The following article was submitted by Chris Hicks, Smith County Extension Agent: 

Did you know Smith County is ranked 6th in the state of Tennessee as far as number of goats is concerned? Or that sheep production is one of the fastest growing livestock sectors in the state? These species, commonly known as small ruminants, are a great option for small and beginning farmers who want to raise livestock, but don’t have the land and/or capital for larger animals. 

Last year, we offered our first ever Upper Cumberland Master Small Ruminant program which was held in Sparta. We had a tremendous turnout with over 160 producers travelling from across the state, and even from out of state, to be with us. 

This year, we decided to offer a Lambing & Kidding school for area sheep and goat producers. This event, which will be held at the Smith County Ag Center on Saturday, March 23 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, will feature topics including:

  • Keys to a Successful Lambing/Kidding Season
  • Lambing/Kidding Facilities
  • What’s in your Toolbox?
  • Health Care for Newborns

For those who missed out on last year’s Small Ruminant Class, we are also providing that certification March 22 & 23 at the Ag Center. That class will include the Lambing & Kidding School on Saturday, along with topics from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on Friday which include:

  • Fencing
  • Marketing
  • Predation
  • Forages
  • Health & Parasites

Whether you decide to come for just the Lambing and Kidding school or both days and become a “Master Small Ruminant Producer,” you will be sure to take home some tips on raising sheep and goats by participating. 

Early bird registration for the Master Small Ruminant class is $75 for an individual or $100 for a couple if registered by March 15. Participating in both days is required to be eligible for TAEP cost share assistance. If you only wish to attend the Saturday Lambing & Kidding School, the early bird registration is only $25. To register or for more information, stop by our office at 125 Gordonsville Highway in Carthage, visit our website at smith.tennessee.edu, or give us a call at 615-735-2900.