Published on 05/21/14

UGA Extension Master Goat Farmer course set for metro Atlanta this summer

By Merritt Melancon

University of Georgia Extension agents of Fulton County will host a six-week Master Goat Farmer Certification course Aug. 5 through Sept. 13.

The course will cover basics — like how to raise a herd of healthy meat goats and properly graze them — as well as the latest information on business planning, basic dairy goat management, herd health, building fences and predator management. The class will meet Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Camp Truitt 4-H Education Center, 4300 Herschel Road in College Park, Georgia.

Instructors include Will Getz from Fort Valley State University, Scott Sell from Clemson University, Dennis Hancock of UGA Extension, local goat farmers, veterinarians from the UGA College of Veterinary Sciences and UGA Extension agents familiar with goat farming.

This is the fourth year UGA Extension has offered the Master Goat Farmer Certification, but it’s the first year the course has been offered in metro Atlanta.

“There has been an increase the number of small goat operations in the metro area,” said Grantly Ricketts, an agriculture and natural resources agent in Fulton County. “And we have more residents calling in asking goat questions. Either they want to use goats for weed control, or they believe goat milk is healthier than cows’ milk. There’s also an increased demand for meat goats in the metro area because of the the increase in the Hispanic and Caribbean populations.”

The UGA Extension Master Goat Farmer course is meant as both a crash course for beginning goat farmers and a chance for experienced goatherds to improve their skills.

Farmers will also have the chance to meet other local goat producers and share the lessons they have learned over the years.

Registration for the course is limited to 75 participants. Registration ends Tuesday, July 11. The program costs $100 and includes all course materials, speaker fees, refreshments, meals and a T-shirt.

For more information about the course call the Fulton County UGA Extension office at (404) 762-4077.

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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