Business Segments of the Meat Goat Business
by Jack Mauldin
Can you make any money at raising goats? That is the question we receive almost every week from visitors to our web site. They have heard about the Boer Goats and are thinking about the possibility of trying to add goats to their farm or ranch. We are not experts in the goat industry and do not want anyone thinking that any response we give should be taken as the gospel. However, we have now retired from IBM after 30 years and are doing our goat business full-time. The response we are writing to this question is only our view and opinion from being a part of the industry for several years and researching issues for inclusion into our web site. So take this article with a grain of salt.
We believe that there are basically six different segments of the goat business and each one has different objectives, targeted customers, pros and cons. Normally people are not in just a single segment but will span several of them that are closely related. The general segments are shown on the right and are:
Developing Premium Breeding Animals
Only a few breeders will truly be in this segment. These breeders are looking at where the meat goat market could go in the future and identifying animal characteristics that will need to be improved or changed in order to meet future demands with improved profits.
Breeding Registered full-bloods for Showing
This is the segment most people hear about because of the price people have paid for the animals. When boers first came to the US, this was one of the main segments they fit into. The South African breeders had been in the segment above and were passing the new genetics along to new breeders.
Breeding Registered full-bloods for Farmers/Ranchers Moving into Boer Goats
Most people raising goats are not taking them to shows. They will not pay the premium for the show quality animals but want to get some good, quality boer goats for breeding and adding to their existing herd. Also people that do not have an existing herd of goats, may want to start off with some quality animals.
Breeding quality percentage boers for improving existing herds
The majority of people we talk with either cannot or aren't willing to pay the price for the animals in the first two segments. They do want to start getting the benefits of the boer goats. They would like to start at a lower price and continue to improve their herd to a higher quality and get higher prices.
Breeding quality wethers for 4H/FFA show animals
There is a great demand that is growing every year for show wethers for kids in the 4H and FFA. We have been unable to offer anything to many of these requests because we had focused on the upper segments. There is potential for some of these sales to change to breeding animals for these kids as they decide to raise their own show animals.
Slaughter Meat Goats
The demand for goat meat is good and continues to improve. As the US population becomes more diverse, the demand for goat meat grows. Other countries are interested in goat meat.
The potential for how much money can be made in the goat business is based upon what segments you are focused on and how well you plan and manage it. We have a couple of other articles related to planning that may be of interest to you. They are:
There seems to be a great potential for the goat industry but you must understand that the prices in the upper segments are likely to change as the population of boer goats increases in the US. If you add that to your plan for getting into the goat business, we believe that you can do ok. It has been a good potential for us to generate a supplemental income from a small amount of land and enjoy what we are doing. It has been one of our greatest enjoyments working with our boer goats and helping other people get started in the business.