Online course to cover sheep management and production

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Melwood Farm
St. Croix hair sheep at Melwood Farm, in Crown City, Ohio, April 20, 2022. (Sarah Donaldson photo)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An upcoming Penn State Extension online course will cover many aspects of sheep production and operation management, including evaluating and selecting sheep, setting up sheep facilities, keeping records, selecting feeds to meet sheep nutritional requirements, managing grazing, understanding and preventing health issues, and marketing sheep and their products.

Designed for anyone getting started in the sheep business and producers who want to improve their sheep operation, this course will open Aug. 29. Webinars will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 18, Oct. 2, Oct. 16 and Oct. 30.

This online, instructor-led course teaches participants the basics of sheep production through a combination of readings, educational videos, worksheets and webinars. Registrants will receive worksheets to help them analyze their own operations to improve performance and profitability. Learners will complete a worksheet for each section of the course and upload them for review prior to the webinars. Instructors will review the worksheets and return comments and suggestions.

During the webinars, educators and learners will discuss worksheets and participate in roundtable discussions. The webinars will be recorded for participants to view after the event.

Participants will learn to: select the type of sheep to best meet their needs; feed sheep to meet their nutritional needs; understand the reproductive process and implement appropriate management strategies; identify the health needs and issues of sheep and utilize ways to correct health problems; fetermine effective ways to market their sheep and products; and handle financial issues related to sheep production.

Knowledge check questions throughout the course will assist participants in reviewing the material. Each section also offers participants an opportunity to consider how to implement the acquired knowledge into their sheep operations. Participants must complete a five-question quiz at the end of each section. To earn the certificate of completion, a minimum score of 80% is required for each quiz.

The course carries a $125 registration fee and takes approximately 25 hours to complete. More information is available on the Penn State Extension website.

Organizers pointed out that this is an instructor-guided course with live webinars and worksheets. Those interested in an asynchronous version of this course without live discussions should visit the Sheep Management and Production webpage.

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