January 7, 2009
Contact: Betsy Hodge, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, 315-379-9192; Anita Deming, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County, 518-962-4810 x409; Ron Kuck, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, 315-788-8450; Dr. Tatiana Stanton, Cornell University, 607-254-6024

NNY Agricultural Development Program Adds Resources for Goat Producers; Meetings Set for January 31, 2009

The farmer-led Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has added resources for meat and dairy goat producers to its website at www.nnyagdev.org

The nnyagdev.org website includes fact sheets prompted by the Empire State Meat Goat Producers’ Association (ESMGPA) and prepared by Cornell University’s Animal Science Department on feeding, breeding, pasture management, health care and the Kidding with Confidence mentoring handbook sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension and ESMGPA on the site.

A January 31st meeting set for 1-3 pm to provide resources and information for those raising or interested in raising meat, dairy and pet goats will be held at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County Learning Farm in Canton and telecast to the Extension offices in Watertown and Westport.

The meeting will cover general goat management and care and marketing. The meetings are free, however, pre-registration is requested - call Cornell Cooperative Extension at 315-379-9192 x234 for St. Lawrence County, at 315-788-8450 for Jefferson County, and 518-962-4810 for Essex County (pre-registration required).

Meeting organizer and Livestock Educator Betsy Hodge with Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County says, “There is an interest in meat goats in the North Country and a need to provide resources that relate to farms in New York. The Cornell fact sheets now available on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website apply to goat farming in the Northeast and are especially good for people interested in starting a goat enterprise to read before purchasing goats.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County Executive Director Anita Deming says, “A diverse mix of people are raising goats in the North Country. We have one producer selling meat goats as breeding stock and a new dairy goat farm that has recently begun selling goat cheese. Information on good animal husbandry and on business planning for those who would like to operate a farm business with goats is always useful.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County Dairy & Livestock Educator Ron Kuck says, “Jefferson County has farmers raising goats for meat, for milk and for value-added product sales, such as goat’s milk soap. They are always interested in the latest information that will help them enhance their production and marketing practices. The new online resources and the January 31st meeting are among the ways North Country farmers are keeping their businesses profitable.”

Meat goat producer Karen Stumpf of Thousand Islands Goat Farm in Cape Vincent, NY, is Region 2 Director for the Empire State Meat Goat Producers Association. Stumpf says, “Goat farming has great potential to add to the agriculturally-based economy of Northern New York. We are beginning to establish new herds and develop the networking that will support marketing, processing and sales opportunities for all producers.”

Dr. Tatiana Luisa Stanton, a goat specialist with Cornell University’s Animal Science Department, says, “We are pleased to have the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program make these resources available online to the increasing numbers of meat goat producers in the North Country.”

Stanton is currently developing the kidding season mentoring program for 2009. The program pairs experienced, knowledgeable goat farmers with new producers as they experience their first kidding season.

Stanton says, “The mentees have an opportunity to visit the mentors’ farms to help with pre-kidding tasks like vaccinating and organizing supplies, and to participate with kidding and post-natal care. New goat producers who have participated in this program say mentoring is most valuable when the mentee is able to observe kiddings on the mentor’s farm prior to their own kidding season.”

The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program provided funding for the on-farm evaluations. Those interested in the mentoring program may contact Dr. Stanton at Cornell University at 607-254-6024, tls7@cornell.edu, or call your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provides on-farm research, education and outreach to the diverse agricultural sectors in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Learn more at www.nnyagdev.org. # # #