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October 06, 2009

Third sheep, goat roundup is a success

Chef serving goat dish
A chef serves up lunch at the sheep and goat cookoff competition in August. (Photos by Becky Kirkland)

In August, the third educational N.C. Goat & Sheep Producers Roundup was held in Greensboro at the Guilford County Cooperative Extension Center. The two-day conference was well attended by over 135 goat and sheep producers from North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina.

A special feature of the event was the “N.C. Chefs Cook-off of Lamb and Chevon.” Five high-end restaurants and chefs that participated include Spanky’s Restaurant of Chapel Hill; Taste of the Caribbean Restaurant, Greensboro; The Stock Pot, Winston-Salem; JuJube Restaurant, Chapel Hill, and Chatham Marketplace, Pittsboro.

Each restaurant was given a half carcass of both lamb and goat and could prepare it any way they desired for the competition. After the judging of the dishes by area food editors of newspapers and a sponsor representative, the wonderful food was served to the participants at the conference with rave reviews.

Judges were Andrea Weigl of The News & Observer (Raleigh), Michael Hastings of the Winston-Salem Journal and N.C. Farm Bureau Representative and goat producer Susan Proctor. The Franklin County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, based in Louisburg, sponsored the cook-off event with $2,000 in prize money for the top chefs. The top winner of the both the lamb and chevon dishes was Chef Dave Schirmer of the Chatham Marketplace. Chef Schirmer took home $600 for his “Drunken Goat Burritos” and the “Roast Leg of Lamb with Orange, Chipotle and Rosemary Marmalade.”

Conference topics included various marketing avenues for the small ruminants from “Direct Sales at Farmers Markets” to “Utilizing Grazing Contracts.” Other topics included utilizing forages on small acreage, weed identification and poisonous plants in pastures, predator control, discussion of the COOL Program and Animal Identification Program.

Hands-on training was beneficial to many of the new producers with sessions on hoof-trimming, proper injection sites, how to build a goat-proof fence and how to perform fecal egg counts. A FAMACHA certification (parasite detection) training was held on Friday evening at N.C. A&T State University’s Small Ruminant Unit, and 22 producers became certified with FAMACHA.

Goat burritos
A sample burrito from the sheep and goat cookoff.

In addition to the adult sessions on both days, a youth training session was conducted by N.C. State and N.C. A&T State universities' Extension livestock specialists and others on Saturday morning. Youth learned how to win a blue ribbon in showmanship for meat goats, dairy goats and sheep. They also evaluated live animals for proper selection for competition and participated in a detailed Goat & Sheep Quality Assurance Program. Eight North Carolina vendors participated in a trade show.

The conference evaluations were “great meeting," “truly fantastic presentations," “excellent hands-on workshops," and “Look forward to the next one!” were just a few of the comments given on the conference. Cooperative Extension and planning committee looks forward to the next “Roundup” in 2011. We hope to see even more goat and sheep producers at the next big event.

For more information on the Roundup or to be placed on a goat/sheep mailing list, contact Agricultural Extension Agent Martha Mobley in Franklin County, 919.496.3344 or martha_mobley@ncsu.edu.

-Article by Martha Mobley

Read more from The News & Observer

Recipe for Drunken Goat Burritos, courtesy The N&O

Posted by Natalie at October 6, 2009 02:53 PM