UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Beef producers looking for information on how to make their livestock enterprises more profitable can take advantage of three home-study courses offered by Penn State Extension this winter.
The courses, which all begin Feb. 6, will cover profit-enhancing production principles for raising beef, sheep and meat goats. Lessons are available through conventional mail delivery or through email and the Internet. The sheep and meat-goat courses each have six weekly lessons and will conclude March 13; the beef course has seven lessons and will end March 20.
Lesson topics include production basics, selection principles (beef), nutrition, health, reproduction, marketing and financial issues. Each lesson has information about the topic and a worksheet for producers to complete and mail or email back to Penn State Extension for comments.
Producers also can submit questions they would like to have answered.
"Each course is a great way for producers to learn new information without having to rearrange their schedule to accommodate a meeting," said Melanie Barkley, extension educator based in Bedford County, who is coordinating the courses. "Producers can study the lessons at their leisure in their own home."
Worksheet questions are designed to elicit information from producers about their current operation so course instructors can tailor their presentations to participants' individual situations and better help them improve their management skills.
According to Barkley, more than 1,500 producers from across the country have taken one or more of the three courses.
"Producers' comments following completion of the courses show that information offered in the sessions was very beneficial for them," she said. "Producers are able to adapt the information for use in their own operations."
For more details or to sign up for a course, go to http://agsci.psu.edu/livestock-course or call 877-489-1398.
To speak to one of the instructors, contact the Penn State Extension office in Bedford County at 814-623-4800 or in Fulton County at 717-485-4111.
Cost for each course is $45 if taken via email and the Internet and $80 if taken using U.S. Postal Service deliveries. Deadline for registration is Jan. 28.