The Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M University’s Small Ruminant Program strives to educate and equip young people with skills required to be successful in their fields. To achieve this objective, Alabama Extension is partnering with AAMU’s Department of Food and Animal Science to train students in the College of Agricultural, Life, and Natural Sciences (CALNS) about basics skills related to animal production and overall farm operations to prepare them to handle emerging issues in the United States agricultural industry.
Remarkable program impacts are demonstrated in student testimonials.
Terrance Bell, an undergraduate student in the Department of Food and Animal Science.
“The Goat and Sheep Summit was a wonderful experience in which I had a chance to witness how the Food and Animal Science Department helps educate the public about our meat goat research. It was very rewarding to watch the kids getting excited to go up and touch our friendly and extremely social goat (Antwan) as their parents learned which plants to watch out for if they get a goat for the meat industry or to keep as a pet. As the adults got a chance to gain knowledge, the children had a great chance to socialize with one another and play fun educational games. Having a chance for myself and fellow students to communicate with the farmers in the surrounding areas meant a lot to me. The students in the Food and Animal Science Department really appreciated this chance to volunteer for our department. We had a blast playing with the children and watching them pet the goats. The children even got comfortable enough to tell us about all their pets and their names. I would love to be a part of the summit again and have the chance to see the community come together again for both educational and social purposes.”
Christopher Holden, an undergraduate student in the Forestry Department.
“Working on the goat farm allowed me to sharpen and practice field techniques while giving me a chance to observe other professionals’ work. I am especially thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the project during A&M’s semester of virtual learning because it was not just work for me; tending to the animals was rewarding and therapeutic. Daily observation of animals allowed our team of researchers to better understand how to treat ailments and solve problems concerning the safety of the animals. My personal experience was extremely rewarding. Regarding the Goat Summit, I enjoyed it. It gave me a chance to educate other members of the surrounding community on what I had learned and demonstrate my new skill set.”
Alysse Gavin, a student in the Food and Animal Science Department.
“Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University provided me with the opportunity to work around small ruminants. The meat goat demonstration was my favorite part of the entire project because I learned to take weights, FAMACHA score (which indicated anemia and is taken via observing the color of the bottom eyelid), scrotum girth, fecal samples, and blood samples of select animals. We ensured our goats were well-watered and rotated them in different pastures. We repaired the fence constantly to fight off coyotes. Such predators were an issue when it came to our herd, but we had the help of four beautiful Great Pyrenean Mountain dogs. They loved their job just as much as they loved us.”