Suitability of an on-line certification program for goat producers
R. C. Merkel, T. A. Gipson, and T. SahluProceedings 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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