Rabbits may rescue local farms

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The next big thing in pastured livestock may be rabbit.

According to the USDA, rabbits convert feed to meat more efficiently than cattle and can be raised commercially for meat, as pets, or for laboratory use. The agency’s Statistics Service reports 13,420 American farms had rabbits in 2012. More than 800,000 rabbits were sold commercially.  

Virginia State University’s Small Farm Outreach Program hosts an educational workshop called “Pastured Raised Commercial Rabbit Production”, on Thursday, November 15 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at VSU’s Randolph Farm Pavilion, on River Road in Petersburg, Va.

“Through our programs we aim to educate small-scale and limited-resource farmers about different revenue-generating opportunities,” said SFOP Director William Crutchfield. “Rabbit production provides a meat product for revenue while simultaneously allowing producers to reduce the cost of fertilizer and other soil amendments.” 

Attendees get practical information about Virginia laws for processing and selling rabbit meat. Instruction in barn, cage and processing unit construction, and data on which rabbit species are best suited to them.

The workshop is free and open to the public but space is limited. Register to attend at  www.ext.vsu.edu/calendar, click on the event and then click on the registration link. 

The Small Farm Outreach Program, which is part of Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University, aims to encourage and assist limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and military veteran farmers and ranchers to own, maintain and operate farms and ranches independently, to participate in agricultural programs and improve their overall farm management skills.

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