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Suitability of an on-line certification program for goat producers

R. C. Merkel, T. A. Gipson, and T. Sahlu

Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Goats. Page 140. International Goat Association. 2008

In 2006, a Langston University-led consortium of 11 universities and 5 meat goat producer groups unveiled an on-line training and certification program (http://www2.luresext.edu/training/qa.html). The program consists of 22 learning modules. Participants take pre- and post-tests to pass the 16 required and a minimum of 3 elective modules for certification. As of November, 2007, 416 participants from 12 countries (US 385, Canada 12, India 4, Malaysia 2, Pakistan 2, Australia, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Peoples Republic of China, Romania, and Zimbabwe 1 each) have registered for the program. Forty-four states are represented with the top 6 states representing 51% of total participants (OK 76, MO 35, TX 35, TN 23, KS 16 and AR 12). Thirty-nine participants have been certified. Of those certified 37 are from the USA and 2 from Canada. The states with the largest number of certified producers are TX and TN with 5 each and OK with 4. Of those certified, 16 respondents farm 5 20 acres (2 -8 ha), 5 respondents farmed either 21 40 acres (8 16 ha) or 161 320 acres (64 128 ha). Two respondents farmed less than 5 acres (2 ha). Twenty-seven respondents (69%) owned less than 50 goats and only 1 producer had over 250 animals. Of these certified responding, 20 reported that goats provide less than 10% of their total income and only one reported that goats are responsible for a majority of their annual income (76% or above). The farm and herd sizes of producers receiving certification is indicative of the current US goat industry. Results indicate that goat producers will access production information in a web-based format. Such a format is one method to reach large numbers of people and can successfully augment a more traditional extension/outreach component of one-on-one interaction of extension specialists and producer.


 

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