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Browsing Academy

 

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Chuck Denney, Narrator (UT Institute of Agriculture)

Goats will eat pretty much anything and everything. They like green grass and flowering plants, but the majority of their time, they browse. Like you shopping in a department store, they consider their options, and eventually make choices after browsing. A browsing goat feasts on twigs, leaves, shrubs – whatever’s available.

Dr. An Peischel (TSU Extension)

“They eat dead leaves. They eat acorns. Poison ivy they eat just as its starting to grow. So they eat each of the different species of plants at different times of year.”

Chuck Denney, Narrator
Dr. An Peischel is a small ruminant specialist with Tennessee State University Extension, and the head instructor for this “Browsing Academy” – also coordinated by UT Extension and the Department of Agriculture. Here she instructs goat owners from across the state about a number of topics – fencing, herd health and forage needs. Also a key message here, goats can be handy around a farm.

Dr. An Peischel
“Goats can be used for noxious weed abatement. We can do stream bank restoration. We can clean out areas with privet and different types of brush and open up tree areas.”

Chuck Denney, Narrator
You could argue goats are the perfect animal to raise on Tennessee land. They’re easy to manage, not as costly as other livestock, and don’t need a lot of acres or even flat land. More than a thousand farmers have gone thru Extension’s Master goat producer program the past few years. Phil Ivens came all the way from Knoxville for the Browsing Academy, and has 15 head on his farm, originally just to eat brush. But now he sees potential there with a growing market for goats, and is looking to expand his herd.

Phil Ivens (Goat Producer)
“It really surprised me the amount of meat goat consumption and how it has been increasing in the United States and, of course, worldwide. I was looking at an opportunity for my farm to generate revenue, and so we’re looking at this meat goat business.”

Chuck Denney, Narrator Like a number of animals, goats are always on the lookout for their next meal. And here their human owners learn how to provide it for them – browsing 101.

OF NOTE: Some surprising facts about goats – they work in teams to knock down trees and shrubs so the whole group can eat. They also can walk very well using just their hind legs.