EAT IT, DRINK IT, WEAR IT: GOAT IS GOOD

DAN CHARLES

My colleague Allison Aubrey’s story last week about giving an African a goat as an act of charity got me wondering: Why don’t we see more goats here in the United States?

After all, there’s a lot to love about goats. Their meat is healthful — lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than beef, pork, or even chicken. And it’s not an unfamiliar taste. “I wouldn’t be able to taste the difference between goat and beef, honestly,” Jack Mauldin, who raises goats near Ecton, Tex., tells The Salt.

Goats aren’t picky about what they eat. They like tough-to-digest shrubs that cows avoid. In fact, they’ve been used to restore wildlife habitat in areas that have been overrun by woody invasive species like the multiflora rose. They can prosper in places that a lot of other animals find dry and barren. Some have called goat meat “the other (sustainable) red meat.”

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FINDING THE PROFIT POTENTIAL WITH GOATS

There are several major benefits to raising meat goats according to Jodie Pennington, a small ruminant specialist working with Lincoln University and University of Missouri Extension.

“Raising goats requires minimal costs for facilities and investment. They are also attractive for their ability to use grass and other low costs forages, brush control, high pregnancy rates, and potential for high returns per acre,” said Pennington. “But at the same time, goats also have the potential for losses if sound management is not maintained.”

Sound management of any goat enterprise depends on good records to monitor economic factors and the proper care of the animals.

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IMPORTANCE OF SALT IN THE DIET OF SHEEP AND GOATS

HELEN SWARTZ

The importance of sodium (salt) in goat and sheep nutrition is second only to water. It is essential to maintaining osmotic pressure and controlling water metabolism. Of the basic mineral elements in the blood serum of goats and sheep, it represents 93% of the total mineral elements. Sodium regulates blood pH in goats and sheep. Muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission and heart rhythmic contractions require sodium in the diet of goats and sheep. All goats and sheep have a craving for salt.

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RAISING MEAT GOATS REQUIRES SOUND MANAGEMENT

There are several major benefits to raising meat goats according to Jodie Pennington, Ph.D., a small ruminant specialist working with Lincoln University and University of Missouri Extension,

“Raising goats requires minimal costs for facilities and investment. They are also attractive for their ability to use grass and other low costs forages, brush control, high pregnancy rates, and potential for high returns per acre,” said Pennington. “But at the same time, goats also have the potential for losses if sound management is not maintained.”

Sound management of any goat enterprise depends on good records to monitor economic factors and the proper care of the animals.

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PREVENTION, MANAGEMENT KEY TO LONG-TERM PROFITABILITY POTENTIAL OF THE GOAT HERD

In any production goat herd, the long-term health and profit potential of the herd are related to herd management. One often-overlooked management practice is preventing the introduction of Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome (CAE) to the herd.

CAE continues to plague goat operations across the U.S and can wreak havoc on goat health and rob producers of profits. There is no known cure for CAE, making prevention key. It is believed that approximately 75 percent of North American goat herds are infected with CAE. Implementing key management practices is the only way to eliminate the viral infection and protect the long-term health of the herd.

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GOATS COULD INCREASE THE RISK OF A RARE LUNG CANCER, RESEARCHERS FIND

Exposure to goats could increase the risk of a certain type of lung cancer, according to French researchers.

The study, presented at the European Respiratory Society’s Annual Congress in Amsterdam, has linked a professional exposure to goats with a distinct subset of lung cancer, known as pneumonic-type lung adenocarcinoma (P-ADC). This form of lung cancer has a weak association with tobacco smoking when compared with other types of the disease. In attempting to identify other triggers that may cause the disease, scientists have previously noticed similarities between P-ADC and a viral infection which causes growths in the lungs of sheep. Given these similarities, the researchers have investigated whether a viral agent found in sheep and goats could be easily transferred to people who work with the animals, leading to a partiality for P-ADC.

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MSU RECEIVES $743,000 FOR SHEEP RESEARCH

Montana State University (MSU) has received almost $743,000 to research the use of sheep in organic farming, incorporate those findings into MSU courses and share the discoveries with Montana producers and growers.

The three-year grant – announced Oct. 25, by U.S. Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan – was one of 23 awarded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture in 18 states. The grants totaling $19 million were given through two programs: the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative and the Organic Transitions Program.

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