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Home  > Question of the Week

Question of the Week

Permalink How can I control barber pole worms in my goats? Will dung beetles help?


Answer: Barber pole worm, or Haemonchus contortus, is a common parasite of sheep and goats. It is impossible to control using only one method. The article linked below about barber pole worms in the South, "Management of Barber pole Worm in Sheep and Goats in the Southern U.S.," you will note that the title says "management," not "control." You will need to use several practices to limit the damage that this parasite can cause.

Dung beetles, as you suspected, will help reduce this and other parasite populations. See the ATTRA publication Dung Beetle Benefits in the Pasture Ecosystem to more fully understand how dung beetles work to control parasites that live part of their life cycle in manure. You will learn that if your management practices are favorable to dung beetles, they will be present in your pastures. If not, you won’t have any. They can travel great distances, so they will come to your pastures if you are not using materials that are toxic to them.

Also see Integrated Parasite Management for Livestock. It will further your general knowledge on parasite management for sheep as well as other livestock.


Burke, Joan. 2005. Management of barber pole worm in sheep and goats in the southern U.S. (PDF / 23 kb)

Thomas, Michelle L. 2001. Dung Beetle Benefits in the Pasture Ecosystem. ATTRA Publication. National Center for Appropriate Technology, Fayetteville, AR. 12 p.

Wells, Ann. 1999. Integrated Parasite Management for Livestock. ATTRA Publication. National Center for Appropriate Technology, Fayetteville, AR. 44 p.



Permalink Where can I go for information about setting up a small meat processing facility?


Answer: Below are several Web-based resources that will get you started, but be sure you are familiar with all state and federal regulations related to meat processing—and remember that your state may have some regulations more stringent than those of USDA. As always, we caution all rural entrepreneurs to thoroughly research both the business model under consideration and the available market.

Featherlite Trailers is the manufacturer of a mobile processing unit approved by USDA.


Anon. 2004. Creating a bright future for livestock farmers in Minnesota. Report by the Citizen Task Force on Livestock Farmers & Rural Communities. September 28. 26 p. (PDF / 173 kb)

Anon. No date. Feasibility study for energy efficient on-farm poultry and small ruminant processing plants. The Center for Agricultural Development & Entrepreneurship. 20 p. (PDF / 720 kb)

Anon. 2002. Featherlite Trailers. 2 p.

Anon. 2003. Publications: Planning a small meat packing business. Penn State. 2 p.
Publications Distribution Center
The Pennsylvania State University
112 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802-2602

Roche, Jonathan. 2001. Cost analysis: A meat processing facility in Western Massachusetts. Open Field Foundation and Massachusetts Dept. of Food and Agriculture. June 6. 32 p. (PDF / 149 kb)



Permalink Do cut-your-own flower operations make money on a farm?

North Carolina

Answer: Because they are so attractive, flowers are certainly a natural for any kind of on-farm market or roadside stand. At a fruit and vegetable grower's conference 20 years ago, Karen Pendleton of Lawrence, Kansas, told how she came to add field-grown cut flowers to her family's Pick-Your-Own (PYO) operation. At that time, Karen and her husband John had 12 acres of asparagus in production for PYO sales. When people came to the farm for asparagus, they saw tulips blooming in her yard, and wanted to buy them as well. The Pendletons have since added peonies to the PYO operation because they bloom when asparagus is ready to cut.

Another example comes from a Massachusetts farm Web site, where the owner describes the flowers you can pick at the farm.

In addition to our wonderful fruits, we offer cut-your-own and fresh-picked flowers from mid-July through late September. We have 15 colors of gladiolus, 10 shades of 'Blue Point' zinnias, 6 varieties of beautiful sunflowers, and gorgeous dahlias. Bring some color into your home this summer!

Lynn Byczynski, in her book The Flower Farmer, offers pointers for success with cut-your-own-flowers.

• Provide weed-free flower beds with plenty of room to maneuver between them. Nobody wants to walk through weeds or mud to cut flowers, and you'll increase your liability risk if you don't maintain wide, clear paths.

• Price flowers in a way that is easily understood by the consumer—for example, all the 25-cent flowers in one section, all the 50-cent flowers in another.

• Pick in advance flowers that are expensive and/or easily damaged in the field. Place them in buckets near the checkout stand, so that customers can add a special flower to their bouquets at the last minute.

In addition to tulips, peonies, gladiolus, sunflowers, and zinnias, you may also want to consider daffodils, Dutch iris, ornamental alliums, statice, and goldenrod as PYO flowers. Ms. Byczynski says you probably will not want to offer PYO lilies because customers might cut too much foliage, which means that your costly lily bulb won't survive to bloom again next year.

You will need to provide buckets or other containers with water, scissors for cutting the stems, and wrapping materials. As with any other PYO product, you will need to provide supervision, offering instructions on where and how to pick.


For general information on PYO marketing, please refer to the ATTRA publication Entertainment Farming and Agri-Tourism. For general information on specialty cut flower production, the ATTRA publication Sustainable Cut Flower Production is useful.

Byczynski, Lynn. 1997. The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower's Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers. Chelsea Green Publishing. 208 p.



Permalink Where can I find information on making or buying water rams and sling pumps?


Answer: Listed below are two articles on making and using water ram pumps and sling pumps, as well as Web links to manufacturers. The Rife Hydraulic Engine Mfg. Co., Inc., manufacturers the Rife Ram, the sling pump, and the pasture pump, and the Ram Company manufacturers the Fleming Hydro-Ram.


Moates, Tom. 2004. Hydraulic ram pump how-to. Countryside & Small Stock Journal. July-August. p. 32-35.

Moore, Sam. 2000. Hydraulic rams. Rural Heritage. Holiday. p. 85–87.

Rife Hydraulic Engine Mfg. Co., Inc. 2003-2005. Rife products. 11 p.

The Ram Company. 2005. The Fleming Hydro-Ram. 14 p.



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