Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers Association to hold tour at Brooks Duester Farm
Sheep and goat producers interested in making small improvements to their operations may want to attend an upcoming spring tour on Saturday, April 1, sponsored by the Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers Association.
The tour will be held at the Brooks Duester Farm, located north of Ravenna at 47816 775th Road. Registration will begin at 9 a.m., with the program starting at 10 a.m. Participants have the opportunity to tour a 1,000-head commercial breeding sheep operation, and a 5,000-head commercial feedlot. Duester also has a herd of meat goats.
Kiley Hammond, president of the Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers Association, says this tour will provide everyone from novice to experienced producers insight into producing commercial sheep and goats. “We have an exciting lineup of educational and hands-on events great for those just starting out to those who are seasoned professionals never too old to learn,” he said.
In addition, Cody Chambliss, who is a fine wool producer in South Dakota, will give producers a presentation on how to take better care of their wool clip. “He will be doing a demonstration to show producers how they can add an extra 15-20 cents a pound to their wool, no matter what quality the wool is,” Hammond said.
Neal Amsberry, who runs a successful webpage where he collects and analyzes small animal marketing data, will talk about marketing sheep and goats, and small changes producers could make in their marketing to add value to their herd.
Hammond, who has been a lamb buyer for more than 10 years, said he sees a trend toward more producers selling their lamb crop as feeder lambs, rather than finishing them out. “One of our out-reach programs is teaching producers how to finish out their lambs and goats if they have the ability to do so,” he said. “Finished lambs and goats give producers another good marketing option.”
In fact, Hammond said, U.S. lamb and goat producers can not produce enough lamb or goat for the growing U.S. markets, so both meats are imported to fill the demand. “There is a lot of potential for growth in both these markets,” he said. “We need more producers.”
Hammond said there is a lot of research out there showing that sheep can be successfully ran with cattle. “It takes very little capital to get started in the sheep business,” Hammond said. “What is good about it, is it is a good way to diversify income on the operation.”
During the meeting, Hammond said he and other producers will discuss feeding and finishing tips for sheep and goats, as well as provide information on formulating finishing rations with concentrates.
Another portion of the tour will focus on animal health with demonstrations on proper docking, castration, deworming and sorting and handling practices. “This tour is meant to be interactive,” Hammond said. “We are hoping to see producers share their experiences and tips with other producers. This meeting is very hands-on. Producers can listen and ask questions. We hope to see participants walk away with tips that can improve their operations.”
For more information about the spring tour, see nebraskasheepandgoat.org and select spring tour. Producers can sign up to attend the event online. The registration fee is $5 for youth, $10 members, and $20 for non-members. The tour is expected to last from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and lunch, consisting of lamb, will be provided. ❖
— Clark is a freelance livestock journalist from western Nebraska. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.
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