Small-Scale Livestock Operators Targeted

Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Small-scale livestock operators with annual sales of agricultural products between $10,000 and $499,999 are the targets of a survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

A short questionnaire which covers marketing, management and biosecurity has been mailed to operators in all 50 states with cattle, horses, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, aquaculture species and other farm animals raised for home use or sale. Nonrespondents will have an opportunity to participate via telephone. Data collection began March 14 and will end April 29, 2011.

Dr. Henry English, director of the Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, urges operators to fill out and return their questionnaires. “The study seeks to increase knowledge about the characteristics and challenges faced by small-scale livestock producers,” he says. This is the first study of its kind.

Information gained will be used by university researchers, Extension agents and producer groups to identify and focus on issues vital to small-scale operators. It will also help animal health officials, policymakers and industry members in making decisions on protecting U.S. agriculture and animal health.

“Without this kind of information, it is difficult to put together an effective program to help small farmers reach their farm goals,” says Dr. David Fernandez, UAPB Extension livestock specialist.

Those who participate will receive reports and information sheets so they can compare their operations to other small-scale operations.

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