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ASU to Host Inaugural National Sheep and Goat Symposium

January 19, 2011

Angelo State University’s Agriculture Department, in conjunction with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, will host the inaugural National Meat Goat and Hair Sheep Symposium May 27-29 at the ASU Management, Instruction and Research (MIR) Center just north of San Angelo.

The symposium is designed to provide current information and educational opportunities for both experienced producers and those new to the sheep and goat industry, regardless of their geographic location. It is being directed by Dr. Micheal Salisbury, ASU associate professor of animal science, and Dr. Frank Craddock of Texas AgriLife Extension.

“It will somewhat replace the old gathering of goat producers that stopped a few years ago,” Salisbury said. “We have brought the idea of that back and included the hair sheep. They are the two industries that are growing the fastest when we look at the small ruminants.”

“We hope to attract small and large producers from all over the U.S.,” he added. “The topics we will be covering are not just specific to West Texas. They are relevant to producers from as far east as up in the New England area all the way to the west coast.”

Symposium topics will include internal parasites, facilities maintenance, general reproduction, nutrition, predator management and marketing to both typical and ethnic markets, as well as how the smaller hair sheep fit into the traditional lamb market. There will also be live animal and carcass evaluations. Featured speakers will include a USDA marketing specialist, meats experts and an authority on cutting-edge reproduction, including embryo transfer and artificial insemination. There will also be hands-on activities involving vaccinations, hoof care, de-wormers and identification methods.

“People in the sheep and goat industry want the newest knowledge and information,” Salisbury said. “We will also have some social events at the ASU Lake House and several meals provided by the ASU Meat and Food Science Association, our Meat Lab and the Block and Bridle Club.”

Attendees will also be provided with copies of all the speakers’ presentations.

At the end of the symposium on May 29, there will be a special Education and Research Conference geared toward extension agents, agriculture education teachers and research scientists.

“We hope to facilitate discussion among the scientists to form a consensus as to what major topics in the sheep and goat industry need to be researched,” Salisbury said. “That way, we can unify our efforts and make some meaningful headway in the science field.”

“We also hope to develop some discussion and provide some information for extension agents and agriculture teachers,” he added, “so that they can take that back to their counties or their schools and have something to teach. Especially on the ag education side, there is a deficiency of textbooks. Hopefully, we can establish some communication and get information out to teachers.”

Interested producers are also invited to attend the Education and Research Conference.

Cost for the symposium is $150 per person. For families or groups, it will be $150 for the primary registrant and $75 for each additional attendee. The fee includes the symposium, social activities, copies of the presentations and three meals. The registration deadline is April 15.

For more information, contact Salisbury at (325) 942-2027 or ag@angelo.edu. The symposium website can be found at www.angelo.edu/ag_symposium and includes a registration form.