A New Kid in Town: American Goat Federation Debut

When one thinks of a traditional farm, images of cows, pigs and chickens typically come to mind, but not images of goats.

Maybe they should?

Goats are becoming more and more integrated into the modern farming industry, as evidenced by the recent inauguration of the The American Goat Federation (AGF).

On November 10, AGF became the national trade association for goat producers.

Goats were first domesticated by neolithic farmers because they’re a great source of milk and meat. Their dung was used as fuel and their bones, hair and sinew for clothing, building and tools.

Since then, goats have been raised primarily to process their milk for cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream and body products. Their hair is used in the textile industry and their meat is becoming more popular in cuisines.

According to its website, “The American Goat Federation promotes and facilitates the development of all segments of the goat industry including dairy, meat and fiber, by encouraging sound public policy, enhancing production and marketing of goat products, and promoting research beneficial to our member organizations and all producers.”

Goat Facts
• More than 300 breeds
• Produce approximately 2 percent of the world's total annual milk supply
• Cheaper to manage than cattle

Ohio has the potential for a blossoming goat industry.

“Traditonally, Ohio is not a goat state, and goats raised in Ohio are mostly for the local 4-H markets. However, with the tremendous influx of immigration and increasing health consciousness of the population, there seems to be a large market for goat meat in Ohio,” states an Ohio State University Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center paper. “This, along with the fact that many previous tobacco farmers have spare land and goats are easy to raise, trigger an increasing interest on the farmers’ side for production and processing.”

The Ohio Valley Dairy Goat Association and the Mid-Ohio Goat Dairy Goat Association are examples of state groups that promote the potential and the success of Ohio goat farming.

Ohio Goat Facts (2007 Census of Agriculture)
  • Ranked 13 in the nation
  • Ranked 50 globally
  • Generates $14,186,000 annually
As years progress, it will be interesting to note how the goat industry expands to become a contender in the traditional livestock market, especially in Ohio. However, market infrastructure (ex: no goat processing plants) requires a major overhaul for the Ohio goat industry to really flourish.

Have you prepared or eaten anything made with goat? Do you know anyone who raises goats?

Photo obtained from: newfarm.rodaleinstitute.org

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