- Animals: goats
- Animal Products: meat
- Animal Production: animal protection and health
- Farm Business Management: marketing management
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, quality of life
Generally, a diversified farm is sustainable and resilient and in the southeastern US meat goat production is a viable option for diversification. Goats are less labor intensive to handle than cattle. Because goats are browsers by nature, they are good at removing unwanted vegetation that other livestock species will not consume. Due to their smaller body size and weight, goats cause less damage to pastures because they don’t trample or compact soil as larger livestock species do. The 1890 Land Grant Universities are at the forefront of sustaining and promoting the US goat industry. This project will create a large systems consortium of 1890 Universities and farmer cooperators to enhance the sustainability of the goat industry and improve economic opportunities for goat producers in the southeastern US. The 1890 Universities involved in this project are Florida A&M, Fort Valley State, Langston, Prairie View A&M, Tennessee State, Tuskegee, and Virginia State. Each university will have at least two farmer cooperators. Specific large system objectives are to determine factors affecting consumers’ preference to purchase and consume goat meat and methods to change those factors (Consumer Preference); assist goat producers in making informed decisions for marketing their goats and goat meat/products (Marketing); and since lack of effective parasite control strategies is a critical issue limiting successful goat production, and hence marketing, the final objective is to evaluate novel methods of sustainable internal parasite control for raising healthy, productive, and profitable goats (Production).
Consumer Preference goals are to:
1.1 identify factors affecting consumers’ willingness to purchase goat meat, and
1.2 identify factors influencing consumer preference for goat meat.
Marketing goals are to:
2.1 identify producers’ challenges and opportunities in marketing goats and goat products, and
2.2 develop viable strategies for marketing locally-produced live animals and animal products.
Production goals are to:
3.1 evaluate potential synergistic effects of Duddingtonia flagrans (Livamol® with BioWorma®) and copper oxide wire particles (COWP) in controlling Haemonchus contortus, and
3.2 investigate the selective supplementation of Livamol® with BioWorma®.
These objectives will be accomplished in the following timeline.
In Year 1:
- Collaborators will meet to finalize project-wide activities for the three topic areas (Consumer Preference, Marketing, and Production). All seven universities will engage at some level in each activity and pool data for a systems analysis.
- Activities will include surveys on consumer preference, marketing strategies, and field-testing of Livamol® with BioWorma®.
In Year 2:
- The team will disseminate preliminary results at the National Goat Conference hosted by Prairie View A&M University (September 2021).
- After modifications based upon stakeholder feedback, activities will be relaunched including continuation/finalization of surveys (consumer and marketing) and further field-testing of Livamol® with BioWorma®.
In Year 3:
- A Zoom conference meeting will be held to finalize Year 3 activities and the activities relaunched to wrap-up/finalize surveys and field-testing of Livamol® with BioWorma®.
At the conclusion of the project a final report will be written and manuscripts prepared for peer-reviewed publication. Final results will also be disseminated via producer workshops and conferences, YouTube videos, and websites including eXtension.
Project objectives from proposal:
The central hypothesis addressed in this proposal is economic opportunities for goat producers in the southeastern US and the long-term sustainability of the goat industry can be enhanced by understanding consumer preference regarding goat meat, devising marketing strategies for goats and goat products, and studying ways to decrease the effects of internal parasites on production. The hypothesis was formulated in large part on preliminary findings from the universities involved in this proposal and from literature review.
The hypothesis will be tested using a consortium approach with seven 1890 universities: Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Langston University, Prairie View A&M University, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, and Virginia State University. These universities are well suited to conduct this project based on long-standing research and extension programs on goat production that have successfully addressed many production-oriented issues.
Goats are a viable livestock species for many smallholder farms in the South as a means to diversify production and income. Demand for goat meat is largely ethnic driven while its acceptance and demand in the mainstream marketplace is limited. Factors for this limited appeal are not well understood. Many consumers may not have experience with goat meat or have a negative connotation of goat meat taste and acceptability. Others may not purchase goat meat due to its price or the low availability of fresh goat meat versus a frozen product. Undoubtedly, other unforeseen factors come into play affecting consumer demand.
Currently, the US is a net importer of goat meat and cannot satisfy domestic demand with domestic production. However, this inequality does not ensure profitability for goat producers and factors affecting the markets are scarcely understood. Producers have potential for greater profit if they can enter more lucrative markets than the local sale barn. Some producers use strategies to increase sale price of their animals or produce value-added items. Identifying these strategies and devising new methods of increasing product value will help increase farm profit and sustainability.
Whereas little information exists on consumer preference and marketing for goat meat and goat meat products, much more information exists on production and management. Much of this research is on the issue of internal parasitism by the barberpole worm, Haemonchus contortus, and the devastating effects it has on production, including animal death. The naturally occurring fungus, Duddingtonia flagrans, is a new method of controlling internal parasites that has yielded impressive results in other countries. The fungus has recently been approved for use in the US, but producers have no experience with it. Further, it is costly and the economics of its use as compared to current methods needs to be studied. As the fungus is naturally occurring, its approval for use in organic production systems should be forthcoming and will be a boon to organic goat farmers, and to the added value that organic goat meat brings in the marketplace.
Changing consumer preference for goat meat and developing marketing strategies to increase goat consumption necessitates an increase in goat production in addition to filling current demand for goat meat. Thus, there is a critical need to understand consumers’ preference for goat meat to develop effective marketing techniques while simultaneously increasing producers’ willingness to raise goats with improved parasite treatment. In the absence of such methods, the development of goat meat as a viable and sustainable product is limited. Therefore, the approach of this project is to evaluate all three objectives in a large systems approach.
Production research on endoparasite control has implications across the supply chain and for enhanced consumer demand. Suitable endoparasite control is essential for meat goat enterprise sustainability. Parasites are considered a major constraint to various aspects of goat production. Adequate endoparasite control will, therefore, likely improve output/farm, returns on investment and net profit margin for producers, and efficiency of production. The increase in demand and the consistency of a supply chain by producers, will inevitably lead to a goat marketing channel that is attractive to both producers, consumers, and marketing agents.
Specifically, project goals and objectives are:
- Consumer Preference Goal: Determine factors affecting consumers’ preference to purchase and consume goat meat and methods to change those factors. The working hypothesis is that consumer preference for goat meat can be changed through an understanding of factors impacting purchase and consumption decisions. The hypothesis will be tested through consumer surveys administered by all consortium members that will provide raw data to analyze and study the following objectives.
- Identify factors affecting consumers’ willingness to purchase goat meat.
- Identify factors influencing consumer preference for goat meat.
- Marketing Goal: Determine goat and goat meat marketing strategies and marketing intelligence to promote optimal distribution of products. The working hypothesis is that demand for goat meat can be increased through studying currently used strategies and devising additional/more effective strategies. The hypothesis will be tested through surveys given by all consortium partners to producers and other related organizations in their respective states. The surveys will identify current marketing strategies for use in devising and disseminating new strategies. Specific objectives under this goal will:
- Identify producers’ challenges and opportunities in marketing goats and goat products.
- Develop viable strategies for marketing locally produced live animals and animal products.
- Production Goal: Evaluate novel methods of sustainable internal parasite control for raising healthy, productive, and profitable goats. The working hypothesis is that a new method of internal parasite control will be equal to or better than currently used methods. The hypothesis will be tested through both on-farm and on-station research comparing efficacy and cost of incorporating Duddingtonia flagrans to current control methods. Specific objectives under this goal will:
- Evaluate potential synergistic effects of Duddingtonia flagrans (Livamol® with BioWorma®) and copper oxide wire particles (COWP) in controlling Haemonchus contortus.
- Investigate the selective supplementation of LivamolÒ with BioWorma®
The proposed objectives will provide critical knowledge and information that the industry currently lacks. Results will be used as a foundation for moving the industry towards increased, production, marketing, profitability, and subsequent sustainability.