Statement of Support – California Specialist in Sheep and Goat Herd Health and Production Position:

The American Goat Federation strongly supports this Specialist in Sheep and Goat Herd Health and Production position, and strongly recommends funding and filling this position with the best qualified candidate available. Goat producers face many challenges regarding animal health and welfare, particularly parasite management, and in the determination of accurate nutritional requirements. Additionally, many face a documented lack of access to knowledgeable veterinarians. Having this type of specialist available would be beneficial to sheep producers as well as goat producers in California as they face many of the same challenges within their operations. AGF appreciates the opportunity to comment on the importance of this position.

Description of Position
The focus of this statewide specialist position is veterinary medical health, welfare and sustainable production for California’s diverse sheep and goat industries. These diverse livestock production systems include extensive sheep and goats herds for meat production, sheep and goat dairy farms, wool production, periurban grazing herds for vegetation and fire control, 4-H youth projects, and thousands of small and backyard holdings located throughout California that for over 10 years have had no support from a UCCE small ruminant veterinary specialist. The interface between commercial production of sheep and goats and the public through community based farming, fairs (youth projects), rural and urban grazing, and local distribution of meat, milk and cheese creates strong needs for research and extension in the control of zoonotic diseases, pre-harvest food safety, sustainable grazing, and emerging ruminant pathogens. Moreover, produce food safety and water quality concerns due to new FSMA regulations have reduced grazing access to crop residues, orchards, vineyards, and even adjacent lands. This specialist position will fill a critical need in working with UCCE Livestock and Natural Resources Advisors, UCCE Dairy Advisors, Livestock Specialists, sheep and goat producers, practicing veterinarians, regulatory partners, and AES and I&R faculty to lead efforts in sustaining healthy livestock production and solving sheep and goat health issues throughout California. This position will be located in Veterinary Medicine Extension, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis.

July 5, 2016

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