An Investigation of the General and Niche Market Goat Meat Demand

2002 Annual Report for LS02-138

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2002: $161,074.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Mack C. Nelson
Fort Valley State University

An Investigation of the General and Niche Market Goat Meat Demand

Objectives/Performance Targets

The eleven state region from Texas to North Carolina (TX, LA, OK, AR, MS, AL, FL, GA, TN, SC, NC) is the United States’ goat production region. The region accounted for 78 percent of all goat production and about 81 percent of meat goat production in 1997. Meat goats, in the United States, have been minor food animals but their numbers and importance to farm income have increased in recent years, particularly in the South. The number of farms producing meat type goats in the region between 1992 and 1997 increased by more than 59 percent. All states in the region had substantial gains in meat type goat production and this production, with few exceptions, took place on small farms. Net imports of goat meat also increased dramatically during this period. Changes in goat production and net imports are thought to be related to increases in the segment of the population that have preferences for goat products. The implications of these statistics is an increased goat meat demand. However, little research is available that explain the consumption demographics of goat meat.

Historical data series are not readily available on goat production, marketing and consumption. Thus, information on the markets used by goat producers is not widely available nor is the relative importance of the markets or characteristics of the markets. Little is known also about the production problems experienced by producers and their relative importance on decision making.

To establish the level of consumption and demand within the general population and identify opportunities for increased consumption, identify the goat meat products desired and estimate the potential level of demand.

To assess the level of demand and product characteristics desired by the Hispanic niche market. This assessment will also seek to determine the effects of income levels, educational attainment, integration into the larger community, and the passing of food consumption preferences from parents to offspring and other socioeconomic demographic factors on demand/consumption.

To study the feasibility of strategic alliances between producers, and producers and marketing entities to efficiently exploit markets as influenced by producer and farm characteristics including herd size, land holdings, adoption of breeding and production technologies.


The timetable for the consumer (objectives 1 and 2) and the producer (objective 3) survey was changed. The producer survey questionnaire was developed first. The producer survey will be conducted first and consumer survey second. This change in the schedule was made because of our meetings with and in an attempt to cooperate with another SARE group (LS02-143 Novel Methods for Sustainable Control of Gastrointestinal Nematodes in Small Ruminants). The major emphasis for this cooperation was to increase the geographical area covered by each individual project’s producer survey and/or an increase in the sample size for the projects. It was also decided by the group participants that the usefulness of the data would be enhanced if it was collected by both projects during the same time period. The producer survey for each project will not involve the entire survey schedule for the other, but will have a subset of the questions crucial to each of the projects. The initial draft of the producer survey was developed with communications from participants of the project. The revised draft was shared with participants and the SARE LS02-143 group participants by e-mail. After further modification, the instrument was pretested and a meeting was held to decide on the final changes in the questionnaire. Not all participants were able to attend the meeting. Collection of producer data is underway.

The experiences of some participants with conducting farmer surveys lead to the conclusion that a mail survey of producers may not yield the desirable return rate nor the farmer diversity desired. Thus, a decision was made to conduct a combination of a mail survey and face-to-face interviews to get a better return rate and the farmer variety desired.

The first draft of the consumer survey questionnaire was developed and pretested only in the state of Georgia. Results of the pretest and revisions will be shared with all participants. The University of Georgia’s Survey Research Center will be provided the final consumer survey questionnaire for formatting during summer 2003. The telephone survey will be conducted by the Survey Research Center during early fall 2003.

The web page component, item number 4, of the Education and Outreach portion of the proposal is about 50 percent complete. The web page should be initially operational in April 2003. A decision was made to put up the web page before collecting and analyzing data to inform farmers and others of the project’s efforts. The timing of this component should increase awareness and utilization of the project’s output.

The collection of the producers’ data must be completed and analyzed. The consumer survey questionnaire must be finalized, the data collected and analyzed. A research associate should be employed in summer or early fall 2003 and graduate students during the fall semester 2003. These resources will be more efficiently utilized when producer and consumer data are available.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

It is anticipated that the results of this project will assist goat farmers, consumers, livestock marketing firms and facilities, and local merchants of feed and other production inputs by assisting in identifying the level and type of goat products desired by consumers. This alignment of production with identification and fulfilment of consumer demand will provide for more efficient production, greater and more efficient use and expansion of livestock marketing facilities, greater use of local labor pools and merchants for production inputs, and better use of environmentally fragile agricultural lands.


Patricia E. McLean-Meyinsse
Professor of Agricultural Economics
Southern University & A&M College
Department of Agricultural Economics
Division of Agricultural Sciences
Baton Rogue, LA 70813
Office Phone: 2257715124
Will Getz
Assoc. Professor & Extension Small Ruminant Spec.
Fort Valley State University
College of Ag., Home Economics & Allied Programs
P.O. Box 4061, 1005 State University Drive
Fort Valley, GA 31030
Office Phone: 4788256955
Alfred L. Parks
Research Director & Professor of Agricultural Econ
Prairie View A&M University
College of Agriculture & Human Sciences
P.O. Box 2479
Prairie View, TX 77446
Office Phone: 9368572030
Jack Houston
Professor of Agricultural Economics
University of Georgia
Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics
312 Conner Hall
Athens, GA 30602-7509
Office Phone: 7065420852
Alden Peters

Goat & Sheep Farmer
3304 Duhart Church Road
Stapleton, GA 30823-7112
Donald McDowell
Professor of Agricultural Economics
North Carolina A&T State University
Dept. of Agribusiness, Applied Econ. & Agriscience
C.H. Moore, A-26
Greensboro, NC 27411
Office Phone: 3363347054
Ginny Skinner
Apalachee River Livestock Farm
1131Treadwell Bridge Road
Statham, GA 30666
Office Phone: 7707257926