Friday, July 10, 2020

USDA Announces Initial Purchase of Vaccine for National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing the initial purchase of vaccine for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB). APHIS will invest $27.1 million in foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, which the Agency would use in the event of an outbreak to protect animals and help stop the spread of disease. “While we are confident we can keep foot-and-mouth disease out of the country, as we have since 1929, having access to vaccine is an important insurance policy,” said Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “Vaccines could be an important tool in the event of an incursion of the disease in the U.S, but their use will depend on the circumstances of the incursion and require careful coordination with the affected animal industries.” Vaccination helps control the spread of infection by reducing the amount of virus shed by animals and by controlling clinical signs of illness. While an outbreak would temporarily disrupt international markets, vaccination would allow animals to move through domestic production channels. Foot-and-mouth disease is not a threat to public health or food safety. It is also not related to hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is a common childhood illness caused by a different virus. The NAVVCB is one component of a three-part program established by the 2018 Farm Bill to comprehensively support animal disease prevention and management. The new U.S.-only vaccine bank—a concept APHIS officials have long discussed with stakeholders and industry—makes a much larger number of vaccine doses available than we currently have through the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank. APHIS will continue to participate in the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, and this new program adds to the nation’s level of protection against this devastating disease. In the event of an outbreak, animal health officials would decide when, where and how to use the available vaccine, based on the circumstances of the outbreak. More information about these programs is available at:

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Virtual Field Day: Choosing the Best Forage Variety

There are some upcoming forage related programs coming up that I wanted to make you aware of, sorry for the short notice on the first one. They can all be found, and more at the UK Forge event web page: The events are scheduled, If you are interested in forage or are thinking about renovating a pasture, the field day tomorrow would be a good one to attend.

Plan to attend the upcoming KFGC/UK Virtual Field Day from the comfort of your home. Although we are all looking forward to in-person field days in the near future (hopefully), for now KFGC and UK specialists are working hard to find alternatives to deliver important information. The virtual field day will include a video tour of the UK Forage Variety Test plots managed by Gene Olson. We will show the performance of varieties of tall fescue, orchardgrass, red and white clover, alfalfa and many other forage species. The field day will include presentations by UK specialists on how to choose the best varieties for you farm and your individual hay fields and pastures. To join the field day use the following link:


September 8, Kentucky Grazing School Woodford County


October 27, 28, 29 – Kentucky Grazing Conference, Conference is one day, but at three locations: Winchester, Elizabethtown, and Wester KY.


Ken Andries


Ken Andries, Ph.D.

Interim Director of Graduate Studies

Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture, Communities, and the Environment

Associate Professor, Animal Science

College of Agriculture, Communities, and the Environment

Kentucky State University

CEB 105/113

Office: 502-597-5094

Cell: 502-229-8719


Friday, June 5, 2020

You’ve Goat This: Wisdom to Get You Through the Good, Baaad, and Everything in Between

You’ve Goat This:
Wisdom to Get You Through the Good, the Baaad, and Everything in Between
Featuring Heartwarming Photos of the Adult and Baby Goat StarsGuaranteed to Give Everyone in the Family a Big Smile!


Given the stressful times we’re living in, it’s no surprise that adorable animal photos are in high demand. But while puppies and kittens have little to add, good-natured goats have it all and can teach us to take life by the horns! With their philosopher’s beards, stately horns, and outgoing charm, these versatile animals know that working hard is just as important as cuddling up. Whether they are hopping up the peaks of mountains, through the treetops, or onto the backs of cows, goats are natural masters of balance, famed for their brains, brawn, and bawdy good humor.

In You’ve Goat This: Wisdom to Get You Through the Good, Baaad, and Everything in Between (Apollo Publishers; June 9; Hardcover: $17.99/ISBN: 978-19480-6250-3), the wily, lovable stars of the Instagram sensation Goats Gone Grazing Acres (38,500 followers) are featured in vibrant, smile-inducing full-color photos taken on their Kentucky farm, along with inspirational quotes on everything from health, romance, family, and work to finding yourself and learning to stop being riddled by your human insecurities.

The book, sure to brighten any darkened day, brims with:
  • Photos divided into chapters such as: Ewe Can Do It!, Thinking Outside the Barn, The Udder Half, and much more!
  • Quotes from the likes of Joan Rivers (“I don’t exercise. If God wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.”), Blake Lively (“It’s the choice you have to wake up every day and say, “There’s no reason today can’t be the best day of my life.”), Mr. T (“I pity the fool who just gives up.”), and many more!
  • 200 photos of goats paired with motivating quotes on staying true to yourself and living life to the fullest.
GOATS GONE GRAZING ACRES, based in Western Kentucky, is a small, loving goat farm run by former city folk Jessi and Josh Pottebaum. They opened their doors in 2009 with two goats, Suzie Q and Sophie Lou, and now care for 54 goats, whose pictures have gone viral on Instagram (@goats_gone_grazing_acres) and been featured in Buzzfeed and Mashable.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Requirements for U.S. meat slaughter and processing outlined in June 3 webinar

By Sarah Cato
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:
·       National Agricultural Law Center webinar to discuss oversight, requirements for meat slaughter and processing in the U.S.
·       Webinar is June 3 at noon to 1 p.m. EDT
·       Register online at

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With meat and poultry processing crippled by COVID-19 closures, some producers with a backlog of animals are seeking other means to process their stock, including smaller processing facilities. Additionally, interest is growing in the necessary steps to open and maintain these types of facilities. However, there are numerous considerations for both groups to examine, Elizabeth Rumley, a Senior Staff Attorney at the National Agricultural Law Center, said.

Slaughter and processing facilities must meet sanitation, building, and sometimes inspection requirements, which differ depending on the services the facility provides, who its customers are and in what state it operates.

Livestock processing in the United States is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Safety Inspection Service, or USDA-FSIS. That authority may be delegated to a state agency, if that state chooses to apply for it, as long as the state requirements are “at least equal to” those enforced by USDA-FSIS.

Federal vs. state
“State inspection programs add another layer of laws and regulations to meat and poultry processing requirements in those states that have implemented them,” Rumley said. “The substantive difference between the state and federal inspection is that that state programs, with some exceptions, only allow for meat processed in these facilities to be sold within the state, while FSIS inspected facilities can export meat to other states and countries.”

Rumley added that these differences go one step further once the type of facility is considered.

“Exceptions and exclusions such as those for custom slaughter plants and small poultry processing facilities may change the processing oversight and requirements even further,” she said.

To help individuals navigate the complexity of the requirements for slaughter and processing facilities, the National Agricultural Law Center is hosting a free webinar to discuss the agencies with authority over the slaughter and processing of meat and poultry, differences between state and federal oversight, proposed federal legislation that may change processing requirements and additional challenges facing small meat processors.

The webinar will be held June 3 at noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT, and will be led by Elizabeth Rumley and NALC Senior Staff Attorney Rusty Rumley.

Register online for the webinar at

For more information on meat processing laws in the United States, visit

To see more about the economics of COVID-19 and meat processing, visit

For more information on the National Agricultural Law Center, visit or follow @Nataglaw on Twitter.

About the National Agricultural Law Center
The National Agricultural Law Center serves as the nation’s leading source of agricultural and food law research and information. The Center works with producers, state and federal policymakers, Congressional staffers, attorneys, land grant universities, and many others to provide objective, nonpartisan agricultural and food law research and information to the nation’s agricultural community.
The Center is a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and works in close partnership with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Agricultural Library.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact 479-575-4607 as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

U of A Division of Agriculture releases 3-minute videos explaining on-farm COVID-19 safety measures

By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

(190 words)

LITTLE ROCK — While many businesses have closed or moved employee interactions online, much of the world depends on farmers remaining on the job — and in the field. 
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has released two videos explaining practical, common-sense safety precautions for anyone working in an agricultural production environment. One video is in English, the other in Spanish.
The precautions are specifically aimed at helping farmers protect themselves and their coworkers from COVID-19, and to slow the spread of the virus.
The English language video features Jarrod Hardke, rice agronomist for the Division of Agriculture; the Spanish language version features Eduardo Castaneda, a program associate with the Division of Agriculture’s Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart, Ark.
Each video explains the importance of social distancing during tailgate meetings, sanitizing equipment before and after use and other safety behaviors in about three minutes.
The English version, “Staying Safe on the Farm through COVID-19,” can be viewed at

The Spanish version, “Mantenerse Seguro en la Granja a Través de COVID-19,” can be viewed atñol.

For information and resources on COVID-19 for families, businesses and others, visit   

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.

About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

The future of Boer goats in South Africa

Some of the finest Boer goat rams, ewes and kids came under the hammer at the Bloem Showgrounds on 3 May after being selected as suitable for inclusion in the sale hosted at the end of the World Show.
Photo: Sabrina Dean

By Sabrina Dean

Boer goat stud breeders from across the country were in Bloemfontein at the start of May to participate in the annual Boerbok, Kalahari Red and Savanna World Show. Sabrina Dean spoke to Boer goat breeders Kobus Lötter, Andries Vollgraaff, Casper Byleveld and Lukas Burger about the current state of the Boer goat industry, and what the future holds for it.
The Boerbok, Kalahari Red and Savanna World Show was held in Bloemfontein from 28 April to 3 May. It was hosted by the South African Boer Goat Association.
Farmer’s Weekly spoke to four breeders at the event to gain insight into the Boer goat industry in South Africa.
Kobus Lötter (KL), who farms in Willowmore in the Eastern Cape, is the founder of group breeding scheme Doornpoort Genetics.
This comprises about 70 members from across the country, who together run about 5 000 stud ewes. The members focus on line breeding, paying particular attention to good dam lines.
Andries Vollgraaff (AV) operates his Tekoa Boer Goat Stud on leased land between Worcester and Wolseley in the Western Cape. He has been a Boer goat stud breeder for only three years, and runs a flock of 120 ewes.
Casper Byleveld (CB) of the Nico Botha Boer Goat Stud farms in Britstown in the Northern Cape with his wife, Loudine. Loudine’s father, Nico Botha, started the stud in 1972, making it one of the oldest in the country.
They run a flock of 600 stud ewes farmed under extensive conditions, but use intensive lambing practices.
Lukas Burger (LB) of the Lukas Burger Boer Goat Stud in Griekwastad in the Northern Cape runs a flock of about 450 stud ewes. The stud had both the top-priced ram and the top-priced ewe at this year’s sale.

Who are your main target markets?

KL: Our markets are commercial and stud farmers, with the emphasis on empowering younger or new breeders. The traditional/religious slaughter market, however, remains the cornerstone of our business.
LB: Mostly other stud breeders and goat breeders across the world. Over the long term, South Africa has been the best market, but we also have strong markets in Brazil, Australia, Botswana and Namibia.

What is your opinion on the current state of the Boer Goat industry in South Africa?

KL: It has been 60 years since this association started with the ‘ennoblement’ of the Boer goat. If you look at a Boer goat journal from 10 years ago, you’ll see there has been tremendous development over the past decade. What scares me is what the Boer goat could look like 10 years from now because it feels as if we’ve already reached the ultimate. The goat looks good enough; we now need to keep it functional and maintain balance.
CB: I think our industry is incredibly healthy. Demand entirely exceeds supply. This is why the prices are so high, which is naturally very good for us. There’ll never be enough goats. The goat industry is in a very good place and can only go forward.
LB: The industry is healthy and is still growing. Many business people also seem to be investing in Boer goats.

Have you experienced an increase in demand for live goats and breeding stock? And if so, what’s driving it?

CB: Yes, definitely. I’ve had to turn people away. Customers are looking for breeding ewes in particular. We’ve also been exporting live goats to Africa and the United Arabic Emirates as well as embryos to the UAE and countries such as Brazil and Argentina. In addition, we’re seeing a lot of interest from new or emerging black farmers.
LB: Most definitely. Demand is increasing. One of the reasons for this is growing awareness of the health qualities of the meat. The challenge to get goat meat onto the supermarket shelves at the moment is because the domestic market isn’t regulated; it’s very informal. Individual buyers therefore often offer better prices for goats than one would see in a regulated meat market, which makes it difficult to get sustainable supply onto the supermarket shelves.
Demand is being driven by the fact that the commodity is very popular both for its meat qualities and the manner in which it can be produced. Goats can be farmed intensively or extensively, and can be used to diversify a larger farming operation. Goats also slot in well with cattle or wildlife components.

What are the main inhibitors to profitable goat farming?

AV: This is another aspect that will be different for everyone. For example, I’m leasing land, which is an added expense. From time to time, the poor condition of the grazing, along with drought, has been a problem. Stock theft is also a challenge.
CB: Labour is my number one challenge, followed by predation. A goat is a highly adaptable animal, which helps to make it profitable. The labour requirement is actually not that high but employees must be reliable.
LB: Not being able to export due to the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak is holding us back the most. Predation can pose problems but we manage that by using methods such as electric fences to keep the predators out.

Is management of internal parasites in goats difficult?

CB: We live in a dry region, with an annual rainfall average of only about 220mm. We have very few internal parasites and even fewer external parasites. The Boer goat prefers a dry climate, and likes walking. I dose every eight months for internal parasites and also inject against pulpy kidney, but that’s it.
LB: We do get resistance problems, but goats are generally less susceptible to internal parasites than other livestock because they feed at a higher level. They prefer a diet of up to 70% leaves, which means they browse a bit higher. This is also why they fit in so well with cattle and wildlife components: they target different vegetation.

Where do you see the industry five years from now? 

KL: There’ll definitely be further growth over the next five years. I believe that if we can improve South Africa’s animal health status and get export protocols in place with other countries, there’ll be a severe shortage of good breeding material locally [because it will all have been exported]. The biggest frustration in the Boer goat industry is that we’re sitting with a product that the whole world wants, but our doors are closed. Foot-and-mouth disease has had a major impact.
AV: Compared with how we began 60 years ago, we’re racing ahead at full steam. The first rams were sold for R135 (about R12 600 today). The most expensive ram on auction was recently sold for R330 000. So, the future looks bright to me, if we can get export access.
CB: I believe we’ll see plenty of growth. Many young breeders are entering the industry because of the profitability. The new young breeders are also injecting a lot of energy into the industry. I think that the number of Boer goat breeders will increase by at least a third over the next five years.
The industry has also obtained a roller mark for meat but the challenge is that we can’t supply enough product. So many of the goats end up being bought for religious sacrifices that there just aren’t enough to supply the consumer meat market. I do believe, though, that within the next few years, goat meat will start becoming available in stores.
LB: If our borders are opened, the industry will go from strength to strength. At the moment, we’re already struggling to produce enough for the market. There is a larger demand than what we can breed, which means there’s still a lot of room for growth in the industry.
Despite the tough circumstances, such as drought and economic pressures, the Boer goat industry is still growing.
Email Kobus Lötter at; Andries Vollgraaff at; Casper Byleveld at; or Lukas Burger at