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MEAT GOATS

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MEAT GOATS

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Interest in meat goat production in North Carolina has increased steadily during the past ten years because of the increased demand for goat meat by ethnic groups who prefer goat meat in their diet. USDA statistics indicate that 3,363 metric tons of goat meat were imported in the USA in 1999, for a total value of $7.85 million. In the year 2000, It is estimated that a total of over 180,000 goats were sold for meat in NC, representing receipts of over $7.5 million. In addition, it is estimated that the NC meat goat breeding stock inventory totals 122,000 animals for a total of 3,000 farms, or an average of 39 goats per farm. The above breeding stock inventory represents a capital of over $12 million.

The South African Boer goat has provided great incentive to the development of the NC meat goat industry, resulting in the founding of the North Carolina Meat Goat Association in November 1993. Since then, membership has been steadily increasing to approximately 575 members. In addition, the successful establishment of meat goat shows at the Mountain and the NC State Fairs in 1996, the implementation of graded goat sales in certain areas of the state to supplement weekly auction market sales, and the opening in 2001 of a meat goat farmers' cooperative for direct sale of fresh goat meat to restaurants and retail stores all attest to the rapid growth of the industry.

A wide range of research and extension projects address current issues faced by the meat goat industry in North Carolina, with collaboration from the departments of Animal Science, Farm Animal Health and Resource Management, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Horticulture, as well as from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services research stations and marketing specialist. Regional collaborators include Virginia State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State university, Fort Valley State College, Langston University, and the USDA/ARS Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center.

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