Sponsored each year by the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Outstanding Young Farm Family Awards Program recognizes young farmers between the ages of 17 and 35 who do an outstanding job in farm, home and community activities. Division winners representing 11 commodities were selected in February. Of those, six finalists will compete for the title of overall Outstanding Young Farm Family for 2009. The winner, who will be named at the Federation’s 88th Annual Meeting in December, will receive a John Deere Gator, courtesy of the Federal Land Bank of Alabama, $500 cash from Dodge, the use of a new vehicle and other prizes and will go on to compete at the national level for a new Dodge Ram 3500. This month, Neighbors profiles seven commodity division winners. Look for features on the six finalists in the coming months.It doesn’t take long to realize that Daniel Hall will try almost anything once.”I love to experiment. If I can do it once, it’s great. If I can do it twice, even better,” says Hall, a 23-year-old Randolph County farmer.His latest “experiment” is an attempt to begin crossing his meat goat herd with dairy goats, hopefully producing a better goat more cheaply.”The cross will be able to raise those kids better,” Hall theorizes. “The kids will get more of the nutrition that they need, and the meatier kids will grow up faster and bigger with less input. The cost of raising them will really be down. That’s my objective.”Hall, who also acts as a livestock broker and raises cattle of his own, cringes whenever he hears people say that goats are “poor man’s cattle.””I’ve got five or six registered dairy goats that cost as much as a commercial brood cow,” he says. “It’s just what you like.”His next experiment is Katahdin sheep, an improved breed of hair sheep that was the first to meet North American industry standards for carcass quality. “I’m beginning to see a demand for them,” says Hall, who plans to start with 10 to 20 of them.College.
OYFF: Hall Enjoys Experimenting In Meat Goat & Sheep Division