Saturday, July 28, 2012

Goat workshop Aug. 4 in South Texas

WESLACO – Got a few acres in South Texas you’d like to work? Consider goats, said Barbara Storz, a Texas AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist who has organized an upcoming goat workshop.
It will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Aug. 4 at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, 2401 E. Highway 83 in Weslaco. The registration fee is $15.
“All over the country, but especially here in South Texas, land is being broken up into smaller tracts and people are interested in working those few acres for income or just to pay taxes and other expenses that come with owning land,” she said.
“One can invest in small vegetable production, or in small animal production like goats that don’t require the amount of land and expense that raising cattle does.”
Income from goats can come from meat and dairy production, or from the production of cosmetics, including soaps and lotions that can be sold at local markets, she said.
“Meat and milk production requires a considerable investment and regulations to follow,” she said. “But making hand-made, goat milk soaps and hand lotions for sale at a farmers market requires little investment and no rigorous state regulations. It’s an excellent opportunity to create marketable products and start a small business.”
South Texas is an excellent location to raise goats on small parcels of land, Storz said.
“You can easily raise several goats per acre,” she said. “And there are many native shrubs here that make for an excellent goat diet. Goats have been an important part of our Hispanic culture down here in South Texas for generations, so goat products are always in demand and they can be made with little investment. It just takes know-how.”
Speakers and topics include: Andy Calcote, a registered sanitarian with the Texas Department of State Health Services, state regulations for goat dairies; Scott Horner, a Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension Program specialist, at Prairie View A&M University, how to choose meat and dairy goats and keeping them healthy; Julie Hammond, owner of Hammond Farm and Dairy in Houston, developing a successful goat dairy; and Vidal Saenz, AgriLife Extension agent Hidalgo County and farm advisor, obtaining funds from a new loan program for small producers.
The goat workshop is one of three workshops to be presented in August for small-acreage producers. The others include a workshop on agricultural products marketing on Aug. 17 and another on hydroponics on Aug. 24. These will be held at the Texas A&M-Kingsville Citrus Center, 312 N. International Blvd., Weslaco.
“We’re able to keep the registration fees for these workshops as low as possible, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency and the National Center for Appropriate Technology,” Storz said.
For more information, contact Storz at or 956-383-1026.

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