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Maintaining a Record Keeping System •
Performance Records •
Regulations for Extra-Label Drug Use •
Calendar of Events
A Short Pencil Is Better Than a Long Memory: Maintaining a
M. Jones, Associate Professor
Historically, many producers have found keeping and analyzing
financial records a challenge.
Keeping and analyzing farm financial records are essential in the
efficient management of a farm business. Accurate records and the
resulting analyses can assist you in making financial and production
decisions, complying with tax laws, supporting loan applications and
other governmental regulations. Traditional hand record keeping and
computer programs have all been accepted and used by a number of
farmers. Developing and
using a farm recordkeeping system will allow you to make more
informed decisions affecting the profitability of the farm.
Two basic methods of keeping
records are available to
producers. These methods are 1)
handwritten and2) computerized
recordkeeping programs. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.
Individual producers must determine whichmethod fits their situation
and resources. But neither system works ifthere is no consistency or
regularity inhow the records are maintained.
Developing and using a farm recordkeeping system will allow you to make more informed decisions affecting the profitability of the farm.
One of the simplest systems available involves recording by
hand all financial transactions in a journal format. Purchases and
sales activities are listed by hand as they occur. The
entries should show:
- The date
- The item involved (quantity, size, etc.)
- Cash involved in sales or purchases
The hand recording system is still useful for many farmers and has
the following characteristics:
- Low initial out-of-pocket expense
- Easy to implement
- Time consuming
- More opportunities to make mistakes
- Limited in extent of analysis without extraordinary investment
of time and effort.
The advantages of a computerized system depend on the expectations
of the accounting system, the amount of time available to keep
records and the attitude towards the initial investment cost. The use
of computer software has expanded on farms in recent years. There are
several different types of farm recordkeeping systems available for
use in computers (e.g., Quicken). The computerized system has the
- Higher initial out-of-pocket expense
- May require a significant amount of time to study and master
- Can be a powerful analysis tool
If a hand system can provide the detailed information required by
you to make informed business decisions, it may be the best
choice. However, if the hand system does not give the desired level of
financial information, computerized systems should be considered.
Financial Record-Keeping Systems
Financial record-keeping systems are more readily available because
the types of records maintained for a goat or sheep operation are
very similar to other types of agricultural operations. Choosing
a financial record-keeping system is usually done by personal
preference. Several are available that produce similar reports and
summary information. When choosing a program, producers should pick
one that they are comfortable using. Producers may want to check into
what programs have workshops available that help demonstrate how to
use the programs for agriculture.
Maintaining an accurate set of financial records is important for
two reasons. The first reason is tax preparation. Operating an animal
enterprise allows a producer to file an IRS Schedule F, Profit and
Loss From Farming Form, as long as that enterprise is operated with
the purpose of making a profit. The second reason for maintaining an
accurate set of records is to measure the overall financial
performance of an operation. The same set of records can be used to
do taxes and measure financial performance. The types of financial
records that producers need to maintain can be broken down into four
different groups: income, expenses, assets and liabilities.
Record keeping is a very important part of any agricultural
enterprise. By keeping both production and financial records,
producers are able to manage their operations. Without records, a
producer will have a harder time determining the progress made
towards the operationís goals and objectives.
Performance Records: The Key to
Accurate Decision Making
Steven M. Jones, Associate Professor
Performance records allow a comparative evaluation of animals for
production traits of economic importance. Reproduction, growth and
carcass merit are the traits of primary economic importance in meat
animal industries, including meat goats and sheep. However, pedigree
and visual appraisal for conformation have been the primary basis of
animal selection in most small ruminant herds. Good on-farm
performance records include the comparative evaluation of females
for reproductive output, the evaluation of individual offspring for
weight gain and, in multi-sire breeding programs, herd sire
comparisons for progeny performance.
Objective, accurate recording of herd performance allows producers
to make better selection and culling decisions and to measure
performance responses to management changes.
On-farm performance testing is commonplace to assess female
productivity in other livestock industries where profit is a primary
objective. Calving rates and weaning weights are two of several
traits recorded and used for selection decision making in beef
cattle herds. In dairy goats, milk yield is a routinely measured doe
performance trait. A similar emphasis on record keeping for
performance traits has not been applied in purebred or commercial
meat goat programs. Objective, accurate recording of herd
performance allows producers to make better selection and culling
decisions and to measure performance responses to management
changes. Producers can assess the production return (i.e., litter
weight weaned) from the expenses incurred for female management.
Performance records should be easy to use. Records can be
handwritten in a notebook or on index cards. Alternatively, records
can be maintained electronically on computer spreadsheets or herd
management software. Electronic records allow easy handling of data
for analysis, particularly for herds with large sets of data
accumulated over several years. However, a hand calculator and a
little time are all that may be required for processing data from
smaller herds using handwritten records. Under any scenario, proper
record keeping is essential to a successful performance testing
program. Each animal in the breeding herd should have a separate
For each herd member to have a separate record, proper animal
identification is required. Ear tags and tattoos are common forms of
ID for small ruminants. Assign every herd member a unique and
permanent ID number. Numbers can be assigned to offspring at birth
when collecting early data such as birth weights, litter sizes and
Newborn data needs to be matched with the correct dam. In herds
with many females giving birth together on pasture or range, it can
sometimes be a challenge to tell who belongs to whom. Rejected
offspring, early newborn deaths and the occasional swapping of
offspring make it important to properly and adequately ID offspring
soon after birth, preferably within 12 to 24 hours.
Scales are needed to implement a performance testing program.
Body weight is undeniably important as a measure of meat animal
performance as well as for some aspects of general herd management.
A small handheld scale is sufficient to record birth weights. A
larger livestock scale is needed for weaning weights. Scales maybe
bought, borrowed or rented depending on the needs and resources of
individual operations. A weight tape or other means of estimating
body weight are NOT acceptable. A scale should be periodically
checked to ensure that it is accurate and precise when weighing
Keep detailed health records on each animal. Periodic evaluation
of records is recommended for traits associated with internal
parasitism, lameness, abortions, mortalities and other health
concerns to help in making selection and culling decisions and
reviewing herd management procedures. Although the primary focus has
been on preweaning growth and female reproductive output, evaluation
of other performance traits is encouraged.
Performance records, when used with visual appraisal and
pedigree, facilitate improvement for economically important traits.
Performance records allow for the evaluation of management
procedures and how management changes affect performance.
Performance records, when coupled with financial records, provide
the basis of assessing the economic status of an enterprise and the
likelihood of making a profit or incurring a loss annually.
Performance and financial targets should provide direction to
Understand the Regulations for
Extra-Label Drug Use
Steven M. Jones, Associate Professor
It is critical for the developing meat goat industry to develop
and maintain a reputation for safe and high-quality products. Goat
producers face some major differences and difficulties compared with
other major meat producing animal industries. The meat goat industry
is smaller than other major meat-producing animal industries such as
the poultry, swine or beef industries. For obvious reasons,
economics is an important consideration when animal health and feed
companies consider product development. Because of this, few animal
health products are FDA-approved for use in meat goats.
Because of the frequent need for extra-label drug use in goats, it
is important for the producer to have a good working relationship
with a veterinarian who can prescribe or direct such extra-drug use.
A major concern for goat producers is the perceived cost of
working with a veterinarian. Most meat goat operations are small and
are not the major means of income production for the individuals
involved. Income and profits are small, necessitating careful
control and monitoring of expenses. Because of the frequent need for
extra-label drug use in goats, it is especially important for the
producer to have a good working relationship with a veterinarian who
can prescribe or direct such extra-label drug use and be a source of
withholding times for such use. Most goat producers are unaware that
they do NOT have "extralabel" drug use privileges. Only
veterinarians who have established a VCPR (Veterinarian-Client
Patient Relationship) with a particular client may prescribe or use
drugs in an extra-label manner on that clientís animals if the
animalís health is threatened and suffering or death may result from
failure to treat.
To establish a VCPR, the veterinarian should have visited the
farm and have a thorough knowledge of the management of these
animals or should have recently seen the animal to be treated. Once
a VCPR has been established, the veterinarian may use drugs in an
extra-label manner provided the client has agreed to follow his or
There are three conditions of extra-label drug use as established
by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- The veterinarian has examined the animal(s) in question
recently and has made a diagnosis and a determination that
products with proper labeling will not work in this instance.
- The client has been instructed by the veterinarian in the
proper use and administration of the product, a withdrawal
period has been determined and the client is willing to follow
the instructions given by the veterinarian.
- The veterinarian is available to respond to any adverse
reaction or follow-up examination and treatment that may occur
to the animal due to the administration of the drug or failure
of the drug to work.
Often a goat owner will not have the animal examined by a
veterinarian but will telephone a veterinarian, who may never have
visited the farm, with a list of symptoms and ask for a recommended
treatment. This does not qualify as VCPR!
Many goat owners casually treat their animals and do not keep
proper records of animals treated, drugs used or proper withdrawal
period for that product. If no information is available to establish
a withdrawal time, then the treated animal or animal products, such
as milk and meat, are permanently barred from the human food chain.
This is to prevent illegal drug residues in products for human
consumption. Although there are no drug residue test kits marketed
specifically for goat meat, owners should be aware that drug residue
testing is conducted on milk and meat produced for human
Since each herd is different, each owner should work with his/her
veterinarian to create an individual herd health plan. Keep good
records for each animal regarding medications, vaccinations,
dewormers, diseases, breeding, culling etc., and use this
information to plan your herd health program. Preventive medicine is
usually less expensive than treating the disease, as the highest
economic returns are realized when disease problems are at a
minimum. Many diseases have similar symptoms, and a producer should
work with a veterinarian familiar with common goat diseases. A
veterinarian familiar with goats has the training and experience
needed to provide diagnosis and recommend animal health products
used in goats to treat these conditions.
Despite the lack of many approved medications for sheep and
goats, producers can both stay within the law and treat their
animals if they remember to abide by extra-label drug use procedures
and work closely with a licensed veterinarian within a valid
veterinarian client patient relationship. Proper animal
identification and recordkeeping practices also go along way toward
avoiding illegal medication residues in marketed products. The Minor
Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act (MUMS) passed by Congress in
2004 encourages pharmaceutical companies to create medications to
prevent and treat rare diseases in major species (cattle, horses,
dogs, cats, swine and poultry) and common diseases in minor species
(all other species).
Calendar of Events
|August 20-22, 2010
||ARMGA Arkansas Classic Show and 50% Jackpot
Market Wether Show will be having ABW points sanctioned for
show and more to be announced. Entry fee $15.00 per head
with $5.00 pen fee charge. If you show in the junior show,
the entry fee will be waived for free to show in one open
show. Judges: TBA.
||Clark County Fairgrounds in Arkadelphia
|August 28, 2010
||Northwest Arkansas District Fairgrounds,
|September 11, 2010
||Southwest Missouri Boer Goat Show
||Centennial Park Fairgrounds, Nevada,
|September 18-19, 2010
||Southeast Arkansas Goat Producers
Association Fall Classic. Three shows during the weekend.
|September 25-26, 2010
||NAMGA Fall Classic
||Northwest Arkansas District Fairgrounds,
|October 7-9, 2010
||Arkansas State Fair, Arkansas. Two ABGA-sanctioned
Open Boer Goat Shows and one Junior Boer Goat Show.
||State Fairgrounds, Little Rock.
|October 9-10, 2010
||Arkansas State Fair Junior Market Meat Goat
||Arkansas State Fairgrounds, Little Rock.
|October 23, 2010
||North Arkansas Meat Goat Association Free
Fall Goat Clinic, 8 a.m.
|November 6-7, 2010
||NEA Boer Blow Out, ABGA-sanctioned shows.
||Greene County Fairgrounds in Paragould.
|November 20, 2010
||Market Goat and Sheep Sale, noon
||Silver Hill Farm, St. Joe.
Steven M. Jones, Associate Professor
The information given herein is for educational purposes only.
Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the
understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement
by the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is implied.
Printed by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension
Service Printing Services.
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