Virginia State University’s (VSU) is offering a certification program for its new Small Ruminant Mobile Processing Unit. The program will be held on Saturdays beginning Aug. 28 through Sept. 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to train producers how to use the new unit to process their sheep and goats for market. Only certified producers who have completed the five-module certification program will be allowed to lease and use the unit.
The certification includes four online virtual sessions that will be held on Aug. 28, Sept. 11, Sept. 18 and Sept. 25. After completing the online sessions, producers must also complete a two-day hands-on training session at Randolph Farm at 4415 River Road, Petersburg, Virginia. The two-day session, which is required for certification, will be offered on Oct. 9-10, Nov. 6-7 and Dec. 4-5. Additional sessions will be added based on participant demand. Participants can select which two-day session they want to attend. The program fee is $100. Registration is required for every participant. To register, visit http://www.ext.vsu.edu/calendar, click on the event and then click on the registration link.
Modules will include mobile processing unit design and usage; sheep and goat harvesting; carcass fabrication; state and federal regulations; marketing your products; and hands-on training on operating the unit. Participants will learn all the steps needed to ensure the equipment operates safely before processing, during processing, humane harvesting, carcass cooling/hanging and fabrication. A certificate of competence will be awarded upon completion of assignment(s), including passing a quiz and demonstrating required butchering and fabrication skills.
Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) will follow all current CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during this program. Additionally, all VCE employees and members of the public attending a VCE public program are required to wear a face shield or mask over their nose and mouth, stay a minimum of six feet away from others, wash or disinfect their hands frequently, and stay home if they or anyone close to them have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms any time two weeks before the program or if they have been knowingly exposed to someone with COVID-19 two weeks before the program.
For questions about the event or if you have a disability and desire any assistive devices, services, or other accommodations to participate, contact Tina Cabrera five days before the event at firstname.lastname@example.org. or call (804) 524-5836/TDD (800) 828-1120 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations.