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Planning to Enter the World of Goat Farming?

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Starting a goat farming operation is challenging because it needs a location capable of supporting the animals, specialized owner knowledge about raising and caring for healthy goats, and general knowledge about running an agricultural operation. It can be a very enjoyable experience if set up and managed correctly, but small farms can quickly fail for lack of planning. The first step is deciding what goat breed will be purchased and raised, and the end products the farm will sell. Goats are raised mostly for milk or meat or both. In some instances, they are also raised as breeding or show stock. A fourth option is to raise goats for their fiber.

There are many types of goat breeds used for meat, including the Boer, Savanan, Tennessee Meat Goat, Kiko, and others. Milk goats include Nigerians, Pygmies, Alpines, Nubians, and a host of others. It makes sense to spend some time assessing the various breeds to ensure the ideal one is chosen for the goat production enterprise based on location, price, ease of care, and so on.

It is also important to decide what the enterprise is expected to accomplish, and then do in-depth research to determine if the expectations are reasonable and feasible for the area where the business is to be located. The land must zoned for an agricultural enterprise and located within a reasonable distance to the market where the products will be sold.

Other issues to consider when developing a goat farm business plan include:

• What farming experience does the business owner have, specifically as related to managing and caring for goats?
• How much livestock can the land support?
• Are there local and regional auctions where goats can be bought and sold?
• What is the demand for the slaughter goats or the goat milk?
• Will the farm manage the slaughtering, or will it sell live animals directly to livestock dealers or meat packers?
• What are the state and local laws on selling goat milk?
• How will the goat products be sold, i.e. directly to retailers, consumers, food producers, goat brokers, local sale barns, marketing coops, etc.?
• Are there any value-added products like cheese or pasteurized milk that will be sold? If selling live meat goats, will the farmers sell weaned market kids or suckling kids or both?
• Are adequate farm buildings on the land or do they need construction?
• Who will supply items like the feed, veterinary services, and farm supplies?
• What type of equipment is needed, i.e. tractor, truck with livestock trailer, and so on?

The financial calculations for farms include some figures that are a bit different than those for more traditional businesses. Angel investors, equity partners, banks, and other investors will look for this information because it indicates thorough market analysis and excellent understanding of the complexities associated with goat production. For example, the farmer needs to figure the annual cost of rearing kids and does. If meat is the primary product, the financial section should indicate the average market value of the slaughtered goats. In addition, statistical projections should include doe productivity to maintain herd levels.

The consultants at OGS Capital( stand ready to help business owners develop a comprehensive and thorough goat farming business plan or marketing plan. The first step to success is completing the online contact form.

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