Interest in meat goats has grown rapidly over the past several years. According to Ohio State University Extension, goat is the most frequently consumed meat in the world and, in the U.S., meat goat production is growing because of their ability to convert low-quality feed into high-quality meat, milk and hide products.
Another reason for the meat goats’ popularity is that a small part-time farmer can raise a small herd of goats efficiently and make a slight profit — enabling the farmer to become self-sufficient.
Today, 4-H youth are raising goats as 4-H projects and to show. The North Carolina 4-H Livestock Program aims:
- To develop leadership abilities, build character and assume citizenship responsibilities.
- To experience the pride of owning livestock and to be responsible for its management.
- To be better prepared for citizenship responsibilities through working in groups and supporting community livestock educational projects and activities
- To learn skills in livestock production and gain an understanding of the business of breeding, raising and promoting livestock and their end products.
- To increase knowledge of safety precautions needed to prevent injury to yourself and others while working with livestock.
- To promote greater love for animals and a humane attitude toward them.
- To teach good sportsmanship through a friendly, competitive atmosphere.
- To increase knowledge of animal agricultural by-products and how animal by-product usage touches our lives each and every day.
Showmanship is the one area of livestock showing that the presenter has the most control — to bring out the best of the animals’ characteristics. Livestock showmanship classes are designed to gauge the 4-H’ers knowledge, skill with the animal and hard work.
4-H’ers can be asked questions about their animals and how they are cared for while presenting the animal to the best of their ability for the judge. A quality showman is one who has a sense of an effective presentation of an animal.
“Meat goat showmanship not only generates enthusiasm in the show ring, but also teaches many valuable lessons that can be used in day-to-day life,” said Matthew Claeys, former N.C. Cooperative Extension livestock specialist. “These lessons include responsibility, learning about work and determination to reach a goal, winning graciously and losing with dignity.”
4-H showmen learn from their project experience — gaining knowledge of animal husbandry; including selection, genetics, nutrition, health, and economics and marketing of livestock.
Extension specialist Brent Jennings claims that, “showing livestock is simply the tool that we use in raising quality young people. These kids spend hours with washing, feeding, grooming, walking and setting up their animals in order to prepare for these few minutes. It’s truly a reward to me to watch kids develop in and out of the ring as good showmen and even better, well-rounded young people.”
The Richmond County 4-H Livestock Show on Saturday, Sept. 6 will be quite the event. More than 40 4-H youth from Anson, Hoke, Guilford, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond and Robeson counties will show more than 120 Boer goats. The show is the second-largest county goat show in the state, drawing a crowd larger than 200 spectators from across the region.
For more information about 4-H Livestock, contact Laura Grier, 4-H extension agent or Tiffanee Conrad, livestock extension agent at 910-997-8255 or visit the Richmond County 4-H Facebook page at www.facebook.com/richmondcounty4h.
Laura Grier is an extension agent for 4-H Youth Development at the N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Richmond County Center.