Goats of Arkansas & Missouri: A Production Survey

Tuesday, July 22, 2014: 4:30 PM
2104A (Kansas City Convention Center)
Kelsey F Cole , Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
Benjamin M Onyango , Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
Jodie A Pennington , Lincoln University, Jefferson City, MO
Charlotte A Clifford-Rathert , Department of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Lincoln University, Jefferson City, MO
Catherine Hoegeman , Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
Elizabeth L. Walker , Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
Abstract Text:

A survey of goat producers in Arkansas and Missouri was conducted to assess the current state of the goat industry. Production data from 206 producers (response rate of 21%) were examined to determine areas needed for education, future research, and outreach activities. An introductory email was sent to 1,087 producers prior to the survey followed by reminder email sent after the survey was delivered. Undeliverable and inapplicable targets were removed from the original listing. Producer addresses and emails were obtained from registry organizations and extension personnel. The survey was conducted primarily as web-based via email through Survey Monkey© with a hard-copy option. Survey questions focused on farm characteristics, farm management protocols, product marketing, informational sources, and personal demographics. Of the 206 responding farms, 30.6% were from Arkansas and 69.4% from Missouri with 24.7% raising both meat and dairy, 41.8% raising only dairy, and 33.5% only meat goats. An estimated 57% of producers were between the ages of 41-60. Respondents reported a source of income (58.9%) and personal consumption (54.3%) as major incentives to raise goats. Over 94.3% of respondents use anthelmintics as a part of their deworming program whereas 38.3% use culling and animal selection. Years of experience influenced deworming strategies (p≤0.05). Educational attainment (p≤0.05) also influenced producer willingness to use services provided by extension and university personnel. Producers with less than five years of experience use other goat producers (p≤0.05) for information; whereas, producers between 61-70 and 71-80 are more likely (p≤0.05) to use group meetings as an informational sources. Dairy goat producers are less likely to use farm visits (p≤0.05), farm field days (p≤0.05), group meetings (p≤0.05), and university/extension staff (p≤0.05) as informational sources than meat goat producers. Dairy producers are also more likely (p≤0.05) to use the internet as a source of information and consider food safety regulations a limiting factor in selling their products (p≤0.05). Based upon our results, producers need to lower their reliance on anthelmintics to reduce internal parasite resistance and rely more on more sustainable production practices. Understanding how age, education level, years involved, and farm type influence the type of resources used to gain further knowledge of new practices and informational sources could allow the development of education programs more suited for the population. Awareness of current production practices will assist educators, extension, and industry collaborators in conducting appropriate educational programming. 

Keywords: Goats, Survey, Production