August 30, 2001 | By: Mark Eclov

Goats have been an agricultural mainstay in many parts of the world for hundreds of years and now this highly adaptable form of livestock is getting a hard look by a growing number of Kentucky producers.

Two seminars will be held on opposite ends of the state in late September to give anyone interested in goat production the chance to see what kind of management and marketing work is involved with meat goat production.

"It is also a chance for us to gauge the interest level in this state," noted Monty Chappell, seminar coordinator and Extension sheep specialist in the UK College of Agriculture.

A survey was conducted in 2000 that showed 90 out of the 120 Kentucky counties already had goat herds.

"Kentucky is good location for goat production," noted Chappell. "We have lots of pasture land and a good interstate system that allows us to ship our product to the primary markets located in the major cities of the South and East."

Chappell pointed out that there is a growing demand for goat meat among the ethnic populations in such cities as Atlanta, New York and Miami.

Goats are also a perfect fit for many of the small farm operations that dot the Kentucky landscape. Their size and disposition may make them easier to handle than cattle and they graze primarily on lower quality plant material.

Seminar attendees will get advice and production tips from animal scientists representing state colleges and universities from Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee along with Kentucky goat producers and Extension specialists, veterinarians, and researchers from Kentucky State University and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

The topic list will include such essential subject matter as nutrition, fencing, grading and marketing, reproduction, production budget and internal parasite control.

One seminar is slated for the University of Kentucky's Research and Education Center in Princeton, Ky on Thursday, September 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CDT.

A second similar seminar will be held at the Clark County Extension office in Winchester, Ky on Saturday, September 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT.

There is a pre-registration cost of $15.00 which includes lunch. People registering the day of the seminar will pay $25.00 for the seminar. Sign-up forms are now available from county Extension agents for agriculture.