Over 70 percent of the world's population eats goat meat. Interest in meat goat production in the USA has increased during the past nine years due to increased demand linked to a growing segment of the US population which represents ethnic groups who prefer goat meat in their diet.
The Indiana Goat Producers Association organized a booth at the 3-day Indiana Farm Bureau event entitled "Taste of Indiana Farms" during the 2008 Indiana State Fair. More than 6,100 samples of goat brats were sampled by folks who lined up to participate in the event. More than 95 percent had never tried goat meat before and more than 90 percent liked the product. This particular product came from Rice's Quality Meats at Spencer. Goat meat is lean, and may appeal to health-conscious consumers. Goat meat has less fat than chicken and more iron than beef.
For more information on the Indiana Goat Producers Association, visit http://www.indianagpa.com/ to become a member, determine where to purchase goat meat or learn more about goats.
The primary purchasers of goat meat are members of ethnic groups, especially Hispanics, Muslims, and various Caribbean and Asian peoples.
Although the current market picture is disjointed and confusing, there is an unfilled demand for goat meat in the major cities of the United States.
Visit http://web.exten-sion.uiuc.edu/iidea/PDF... for marketing information from our neighboring state of Illinois particularly focused on ethnic populations.
Goats have advantages over other animals. They are widely adapted. They can thrive and reproduce well in tropical or cold climates and in humid as well as dry regions. Breeding animals are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of livestock. They will consume a wide variety of grasses, weeds, leaves, and browse woody plants and shrubs. They are gentle and easy to control relative to other larger types of livestock.
Their small size makes them suitable for home production of meat, milk, and cheese products. Goats are coming to the forefront across the United States because of their economic value as efficient converters of low quality forages into quality meat and milk products for specialty markets.
In addition to meat and milk, goats make important contributions to the world's supply of skins for specialty leather and mohair fiber, and make good research models for biotechnology studies.
Internal parasites are generally the top management issue for producers.
Penn State Cooperative Extension offers a Meat Goat Home Study Course. Lesson materials are available any time, although the course is run during the winter. The next course is scheduled to begin on Feb. 4, 2009. Registration deadline is Jan. 26. For more details on the course:
Also Purdue University has a joint meat goat project with the University of Kentucky at the Southern Indiana Purdue Agriculture Center in Dubois County since 2005. The website http://www.ansc. purdue.edu/meatgoat/ Mainpage.htm provides information about the joint Purdue-Kentucky project. For the small tract or small farm person in Clay or Owen County, meat goats make a great deal more sense economically and resource wise relative to traditional livestock types.
Also new from The Ohio State University is the Goat Resource Handbook which addresses both the dairy and meat production aspect. It is $20 and copies are available in the Extension office for one to examine and make a purchase determination.
You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 829-5020 Ext. 14 in Owen County or 448-9041 in Clay County for more information or publication copies regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While most publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.
Dec. 11 Farm Income Tax Program, Brazil, 7 p.m.
Dec. 16-17 Certified Crop Advisor Conference, Indianapolis
Dec. 17 Rural Energy Workshop, Indianapolis, 1 p.m.
Dec. 18 Indiana Beef Cattle Association Region Program, Brazil, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 12-14 Indiana Green Expo, Indianapolis
Jan. 13 Forestry Class-8 week evenings, Martinsville
Jan. 19-21 Hort Congress, Indianapolis
Jan. 20 Private Applicator Program, Brazil/ Spencer, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 21-22 Heartland of America Grazing Conference, Columbus
Jan. 21-22 Midwest Organic Conference, Indianapolis
Jan. 26 Clay Extension Advisory Council Annual Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 Managing Margin Risk-5 Tuesdays (Brazil and Spencer) 7 p.m.
Jan. 29 Private Applicator Program, Brazil/ Spencer, 9 a.m.