An Investigation of the General and Niche Market Goat Meat Demand

2007 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.


One of the focuses of efforts during this period was using the regional consumer survey to study consumers’ preferences for cuts of chevon. One study assessed consumers’ rankings of four major chevon cuts, to include; the shoulder, ribs, hind-leg and loin chops. Results of a Kruskal – Wallis test revealed the loin chop as the most desired cut of chevon.

Studies were also conducted using the telephone regional consumer survey data set to assess consumers’ importance rankings of preferences for selected attributes of chevon. Such attributes have been studied in other important meat markets and may be important to existing consumers and in the expansion of goat meat consumption in the general population among current consumers and potential goat meat consumers. The survey data on attributes such as freshness, color, prepackaged products, variety of cuts, marinaded products, convenience products, price, cooking instructions, government inspection labels, and organically produced. The Kruskal – Wallis test for all respondents, consumers and potential consumers, ranked government inspection labeling as the most important attribute. Color, price and freshness ranked second, third and fourth, respectively. An examination of the ranking of attributes among two subgroups, current consumers and those likely to consume if the product was made readily available, was conducted. Present consumers, dominated by lower income respondents, ranked government inspection labeling most important and price second with cholesterol and fat content ranked as third and fourth. The potential consumers ranked government inspection, fat content, cholesterol content and price first, second, third and fourth, respectively. Thus, quality assurance, fat and cholesterol content and prices are the bundles of the top fourth attributes most important to existing and potential consumers of goat meat products.

Analyses were conducted of data collected, using personal interviews, from about 100 producers from Alabama, Georgia and Texas. The survey sought information not limited to the size of farms, years of experience, production management practices, marketing techniques, producers’ outlooks for meat goat production and expansion and perceptions of factors influencing efficient meat goat production. Producers averaged about five years in business with some with goat production experience exceeding 30 years. The respondents’ outlook for growth in the meat goat industry was very positive and more than 80 percent expected to expand their meat goat enterprises. Producers with more than five years experience in the business was most optimism about expansion. The size of the operation was also positively associated with a positive outlook and about 90 percent of producers with more than 100 animals indicated that they would expand the size of their operations. These results may suggest that there may be some economies associated with years of experience and size of operations.

About 70 percent of the operators indicated that they owned Boer goats and 43 and 15 percent also owned Spanish and Kiko animals, respectively. More than 65 percent had crossbreeds and the crosses were most frequently between Boer and Spanish. The most frequently cited obstacle to goat production was controlling internal parasites. Marketing, feeding practices and prices received were the second through fourth most cited concerns of producers and producers expressed an interest in forming marketing cooperatives. Producers were asked rank the top five marketing practices used to sell their animals. Visitors to the farm was ranked as the most important marketing method by more than 44 percent of the producers and goat auctions were ranked as second at 42 percent. About 39 percent and 35 percent respectively, listed breeding stock sales and livestock auction as the third and fourth important method. The large percentage listing breeding livestock sales are probably not representative of all producers but is understandable because of the large number of producers with Boer goats.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Studies revealed that the four most important chevon attributes to existing consumers and potential consumers as government inspection labeling, fat and cholesterol content and price. The loin chop was ranked as the most important cut of chevon of existing consumers. This addition to the meat goat developing enterprise should be helpful to farmers in marketing their animals and retailers and wholesalers of goat meat products.


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