The meat goat industry has become a rapidly expanding agricultural enterprise in the U.S. Increasing demand from ethnic groups and popularity as a youth livestock project has caused meat goat numbers to increase to 2.4 million head in the U.S. in 2007. It is estimated that 48.4 million pounds of goat meat is consumed in the U.S. and fifty percent of that consumption is imported from Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world.
The meat goat industry faces many challenges. The lack of information about consumer’s preferences, retail demand, and infrastructure are just a few. Very little is known about consumer’s preferences towards cuts of meat, size of cuts, quantity desired, and age of product. There are certain holidays and times of the year where goat meat is the preferred protein source, but each holiday has different criteria as to the size and type of goat. This makes producing and marketing goats a challenge. Also, not much is known about goat consumption between holidays.
A majority of the meat goat production 72% occurs in the southern U.S. Texas has the most goats with 1.09 million head followed by Tennessee with 117,000 head. At the same time almost 50% of meat goat slaughter occurs in the Northeast part of the U.S. New Jersey leads the way with 37% of U.S.D.A. inspected slaughter. This distance between production and consumption leads to some interesting challenges determining market channels, pricing and production time lags.
Meat goat production can be a viable agricultural enterprise. Just like any other enterprise producers need to evaluate his/her management and marketing abilities and possibilities before entering a new operation.
|Conference||2008 National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference|
|Presentation Type||60-Minute Concurrent|