An Investigation of the General and Niche Market Goat Meat Demand

2006 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


The eleven state region from Texas to North Carolina (TX, LA, OK, AR, MS, AL, FL, GA, TN, SC and NC) is the goat production region. The region accounted for 78% of all goat production and 81% of meat goat production in 1997. Meat goats in the U.S. 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 goats in the region between 1992 and 1997 increased by more than 59%. All states in the region had substantial gains in meat goat production and this production took place primarily on small farms. Net imports of goat meat also increased dramatically during the 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 implication 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 consumption, product characteristics desired, the markets used by goat producers are 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.

Objectives/Performance Targets

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, 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 carcass weight and/or live weight of meat goats desired by important niche market consumers has been identified. Hispanics, Muslims and Caribbean populations make up three of the most important niche markets for goat meat. However, preferences for type of product differ. Hispanics, the largest and fastest growing U.S. minority group, prefer young kids (cabrito) weighting 15 – 25 pounds live weight and/or young goats that yield a 25-pound carcass that is derived from animals approximately 50 pounds live weight. Muslims prefer carcasses in the 35-pound range or a live weight animal of approximately 70 pounds with lean carcasses. Immigrants from the Caribbean, especially those from Haiti and Jamaica, prefer carcasses from older and more mature animals when compared to those preferred by Hispanics and Muslims.

There is little or no published information available on whether producers are meeting the carcass or live weight demands of these important niche markets. The number of intermediaries between the producer and consumer are much less numerous for goat meat compared to those for other important meat products in the United States (beef, pork and poultry). Thus, it is important

for the producer to put animals into the marketing channel close to what is demanded by the
targeted market. If the producer does this, traditional economic theory suggests that the producer will be rewarded in the price received. However, no studies were found regarding the importance of and the variability measures associated with the various classification of meat goats marketed. Thus, the primary objectives of study are to examine the predominant classification of goats marketed and the total variability in price for goat classes within selected markets.

Data for this study are taken from various releases from the USDA AMS – Georgia Department of Agriculture, Livestock Division Market News Branch, Thomasville, GA. The data are for four Georgia Goat Markets. Metter and Pearson sales are held twice monthly and the Ambrose and Eastanollee markets generally hold one sale per month. ). Slaughter and replacement classes were the two general classifications of animals reported by USDA. The data for this study is from the slaughter classes, which is the predominate general classification. The slaughter classification components are Kids, Billies/Bucks, Nannies/Does, Yearlings and Wethers. Each component is further subdivided by weight categories. Reports of sales of Wethers and 20 – 40 pound Yearlings are infrequent and these classes are not used. The price recorded for all classification of animals is reported as price per head.

Meat goats have traditionally been a minor farm enterprise with their statistics either not collected and/or reported and/or sporadically collected and reported. Long term statistics for meat goats are not readily available.

The total number of animals sold and monthly averages were determined. A total of 24,471 animals were sold through the four markets during the observation period. Most animals were sold through these markets during the spring and summer months with relatively few animals sold during the winter months. Greater than 50-percent of the animals were sold during the March – June four month period and more than 77- percent of the animals were sold during the March – August six month period. The month of May accounted for about 20-percent of total animal sales and the average number of animals per sale during the month of May was about 442. The sales pattern observed maybe related to kidding schedules, the predominate type of animal sold, and/or demand for a particular classification of an animal.

The mean average prices received by month for the various classification of animals were determined. The mean highest price for the kid category was generally received in the Spring and Summer months. Kids 20 – 40 lbs. received their highest price in April followed by March, February,
May, June and July. Kids in the 40 – 60 lbs. category also received their highest price in April, followed by March, February, May, June and July. The top five months in order of importance for all kids were April, March, February, May, and June. The February – July six month time period is generally the period where average price is the highest for all classification of animals. The smaller classification of nannies and yearlings more closely followed the price observations for kids.

The data show that most goats are marketed during the spring month, particularly during the March – June time period. These months are also generally the time that the highest average prices are received for kids, the classification of animals that previous work suggested is most desired by two of the most important niche markets. In addition, the general classifications of kids were the most frequently marketed of all classification of animals.

The mean price ranged from a low of $35.72 for 20 – 40 lbs. kids to a high of $110.12 for 100 – 150 lbs. billies/bucks. The price variability index ranged from a low of 14 for 20 – 40 lbs. kids to a high of 37 for 100 – 150 lbs. billies/bucks. Kids 20 – 40 lbs. and 40 – 60 lbs. variability indexes were lower than any other category of goats and were the most frequently marketed classes of animals. Yearlings 40 – 60 lbs. and 60 – 80 lbs. price variability indexes were greater than 17 and 22, respectively. Yearlings in these weight classes had the second smallest overall price variability indexes but were marketed must less frequent than the two classifications of kids.

In the cattle and hog industry the major share of male animals moving through the broader marketing system into the human meat consumption market as beef and pork is from castrated animals. The castrated cattle or hog compared to the un-castrated animal is generally rewarded in terms of price received. The castrated goats or wethers are not useful for reproduction purposes and are marketed for meat consumption or as pets only. The marketing of wethers was very infrequent through these markets. The mean price of wethers, both 20 – 40 lbs. and 60 – 80 lbs. were not noticeable different from that received by kids. The price variability index for wethers was not calculated because of the limited number of observations. Personal communications with an animal scientists indicate that wethers are not frequently marketed for two primary reasons. First, castration leads to significant reduction in rate of weight gain for a period of time. Second, most male goats are marketed before they exhibit the male characteristics that influence desirable meat attributes and do not impact price.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Little historical information is available regarding the marketing of the various classifications of goat and the relationship of their marketing to important niche markets. We have observed that the most frequently marketed goat is the kid, it is the animal with the least variability in the price received by the producer and these animals are most often marketing during the spring of the year. The kid classifications are also the weight classes previous findings suggest are desired by two important niche markets for goat meat.


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