Newsletter April / May 2010

In This Issue

Meat goats vs. hair sheep vs. wool sheep: a comparison - by Stan Potratz

Special Price –
FiberRod Posts

Preparation for New Chicks

Goats – Internal Parasites

Immediate Openings

Don Miksch

Poppy Seed Salad

Upcoming Shows

Please visit us at the
following shows:

Midwest Horse Fair
April 16-18, 2010
Madison, WI

Tall Corn Meat Goat Extravaganza
June 5, 2010
Grinnell, IA

Iowa Sheep Festival
June 12-13, 2010
Adel, IA

Mid-West Stud Ram Sale
June 21-24, 2010
Sedalia, MO


10% off
Step-in FiberRods, gray

These gray FiberRods have step-in footplates (3 ft has single footplate and 4 ft has double footplate) which enable users to push them into the soil with their feet. Glass-filled rod so it can be hammered on the top without breaking. The clip at the top has a special black ball top with a "harp" clip for holding rope, twine, tape as well as netting twine. For extra clips we advise the SnapOn Harp Clip. Heights given are inches above ground.

Step-in FiberRod, 3 ft
#321832  $1.70 was $1.89

Step-in FiberRod, 4 ft
#321842  $2.29 was $2.55

Promo Codes:

Website orders: WNEWSL
(type code in the Promo Code Box at checkout).

Phone orders: NEWSL
(give code to Premier's sales consultant at time of purchase).

25% off
SmoothCote FiberRods, gray

Pencil-pointed. Gray in color. Coated with urethane. Uses SnapOn Harp Clip, ScrewOn or PowerGrip Clips.

SmoothCote FiberRod, 5 ft
#321850  $1.50 was $2.00

SmoothCote FiberRod, 7 ft
#321870  $2.62 was $3.50

Promo Codes:

Website orders: WNEWSM
(type code in the Promo Code Box at checkout).

Phone orders: NEWSM
(give code to Premier's sales consultant at time of purchase).

Note: Only with this offer can you purchase our 3/8" SmoothCote FiberRods individually, unlike what is listed on our website. Also, these are a while supplies last item.

Order soon! Offer expires April 30, 2010.

This offer cannot be combined with any other claim codes or offers.

Click here to see Premier's complete line of posts!


Meat goats vs. hair sheep vs. wool sheep: a comparison

The demand for meat from all three (and thus price/lb) is high. It's likely to remain high for several years. So which of the above is best for your farm or farmstead?

We at Premier have all three. Here are our personal thoughts re their suitability to our area (Southeast Iowa):

1a. Meat goat (Boer) positives:
  • Less bothered by gnats and flies in our hot, humid summers.
  • Coyotes tend to avoid them (perhaps due to the horns?).
  • Nothing is more cute than baby goat kids.
  • Excel at gradually converting brush and trees into pastures, and they thrive while doing so.

1b. Meat goat negatives:
  • Prone to foot issues when grass or soil is wet/ We treat and trim often.
  • Very susceptible to internal parasites if exposed to damp grass that's held sheep and/or goats in prior year. Solution is to keep them in a feedlot or allow them to browse brush (worm larvae rarely climb more than 6 inches, apparently).
  • Prolific—many twins and triplets. But goat kid survival rate on our pastures if left to themselves is less than lambs from wool or hair sheep.
  • Will kid on their own. Need to assist is rare.
  • Will contaminate buildings, lots and pastures with hair which reduces the value of wool from sheep on the same property.
  • Value produced/acre per year and per hour is less than with wool or hair sheep.

2a. Hair sheep positives. We have Romanov/Dorper/Katahdin. Romanov are, technically, wool sheep:
  • Less bothered by gnats and flies than wool sheep.
  • Less affected by the oppressive heat and humidity of our summers.
  • More likely than our wool sheep to wean over 1.8 lambs/adult ewe if lambed on their own in May in pastures without dystocia or mis-mothering issues. Currently we simply stay out of the lambing pastures except to collect any dead animals.
  • Easier to handle than meat goats—no horns; will sit on their butts for foot-trimming; move smoothly through sorting systems.
  • Less likely to locate fence weaknesses than goats.
  • Limited need to shear. (Some wool still grows; we occasionally remove it for appearance purposes.)
  • Do better on our lush spring/summer grass pastures than meat goats.
  • Requires less labor hours to produce 10/100/1000 lambs in Southeast Iowa than goats or wool sheep.
  • Small to moderate ewe size enables higher stocking rates.
  • Less affected by internal parasites and foot issues than meat goats.
  • High % of lambs will finish on grass if it's high in TDN and dry matter.
  • No need to crutch if stools become loose (as it does if grass is lush and wet).

2b. Hair sheep negatives:
  • Less appealing to my eye—which, admittedly, has been programmed for 60 years to like wool sheep.
  • As with goats, mixing hair sheep with wool sheep (even if they never breed) will reduce value of wool due to hair contamination.
  • Unless a large wooled terminal sire is used, the smaller size of the typical ewe and ram means the lambs will finish (be fat enough to sell) at a lower size. That often means fewer $$ per lamb sold/ewe.
  • Not quite as easy as wool sheep to drench, vaccinate, etc. in groups in chutes. (Wool tends to limit an animal's movement in tight situations).

3a. Wool sheep positives (medium- and long-wooled breeds):
  • Rising value of wool means that value may soon exceed the cost of shearing—if no hair is present and clip is uniform.
  • Lambs finish at a higher weights and offer more potential $$/ewe/year.
  • Easier to handle in pens, lambing jugs, etc.
  • Easier to fence than goats.
  • Breeding stock suitable for shed lambing is readily available.

3b. Wool sheep negatives:
  • Not easy to find ewes selected for easy-care pasture lambing in high stocking rate situations. And when you do, they tend to be expensive.
  • It costs $5/ewe to shear (inclusive of our labor), so it doesn't pay unless wool is worth more than 65¢/lb.
  • More prone to fly strike than goats or hair sheep if manure becomes loose and stains fleece. Also true if wool becomes wet and isn't able to dry out rapidly.
  • Many farm-flock ewes and rams have evolved and/or been selected to succeed in the show ring—and so tend to have reduced stomach capacity as % of body weight. They thrive if fed hay and grain daily but often don't do well if their sole food source is our high-moisture pasture forage in May and June.

Note: I know that many have strong feelings on this subject, so the probability of folks disagreeing with me is high. We offer to publish alternate views in future newsletters. All comments must be well-written and polite.

Best wishes to you all.

Stan Potratz, Owner


Preparation for New Chicks

It is that time of year again to get your chicks. But are you ready for them? Following are a few things to do in preparing for the new chicks.

Clean and disinfect the area where the chicks will be living. A cleaner such as Lysol Disinfectant Spray is effective, doesn't leave fumes and is safe to the birds.

Young chicks require a very warm living area. Temperatures for young Layer chicks should be 95-96 degrees F, and for Broiler chicks, 85 degrees F. We recommend using the Premier Heat Lamp. Adjust the temperature as needed by moving the heat lamps higher or lower. If the chicks huddle together, they are too cold. If they all move away from the lamp's heat, they are too hot. Ventilation is important, but don't confuse that with drafty, which is harmful to the chicks' health. As the chicks get older, reduce the heat each week by 5 degrees.

Keep the water and the feed separated by enough space to keep the feed dry. If the feed gets wet, ergot fungus can form and it can kill the chicks. A good feeder is the Trough Feeder. This feeder works well because its curved slots discourage perching, resulting in fewer droppings in the feed. Clean water and plenty of it is very important for young chicks. Premier's Pop Bottle Waterer and Vacuum Waterer are reliable and easy to use.

Be sure to have enough waterers and feeders so all the chicks have easy access. Start chicks on a crumble starter feed; pellet feed is too large.

For poultry products or poultry aids, click here. Good luck!

by Premier sales consultant, Kolby Freeman


Goats – Internal Parasites
Plan an integrated parasite management program

Regardless of weather, controlling worms (Barberpole worm, Haemonchus contortus, figure 1 below) is likely to be more challenging this summer for producers than last year because of the lack of the dewormer Prohibit (aka Levasole, Tramisol). The company making the chemical for Agrilabs, the dewormer manufacturer, halted production of the chemical, and no other chemical company has FDA approval to manufacture the product for them. A chemical company is currently working to get the appropriate FDA approvals and inspections before beginning production.

Bottom line, we will not have Prohibit for the first part of the summer and likely not for most of the year. Prohibit has been the drug of choice for those whose worms have developed resistance to Cydectin. If you plan to stay in the goat business, you are going to have to spend more time managing worms than previously (management is much more than deworming). Things are now a lot different than when a worm control program entailed the producer deciding what dewormer to use, how much and how often.

The first article in this series covers designing parasite management plan and the second article discusses dewormers and possible alternative dewormers that may be suitable. We need to have a plan so that one day we do not wake up with a worm crisis that we are unable to deal with and bail out of the goat business in desperation.

This plan includes steps in management that suppress worms and monitoring for worm problems and treating the animals that need treated. Also, culling and planned mating can improve the genetic resistance of animals to parasites. If genetics are improved and good management used, little dewormer will be needed and there will be little development of dewormer resistance.

The management factors we will discuss include grazing management and genetics. More details about worms and management appeared in articles in this magazine last year and are posted on the Southern Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control's website under "Parasite control for goats: A series of six articles". Another good article from ATTRA is located here. If you do not have computer access, your local library or extension service can access these articles for you and print them.

Our previous parasite control programs in bygone years were built around attempted eradication of worms or the fewer worms we had, the better. We now know that the consequence of this strategy is the development of dewormer resistance. And when we have resistance to all our dewormers, we are unable to keep animals alive and we have to go out of business.

Our new strategy is to control worms below a level that impairs the goat's health, use management practices to prevent worms and then use dewormer only when necessary and in such a way that we do not increase dewormer resistance.

The Barberpole worm lives in the abomasum or true stomach and lays eggs which end up in the fecal pellet. These eggs hatch in the pellet and develop to infective larvae in about 5 days during the warm summer. Infective larvae cannot get out of the pellet unless the hard crust on the pellet is softened by rain (about 2 inches in a months time) or several days of heavy dew and then the larva is carried by the film of water (from dew or rain) up the grass about 2-3" high. The sheep or goats become infected by consuming grass that has these infective larvae on them while grazing. Therefore, if we have fewer eggs in the fecal pellets, we have fewer infective larvae on the pasture. Two ways to reduce egg numbers are to deworm around time of kidding (doe is very susceptible to worms while lactating) so that pasture contamination is reduced. This is the only time that one can justify blanket deworming of all animals. The second way to reduce number of eggs is to cull the animals that produce the most eggs. Worms (and their consequent eggs) are like wealth, not equally distributed among all individuals (Tom Craig, Parasitologist Texas A & M). Fifteen percent of a herd carries 50% of the total worms in that herd. Thirty percent of the herd carries 70-80% of the worms. Therefore, by culling only 15 to 25% of the herd, we can reduce infective larvae on the pasture by more than half.

Later in this article, we will discuss how to identify these animals using the FAMACHA technique. Termperate species worms are of lesser importance overall (but they are of major importance when you lose an animal to them). These are worms that like cooler weather such as winter and spring and may cause significant problems especially at these times of the year. These worms are the brown stomach worm (Teledorsagia circumcincta or Ostertagia ostertagi) and black scour worm (Trichostrongylus colubriformis) and their main symptoms are loose stools and scours and a poor-doing animal. They do not cause anemia like the Barberpole worm and therefore will not cause a change in FAMACHA scores. The main symptoms are loose stools and a poor-doing animal. Management practices that control the Barberpole worm will also control these temperate species. The difficulty in control is that since they only cause loose stools and poor animal performance, they may be overlooked.

Stocking rate is major factor in how heavily contaminated a pasture is. If you double the number of animals on an acre, you double the number of infective larvae as well as doubling the number of mouths picking up larvae. If you have two goats per acre, stocking rate is not much of a factor, but if you have sufficient forage growth to stock 6 goats per acre, you will have more worm problems. There is a goat producer in Virginia who used a stocking rate of 2 does per acre and has culled his wormy animals over the years and no longer needs to deworm his goats. Also, there is the "barn effect" which are places that animals congregate such as around the barn, under trees or at the waterer. In these areas, since there is a high animal density, there are more pellets and more humidity under trees and around water trough, and shade from the sanitizing effect of sunlight and the grass is grazed closer to the ground, all factors that increase parasite problems. Rotating pastures will reduce the effect of being around a barn (tree or other shelter) and if you move your water trough with each pasture, instead of watering from a common lane, this will also reduce parasite problems. Goats usually do not need shelter during the summer, especially if they have brush or trees for shade.

Pasture rotation can reduce or increase parasite problems depending on the circumstances. The dotted line in figure 2, see above, shows the larva dynamics in a tropical island where every day is humid and warm, but temperatures do not get over 95 degrees F. Basically larvae begin hatching around the first week and pasture contamination with larvae peaks at day 14. Larvae die off as they run out of body stores, declining substantially by 4 weeks after pellet deposition and dropping even further after 6 weeks. Therefore, for a pasture rotation to be most effective, animals need to be moved out of the pasture before infective larva are present, about 5 days if there is rain or heavy dew, longer if there is no rain or dew. The pasture needs to be rested a minimum of 4 weeks, six weeks is better (improved grasses cannot be rested this long without nutritional value of the grass declining severely). A solution is that after three to four weeks, the pasture can be hayed or grazed with another species of animal. No one knows whether mowing the pasture reduces or increases pasture infectivity and it likely is different for different forages and forage mass, height of cut etc. Rotation grazing systems utilizing 4 pastures and 1 week in each pasture may not be better than continuously grazed pastures, because animals are on them too long (larvae have hatched and are beginning to infect them before pasture rotation) and the pasture contamination is still significant when animals come back three weeks later.

Also, since most of the infective larvae are in the lower two to three inches of the grass, animals need to be moved off a pasture when they are grazing below a 4" residual grass height so they don't consume infective larvae. This is affected by both stocking rate and our pasture rotation program. Patch grazing can also greatly increase our worm problems. This is where goats graze their favorite patches of grass very short, like a golf green, because the grass that grows back is very tender and nutritious. It is especially common in bermudagrass pastures but may also be present with other grass species. These heavily grazed patches have high numbers of infective larvae because animals spend a large portion of their time grazing these areas, resulting in more fecal pellets (and worm eggs), and since these animals are grazing close to the ground, they pick up large numbers of infective larvae which results in very high levels of worm infection and often death of some animals. Patch grazing can be controlled by rotational grazing.

The species of pasture plant can also have a significant effect on larvae. If goats are browsing, they are not grazing close to the ground where the infective larvae are and therefore, do not pick up infective larvae. Goats can browse the whole summer long without needing to be dewormed. Goats that are grazing sorghum sudan to a 6-8" stubble height have the same benefit. Eastern Gamagrass must be grazed carefully so as to leave an 8" high stubble and animals grazing this high do not pick up infective larvae which are located within two or three inches of the ground. One solution to parasite problems may be to find a brushy area that you can rent (often the use is free to clean it up) and put your goats on it (may require electric fencing). Most likely, a lot of acreage in your area need to be cleaned up by goats.

Several tannin containing plants do reduce fecal egg counts as well as egg hatch and larval development success rate. It is possible to graze Does and their kids on a predominantly sericea lespedeza pasture the whole summer without requiring deworming. Feeding sericea lespedeza hay or pellets for several weeks also helps reduce worms in the goats that it is fed to. But, all tannins are not created equal, while sericea, chicory and sainfoin tannins are effective against worms, the oak tannins are not. Plants that form a dense sod such as bermudagrass create a humid micro-environment that is optimal for egg hatch and larval development. More open types of pasture such as native range and brushy areas are not as conducive to the development of infective larvae.

There are several methods of decreasing pasture contamination in addition to a period of rest. Making hay will remove most of the infective larvae from the pasture. The larvae that are baled up in the hay will die quickly and the hay will no longer be infective. If you are using an annual pasture such as sorghum-sudan during the summer or small grain during the winter, and these fields are tilled, larvae that are buried deeper than an inch by the tillage die. Cospecies grazing can clean up infective larvae. Since cows and horses are not infected by the parasites of sheep and goats, they can be grazed with or alternated with sheep and goats to control parasites. When cows and horses consume the infective goat larvae, the larvae does not attach and ends up dead in the poop.

The immune system is the animal's first line of defense against worms. Three management factors that affect the immune system are nutrition, genetics and stress. Some animals have a genetically stronger immune system than others and we can breed for animals that are more resistant to specific diseases including worms. Young animals are more susceptible than mature animals because of an immature immune system. Lactation also depresses the immune system making lactating does more susceptible to worms. Sickness (such as pneumonia, coccidiosis or even an injury) can also depress the immune system as can any stress such as shipping. Therefore, animals in these categories need closer monitoring for worms since they are more susceptible. The immune system also responds to nutrition. The immune system seems to have the lowest priority on nutrients and when the animal is short on any nutrient (protein, energy, minerals or vitamins), the immune system will get less of that nutrient and be depressed. Therefore, good nutrition (not excessive) and reducing stress will reduce problems with worms.

FAMACHA is a technique developed for determining when individual animals need dewormed. The technique estimates the degree of anemia in an animal since the Barberpole worm sucks blood and causes anemia. When the degree of anemia is severe enough to impact animal health and production, the animal is dewormed. The degree of anemia is measured by matching a card with color chips of varying shades (red/pink/pale) to the eye mucous membrane color. Mucous membranes are areas of tissue in the body where the capillaries are close to the surface of the tissue and therefore the color of the tissue represents the color of a thin layer of blood. The tissue is normally red due to the high number of red blood cells. With anemia (low level of red blood cells), the tissue turns a lighter shade of pink (more pale) and eventually white when anemia is severe. Mucous membranes are located inside the vulva (dairy goat producers check goats here when they are on the milking stand), the mouth and gums and the inside of the eye socket (FAMACHA checks the inside of the lower eyelid). With the FAMACHA program we check animals every two weeks during the worm season (weekly if worms are a severe problem) and match the color of the eye mucous membrane to one of the color chips (eye scores 1 through 5, 1 being red and 5 being very pale). Animals that score a 4 or 5 are dewormed. Some individuals such as lactating animals and young stock are dewormed when they are scored a 3. Further details on the FAMACHA procedure are located here.

By keeping records of the individuals requiring deworming, you will notice some animals require little deworming and others a lot of deworming. There is a genetic component to worminess that has a moderate heritability. A local producer found that 40% of his does were dewormed twice or less while 20% of his herd was dewormed 6 times during the warm season. He culled all those requiring deworming 6 times. He found a similar story with his four bucks, one was not dewormed, buck #2 three times, buck #3 four times and buck #4 six times. The latter was culled (bucks contribute more than half the genetics to a herd!). For replacements, he is mating the 40% of does that were dewormed twice or less to the buck that was not dewormed. The 20% of the does that he culled were probably producing over half of all worm eggs (and infective larvae). So, next year, he should have less than half the number of infective larvae on pasture (all other things being equal) which will greatly reduce worm problems in and of itself.

All breeds of sheep and goats have some individuals that have some resistance to worms, but some breeds have a greater proportion of resistant individuals, due to natural (animals with most worms die first) or artificial selection (selected by man). Breeds originating in humid areas had natural selection or man may have selected animals for worm resistance so the animals survived and produced, whereas animals in low rainfall areas were not bothered by worms since there was not enough moisture for the eggs to hatch and develop and therefore, there was not natural selection and no reason for man to select for worm resistance. Consequently, one would expect these breeds to have a lower proportion of resistant animals.

The producer needs to lay out a parasite management program much like you lay out a goat production program, utilizing sound, well thought out, plan and execute accordingly, then revise your plan based on the results. We select from some of the above management techniques to prevent parasites that are appropriate for our farm and implement them. We monitor infection level of animals with FAMACHA and/or fecal egg counts. We deworm only the animals that FAMACHA indicates need dewormed. We keep records on animals were dewormed (who and when) for culling and management purposes. Then, we revise our plan next year based on problems and mistakes that we had this year.

You then need to select other management practices that can be implemented on your farm. You may need to do something you have never done before, can you reduce your stocking rate by making hay or grazing with another species of grazer or culling problem animals? Producers in Northern climates can tolerate higher stocking rates due to a shorter Barberpole season, but they have more problems in the Fall, Winter and Spring with temperate species worms which cannot be monitored with FAMACHA. If you cull your animals that are management problems, it can help reduce stocking rate. After the first year, when you have data from FAMACHA, you can cull those animals that required deworming the most. The only time that your entire herd should be dewormed is around the time of kidding/lambing. If your animals have low fecal egg counts at this time of year due to genetics or management, they may not benefit from being dewormed. Outside of kidding time, deworm only those animals that FAMACHA identifies as needing to be dewormed.

How can you change your grazing program to reduce worm problems? Rotational grazing should be very high on your list because it is almost impossible to control worms if your animals are grazing only one pasture unless you have a very low number of animals per acre. Ideally, you need about 8 pastures. When the weather is warm, it would be ideal to move animals to the next pasture in rotation five to seven days after beginning grazing (before infective larvae are available) and to be able to rest those pastures from animals for at least 6 weeks during which most infective larvae will die. Also it is important that you do not graze closer than 4 inches above the ground since most infective larvae on the grass are within 2-3 inches of the ground. Stocking rate and rotation grazing have to be coordinated so that animals are not forced to graze close to the ground. One problem is that when improved grasses such as bermudagrass are rested 6 weeks, forage quality becomes very low. These forages need to be harvested before the end of six weeks rest. This can be done by haying or grazing with another animal species such as horses or cattle (stocker calves may work well) three or four weeks after animals were removed from the pasture. Unfortunately, we do not know if mowing is a beneficial practice or not.

Sericea lespedeza, if we have it, can be very beneficial in reducing fecal egg output and larval development. However, it may not be cost effective to plant sericea lespedeza since establishing most forages costs $100-150. per acre. Sericea lespedeza hay/pellets can also provide some of these benefits and feeding sericea hay will also help to establish a stand of sericea lespedeza (from the seed in the hay). Chicory is another forage plant with tannins that may reduce fecal egg output. Do you have brush for your sheep and goats to graze? Maybe your neighbor will allow your goats to graze his brush to clean it up. Summer grazing of sorghum sudangrass or Eastern Gamagrass is also beneficial in that animals graze higher than 8 inches above the ground. Which of these techniques can you implement in your grazing system?

The third item is to help your animal's immune system to fight worms. Make sure that animals are well fed (not necessarily fat) by monitoring body condition since nutrition is necessary for the immune system to be fully functional. In addition, we need to make sure that we have provided the animal with sufficient minerals and vitamins to support the immune system. Protein supplementation can booster the immune system so that worm problems are reduced. Most producers will need to supply some type of high quality (not necessarily high-priced) mineral for their animals. Producers need to avoid stressing their animals such as by shipping, but also realize that a lactating doe/ewe is under stress and that severe weather and other stressful events make our animals more susceptible to worms and therefore need to be closely monitored.

Hopefully, we have recorded FAMACHA data during the warm season and at the end of the season we can evaluate the data to tell us how well our parasite management program is working and tells us how well the animals are coping with worms. Look at how many times each animal got dewormed. Some animals get dewormed a lot and others little. So, the animals that get dewormed the most usually have the least resistance to worms, and so are candidates for culling. Those that get dewormed the most, also produce more eggs and consequent infective larvae for the rest of the animals in the herd and so it helps everyone in the herd if we cull those that got dewormed the most. We may need to cull 20-30% of the herd the first year and fewer the second and subsequent years because we have improved genetics. Also, evaluate data from the bucks closely, because they provide over half of the genetics of the herd. Culling the bucks that need deworming the most will help improve the genetics of the whole herd, and reduce deworming needed.

If we look at the percent of animals in our herd dewormed each time we do FAMACHA, it tells us what time of the year that we have the greatest worm problems and we should focus our attention on modifying our worm control program to reduce problems at that time of the year. We may need to learn more about biology of the worm to explain why we are having the problem and be creative in finding a solution. We can also look at the % of goats needing dewormed over years and see if we are continuing to make progress on improving our worm control program/worm resistance genetics, or if we become slack and go backwards.

Management practices to reduce worm problems

  • Reduced stocking rate
  • Rotation grazing especially with long rest period
  • Don't graze forages below 4 inches high
  • Graze tannin-containing forages such as sericea lespedeza or chicory Graze sorghum sudan or Eastern Gamagrass. *Graze brush or other browse
  • Alternate grazing with cattle or horses
  • Make hay on regrowth after grazing
  • Deworm around kidding time (not needed if herd has low fecal egg count)
  • Use FAMACHA program to deworm only animals that need to be
  • Keep records on animals dewormed

Steve Hart is a Goat Extension Specialist at Langston University in Oklahoma. He conducts research on internal parasites and presents parasite workshops. He is also a member of the Southern Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control

Steve Hart
Goat Extension Specialist
Langston University in Oklahoma

This article taken from Goat Rancher Magazine


Immediate Openings

Premier, a growing mail-order agribusiness near Washington, IA, ( has positions in the following areas:

Marketing Copywriter - FT - In house
Position Summary: Write targeted, effective copy to market products & services for e-store, catalog and print media. Assist Product Development Team/CEO with correspondence. Ability to meet deadlines and coordinate with other departments
Requirements: Bachelors Degree in any of the following disciplines: English, Journalism, Advertising/Marketing.
Work Experience: Minimum 1-2 yrs advertising/copy-writing experience. Proficiency in Word, Excel, Adobe InDesign. Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Experience in brand marketing/brand creative in mail order industry preferred. Working knowledge of sheep/goat/poultry/small farm industry also preferred.

Quality Control - FT - In house
Position Summary: Perform quality checks of incoming products. Participate in the review of all design, manufacturing, purchasing and testing of products to meet quality requirements. Study and understand product's features, benefits, uses and improvements.
Requirements: 1-2 yrs experience. Mechanical aptitude. Proficiency in Excel and Word. CAD experience a plus.

Graphic Artist - FT - In house
Position Summary: To design, develop, and implement computer-generated artwork for e-store/catalog/print media. Participate in initial planning meetings. Understand the editorial concepts of project and graphic needs. Take projects from concept to completion.
Requirements: 2-4 yr degree in Graphic Arts & 2 yrs work experience. Proficient in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Word and Excel.

Shipping/Receiving - FT/Seasonal (April to Sept.)
Position Summary: Pull products to fulfill orders for prompt shipment, enter receipt of incoming shipments into computer, verify information and quantities, prepare computer documentation.
Requirements: 1-2 yrs experience. Must be able to lift 70 lbs. Typing skills: 50 WPM. Forklift certification a plus.

Premier offers health/dental/life ins. benefits, 401K plus annual merit bonuses. Please send resume and cover letter by mail or e-mail at:

Attn: Jean Potratz
2031 300th Street
Washington, IA 52353

No walk-ins. No phone calls please.


Don Miksch

Don Miksch

Don Miksch, this month's featured employee, has been working in Premier's accounting department for two months. "The people at Premier are the nicest, most courteous people I've met," says Don, adding that he has enjoyed learning about both the retail business and sheep husbandry.

Don and his wife, Sheri, and their 22-month-old daughter, Taylor, live on a nearby farm. They are expecting another daughter this summer. Two dogs, Ralphie and Bluebunni, and two cats, Cheeto and Buby, are also part of the family.

Don raises crops on his farm along with some chickens, ducks, geese and miniature goats. He is the president of the Washington (Iowa) FFA Alumni Association and enjoys golfing, hunting and fishing.

His favorite statement is by Rod Marinelli, former head coach for the Detroit Lions: "My shovel is sharp and my will is outstanding," because it exemplifies that so long as you work hard and are determined, you can face all obstacles.


Poppy Seed Salad


1/2 c sugar
1/3 c lemon juice
2 tsp onion, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c oil
1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Put all ingredients in a jar. Close, shake and refrigerate.

Combine several kinds of lettuce and spinach in serving bowl. Top with dressing just before serving and garnish with slivered almonds and Craisins.

From Jacque Sieren, Premier employee

Fencing | Clippers and Shearers | Ear Tags | Poultry Supplies | Equipment | Wild Bird Feeders and Seed
Copyright 2010 Premier1Supplies
2031 300th Street, Washington, Iowa 52353, US • Contact Us
Phone: 800-282-6631 or 319-653-7622 • Fax: 800-346-7992 or 319-653-6304
Hours: Monday - Friday: 7am - 6pm (March - June) and 7am - 5:30pm (July - February)
Saturday: Closed (October - February) and 8am - 12 noon, CST (March - September)