Nebraska Meat Goat Market Softens
A Nebraska farmer says the market for goat meat has softened with the rising price of feed, a shortage of grazing ground and the recession’s impact on Hispanic, Arab and other ethnic populations who favor goat meat.
Five years ago, Harvey Schweitzer, of Dorchester, Neb., was part of one of the fastest growing areas of agriculture. He had 150 female meat goats and more than 200 offspring. Today he has none.
“I had a good thing going,” Schweitzer told the Lincoln Star Journal, “and I hit it at a time when all the hobby farmers were buying a half dozen does. And it was a hobby they could make a little money off of.”
In a three-year period beginning in 2005, the size of Nebraska’s combined goat herd more than doubled to 30,000. Since then, it has dropped back to 20,000.
Nebraska goat auctioneer Dale Steinhoff says he’s still seeing a demand overall for goat meat in the United States with customers wanting breeding animals and orders for Nebraska goat meat coming from as far as Chicago and Detroit.
“The goat market is very good. It’s about as high as it’s been for a long time,” Steinhoff said, conceding the people making money are those with lots of land and low costs.
“Sheep and goats – you don’t make a lot of money on a few head,” Steinhoff said. “You’ve got to handle volume.”