Saving the Goat Industry

vtchevonDanville - Goat meat, the healthiest meat on the market is causing increasing problems for the Vermont Goat Dairy Industry.  Shirley Richardson, the managing partner at Vermont Chevon believes she has a solution to this problem.

Richardson was given a grant last year to conduct research on the dairy industry, and discovered that the increasing demand for goat meat is due to the rising numbers of immigrants in the United States. Richardson says that this is due to the fact that in almost every country besides the United States, goat meat is a cultural norm and used for meals on a daily basis.

In addition to the increased immigration, another cause for the increase for goat meat is that it is the healthiest meat available, even better for the human body than chicken meat according to Vermont Chevon.

The rising demand for goat meat is becoming a problem for Vermont dairy goat farmers because their bucks, also known as male goats are underweight and are not good for consumption or fetching good prices. Dairy goat farmers, every year need to breed their goats in order to keep their dairy business going; fifty percent of these goats born are bucks.

Because these male goats can not produce milk as the females can and they are too skinny for consumption; Vermont farmers are being left with an excessive amount of useless goats. Luckily for these farmers, Vermont Chevon has a solution to this problem, which involves cross breeding two different kinds of goats.

""If you breed a dairy goat  to a meat goat then the resulting kid will have more muscle right from the get go and thats really important in terms of putting weight on faster." Richardson explains. Her own goat farm, Tamarack Farm has been experimenting with these cross breeding and they are already pleased with the results.

The goal for these goats is to be at least one hundred and ten pounds before they can be sent to the butcher for harvest.

This is just one out of many steps that Vermont is taking in attempts to save the goat dairy industry including educating and encouraging other local Vermont farmers to capitalize on this opportunity before it's too late.

"What we are doing to prepare, is to establish some mini farms in Vermont so we are looking for milk and cheese producers to work with us, and Vermont Creamery is one, to work with us on a mini farm model so that we can test out our standards."