So, you want to raise sheep or goats? Attend these workshops

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Southwestern Pennsylvania provides an ideal environment to raise sheep and goats. Rolling hills may not be suitable for crop production but can provide high-quality pasture for sheep and goat production.

Those who want to learn more about raising sheep or goats in the region can attend workshops sponsored by Penn State Extension, the state Department of Agriculture, Fayette County Community Action Agency, and Republic Food Enterprise Center.

Four workshops will be held in November and December. All workshops will run from 6 to 9:30 p.m. and include a light dinner. There is no cost to attend. Workshops will take place as follows:

--Greene County: Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the Greene County Fairgrounds 4-H Building in Waynesburg.

--Washington County: Thursday, Nov. 30, at the West Alexander Presbyterian Church in West Alexander.

--Indiana County: Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Penn State Extension office in Indiana.

--Somerset County: Sunday, Dec. 17, at the Laurel Highlands Animal Health Reproduction Facility in Rockwood.

Featured topics will include an overview of sheep and goat production practices.

The first session, titled "What Do I Need to Get Started," will cover where to find sheep or goats to purchase as well as selection principles. This presentation also will include animal-handling principles and equipment needs.

The second topic, "Reproduction Basics," will cover preparing animals for breeding through flushing and assessing breeding soundness, plus how to handle breeding and lambing or kidding issues.

"Proper feeding and nutrition are key to profitable production and to keeping sheep and goats healthy," said Melanie Barkley, Penn State Extension educator. "Common health issues, such as internal parasites and diseases, is another presentation topic."

Marketing, finances and local grant opportunities will conclude the day's presentations.

Barkley or Walt Bumgarner, Penn State Extension educator based in Fayette County, will cover most of the topics at the workshop. Amy Manko, senior coordinator for sheep, goats and lambs for Republic Food Enterprise, will talk about local grant opportunities for new producers.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is requested no later than a week prior to the meeting. For more details or to register, go to the website or contact the Penn State Extension office in Bedford County at 814-623-4800.

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Last Updated October 31, 2017