Editor's note: Although there have been anecdotal reports from March/April 2004 of meat goat prices exceeding $2.00 per pound we must all remember that, unless we breed for a targeted seasonal market, averages as reported below more realistically reflect prices.
The historical USDA data available reveal some interesting information on across-the-board average goat prices paid in Texas. Meat goat prices continue to rise even with increasing production.
In 1994 Texas had 1,960,000 head of goats but in 2003 the goat population had dropped to1,200,000 head. The total
value of goats sold increased from $74,480,000 in 1994 to $110,400,000 in 2003 - a 33% increase in gross receipts for goat producers despite the fact we had 39% fewer goats sold.
On a per head basis prices increased by 242% during this 10 year period. Of course actual profits would be reduced to a level below the percentage of receipts shown due to increasing production cost and inflation rates but at least at this time price increases are out pacing these two factors. The 2002 USDA - NASS Census of Agriculture is slated to become available online June 3, 2004 and will provide better insight into the total U.S. goat population on a state by
Unfortunately, Texas is the only state for which this data is available at the current time. It seems many states still don't consider goats to be goats an important agricultural enterprise despite their increasing numbers and the profit potential for producers. The industry must continue to urge other states to record information on goats.
Mr. Shurley owns and operates Texas Goat Flock in Sonora, TX, raising traditional, red, paint and black Boer goats on the range. He is president of the American Meat Goat Association and active in all phases of Boer and meat goat production. He can be contacted at . Visit the AMGA web site at www.meatgoats.com