Controlling internal parasites in goats is arguably the biggest economic factor in goat production, according to Deb Finch, of Finch Livestock. But treating whole herds, regardless of infection status, can be costly for farmers – and can lead to drug-resistant parasite populations.


Deb and her husband, Eric, have been raising goats for 16 years near State Center, and currently manage a herd of 125 Boer and Kiko crosses. To stay profitable, their main focus is direct-marketing meat to recent immigrant communities in central Iowa – and staying on top of parasite control. Deb says that using FAMACHA, a technique that lets farmers easily identify infected animals, can help farmers more easily manage parasites in their goats.


“Dealing with parasites is our number-one priority to lower costs and keep the goat herd healthy,” she says. “FAMACHA training provides one of the most practical, yet simple, tools for parasite management in goats.”


Deb and Eric will host a FAMACHA workshop, followed by a field day on goat production and parasite management on Tuesday, June 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at their farm near State Center (73860 280th St., southwest of town). Both events are organized by Practical Farmers of Iowa, and guests are invited to attend one or both.


The workshop runs from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and costs $16 per person. Guests are asked to bring payment to the workshop. Registration is required by Tuesday, June 6, to ensure enough time to order the kits participants will use in the workshop. To register, contact Meghan Filbert, 515-232-5661 or meghan@practicalfarmers.org.


Dr. Paul Plummer, a veterinarian at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, will lead the FAMACHA training. Guests will learn how to take FAMACHA scores and keep records, and will also have an opportunity to look at goats’ eyelids for anemia – which is the basis of how FAMACHA works. At the end of the training, all participants will receive a FAMACHA scorecard to use on their own herds.


The field day – “Parasite Management in Goat Production” – will start with a full lunch at 11:30 a.m. All attendees planning to have lunch are asked to RSVP for the meal to Debra Boekholder, debra@practicalfarmers.org or 515-232-5661, by Friday, June 23.


After lunch, the group will take a hayrack ride to a pasture where goats have been grazing and browsing. Dr. Plummer will give a lesson on parasite management and Deb will explain how she uses pasture management for parasite control. Guests will see sections of pasture that have been grazed for one year versus other areas that have been grazed for two and three years.


Deb uses electronet fence for internal fencing on a primitive piece of land with no power or water. Goats access the creek for water and are fenced out of certain areas so they cannot access trees in a conservation area. Deb will address managing grazing of open grasslands versus hill land with lots of browse.


Directions from Ames: Head east on U.S. 30. When you are 4 miles east of Colo, turn right (south) on 740th Avenue. Drive 4 miles and turn right (west) on 280th Street. The farm is 200 yards west, located on the south side of the road.