PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas — As Emma Byers looks across her farm each morning, it’s hard for her to believe how an opportunity to raise goats has completely changed her life. Byers’ two sons, David and Ryan, received animals through the 4-H Goat Kid Giveaway, a program led by the International Goat Research Center. The giveaway provides a small number of 4-H students across the state with a goat kid to raise, show, and breed in an effort to promote the importance of goats to the agricultural economy. The Byers family frequently attends workshops held at Prairie View A&M University’s IGRC such as the Artificial Insemination course and Showmanship classes. David and Ryan have also been successful in showing their animals at various competitions across the state as members of Hamilton County’s 4-H Club. Ryan’s goat Karisma Lynn was Grand Champion in the senior alpine division at the West Texas Fair in Abilene and State Fair of Texas in addition to winning Best Udder and Best in Breed. David’s goat Duchess also won Grand Champion in the junior alpine division at the State Fair of Texas.
Their experience with the program has had an everlasting effect on the family. “The scholarship has completely changed our lives. Now we have a full dairy herd and a license with the state to sell our milk,” said Byers. She added, since her sons are among the few students in Hamilton County to raise dairy goats, they have influenced other farmers to do the same. The family’s dedication to raising animals has allowed them to assist other farmers and host workshops focused on showmanship and animal care, in Hamilton County.Emma is full of gratitude for everything the program has done for them and the special bond they have developed with IRGC Senior Research Associate Scott Horner. “Prairie View has been amazing. Scott Horner has been an absolute blessing. He conducts numerous showmanship clinics, which helps the kids learn a lot of great stuff from him, and he is very knowledgeable,” said Byers.
The 4-H Goat Kid Giveaway program has taught the boys responsibility, proper animal care, and provide resources for the family while also inspiring David to attend PVAMU in the future. Both of Byers’ son’s animals are currently expecting, and the family hopes to have a kid goat ready to donate back to the IGRC this year.
This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 1890 Extension Formula Program projects under Section 1444 and Section 1445.
–Prairie View A&M University