Another letter from the USDA came in the mail. This time it was our Mandatory Program Scrapies Flock/Herd ID. What? According to the paperwork we received from the USDA, "scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. There is no cure and there is no treatment for scrapie." It is an expensive disease, costing producers between $20-25 million each year. Humans who consume goat and/or sheep meat and/or milk or those folks who work closely with sheep and goats are NOT at any risk of contracting the disease. There is an eradication program in place, and any sheep or goat that leaves a farmer's property whether it is for resale to another farmer, at a livestock sale, or giving it away to someone, the animal must have an official ear tag with your flock/herd number on it.
Who says nothing in life [from the government] is free? The scrapie tags are free. We had to fill out a little form, that gave our name, farm address, and the number and type of animals in our herd. We received our herd number and they will be mailing us ear tags and an ear tag gun in the next couple of weeks. Easy!
When we bought our herd from the farmer in High Springs, he tagged the goats with his herd number before we left. He also made sure that he wrote down each number tag that was put in a goat's ear, because he has to maintain that record for 5 years.//tr
In 2014 a couple of 40-somethings decided to make a change. The purchase of 10 raw, pine scrub acres along Florida's Nature Coast started it all. This is that story.