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Animal science professors assist sheep industry with educational webinar

Published: 09/13/2013 11:53AM
By: admin


Dr. Thomas Terrill, FVSU assistant professor of animal science and Dr. Will Getz, professor and retired extension specialist conducted a webinar for the American Sheep Industry Association.

A recent webinar conducted by Fort Valley State University animal science professors may help sheep farmers and producers sustain and expand North American wool and lamb industries.

On Aug. 27, Dr. Thomas Terrill, an FVSU assistant professor of animal science and Dr. Will Getz, professor and retired extension specialist, conducted a webinar entitled, "A New Approach to Parasite Management in Sheep."

The webinar serves as an educational component for the American Sheep Industry Association's (ASI) Rebuild the U.S. Sheep Inventory Program. The program aims to expand productivity in the sheep industry to sustain the U.S. wool and lamb markets and infrastructure.

For 90 minutes, 86 farmers, producers and ranchers located in 41 states and two Canadian provinces listened to information about the use of pharmaceutical and non- chemical parasite control in sheep. The participants were allowed to ask questions. Some of the topics of discussion included the biology of parasites, targeted selected treatment, and drug resistance.

Terrill said the webinar provided an opportunity to teach people he normally wouldn't reach as a research scientist. "Based on their questions, they had not heard much of this information before," Terrill said.

The professor, who is also coordinator of the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control, said the information shared is important because parasites are a huge problem among sheep producers in America and around the world. Furthermore, he said the parasites (worms) are becoming more resistant to the drugs farmers and producers are purchasing. As a result, these parasites are a contributor to the decline in the sheep population.

Getz, who serves on the ASI Rebuild the U.S. Sheep Inventory Education Committee, said the decline in sheep populations has prompted ASI to provide education and mentoring assistance for new and seasoned producers. The goal is to improve existing flocks and to successfully
establish new flocks.

"Mentorship, webinars, informational materials are all tools to help people along," Getz said. He said efforts such as these may increase sheep production which  will lead to growth in the wool and lamb industries.

Getz said products from sheep such as lamb meat and wool are traded internationally. He mentioned the marketing of American lamb for consumption, and important uses for American wool and wool blends such as for U.S. military uniforms that are fire retardant and have moisture absorbing capabilities.

To view the webinar, visit the link at http://www.optimalag.com/sheepblog/?p=257. For more information about parasite management in sheep and goats contact Terrill at (478) 825-6814 or send an e-mail to terrillt@fvsu.edu.