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MY GOATS, MY PET.... MY WEALTH!
Despite of his many successes in life, Mr. Josue Balderama is still a simple and unassuming man. He never displayed his talents and gifts. Mang Josh is a happily married man who draws his inspiration and strength from God and his family.
He started his farming venture in Ballesteros in 1978 upon his return from Hawaii. His involvement with the Livestock Industry started in 2003 when DA –RFU 02 convened a meeting of small ruminants raisers and enthusiasts. The meeting organized a group in the province of Cagayan promoting the development of the small ruminant sector by increasing the goat and sheep population. In return, to be a good source of added income to farmers.
To show his commitment to the industry, he established a modest goat farm as a livelihood project and showcases the potential of the small ruminant industry in the valley. He first enclosed one hectare with closely-planted live Madre de Cacao and divided into ten (10) paddocks. Each paddock was planted with Napier grass that gives the highest herbage yield. Afterwhich, he bought his foundation stock. He converted his cattle barn into goat pen with elevated flooring using indigenous materials like bamboo. Despite some difficulties in raising goats, his technical skills and passion for goats, paved the way for his success in the production of quality offspring which were often sought by goat breeders and would-be goat raisers Luzon-wide. This led to his unanimous election as President of the Cagayan Small Ruminant Raisers Association (CASRRA) from 2003 to present.
Mang Josh is one of the first graduates of the Cycle-long Training on Integrated Goat & Sheep Production Management Strategies which was conducted by DA-RFU 02 and ATI-RTC in 2003 to 2004. It was in this training that he learned the appropriate management practices inherently needed in raising small ruminants. As the training winded up, the participants visited progressive goat farms in Nueva Ecija, Batangas and Laguna, as well as the participants’ farms. These visits widened his horizon of what small ruminant industry is.
The DA-RFU 02 then accredited him as a multiplier farmer for purebred goats in recognition of his reputation as one of the best goat and sheep raisers in the valley. He believes that sustaining an efficient goat feeding management system and integrated parasite control coupled with the use of genetically superior animals are the keys to optimum profits. The goat population was increasing that warrants an increase in pasture. So he added two (2) more hectares making the enclosed area to 3 hectares in all. Farmers began to take notice and many visited his farm. He demonstrated the rotational grazing method and pointed out its advantages in the control of gastro - intestinal parasite and a higher stocking rate. It was at this time that he was granted a Fullblood Boer buck under the Buck Loan Program of DA-RFU 02, which he used in upgrading his herd.
A few years later, the DA-FU 02 and ATI-RTC has chosen him as one of the first Farmer Leader Extensionists (FLE) for Goat and Sheep Production in Cagayan in recognition of his innovative and pioneering activities in the community, and willingness to share his expertise to other raisers, farmers and stakeholders in Cagayan Valley. As an FLE, Mang Josh selflessly shares his expertise on goat and sheep production to anybody who seeks his assistance and volunteered his goat and sheep farm as venue for farmers’ classes, educational trips, learning field for practicum students from various schools in Cagayan Valley and the neighboring regions. He is often invited as resource speaker during livestock production seminars conducted in Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya.
Likewise, CVARRD conferred him as Magsasaka Siyentista for Small Ruminants. Mang Josh has always been invited to represent the livestock sector in regional and national forums and as a Livestock Show Judge during Goat & Sheep Show Competitions. CVARRD took notice of his achievements in the small ruminant industry, and nominated his farm to PCARRD as site for the Science & Technology–Based for Slaughter Goats under the Techno Gabay Program. There was no hesitation on his part for he believed "it was a rare chance to showcase my goats, my pets...my wealth, a dream that came true, he expressed. "The farm has helped in making goat production a means for relaxation and a commercial activity.” Mang Josh said.
As an outreach project of the Cagayan Breeding Station – Farmers Information Technology Station (CBS-FITS) under the Techno Gabay Program of the CVARRD Consortium, more than 30 goat farmers in Barangay Nararagan and the adjacent villages attend the monthly Farmers Class on Goat and Sheep Raising. Visitors keep coming to his farm as far as Asingan, Pangasinan and Bicol. Buyers from Bangui, Ilocos, Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan and Apayao have bought his Boer kids to improve the genetic make up of their goats. Now, Animal Science students from various campuses of the Cagayan State University (CSU) and other SCUs have come to learn more about his goats.
Last March 28, 2008 a Field Day on the Production of Quality Slaughter goats was successfully conducted to showcase the progeny results of the first F1 kids (23 weanlings) of Mang Josh. He and the CVARRD Consortium composed of DA-RFU 02, ATI-RTC, ISU, CSU and other member-agencies were more than elated due to the overwhelming participation of farmers and other guests. No less than the PCARRD Executive Director, Dr. Patricio Faylon and DARFU 02 Regional Executive Director, Dr. Gumersindo Lasam, Dr. Edwin Villar and Dr. Ed Magboo were among the 366 participants. The participants were so eager to buy the weanlings, however, disposal shall only be undertaken when the kids reach the marketable/slaughter age of 8 months. Mang Josh is so excited to harvest his pets as an added wealth. The weanlings gave him a remarkable positive return on investment (ROI). He looks forward to a significant profit that will contribute to the continuous development of the goat industry in the region and nationwide.
With his successes, he silently helps the indigent children get through school. One way to contribute to his dream “to make the world a better place to live in”.