Web-based Training and Certification Program for Meat Goat Producers
Meat goat enterprises are one of the fastest growing livestock sectors in the United States. Increased demand for goat meat is evidenced by an ever-increasing amount of goat meat imported into the U.S. In addition, domestic production of goat meat has increased as more producers see a viable market.
Industry growth in the U.S. meat goat sector has been accomplished through two means. Firstly, established meat goat producers have increased herd size, or shifted focus from fiber to meat production, to take advantage of favorable markets. Secondly, and more importantly, new producers are entering the goat business. The majority of new producers entering the meat goat industry have little or no experience with goats, and other producers have entered the industry with no livestock raising experience.
These new producers, as well as some established producers, have an expressed need for current, correct information on how to raise goats and produce safe, wholesome products in demand by the public. Information is needed in all areas, from basic housing and management to nutrition, herd health, reproductive issues, marketing, product safety, and value-added products. There are few institutions or universities with personnel dedicated to providing goat production information to producers, county extension educators or young farmer advisors. Furthermore, as goats are considered a minor species by many, little goat information is included in curriculum designed to educate students who then may work in the public arena disseminating information to producers.
Many producers also obtain information from the World Wide Web. While proper, scientifically-based information does exist on the internet, producers with little to no livestock experience have no background to discern "good" versus "bad" information. In some cases, information posted could be harmful to animals and to the economic viability of goat enterprises. The lack of information available to goat producers also extends to printed media. As the meat goat industry grows and evolves, a quality assurance program, that is compatible with HACCP-like programs, is essential. Such a program ensures the production of a safe, healthy product that satisfies consumers and increases profit for the production industry.
The objectives of this web site are:
At the end of the certification process (successful completion of the required modules), a fee of $25 will be required for processing the certification.
You do not need to register for certification in order to use this site. You may browse the site freely. However, you will not have access to the testing methodologies for the certification process.
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