ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

2014 New Call for Positions

2014 URS Call for Positions

This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2014 cycle.

Position Details

115 Specialist in Sheep and Goat Herd Health & Production

Proposed Location/Housing

UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Extension

Proposed Area of Coverage



Associated Documents



We offer support of the proposed positon in a Sheep Goat Specialist as we feel it would be a great complement to the activities we are developing with the Department of Animal Science's refurbished and expanded-in-function Goat Facility as well as serve an important sector of production animal agriculture. The individual who fills this position will synergize with the faculty in our department and the regional county advisors who specialize in the utility of small ruminants. Many new small scale goat and sheep producers are entering the farmstead and local farm-to-fork markets in addition to the more classical commercial production systems. The absence of much needed sheep & goat extension support is a gap that must be filled. Small ruminants are often viewed as the most accessible for the urban populace to embrace and helps in the understanding of where food comes from: small demonstration farms always have sheep and goats and they often create the opportunity for dialogue. The overall sheep industry in California remains strong and the goat industry, with it's many facets, is rapidly expanding. The time is ripe for a renewed presence of the ANR continuum in this animal production sector.
Posted Jun 7, 2014 11:24 PM by Anita Oberbauer
As a retired ruminant physiologist and nutritionist and current owner of a goat dairy, I strongly support the creation of this position. The small ruminant industry is expanding in California. In particular, meat and dairy goat populations have been expanding driven by demand for chevon (goat meat) and goat cheese. USDA has documented a steady rise in the California goat population and goat product production in California.

There is a need among producers and veterinarians who serve them for a reliable and accessible source of information on sheep and goat husbandry and health. Many sources that currently exist, particularly the internet and some publications, are riddled with false, misleading and harmful statements and advice. There is a need for a visible and accessible source of reliable, practical, evidence-based information and advice.

There are many research opportunities for a sheep and goat specialist in California in many production and health-related specialties, including nutritional diseases, metabolic diseases, reproductive problems, and infectious diseases. Such a person would find many producers more than eager to cooperate and the willing cooperation and support of colleagues at UC Davis, USDA and other institutions.

The creation of this position would provide a valuable service to the small ruminant industry in California, would enhance existing programs, and would be a wise use of tax dollars.
Posted Jun 19, 2014 4:22 PM by Michael Bruss
It is good to hear of the Sheep and Goat Specialist position. It comes at a critical time in our state. The goat industry is increasing to satisfy the demands of our diverse population in the state and many going into the business are novice and need as much support as possible. Those already established may want to expand and also have important needs for expanding health programs and other aspects of management.

The US sheep industry has just completed a historic third party audit of the complete industry and is now in the implementation stage of suggested changes to improve the sustainability of sheep production in this country. Product quality, improved efficiency of production and consistency are paramount in the viability of the industry and animal health is an underlying factor in each of these aspects. California ranks second to Texas in total sheep numbers and the opportunities for marketing our products far outreach those in other states because of our diverse markets, so the need for a specialist in this field is extremely important and timely.
Posted Jun 20, 2014 8:40 AM by Wes Patton
Having a sheep and goat specialist available to veterinarians and producers would be a boon to the sheep and goat industry in California. When John Glen was serving that position he was an excellent source of information and I utilized his wealth of knowledge and resources on many occasions.The need for someone who can collect and disseminate information from many and all branches of the sheep and goat industry is clear and obvious.
Posted Jun 25, 2014 11:40 AM by Peter H Timm DVM MPVM
As a long time producer who has worked closely with UC extension, the small ruminant producer has been left out with researchers, since retirements and budget cuts have dismantled the extension service. We lost the sheep specialist position(Glen Spurlock), and extension vet position (John Glenn). Our Livestock Farm Advisors who are great have many counties, and some have added County Director duties which take away from their involvement with producers. I support going forward with a extension veterinary position.
Posted Jun 25, 2014 4:04 PM by Jim Yeager
We support the position request for a Specialist in Sheep and Goat Herd Health & Production.

Ever since John Glenn, DVM, retired 15 years ago, the sheep and goat sectors of California agriculture have been disadvantaged due to the absence of a dedicated Extension Specialist. In my private sector role with the industry, I interacted with Dr. Glenn on many occasions and turned to him for his impartial expertise on a range of small ruminant animal health and welfare topics. Of the five statewide sector- and issue-specific advisory committees that I administer for Farm Bureau, only our Sheep and Goat Advisory Committee is missing a UCCE Extension Specialist liaison. These committees are advisory to our statewide board of directors; the recommendations their leaders put forward to our board are shaped from input from a variety of sources, including from non-voting members (like UCCE liaisons) specifically appointed to the committee for perspective and expertise. The strength, relevance, and timeliness of requested actions hinge on the quality and credibility of information received and debated.

Antimicrobial and anti-parasitic resistance, foreign animal disease, food safety, nutrition, and general animal health and welfare are perennially relevant topics to address with UCCE research, analysis, and guidance. The advice to farmers that emanates from the synergism of the collaborative interactions of a Specialist with other Specialists, Farm Advisors, and veterinary and animal science faculty is what gives farmers the edge to remain in business. If hired, I would recommend to our President that the Specialist in Sheep and Goat Herd Health & Production be appointed to our statewide advisory committee.
Posted Jul 2, 2014 11:56 AM by Ria de Grassi, Director, Livestock, Animal Health & Welfare, CA Farm Bureau Federation
Since John Glenn, DVM retired, our industry, both Sheep and Goats have been at a disadvantage. The Dairy Goat industry in the state of California and the meat goat industry are in a growth mode. We have been left with out any research or resources. We are facing many challenges and need the support both from UC Davis and our local Farm Advisor.
Posted Jul 2, 2014 4:01 PM by Ana Cox
I strongly support the position of Sheep and Goat specialist. The actual number of producers is increasing in California. Recent USDA census information places California in the top 2 states for the production of small ruminants (goats and sheep). As drought conditions continue and California sees the true impacts of climate change --more of our range land focus will be on sheep and goats that are more capable of sustainable agriculture under harsher conditions. This is a time when the University should be planning for the near and far future for support of the livestock industry in California. It will be critical to produce students with a clear understanding of small ruminants. Even today it is rare to find a veterinarian or extension specialist with experience in sheep and goats.

As a mid sized niche producer the support and outreach of knowledge from the university is very important to our operation. We strongly support the addition of a sheep and goat specialist position to support the long term sustainability of sheep and goat populations in California.
Posted Jul 3, 2014 3:58 PM by Wendy Johnston
The need for the position of Specialist in Sheep and Goat Herd Health and Production is critical for our state due to the increasing interests and growing segment of goats and sheep. As a commercial goat products producer with 10 dairies supplying milk, I find that there is tremendous need for additional information in the commercial production of milk in regard to food safety, nutritional information, and zoonotic disease control such as Q. Fever. In the area of sheep and goat health, more research needs to happen in regard to reproductive issues, emerging contagious diseases, scrapie eradication, and minor species extra label drug use.

I strongly support the position of Specialist in Sheep and Goat Herd Health and Production and help with production efficiencies in commercial production of dairy and meat animal products is necessary. The creation of this position would be valuable to the Sheep and Goat industry while being a productive use of tax dollars.
Posted Jul 5, 2014 3:47 PM by Jennifer Bice
July 10, 2014

Dr. Edward R. Atwill
Director, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security
Veterinary Medicine Extension Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Ecology Room 4207 Vet Med 3B
1089 Veterinary Medicine Drive
University of California-Davis
Davis, CA 95616

RE: 115 Specialist in Sheep and Goat Herd Health & Production081 Dairy Cattle Production Health Management CE Specialist; 070 Beef Cattle Herd Health and Production Specialist

Dear Dr. Atwill:

As State Veterinarian and Director for Animal Health and Food Safety Services, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), I am pleased to support the University of California, Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR) call to hire sheep and goat, dairy cattle and beef cattle herd health and production specialists. These three positions are a critical resource for ranchers and dairy managers because they provide the interface between the latest advances in management and agricultural technology and the reality of what is occurring on the ranch or dairy. Their expertise is also instrumental to CDFA when developing and implementing regulatory policy.

Livestock, including dairy production remain top California agricultural commodities. California is the nation’s number one dairy production state, the markets for sheep and particularly for goats are strong and growing, and beef production remains a top five California agricultural commodity. Importantly, California ranches and dairies also continue to be an economic driver and employment stabilizer in many rural communities in California. As world economic development and concomitant increase in the demand for protein occurs over the next decade, the importance of optimizing livestock production will only grow.

These three livestock positions are needed to maintain this strong production sector as farmers and ranchers seek assistance with improving quality, animal care, environmental stewardship, food safety and production. They will help California maintain its competitive edge related to producing quality livestock and will help the University make significant scientific advancement in food production. The benefit to the University comes both from the scientific contribution of these specialists and also from their ability to tap into real-world livestock production that will benefit other University faculty.

We hope that ANR will act quickly to fill these three positions and we look forward to working with these Specialists well into the future.

Annette Jones, D.V.M.
State Veterinarian and Director

Posted Jul 10, 2014 10:43 AM by Annette Jones, DVM
The California Sheep industry is made up of over 4,000 sheep producers, ranging from one sheep to over 10,000 head, making up the over 600,000 sheep found in California. Each rancher plays an integral role in the sheep industry throughout the state.

The sheep producers in California make up the second largest population of sheep numbers in the Nation (closely behind Texas). California is the home to the largest lamb processor West of the Rockies, which further enhances the infrastructure of the sheep industry in the state. We are an important part of the sheep industry in our great nation. California producers are dedicated to the preservation of our industry by taking action to ensure the future production of safe food and fiber of the highest quality our nation has ever experienced.

The diversity of the sheep ranchers within the state, exemplifies the importance and need to have a specialist with expertise in sheep and goat health. The absence of this position has been felt amongst all within the industry, and needs to be filled.

As the local food movement increases and people choose to raise their own food, we have seen an increase in small flocks of sheep since these animals are easily managed. However, with this increase of small flocks the sheep industry is in need of a specialist that can develop and extend science-based information on how to maintain healthy flocks and herds for all types and sizes of sheep and goat operations. Having California specific information and someone available to assist would allow for people to make a more educated choice when raising these animals. Including, how to produce safe milk and meat products for human consumption, and develop sustainable animal health care practices through infectious disease and parasite control, animal traceability, production of residue free milk and meat.

California ranchers face numerous production obstacles: vaccine availability, access to public lands grazing, drought, production efficiency, animal welfare, improving quality, consistency in the product, grazing availability, and lack of scientific research and availability. By filling this position, it would allow for the California industry to fill a void that it has faced, and would allow for greater success and growth within the sheep industry.

The California Wool Growers Association strongly supports this position of specialist in Sheep and Goat Herd Health & Production.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 12:17 PM by Lesa Eidman - California Wool Growers Association
As a small-scale commercial sheep producer, I strongly support this position proposal. The entire industry would benefit from the combination of research and extension this position would provide - it's long overdue.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 1:33 PM by Dan Macon
Just this past Monday I learned of the position proposal for a dedicated extension specialist for sheep and goats. Having worked with John Glenn while he held this position, I recognize the value of having a person in this position and know how much the industry has suffered without a "go" to person in this position.

The goat industry is going through a rapid expansion, the sheep industry remains robust and both would gain so much in resources with the position filled. Veterinarians throughout the state have relied on this position for current research projects, up to date response to health issues and access to existing knowledge. When there was sudden need for more knowledge concerning E.coli 0157 H7 during a time of heighten food security concerns, rapid response was lacking as this was a vacant position.

There is an expansion in the number of folks going into the small ruminant business and this position would be of great support to them as well as to the entire industry. It is recognized what a tremendous job these animals do to improve the environment in such places as vineyard maintenance, reducing fuel for wild lands fire, enhancing the way urban folks can relate to livestock, reduction of invasive species, and the list goes on. There is climate changes happening, our population is becoming increasingly diverse and small ruminants neatly fill the void.

I endorse the renewed presence of a sheep and goat specialist for the benefit of not only the sheep and goat industries, but more importantly for the greater community and the role these animals do and will fill in the future.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 2:54 PM by Joanne Nissen
There is growing interest in small ruminants in California, especially with the targeted grazing to reduce fuel load and noxious weeds. This position has not been filled for several year and the industry needs this University support.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 11:35 AM by Roger Ingram
We are sheep producers with over 50 yrs of experience with sheep and lambs. We have commercial range sheep that move to many different locations throughout the East Bay Area hills, California Central Valley and Delta. We often have nutrition, mineral, and pasture/feed questions without a reliable resource to turn to for answers. We feel that we, and other producers, are on our own when it comes to trying to find information. Yes- the internet and people from other states may be able to help but, wherever they are, they are not here in California. We need someone here to help California producers. Our state has mineral deficiencies in places while having adequate mineral levels in other parts of the state. The March 2012 Small Ruminant Newsletter, from our California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab (CAHFS), continues to inform us “Copper and selenium are two important trace minerals which can produce health problems due to deficiencies and toxicities. California soil and vegetation may have very low or very high concentrations of these minerals in different geographic regions.” Such is the case where we graze our sheep. This complexity is complicated by other mineral interactions for example, high iron or sulfur in the soil, forage or water. If and when, I do get a blood analysis (expensive and time consuming), it is a guessing game as to how much and what type of supplement to give to ensure good levels in sheep (by the way, the best test for copper is a liver biopsy-not practical).
Of the major livestock groups-cattle, sheep, swine, goats-it is the sheep that have the most narrow range between deficiency and toxicity for copper. Because of this, a sheep cannot use cattle supplements since it contains higher copper levels which can kill sheep.
I emphasize this because just these two minerals alone, selenium and copper, have a wide range of health effects that involve all aspects of sheep and lamb production including our sheep production. The March 2012 CAHFS newsletter states “both deficient and toxic copper levels can be associated with poor performance, reduced conception rates, and increased numbers of secondary infections [and poor stringy wool ]…. Selenium deficiency can show similar signs along with white muscle disease in lambs, muscle degeneration in adults, infertility, retained placenta and stillbirths”. Both copper and selenium are vital for a good immune system, good growth, good reproduction, and good wool quality. These minerals are tied to essential production goals every producer wants and needs. Veterinarians, like other doctors, have their specialty: medical treatment, surgery, food inspection, etc. But most do not have the specialty we need to be a liaison for our questions and practical production needs. We need a veterinary extension specialist who can bridge this important gap. Science and research in the United States and abroad may help us but, without our knowledge or the understanding and dissemination of that knowledge, it may go without use for the many sheep and goat producers that could benefit.
And with ongoing severe drought (third yr) our pasture and pasture quality has been affected. Water has been limited or turned off. We need someone who understands the needs of sheep and goats. Many California producers move their sheep to different feed sources throughout the year which also adds to a list of questions regarding pasture management, nutrition and supplementation especially since many producers may find themselves with new or different feed sources. These new and different feed sources may be adequate for some classes of sheep (i.e. dry ewes, pregnant ewes, lactating ewes with baby lambs, weaned lambs, etc) but not others.
Sheep and goats are important in conservation practices and are used extensively in fuel load reduction in open spaces and defensible space around houses. They are utilizers of crop residues and weed control which reduce the need for tractors and chemical sprays thereby offsetting these liabilities to the environment.
California ranks second in the nation for sheep production. It has been 15 years since our California sheep industry had Sheep Extension Specialist Dr. John Glenn. Extension specialists for cattle do not serve the needs of sheep producers. A Sheep and Goat Extension Specialist can bring attention to the universities and research community our needs and priorities. In essence, an advocate for us and our industry. The sheep industry is turning around with new markets and international possibilities for the growing need for protein and sheep byproducts such as wool, pelts and other products. We have new technologies in the meat industry, genetic improvement and marketing trends that have progressed since Dr. Glenn retired. With an aging population of producers, an extension specialist can bring new life and support to all our industry members and especially the young ranchers of tomorrow. We need someone now so we can grow with health sheep and lambs, and support the future of our industry. Thank You, Peter and Beth Swanson
Posted Jul 20, 2014 2:54 PM by Peter and Beth Swanson
The California Rangeland Conservation Coalition (Rangeland Coalition) would like to express support for the Sheep and Goat Herd Health and Production Specialist.

The Rangeland Coalition is an unprecedented group of ranchers, environmental organizations, scientists and government agencies who are major California rangeland stakeholders. Together, signatories strive to enhance and preserve private working landscapes. We feel strongly a need for this position to provide science-based recommendations to support herd health and production for small ruminants. Livestock producers in California are not only producing food and fiber but also provide multiple environmental benefits by managing vegetation to improve wildlife habitat, control invasive species and reduce fire fuel loads.

Rangeland Coalition signatories are confident that this position would provide the expertise required to translate research into management recommendations to increase the viability of the ranching industry while protecting rangeland ecosystems in California.


Pelayo Alvarez
Conservation Program Director
Posted Jul 21, 2014 9:32 AM by Pelayo Alvarez
The mission of the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis is focused on finding science-based solutions to problems that threaten the vitality of California's animal industries, rather than on clinical issues affecting individual producers. Veterinary Medicine Extension's customers include the general public, public policy agencies, animal-related industries, food producers, commodity groups, consumers of animal products, and the animals themselves. The demand for sheep and goats in California has increased as ethnic populations create new demands in the market place. The CDFA Animal Health Branch and the UC Davis SVM recognizes potential risk and approaches issues accordingly when dealing with diseases within the various segments of the sheep and goat industry. This specialist position would allow our program to once again focus on the sheep, goats and other livestock in California. The position would allow much needed linkages to Federal-State Cooperative Programs (FSC) that address these diseases. Scrapie in sheep and goats is an example of a FSC program. Through the education and outreach programs to be offered by the specialist, the sheep and goat industry could be greatly enhanced and proactive in meeting critical needs in disease prevention and productivity.


Michael Lairmore
Dean, UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine
Posted Jul 21, 2014 11:13 AM by Michael Lairmore, Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis
After chickens, sheep and goats are the species most likely to be raised by people with little or no experience or specialized knowledge. This activity is ever expanding and occurs in all areas of the state. When I started veterinary practice 37 years ago I found I was one of the few veterinarians willing to work with those species and would have been lost without the support from John Glenn. There are now many mixed animal practices and even small animal practices that are willing to see these species but economics often prevent them from gaining extensive experience. An extension specialist would be very beneficial in filling the knowledge gaps for both producers and veterinarians. Many people end up on the Internet for information but don't have the background or knowledge to distinguish between science-based, reliable information and often harmful information. Just last week I was involved in a disease investigation involving a small animal veterinarian and a goat she attempted to help. Based on internet information, the veterinarian ultimately significantly contributed to the animal's demise thinking she had received reliable information.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 1:48 PM by Chuck Palmer

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