Thursday, August 4, 2022

ADGA Goat Milk Products Competition Oct. 3-4

Syracuse, New York, is the site of the American Dairy Goat Association’s annual cheese and body products competition held October 3-4, 2022.  Judges for this year’s Cheese competition are Dr. Kerry Kaylegian of Penn State and Brian Schlatter of Hudson, NY; the Body Products judges are To Be Determined. 


Dr. Kaylegian is an Associate Research Professor at Penn State, focusing on providing technical support to the dairy industry and participating in outreach programs focused on the safety and quality of dairy products. She is on the Board of Directors for the American Cheese Society and Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest. Brian Schlatter is a cheesemaker in New York, currently with FROMAGEX.


The annual competition is open to anyone who makes cheese or body products with goat milk from North America. The cheese competition offers both amateur and commercial divisions. Entries must be received by September 15, 2022, and Product must be received at the judging location by October 2, 2022 at 3 pm. 


Commercial cheese entries should include three cheeses or product in the form in which it is commercially sold; one product without packaging or any identifying material to be judged. The two remaining products will be displayed and served at the Cheese and Body Products Awards Receiption held Wednesday, October 5, 2022. Include promotional material or placards with product for display.


A cheese maker will be considered commercial if they have been legally selling their product for a minimum of six months at the time of entry. Minimum scores are required to earn awards and half point scoring is allowed to reduce the need for tie breakers. 


More information about the contests, along with an entry form and rules, can be found at


Monday, July 25, 2022

Texas A&M digital education sheep, goat course


white sheep in a range setting with trees in the back
The digital education course Sheep and Goat Ranching 101 
is available through AgriLife Extension. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Reid Redden)

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offers a digital education course, Sheep and Goat Ranching 101. The series of 12 videos cost $25 and allows participants to learn at their own pace.

“This online course is for people new to the sheep and goat industry,” said Reid Redden, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension sheep and goat specialist and director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service Center at San Angelo. “This course covers the basics of what people need to know, everything from how much animals typically cost to the type of facilities you’ll need to have to raise sheep and goats.”

Getting started with sheep, goats
AgriLife Learn

This online course is geared toward beginners and taught by AgriLife Extension specialists, agents, and graduate students. Using instructional videos, the experts walk viewers through the first steps to getting an operation started. They also provide viewers with the basic knowledge needed to maintain an operation. 

Redden said the course provides essential information for small farms or ranches with less than 100 acres, new landowners or managers, and retirees moving back to the homestead who may be thinking of raising small ruminants.

An Advanced Sheep and Goat Ranching online course is currently being developed and will also be available at the Texas A&M AgriLife Learn website,, when completed.

Texas A&M AgriLife Learn offers online courses and flexible digital solutions to meet the training and educational needs for learners in Texas and beyond. AgriLife Learn serves adult and youth learners of every type and offers a catalog of courses over a broad range of topics and skills, including Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education unit courses, professional development courses and free educational courses.

2022's Best States for Pioneer Women


By John Schmidt
Lawn Love Communications Manager

Growing your own crops, herding your cattle, heating your bathwater on the stove — “The Pioneer Woman” star Ree Drummond proves that any city dweller can transition to self-sustaining rancher.

So, where in America could you live like a modern-day Laura Ingalls Wilder or Anne of Green Gables?

To find out, Lawn Love ranked 2022’s Best States for Pioneer Women by comparing the 50 states based on their suitability to a “Little House on the Prairie” lifestyle.

We looked at eight different factors indicating a state’s friendliness toward farming (especially for women) and surviving off the grid.

Key insights:

  • Alone in the Lone Star State: If you dream of being a cowgirl (and isolating yourself from society), it doesn’t get better than Texas, our No. 1 Best State for Pioneer Women. Earning nearly 11 points more than Oklahoma, our silver medalist and Drummond’s home state, the Lone Star State is most ideal for living off the grid.

    Texas leads in renewable energy use. Farming and ranching promise to be a breeze here, too. Texas ranks an impressive fourth in this metric but loses points in the Female Farmer-Friendliness category for employing fewer women at its farms than in nearly half of the other states.

  • Pioneer for a Day in Utah: You’d think the only state to officially celebrate Pioneer Day would fare well, but the Beehive State finished at a disappointing 44th place.

    In the state’s defense, Pioneer Day remembers the bravery of the first Mormon settlers in the Salt Lake Valley who sought freedom from religious persecution in Nauvoo, Illinois. In other words, the state holiday has little to do with celebrating the pioneer way of life.

    Objectively speaking, Utah is not an ideal state for wannabe pioneer women. It ranked below average in nearly every metric except for solar energy use at No. 12.

  • Rusty States: Think twice before literally putting down roots in Rust Belt states like New York (No. 43), Indiana (No. 49), and Pennsylvania (No. 50). These states make up the super majority of our bottom 10. 

    Turns out this region is a bit rusty when it comes to welcoming pioneer women, too. It’s easy to blame the region’s poor rankings on its cold climate, but our worst states simply lack the right conditions for pioneer women.


Our full ranking and analysis are available here:   

More from Lawn Love:

Friday, July 8, 2022

2 Free Webinars on Farm Tax Preparation and Resources


Filing taxes for an agricultural operation can be challenging, and many producers may not have the funds to hire accountants or tax professionals to assist. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee are offering two free webinars:

  • Tuesday, July 12, 2 p.m. Eastern: An Introduction to Ag Taxes: What New Farmers Should Know. Learn more about who is considered a farmer for IRS tax purposes and how to choose a tax professional. Register here.
  • Monday, August 15, 2 p.m. Eastern: Using the Tax Calculator. The Farm Tax Estimator Tool is an interactive spreadsheet that producers can download to estimate tax liability. Register here.

Find other resources at

Friday, July 1, 2022

Information on FDA Guidance Ending Over-the-Counter Antibiotics

Over-the-Counter Antibiotics will require Veterinary Oversight (Rx) beginning in June 2023 – Start Planning Now!

In June of 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that all medically important antimicrobials will move from over-the-counter (OTC) to prescription (Rx) only as of June 2023. The Center for Veterinary Medicine guidance for industry #263 (GFI 263) outlines the process.

This means that the injectable, oral, intramammary, and topical forms of antibiotics will require a prescription from a licensed veterinarian.

What species are included?

This applies to all companion and farm animal species.

When do these new changes become effective?

Beginning in June of 2023, or sooner, depending on when the manufacturer changes their labeling.

What do this mean to you and your livestock operation?

By June of 2023, all medically important antibiotics currently available at most feed or farm supply stores will now require veterinary oversight (written Rx) to be used in animals, even if the animals are not intended for food production.

Examples of affected antibiotics include injectable penicillin and oxytetracycline.

In addition, some retail suppliers who were able to sell these drugs/products in the past may no longer sell them after June of 2023.

This means in order to continue using medically important antimicrobials, you will need to establish a veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR). Consult your veterinarian for more information.

What is a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship?

veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients, and their patients and is critical to the health of your animal(s). The practical explanation is that it is a formal relationship that you have with a veterinarian who serves as your primary contact for all veterinary services and is familiar with you, your livestock/animals, and your farm operation. This veterinarian is referred to as your Veterinarian of Record (VoR), and both the VoR and the client should sign a form to document this relationship.


How will this work?

That means producers will need to have veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR), in order to get affected antibiotics like penicillin, oxytetracycline and erythromycin.

The new guidance does not require producers to purchase antibiotics through their veterinarian. Producers can use online pharmacies as long as they have a prescription.

The guidance does not affect antiparasitic drugs.

Helpful Resources:



Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Report highlights the social value of saleyards



This report is from Australia, but the same holds true for local stockyards across America too.

IT has long been understood that cattle and sheep sales are more than places to simply transact livestock, serving also as a regular gathering point and valuable social outlet for the livestock sector. 

However, little research has been conducted to quantify just how valuable saleyards are to the wellbeing of rural communities and the people that attend physical livestock sales.

A new report has now been released seeking to fill that gap, drawing on online surveys of 152 people and in-person interviews with 105 people at six saleyards across five Australian States.

Key findings of the “Social Value of Saleyards Research Report” released on Monday include:

– 96 percent of people identified that when they’re not buying and selling, they are socialising – “catching up with their mates and having a laugh”

– Stakeholders undertake information sharing, networking and market research and learning from one another

– Not being able to attend saleyards led to an increase in loneliness and social isolation for stakeholders

– Saleyard communities provide a ‘hub’ to deliver a range of services to a diverse group of people.

The Social Value of Saleyards Research Report is the result of a research project conducted by Blue Wren Connections and  commissioned by the Australian Livestock Markets Association, the national industry body for saleyard owners and operators in Australia.

Despite a widespread understanding that saleyards bring a vibrancy and energy to communities and sale days are a significant contributor to reducing social isolation, building community identity and promoting well-being in the population, there is a clear absence of research into the social value of sale days at livestock selling centres, the study noted.

ALMA identified that it was important to capture the data to reflect and give evidence of the social value in having saleyards operating in regional communities in rural Australia.

The report said the research provided evidence that saleyards create a place for social connection and when people have limited access to be able to attend, they experience loneliness and social isolation.

“The data suggests stakeholders that attend the saleyards build a sense of connection and belonging through positive social interactions such as: sharing stories, a smile, shaking hands, networking, learning about best practise and industry development and having a meal and a coffee at the canteen.

“For this cohort of rural Australians, saleyards provide a place for connection and storytelling.

“People experience being listened to and this in turn allows for people to feel better about themselves.”

Often people may not discuss the complex topics in their lives, however the positive experiences happening at the saleyards increased people’s well-being, the report noted.

Of those who gave interviews, 57pc reported that they experienced social isolation, 59pc experienced loneliness, 46pc experienced a decline in not being able to share information and learn from peers.

60 percent of participants identified that in addition to buying or selling livestock, they came together at saleyards for social reasons.

To view the full report click here

USDA Announces Framework for Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain and Transforming the Food System to Be Fairer, More Competitive, More Resilient

USDA efforts to create more and better markets will benefit both producers and American consumers through fairer prices, as well as address longstanding issues intensified by pandemic
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2022 - Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing details of a framework to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers. Today’s announcement builds on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. This announcement also provides additional details on the June 2021 announcement to strengthen critical supply chains and address longstanding structural challenges that were revealed and intensified by the pandemic.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, USDA made significant investments through its Pandemic Assistance Program, providing immediate relief to producers, businesses, food workers and others. As the pandemic has evolved and Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused supply chain disruptions, it has become clear we cannot go back to the food system we had before: the Biden-Harris Administration and USDA recognize we must build back better and strengthen the food system across the supply chain, from how our food is produced to how it is purchased, and all the steps in between.

The goals of USDA’s Food System Transformation framework include:

  • Building a more resilient food supply chain that provides more and better market options for consumers and producers while reducing carbon pollution: The pandemic and recent supply chain disruptions have revealed the perils of a national food system that depends on capacity concentrated in a few geographic areas and requires many steps to get from farm to fork. In order to be more resilient, the food system of the future needs to be more distributed and local. Having more capacity to gather, process, move and store food in different geographic areas of the country will provide more options for producers to create value-added products and sell locally, which will support new economic opportunities and job creation in rural communities. Additional regional capacity will also give consumers more options to buy locally produced products—helping ensure food is available to consumers—and reduce the climate impact of our food supply chain.
  • Creating a fairer food system that combats market dominance and helps producers and consumers gain more power in the marketplace by creating new, more and better local market options: Just 14 cents of the food dollar go to producers on average – in large part because producers’ power in the marketplace has declined over the past 50 years with increased consolidation in the food system. Today, just a handful of companies dominate meat and poultry processing and just a few multi-national companies produce most brands and products on supermarket shelves. Right now, input prices and food prices are up—but so are the profits of major food companies and national supermarket chains. Covid has revealed the perils of a food system dominated by a few corporate players. USDA’s investments will deliver a better deal for farmers, ranchers, growers and consumers.
  • Making nutritious food more accessible and affordable for consumers: The pandemic exposed and exacerbated the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity in this country. A family in the United States not having access to affordable, nutritious foods is unacceptable. Hard-pressed families—including those who depend on school meals, SNAP, and seniors on fixed incomes—may have limited food options and some communities have been underserved by grocery stores and food retailers, making it difficult to access healthy food. USDA is committed to ensuring every American family has access to affordable, nutritious foods. That is why USDA’s Food System Transformation framework includes programs to ensure all consumers are able to access fresh, healthy, nutritious food.
  • Emphasizing equity: For too long, rural communities, underserved communities, communities that experience persistent poverty, and the people who live there have been left behind. Where you live should not determine a fair shot to economic opportunity. It is in these communities where most of our food comes from; where most of the water that we drink comes from; and where most of the energy we consume comes from. USDA’s Food System Transformation investments will create more economic opportunities for these communities and allow them to retain more of the food system dollar. This will speed the transition to more equitable growth, with the wealth created from these communities remaining in small towns and underserved communities, helping to lift them out of poverty.

USDA investments through the programs included in this framework will help make this vision a reality.

Today’s announcement supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader work to strengthen critical supply chains as directed by Executive Order 14017 America's Supply Chains. Funding is provided by the American Rescue Plan Act and other relief legislation.