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Livestock Advisors

Program Contact: Joan DeVries, Livestock Advisors Program Coordinator
(360) 395-2370 •

What is the WSU Livestock Advisor Program?

WSU Livestock Advisors are trained and certified members of a volunteer program that is sponsored by Washington State University Extension. The program assists WSU Extension in providing information to livestock producers on raising, breeding, and housing livestock using the best farm management practices. The demand for such information has grown rapidly in recent years and the methods of delivery have diversified.

Who can become a Livestock Advisor?

Anyone with an interest in livestock and the desire and enthusiasm to learn, and then share their knowledge with the community, can apply to become a certified WSU Extension Livestock Advisor. The only limitation is the time available to the applicant and space in the class.

The first time commitment is the 60 hours of animal science training. The second requirement is the 50 hours of volunteer time the new Livestock Advisor contributes to the program over two years. Once volunteers have completed this requirement, $50 of the initial cost to cover program materials will be returned.

Commitments to continue as a certified Livestock Advisor after the first two years are reduced to 20 hours of volunteer service and 5 hours of advanced training per year. Many Livestock Advisors considerably exceed the minimum.

What training are the Livestock Advisors given?

The training sessions cover a variety of subjects such as poultry, sheep, beef, swine, horse, rabbits, goats, vertebrate pest management, nutrition, water quality, and mud management. Other areas also taught are pasture management and organic farming.

The trainees receive a course outline and extension publications as well. A take-home quiz is given on each major subject matter area to verify that the new Livestock Advisors are ready to serve as resource people in the community.

Livestock Advisor training is held in the evenings from 6:00 – 9:00 PM for 10 weeks. Training is held annually.

Who decides what each Livestock Advisor will do?

Each Livestock Advisor Volunteer must complete a total of 50 hours of volunteer service in the first two years. The activity hours are fairly flexible, as long as they are an accepted part of the WSU Extension Livestock Education Program. Activities for volunteers include writing and editing articles for our web page, giving talks and demonstrations to groups in the community, and staffing booths at fairs and civic events, making presentations at Small Farm Workshops, returning phone queries on livestock issues, and making farm visits.

What is in the Livestock Advisor Program for me?

Serving the public through this program is very satisfying to most volunteer Livestock Advisors. Many of them stay with the program year after year providing depth and continuity to the program as well as keeping themselves up-to-date on the latest research and gardening information.

As a WSU Extension Livestock Advisor you will meet many other people who share a mutual interest in livestock, increase your public relations skills, and acquire information and develop abilities that will prove useful to you in a variety of situations. You will develop and increase confidence in your capacity as a livestock raiser and problem-solver. You will learn, and help others learn, practices that are safer for the environment. You will have access to all the latest research-based information pertaining to livestock management, too.

How do I apply?

Livestock Advisor Application

Or contact your local WSU Extension office for an application. In Skagit County our office is located at 11768 Westar Lane, Ste. A, Burlington, WA 98233. Please return your application to this address. Our telephone number is 360-428-4270 or you can reach our Livestock Advisors Program via e-mail at

Space is limited, so please apply soon.

Class Participant Testimonial


BJ & Karen Martin had the idea that they could live closer to the earth, grow more of their own food, and start a small farm that would launch them on a path to self-sufficiency. But, where to start?

The WSU Livestock Advisor program helped us make wise choices about which livestock would work for our environment.    The course provided a network of contacts, and the instructors and our classmates were extremely supportive. We’re now producing the vast majority of our food and happy to give back to the community through WSU’s volunteer opportunities.  We’re enthusiastic supporters of WSU’s Livestock Advisor Program.

Do you want to increase your knowledge about livestock?

Take the Livestock Advisor training this fall
Plan on attending the next Country Living Expo and Cattlemen’s Winterschool in January.