Rising popularity of goats in America

Goat meat demand is on the rise in Michigan and in the United States.

For the past 10 years my family has enjoyed raising and learning more about the benefits of meat goats. While one beef cow typically utilizes two acres of good pasture and can produce an average of two calves every 24 months, in contrast, six adult goats can thrive on the same area of quality land as one beef cow. A doe in optimal condition can give birth two to three times every 24 months and is more likely to have twins or triplets. Depending on variations in breed and management practices, goats reach an ideal market weight between 60-80 pounds.

Goats are a niche segment of agriculture in Michigan, for their meat, milk, hair and 4-H youth livestock projects. The Michigan State University Product Center states there are 2 million meat goats in the United States. Michigan has about 8,500 head of meat and other goats. According to the president of the U.S. Meat Goat Association, “the U.S. market could support a herd of 15 million animals and the demand for goat meat will continue to grow.”

As ethnic populations in the U.S. increase, consumer demand for goats is expected to grow. Goat meat is the most popular choice of meat among ethnic populations. According to the article Eat Goat! It’s a Healthy Choice, goat meat is low in fat, cholesterol, calories and saturated fat. In fact, goat meat is more than 50 percent lower in fat than American beef and is about 40 percent lower in saturated fat than chicken, including chicken cooked without skin.

For more information on Michigan 4-H, goat meat or meat nutrition contact Michigan State University Extension.