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In order to come up with innovative solutions to the sustainable raising of goats, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the Animal Husbandry Institute (IDELE) created a new research unit dedicated to the topic, called UMT SC3D. This unit will lead a research and development program over 5 years. This program aims to provide to tools to farmers raising goats and to the entire goat industry to move toward behaviors and systems that are sustainable and resistant to climactic disruptions.

Despite being the number one European producer of goat milk, the French goat industry is however suffering from a loss in attractiveness and is going through a period of deep restructuring. The efforts of UMT SC3D aim to provide answers to issues the industry is confronted with: farm sustainability and meeting societal demands. The research will be organized around three themes: farms, pastures, and goats, plus a common theme dedicated to spreading the results from the studies.

The farm: How to improve sustainability?

The UMT will aid in developing multi-performant goat systems economically viable, attractive to farmers and future farms, of low environmental impact, and that take into account societal expectations.

The pastures: Which plant species should be encouraged?

The efforts of the UMT will determine the adaptive factors of plant species and will come up with new foraging systems. Four challenges will need to be met: Adapting to climate change, increased food and protein autonomy, limiting the use of pesticides and mineral fertilizer in crops and taking into account the workload of farmers.

Goats: What new breeding and feeding innovations should be developed?

The third theme will identify, propose and test conducts answering the needs to the industry as identify in its 2022 plan, laid out in the Estates General of Food: limiting chemical inputs, encouraging self-sufficiency, respecting animal welfare, and improving the food safety of dairy products. These farming practices studied the most closely will concern breeding and food.

Spreading the results

The results obtain within the UMT will be spread to farmers, technicians, apprentices, teachers and researchers. The UMT SC3D will depend on existing experimental tools and new tools or approaches based around putting data into practice. The UMT involves researchers and engineers from IDELE and INRA, but also from agricultural organizations, private businesses, and goat farmers working with different networks, without forgetting to mention agricultural schools.