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Herd Dispersals by Highly Visible Breeders

By Jack Mauldin
August 31, 2005

As several "highly visible" breeders have total dispersal sales to get out of the business, should you be concerned about the health of the industry? We have no concerns and feel comfortable about the "Herd Dispersals" that have been occurring. We are certainly not industry experts but 30 years of training and experience helping businesses analyze and resolve their problems in all sorts of industries, these dispersals are typical of a growing industry.

Here are some reasons for our beliefs:

Demand for product

The first thing you have to do is understand that "Boer Goats" is not the industry. Meat Goat is the industry. Boer Goats are just the premium "type" of  meat goat in the world.  At this time, thousands of tons of goat meat is IMPORTED into the US from other countries such as Australia and Australia is trying to DOUBLE their capability for EXPORTING goat meat in order to meet the demand.

When we entered into the industry in 1997, meat goats were selling for $.60 - $.70 a pound. At this time, meat goats are selling for $1.25 - $1.45 a pound. Shortly after we entered the industry, "The Goat Rancher" magazine had a cover story of someone buying an animal for $10,000 and we could not believe it was true. In 2005, we saw our friends, Ronnie & Earl Peacock, sell their buck, War Paint, for $26,000. In 1997, War Paint, would have been considered a "cull" because of his color but in 2005 he sold for more that the Ennobled, traditional bucks were selling for. Other boers this year have sold for more than $10,000 and don't even make the news.  When we got into the industry, percentage does were selling for $75 - $150 each.  Recently we have seen percentage does sell for $4,000, $2,000, $1,500.

It is unheard of for prices of "exotic animals" to stay in the price range that boer goats have done over a period of 10 years. Any animal can be sold for high prices when they are only a few available. Boer goats are certainly not considered "exotic" anymore but the prices continue to stay high because of the "real value" that they have in a "high demand" environment. The US can not grow enough in 20 years to meet the demand if the demand stayed the same however the demand is growing faster than the herds are.

Different Categories of the Industry

One of the "perceived" problems in this industry is related to the "pyramid scheme" view of the opportunity. I am sure that everyone has met someone that wanted to get them into the Amway business of selling "home products" and getting other people to sell for you. There is no problem with a business that offers products to neighbors or business opportunities to do the same. The problem gets to be when everyone wants to get other distributors but doesn't want to actually sell the products their self. They will say "The real money is getting other distributors".  Many breeders in the industry are just wanting to breed and raise breeding animals to sell to other breeders. There is NO Industry if meat goats are not being sold for slaughter. That is what makes the boer goat so valuable. The highly productive, quick growth capability.

When 90% of the boer association members are trying to raise breeding animals for other breeders to buy, there is a problem. As more and more animals become available in the US, the harder it is to justify a premium price.  However, there are several different categories in the industry for raising animals and having better opportunities for being successful. (see  Categories ). You need to seriously evaluate the different categories of the industry and which one(s) give you the best opportunity for success according to your location and capabilities.

One of the best long-term growth categories in the industry is "show wethers". These are the animals that 4H/FFA kids show. The demand is growing rapidly and the interest for showing goats is spreading across the country. There has to be a new supply every year since wethers can only be shown for a very short amount of time and people generally want more than one show wether. There are now show circuits for the kids and weekly jackpots are popping up everywhere. If you are saying, goats are not shown in your area, do you want to wait until someone else makes it popular and then you miss out on the front end of another opportunity. If you want things to happen, get out and help make it become a reality.

There are more and more sanctioned shows across the country now for you to participate in. There are more judges for you to select from. You have to have your animals seen to get buyers interested in them. You have to see how your animals compare to other quality animals in order to determine if you are on track in your breeding program or not. You have to know other people in the industry to be able to be successful. Shows are a great place to get to know other breeders and see what the competition looks like.

Reasons for Breeders Dispersing Their Herds

Here are some of the reasons you are seeing some highly visible breeders dispersing their herds.

Summary

We believe that the meat goat industry is very healthy and has lots of growth to it. That does not mean  if you get in the industry, you will be successful. You need to carefully study the different opportunities available in the industry, where you are located, your capabilities and your desire to make it happen. If you enjoy working with animals, you will love the boers. If you enjoy working, you will the thrilled raising goats. If you are willing to understand the industry, you can find a place where you can be as successful as you decide to be with the realistic expectations, proper effort and investment.

Don't worry about the highly visible breeders that are dispersing their herds but do understand why they really got out. Look into how many more breeders are in the industry and how many more are looking at getting into the industry.