September 29, 2006
September 29, 2006 - The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board approved Kentucky Sheep and Wool Producers (KSWP) for $184,000 in state funds to establish the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office. This was one of 27 projects approved.
According to Roger Thacker, sheep producer and member of the project's working group, "This two-year grant will allow the sheep and goat industries of this state to work together on projects that are mutually advantageous. We are excited to begin this joint effort which will provide more political visibility for each organization."
The KSWP will use these funds to open a Sheep and Goat Development Office in cooperation with the Kentucky Goat Producers and will employ a co-executive director for the two organizations. This person will promote the Kentucky sheep and goat industries, coordinate producer education and monitor issues both statewide and nationally that could affect sheep and goat production in the state.
Thacker explained that this is a continuation of work completed by producers and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture when it successfully introduced local lamb as prominent menu items at the 2005 Kentucky Derby. The project really picked up speed when the National Agricultural Statistics Service started publishing sheep and goat numbers for the state of Kentucky in 2004. Sheep numbers alone increased from 26,000 in January 2004 to 35,000 in January 2006, an increase of 134 percent over a two-year period.
"Warren Beeler and Tess Caudill, both of the Division of Value-Added Animal and Aquaculture Production with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, provided tremendous assistance and superior advised to the working group over the last year. Their guidance was a great contribution to the success of this effort," concluded Thacker.