Meat Goat Production and Budgeting

Tony Nye, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Clinton County
Robert Moore, Extension Associate, Agriculture, Environmental, and Development Economics

Interest in meat goats has grown rapidly in Ohio over the past 10 years. Goat is the most frequently consumed meat in the world. In the United States, meat goat production is growing because of goats’ economic value as efficient converters of low-quality forages into quality meat, milk, and hide products for many specialty type markets.

A big reason for the growing popularity of meat goats in this country is the large number of ethnic groups who have settled in this country and who prefer goat meat, milk, and cheese products. The meat goat is popular for another reason. Where resources are limited, a small herd of goats may be the only livestock enterprise that a small, part-time farmer can raise efficiently and profitably and become self-sufficient. In Ohio, goats are growing in popularity as a popular 4-H or FFA youth project, and many youth are raising meat goats for breeding or show. Continue reading

Starting a Sheep Enterprise

Gerlad Q. Fitch, Extension Sheep Specialist, Oklahoma State University
(Previously published by Oklahoma State University Extension: February, 2017)

Before getting into the sheep business, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I like sheep?
  2. Will sheep fit into my current operation?
  3. What size of sheep operation do I want?
  4. Do I have adequate facilities to handle the number I want?
  5. Will I have an adequate feed supply?
  6. Do I want to lamb in the spring or fall?
  7. What breeds should I select to achieve my goals?
  8. When and where can I market my lambs?
  9. Could I have a predator problem?

Why Raise Sheep?
There are several reasons why you might want to consider raising sheep. Sheep are more efficient than beef cattle in the conversion of forage to retail product. The initial investment required to begin a sheep enterprise is relatively low. Expensive sheds and barns are not necessary; often buildings you already have will provide the dry, clean shelter needed by sheep. Sheep production is not limited only to Continue reading

Small Ruminant Enterprise Budgeting

Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist, University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program
(Previously published on the Maryland Small Ruminant Page)

The following is a short excerpt from Susan Schoenian’s article titled “Economics of Raising Sheep and Goats.” Here, Susan breaks down the basics of a small ruminant enterprise budget. Along with this text, Susan has also provided links to sample budgets at the end of this article that were created at the University of Maryland that focus sheep and goat seedstock (purebred and show wether) production, raising feeder lambs and kids, as well as wool sheep enterprises. Even if you are already a part of one of these businesses, it never hurts to pencil your own operating budget out.

Enterprise budget:
An enterprise budget lists the income and expenses and expected profit (or loss) for a specific agricultural enterprise. It represents one year’s worth of production and expresses profit on a per unit basis. In the case of sheep and goats, profit is expressed per female (ewe or doe). Continue reading

Why are Meat Goats Profitable?

Among our small ruminant enterprises, goats continue to maintain a strong foothold in the marketplace today. Goats, known for their browsing grazing behavior, are beneficial in mixed grazing strategies as they will consume unwanted browse, brush, and weeds that other ruminant species leave behind. In this short presentation, Dr. Reid Redden from Texas A&M highlights these benefits and much more when describing these animals as a value added species to your current operation.

COVID-19 Impact on Ohio Sheep Producers

Tim Barnes, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Marion County

(Image Source: Kunc and Harvest Public Media)

Lambs are just one of the many agricultural commodities that have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is never a good time for a pandemic to strike, but COVID-19 hit the sheep industry at the traditional best market price. Spring lambs are a family favorite for traditional Easter meals (April 12), Orthodox Easter (April 23), the Muslin feasts of Ramadan (April 23 to May 23), some Jewish sects for Passover (April 8-16), and the secular May 10 Mother’s Day celebration.

America’s biggest market for fresh lamb is in the area from Baltimore to Boston. Major East Coast packers relay on the close location of Ohio producers (Ohio has the 5th most producers in the US) to provide a steady source of fresh lamb. The “white tablecloth restaurants” and the other segments of the food service industry account for greater than 50% of the United State’s lamb consumption. As demand builds back to pre-pandemic levels, Ohio lambs will Continue reading