The Power of the Goat

Few projects have excited SMART Repro to the core more than our recent partnership with Winrock International and the government of Nepal. Genetics collected and cryopreserved from the leading dairy and meat herds in the United States at our USDA-inspected and approved facility in Jonesboro, Arkansas was shipped to Nepal to facilitate Feed the Future KISAN ll. This five-year 32.7 million dollar program is multifaceted and with the clear intention to create lasting economic agricultural opportunities for small farmers in Nepal.

With these elite American-produced genetics, Nepalese livestock producers will be able to rapidly improve the indigenous goats readily available to them. Through the utilization of cryopreserved semen and artificial insemination, a greater variety of breeds can be introduced far quicker and to a wider region than live animal sires. Other factors in favor of using these techniques, is the ease of transport in comparison to live animals as well as the cost. One live animal sire can cover one doe, while a storage tank utilizing liquid nitrogen can hold hundreds of breedings. In this case, you do get more bang for your buck!

Every aspect of this multiyear project is intended to foster meaningful impact. SMART Repro is a small and completely necessary element in this sweeping project. The genetics we provided will be used in indigenous goat populations coupled with producer-focused education on goat conformation and production. This ensures the most productive and correct native animals are utilized in conjunction with the imported genetics to have the most generational impacts. Subsequent superior progeny will then be used in a government-led initiative in which their semen will be collected and distributed throughout the country by trained small ruminant reproductive technicians. With a clear eye to the future and the value of improved lactation production in dairy stock, increased litter sizes, and marked improvement in daily weight gains, KISAN ll has the real potential to provide families with a path to financial stability.

In country breed up programs have been utilized across the world to improve agricultural communities’ access to improved genetics. The aspects that make this program unique is the push-pull approach to its outreach and benefits to the participants. Push strategies provide resources for disadvantaged farmers and individuals access to education and paths enabling participation in intensification, diversification, and value-addition activities. This could mean education on improved fodder production programs allowing small holdings to feed more animals to market weight or materials to build infrastructure to facilitate complementary production, such as a creamery to enable cheese production. The pull strategies increase demand for the products produced and the improvement of the skills and services needed to enter more regional and competitive markets. The entire focus of this project is to empower and graduate farming households into more productive, lucrative, and stable models.

While we are a small part of a very big picture to change this corner of the world, we are immensely proud of our contribution to this amazing project. Being able to participate makes all the long days, cold mornings, and hard work seem so much easier to shoulder.