"Because the interest in meat goat production is new, there are
few experienced goat producers in the state to help newcomers in
their desire to learn as much as possible," explained Dick Cobb.
To meet that need, Cobb, along with U of I Extension animal
systems educator Dean Oswald and Jennifer Miller, a
veterinarian, have produced a set of guidelines, "Are You
thinking of Raising Meat Goats?" The report is available
online from the U of I Extension's Illini SheepNet and Meat
"Interest in meat goats has increased dramatically in
Illinois in the last few years," explained Cobb. "An increasing
demand for goat meat, spurred by a growing ethnic population in
Chicago and throughout the state, has demonstrated a need for
increased commercial meat production.
"In addition, importation of new breeds has stimulated a
breeding industry which needs herds to produce purebred breeding
stock as well as animals for exhibition."
The guidelines cover a range of topics that are necessary for
the would-be producer to understand before launching a meat goat
"The first step in meat goat production is to do an honest
evaluation of the resources you have to devote to the project,"
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This includes things like personal attitudes, availability of land,
buildings, machinery, equipment, labor and capital.
Marketing is another consideration for the would-be producer.
"You should not raise goats as a business if you do not have a
profitable outlet for them," said Cobb, whose report identifies
potential outlets for the would-be producer.
"The commercial goat industry is almost entirely ethnic -- Muslim
and Hispanic," he explained. "It is affected by the dates of various
Dates for these holidays are provided in the guidelines document.
Producers need to develop a health program for the meat goat
herd, and feeding guidelines are also important.
The report also includes traits for the various meat goat breeds,
how to establish production goals, and a listing of resources,
including organizations, classes, government reports and
goat-related information on the Web.
[Text from file received from
the University of