I would like to pass along this bit of information that may appear at first to
be a report about goat shows, and I am aware that this is not a list
that is intended to be about show goats. However, I believe what I saw yesterday
to be important and would like to make the list aware.
I attended the Lea County, NM "Market Goat Show" yesterday. This is an
event, like all other animal shows at the Lea County Fair, that is open only to
kids in 4-H and FFA and allows them to show animals from rabbits and chickens
to beef and dairy animals. The goat show has turned wrong side out in the
past few years. There is a significant increase in the interest in showing
these animals. The emphasis here is on the responsibility that a youngsters
are required to assume when they buy and keep an animal that is intended to
be shown and hopefully to make the sale that brings quite a bit of money to
the pockets of some of these youngsters for college, etc.
My point is that there has been a very noticeable change in the types
and kinds of goats shown here over the past few years, and the goats shown
yesterday were obviously in the "meat goat" category. The judge was Mr.
Norman Kohls of Eldorado, Texas. I was impressed by his comments to the kids and
the crowd which strongly promoted meat goats in general and goats which had
the qualities that would allow the most lean meat possible to be hung on
the goat's frame. Over and over again, he emphasized the importance of good,
lean goat meat as opposed to animals that were good looking but were also
fat. There were some who did not much like his emphasis on long, lean
animals. It is easy enough to raise a fat, slick animal, if you don't kill it by
feeding it too much grain. There were just over 220 goats shown in eight
classes here yesterday, up from about 170 or so last year. The county
agent tagged almost 300 goats here this year, some of which will be shown in other
shows in NM such as the NM State Fair in September. There are lots of
different kinds of judges and lots of different kinds of shows, but Mr. Kohls
used this goat show to promote meat goats. Very good looking, well cared for,
and specifically prepared for this show meat goats, to be sure, but nevertheless, meat goats.
Youngsters around this part of the world are discovering that goats are fun
animals to keep, and that they don't stink like pigs and take lots of room and
feed like cattle, and just simply are out of the class of rabbits and
chickens, as far as having personalities and being enjoyable to own. Mr. Kohls
discussed these facts out loud about goats to a pretty large crowd of
spectators. Some of these kids are not country kids, but they can keep a goat
or two and learn some things that country kids have the opportunity to learn.
A lot of these kids have kept some of their pretty good animals that didn't
make the cut and have begun to raise animals for themselves.
I just don't see how this kind of activity can help but open the eyes of more
and more people to the benefits of owning and raising goats. Lots of folks are
being introduced to goats because of the popularity of these animals around
this part of the world as projects for these kids. And when a judge comes to
town who repeatedly emphasizes that the important qualities as far as raising
goats is concerned are those which produce the best kind of goat for meat,
lean meat, and the judge emphasizes over and over out loud that this kind meat
is good and important, and then proceeds to pick great meat goats as winners
and explains clearly why the winners are great meat goats, well, I just
thought the meat goat industry got a great shot in the arm in Lea County yesterday.
I am not a huge fan of shows. Some of them are not done with the emphasis that
was shown here yesterday. I have no quarrel with those who enjoy and
participate in the high dollar, high class, showing for showing sake type of
shows. These are undoubtedly fun and enjoyable for those who participate, but
many times these shows promote a different type of goat than what was promoted
here yesterday. So I guess, as usual, that it is dangerous to generalize and lump all
shows or all people or all goats into the same category. I just wanted to report
that I thought Mr. Kohls did a great job of judging a goat show yesterday and
using that forum to strongly promote the meat goat industry and show everyone
present what kind of goat it takes to make the best MEAT goat. I suspect
that the bar got raised considerably for the quality of goats that will be
shown next year. There were some mighty nice looking goats, especially for
what has been seen in Lea County in the past, that didn't make the cuts
yesterday. The percentage of good meat goats in this bunch was significantly higher
than last year's group. If that trend continues, it can't help but be good for the business.
So Long --