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Sheep and Goats and Unwanted Vegetation, Focus of February 16 UME Workshop 

Pasture and Grazing PicPrincess Anne, MD – (January 16, 2013) – Sheep and goats and unwanted vegetation is the focus of an all-day workshop scheduled for Saturday, February 16, at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.  The workshop begins at 9 a.m.; registration begins at 8:15 a.m.

Using sheep and goats as tools to manage unwanted vegetation in woodlands and recreational areas is more than a notion.  UMES scientist and extension specialist Dr. Enrique Nelson Escobar is principal investigator of a three-year USDA/NIFA grant titled “Management of Unwanted Vegetation Using Small Ruminants (Sheep and Goats) in Tree Farms and Recreational Areas on Delmarva.”  The objective of the study is to develop a module with multiple components to propose solutions for management of unwanted vegetation on Delmarva.  Because small ruminants have an advantage over bovines in terms of size and the adaptability to foraging and browsing,  that distinctiveness allows them to be used as an alternative to the use of herbicides or prescribed burning for tree farm planting preparation, rangeland improvement or the enhancement of recreational area landscapes. 

The study will inform the workshop, which will lead participants to explore, among other things, how unwanted vegetation can be utilized by sheep and goats, and in some cases, depending on the species of vegetation, how the intestinal parasite burdens that are inherent to small ruminants can be managed as well.  More specifically, morning sessions will involve commentary detailing the market developments in the U.S. sheep and goat industry, success stories from sheep and goat farmers and the biology and/or botany of invasive plant species on Delmarva.  Afternoon sessions will include information about poisonous plants for small ruminants in a targeted grazing scenario, a presentation on natural choices and a session covering sheep and goat husbandry. 

The workshop is an effort of the University of Maryland Extension’s 1890 Program at UMES in collaboration with Nevin Dawson, forest stewardship educator at the University of Maryland Extension Wye Research and Education Center in Queenstown, Md.

A registration fee of $25 is required for each individual, and a $40 fee is required for each couple.  The fee will provide a continental breakfast, conference materials, lunch, and refreshments.   If interested, online registration is available at  Registrants also have the option of mailing in their registration or registering at the door.  For more information, call 410-651-6211 or 410-651-7930.                                                      


Suzanne Waters Street, agriculture communication specialist, UMES – University of Maryland Extension, 410-651-6084,


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