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Kenneth and Sheila Thompson
KST Meat Goats
Tatum, NM
email: kenandshe@leaco.net
Lea County, NM Market Goat Show

Editor's Note: Ken Thompson makes some very good points about the direction of the market goat industry and showing.
Original boergoats.com publication date: Aug 9, 2000.

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 -- Ken

 

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