Facilitating the Multifunctional Potential of Goat Enterprises
Betty L. Wells, Professor, Sociology Department
National demand for goat meat outstrips domestic supply, and demand is growing, even in Iowa. Iowa farmers are well positioned to tap into this increased demand, but they lack information about the specifics of the goat meat market and face other barriers, related to production system, meat processing infrastructure, and culture. Goat browsing also offers an alternative/complement to fire, chemical, mechanical methods of controlling invasive vegetation. Here, too, producers lack crucial information ranging from stocking rates to fencing. Enhanced cross cultural communication through direct marketing, economic benefit deriving from a strengthened infrastructure for processing goat meat, and the ecological benefits of increased goat browsing can benefit producers, landowners and consumers, individually and collectively.
To provide detailed information about the market for goat meat among recent Latino/a, Asian, and Muslim immigrants to Sioux City area; and to identify the barriers to raising and marketing meat goats, or employing goat browsing.
- conducted 3 listening sessions; 2 case studies of goat meat producers (with distinctive marketing strategies); 3 focus groups (combined with sampling goat meat dishes); 4 surveys at farmers markets and ethnic celebrations; 2 field days featuring goat browsing; 2 project advisory committees bringing together goat meat producers and consumers; 6 poster presentations at conferences; 2 conference presentations; and a new funded proposal
- completed subcontract for USDA SBIR project (feasibility phase) with Agren, Inc. of Carroll, Iowa focused on the economic feasibility of a goat browsing business
- completed data collection in investigation of the market potential for goat meat among recent immigrants in the Sioux City area
- brokered a direct-marketing relationship between a goat farmer and Muslim consumers
- began a new project, Weed Control in Perennial Wetland Pastures using Goat Browsing, partnering with a new and established goat farmer, ISU faculty and student, and conservation agency professional
- documented a highly segmented consumer market, in which preferences for goat meat (as to age, cut, slaughter practices, etc.) vary by national origin, ethnic and religious background, and demographics such as income and rural/urban roots
- identified barriers to the production and marketing of goat meat: meat processing infrastructure and regulations; production/technical system unknowns (ranging from fencing and watering to parasite control); and the cultural stigma against goats as livestock and/or meat among most Iowans
- increased interest in meat goats and the potential of goats as browsers (as evidenced by phone and e-mail contacts from producers, and by invitations to assist with new projects)
- enhanced cross cultural communication in Siouxland.
147 - Sustainable Agriculture
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October 4, 2006
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