Many county fairs around the county are seeing a sharp rise in the amount of meat goats that are being entered and shown and Delaware County is no different.
On Friday, 45 meat goats were shown during the goat show at the Delaware County Fair near Jay compared to a handful a dairy goats. The meat breed entries, mostly Boer or Boer mix, have almost doubled every year, according to Grove Agriculture Instructor Shane Johnson. “ We probably didn’t have 20 last year, maybe 18,” he said. “It’s the fastest growing of all of the species as far as the show projects,” said Johnson. Johnson said it’s only been the last three years that he has students showing meat goats. The number of students showing them has grown from about 4 or 5 the first year to about 15 this year that are getting ready for the spring livestock show/sale just from Grove. As things get a little tighter with the economy, Johnson said that he sees more and more choosing the meat goats as their projects. Grove schools are seeing an increased number of students choosing to participate in the ag classes and FFA due to the strong focus on leadership in the program. Many of those students have never raised an animal.
“We are starting to see a little more diverse students in the agriculture class, a little more academically inclined students, still we encourage animal projects and a lot of students are going with the goats.”
One of the reasons that the meat goat projects, besides the fact that there is a currently a good market for meat goats is that they are not very difficult to keep. “One thing they tend to be cheaper to feed,” Johnson said, “ If they know anything about these animals they require some work but they’re still one of the easiest projects there is. It’s something they can get real personable with.” Johnson said that percentage of meat goats being shown the annual Spring Livestock Show has increased as well.
“When we originally started that and introduced them into the sale, they just let us put grand and reserve grand in the sale. The second year they included 20 percent of the meat goats in the sale.
Last year we went to 30 percent in the Spring Livestock Sale,” Johnson said.
The fair was well attended Saturday with hundreds coming out for the festivities.