Animal Science

Livestock (beef, sheep, and swine) and poultry account for approximately 48 percent of the gross revenue generated in the agricultural sector of Virginia's economy. Additionally, the livestock and poultry industries provide a ready market for many of the feed crops produced in Virginia. For the livestock and poultry enterprises to remain economically viable and sustainable, they must use a systems approach to decision-making that integrates science-based principles in the areas of animal care and management (including health, nutrition, parasites, facilities), the environment (including animal waste disposal), and food quality and safety. Forages (hay, pasture, and silage) are the primary source of nutrition for beef cattle and sheep, as well as horses and goats. Forage quality and quantity can have significant impacts upon cost of production. Effective management alternatives that enhance profitability and sustainability are presented through producer clinics, workshops, on-farm meetings, field days, seminars, fact sheets, and newsletters that deal with methods to improve production efficiency and marketing strategies.

Engaging with Communities

Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists in community viability work with Extension agents, campus-based faculty, organizational partners, communities, and individuals to further opportunity and build capacity in five program areas:   

Examples of our work include training county elected officials, educating entrepreneurs, facilitating collaborative projects, supporting the growth of community food systems and local economies, enhancing agent skills and community capacity in facilitation and leadership, conducting problem-driven research, and creating publications and tools that address critical community needs.

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Community Viability Specialists

See a list of our Community Viability Specialists