Clifford-Rathert, State Small Ruminant Specialist with Lincoln University, will talk about sheep and goat diseases and proper techniques for diagnosing worms, including a fecal egg count demonstration in the afternoon. At the beginning of the conference, Pennington will conduct an interactive session with an automated response system where attendees answer questions on their management and then get feed-back for the answers from all in the audience. Pennington also will discuss the increase of hair sheep in the industry and the proper management for them.

After lunch which is provided in the registration fee, the conference will include an information-exchange panel of sheep and goat producers who will discuss how they maximize profits with sheep and goats followed by questions from the audience.

Producers may bring a fecal sample for the fecal egg count demonstration if they want their animal or animals checked for worms. Dr. Clifford-Rathert will explain how to conduct fecal egg counts and how to check for FAMACHA scores. Worms are the primary internal parasite of small ruminants and remain one of the biggest problems of meat and dairy goats. “Internal parasites can also be a problem in sheep but not to the same extent as goats,” said Clifford-Rathert. “In order to control worms, you must set up a deworming and sanitation program and stick to it.” Worms not only kill both young and old goats, they contribute to poor growth rates, an unthrifty appearance, coughing, diarrhea, and, in severe cases, bottle jaw.

John Hobbs, McDonald County Program Director of the University of Missouri Extension, says that “there should be something for everyone who has an interest in sheep and goats, whether hair or wooled sheep and dairy or meat goats.”

For those who pre-register before March 19, the cost is $10 per person for the conference with lunch. Simply mail your registration information to the Newton County Extension Center, Smith Hall (Crowder College), 601 Laclede Avenue, Neosho, MO 64850. Registration is $15 at the door on the day of the event. You also may contact the Newton County Extension Center at 417-455-9500 or email  to register or for more information.

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