Monday, December 29, 2014

National Scrapie Eradication Program Monthly Report - November 2014

40 confirmed positive cases in goats since 2002

The monthly report for the National Scrapie Eradication Program for November 2014 is now available.  The monthly reports are available in both PowerPoint and PDF formats.

Highlights of the November 2014 Report
Two sheep from the source flock identified in October died, were tested and determined to be positive for scrapie.

The first positive goat found through slaughter surveillance was reported in November 2014. This case increases the total number of confirmed positive cases in goats to 40 since FY 2002.
Scrapie/Scrapie Program Monthly Tidbit
The Scrapie Free Flock Certification Program (SFCP) has two levels of participation. If you want to be a part of scrapie eradication, but do not plan to export, consider joining the Select Monitored category.  Participants in this category submit a minimum number of animals for scrapie testing over a certain period of time (depending on the size of the flock or herd) and APHIS covers the cost of shipping and testing the sample. Visit the APHIS SFCP Web page to learn more.


Monday, December 22, 2014

USDA loans available for small and beginning farmers and ranchers

Microloan Cap Grows to $50,000

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers and ranchers that the FSA borrowing limit for microloans increased from $35,000 to $50,000, effective Nov. 7.

Microloans offer borrowers simplified lending with less paperwork. FSA developed the Microloan program to better serve the unique financial operating needs of beginning, niche and small family farm operations. The loan features a streamlined application process built to fit the needs of new and smaller producers. This loan program will also be useful to specialty crop producers and operators of community supported agriculture (CSA).  

The microloan change allows beginning, small and mid-sized farmers to access an additional $15,000 in loans using a simplified application process with up to seven years to repay. Microloans are part of USDA’s continued commitment to small and midsized farming operations.

Eligible applicants can apply for a maximum amount of $50,000 to pay for initial start-up expenses such as hoop houses to extend the growing season, essential tools, irrigation and annual expenses such as seed, fertilizer, utilities, land rents, marketing, and distribution expenses.  As financing needs increase, applicants can apply for a regular operating loan up to the maximum amount of $300,000 or obtain financing from a commercial lender under FSA’s Guaranteed Loan Program.

To complement the microloan program additional changes to FSA eligibility requirements will enhance beginning farmers and ranchers access to land, a key barrier to entry level producers. FSA policies related to farm experience have changed so that other types of skills may be considered to meet the direct farming experience required for farm ownership loan eligibility. Operation or management of non-farm businesses, leadership positions while serving in the military or advanced education in an agricultural field will now count towards the experience applicants need to show when applying for farm ownership loans.
Since 2010, FSA has made a record amount of farm loans — more than 165,000 loans totaling nearly $23 billion. More than 50 percent of USDA’s farm loans now go to beginning farmers. In addition, FSA has increased its lending to socially-disadvantaged producers by nearly 50 percent since 2010.

Individuals who are interested in applying for a microloan or would like to discuss other farm loan programs available should contact their local FSA office to set up an appointment with a loan official. Please review the FSA Microloan Program Fact Sheet for program application, eligibility and related information. 

Beginning Farmer Loans

FSA assists beginning farmers to finance agricultural enterprises. Under these designated farm loan programs, FSA can provide financing to eligible applicants through either direct or guaranteed loans. FSA defines a beginning farmer as a person who:

• Has operated a farm for not more than 10 years.
• Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm.
• Agrees to participate in a loan assessment, borrower training and financial management program sponsored by FSA.
• Does not own a farm in excess of 30 percent of the county’s average size farm.

Additional program information, loan applications, and other materials are available at your local USDA Service Center.  You may also visit 

Youth Loans

The Farm Service Agency makes loans to youth to establish and operate agricultural income-producing projects in connection with 4-H clubs, FFA and other agricultural groups. Projects must be planned and operated with the help of the organization advisor, produce sufficient income to repay the loan and provide the youth with practical business and educational experience. The maximum loan amount is $5000.

Youth Loan Eligibility Requirements:
• Be a citizen of the United States (which includes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) or a legal resident alien
• Be 10 years to 20 years of age
• Comply with FSA’s general eligibility requirements
• Be unable to get a loan from other sources
• Conduct a modest income-producing project in a supervised program of work as outlined above
• Demonstrate capability of planning, managing and operating the project under guidance and assistance from a project advisor.

The project supervisor must recommend the youth loan applicant, along with providing adequate supervision.
Stop by the county office for help preparing and processing the application forms. 

Loans for the Socially Disadvantaged

FSA has a number of loan programs available to assist applicants to begin or continue in agriculture production.  Loans are available for operating type loans and/or purchase or improve farms or ranches. 
While all qualified producers are eligible to apply for these loan programs, the FSA has provided priority funding for members of socially disadvantaged applicants. 

A socially disadvantaged applicant is one of a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of his or her identity as members of the group without regard to his or her individual qualities. 
For purposes of this program, socially disadvantaged groups are women, African Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

FSA loans are only available to applicants who meet all the eligibility requirements and are unable to obtain the needed credit elsewhere.

For the latest on 2014 Farm Bill programs administered by FSA, please visit our Farm Bill website at and for an FSA program overview please read, download and/or print our recently posted FSA Farm Bill Fact Sheet titled, What’s in the 2014 Farm Bill for Farm Service Agency Customers?
For more information on FSA, please contact your local USDA Service Center or visit us online at

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Friday, December 19, 2014

Kentucky small ruminant grazing conference Feb. 7

FAMACHA  training also will be offered

The 2015 Kentucky Small Ruminant Grazing Conference will be held Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Logan County extension Service in Russellville, Ky. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Three hours of continuing education are available for veterinarians. Certificates will be distributed by mail after the conference. The registration deadline is January 24.

Conference sponsors include the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office, Kentucky Goat Producers Association, Kentucky Sheep and Wool Producers Association, Kentucky State University, UK Cooperative Extension Service and the UK Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability.

For more information, contact Kenneth M Andries, Ph.D.
Office: 502-597-5094
Cell: 502-229-7707


8:30 a.m.   Welcome - Dr. David Ditsch, Director, UK Robinson Center of Appalachian Resource Sustainability

Economics/Marketing Update
8:40 a.m.   Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Tess Caudill, KDA Market Specialist

Forage Management
9:15 a.m.   Fescue Toxicosis – Is it a problem for small ruminants? - Dr. Glen Aiken, USDA-ARS
10:00 a.m.  Fencing Options – Jeremy McGill, Gallagher Fence

Parasite Management
10:45 a.m.  De-worming Decisions – Dos and Don’ts - Dr. Anne Zajac, VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
11:45 a.m.  Lunch
12:30 p.m.  Pasture Management in Parasite Control - Dr. Anne Zajac

Producer Panel Discussion – Forage Systems
1:30 p.m.   Moderator – Ken Andries, KSU Extension Small Ruminant Specialist
Mary Kessler, Sheep & Cattle Producer, Springfield, KentuckyAl Dilley, Goat Producer, Glasgow, KY
Shawn Harper, Goat Producer, Hickory, KentuckyJim Mansfield, Sheep Producer, Salvisa, KY

2:30 p.m.   Adjourn

2:45 p.m.   FAMACHA Training (Optional, Cost $15.00)– Dr. Beth Johnson, DVM


The Logan County Extension Office is located at 255 John Paul Road, Russellville, between traffic lights 7 and 8 on the US68-KY80 bypass. The build- ing has a distinctive UK blue roof. It is very easy to see from the bypass.

From Bowling Green: Turn right onto the US68- KY80 bypass; proceed west 2.5 miles. The building will be on your left.

From Morgantown: Turn right onto the US68-KY80 bypass; proceed west one mile. The building will be on your left.

From Greenville: Turn left onto the US68-KY80 by- pass proceed west one mile. The building will be on your right.

From Franklin: Take Kentucky100 into Russellville, turn right onto US 68 business, proceed east one mile, turn left onto the US68-KY80 bypass and proceed west 2.5 miles. The building will on your left.

From Elkton: Turn left onto the US79-US68-KY80 bypass, proceed east 4.1 miles. The building will be on your right.

From Clarksville, TN: Turn left onto the US79-US68- KY80 bypass; proceed east 4.1 miles. The building will be on your right.

From Springfield, TN: Turn left onto US79, proceed west one mile, turn right onto the US79-US68-KY80 bypass; proceed east 4.1 miles. The building will be on your right.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holidays spur demand for lightweight goats

By Terry Hankins
Goat Rancher Editor

Some of the highest prices ever for meat goats have been reported this month. On December 11 at the Tennessee Livestock Producers Graded Goat and Sheep Sale in Columbia, Tenn., 25-35 pound Selection 2 kids brought from $3.20 to $5.15 a pound. The somewhat heavier kids weighing 36-50 pounds brought up to $4.35 a pound. Even the skinny Selection 3 kids in the 25-35 pound range brought as much as $4.95 pound.

That trend continued this week in San Angelo, Texas, with Selection 1 30-40 pound kids bringing $3.02 to $3.18 per pound; 40-60 pounds brought $2.60 to $$2.94 with a few bringing around $3.10 a pound.

Even heavy weights were holding their own with 80-100 pound kids bringing $2.10 to $2.28 a pound.

“These super prices recur, in very small numbers, just before Christmas and again just before Easter,” Dr. Frank Pinkerton said. “(Producer and order buyer) Bob Herr and I were at New Holland, Pa., some years ago and 20-pound Saanen twins sold to Bob for $4 a pound. He was filling special orders from two Italian and Greek businessmen for Christmas dinner goats.”

“It is also apparent that, in high demand times like holidays, the prices for Selection 2 goats are almost equal to the price for Selection 1 goats,” Frank said. “Also note that the bigger the goat across all categories, the lower the price per pound — no matter the grade.”

To see the complete market reports, go to

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sheep and goat expert Jodie Pennington retires

Jodie Pennington, PhD
Long-time friend of the sheep and goat industry Jodie Pennington, PhD, has announced his retirement as Southwest Region Small Ruminant Educator, Lincoln University (Mo.) Cooperative Extension. December 4 was his last day at work. A retirement reception was held at the Newton County Extension Center in Neosho, Mo., on December 1.

“I don’t have any specific plans for retirement except to rest, work on the endless tasks around the house, and visit children, grandchildren, and family,” Jodie said. “I do hope to see you at sheep and goat events as I travel here and there.”

Southwest Missouri Extension calls about sheep and goats now will go to the farm outreach workers in the region, Randy Garrett (417-850-9391) and David Middleton (417-466-8056), who work out of their homes near Mt. Vernon, Mo.  Charlotte Clifford-Rathert (573-681-5169) also will be available from Jefferson City.