For nearly three years Indiana goat and sheep producers have sought to copy the efforts of Kentucky in organizing and obtaining a better marketing system. While lambs and goats sell well at markets, producers still believe they're missing out on marketing opportunities. A series of Town Hall meetings now underway should help gauge whether there is sufficient interest in finally moving forward on an effort that lead to a more organized, improved marketing program for goats and sheep in Indiana.
Sponsored by the sheep and goat associations in Indiana, along with Purdue Extension, the meetings result from a USDA grant intended to help local officials investigate the possibilities for how marketing opportunities for these commodities could be improved. The animals are officially defined in the grant as any small ruminants.
Possibilities on the table will include cooperative marketing, interest in graded sales, where animals and or carcasses are graded, tele-auctions of goats and sheep, and any other ides that might lead to more consistent marketing options.
The next meetings in the series include Nov 3 at the Hancock County Extension office, 7 pm EST; Nov 4 at the LaGrange County 4-H Fairgrounds Community Building, Nov. 16 at the Washington County Extension office, Nov 17 at the Putnam County Extension office and Nov 23 at the Allen County Extension office. All beginning times are 7 p.m. EST. Most of the counties hosting these events have Websites that provide more information on the meetings.
The first meeting was held in Dubois County at the Southern Indiana Purdue Ag center. The side range of meeting locations should provide interested producers form across the state an opportunity to attend and have their views heard. It's not a come and hear a lecture meeting, organizers stress. Instead, they want ideas from those who come, whether the ideas are small or more major in scale.
Kentucky's goat grading program has been in effect for the past few years. A grader is employed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. That helps provide consistency in product so buyers know what they're getting. At the present time, Indiana does not have such a system in place.
One of the items of discussion at these sessions will likely be if such a system would work in Indiana. If so, details such as who will operate it and how it will be funded will need to be worked out.
If you have questions, contact your local Extension office.