2010 Conference Information
Imagine a world where there was no beef or pork; one where the only meat-based protein available to you was a small, four-legged animal that liked to eat the bark and leaves off trees and brush. Traditionally, goats have been used as an all-purpose animal. In addition to the milk and meat, the dung is used as fuel and bones, hair, and sinew for clothing, building, and tools, while the hide has been used to produce parchment and bottles for water and wine. Furthermore, goats are useful for hauling and packing purposes, their intestines can be made into catgut, and their horns used to make spoons. Goats are also considered an environmentally friendly form of vegetation control and can easily be incorporated into other production processes or as an alternative form of livestock diversification.
Looking at all of the uses and innovative purposes, there was an obvious need to cultivate the goat production industry. With the cooperation of the USDA, research and extension divisions in land grant universities have taken the lead in providing information, workshops, and programs to increase the knowledge base among producers on Best Management Practices for small ruminants. What has been lacking in its future growth has been a concerted effort to develop plans and programs to improve production practices for goat and sheep producers. Recognizing the need to consolidate and share resources, the Statewide Goat Program at Florida A&M University decided to hold a conference in 2010 to address issues impeding the growth of an organized goat industry. This conference served as a forum to facilitate information exchange, strengthen networks, and educate producers.
This coordinated event gave way to the National Goat Consortium, and since then multiple conferences have been hosted in order to continue this mission of education, coordination, and improvement of the small ruminant industry.