Meat goat enterprise: Alternative source of income for Tennessee small farmers

Azubuike Ezeadum, Tennessee State University


Goats are one of the earliest domesticated livestock in the world, dating back in western Asia between 8,000 and 9,000 years ago. Goat meat is widely consumed as a lean red meat due to its nutritive values and lower calorie content. Meat goat production in the United States has been on the increase over the past 20 years and still developing. The increase in popularity and demand for goat meat is the primary reason for the industry's rapid growth. Most goat populations are scattered across the southern United States with Texas the greatest producer. As of January 1, 2012 Tennessee ranked second in goat production in the United States with a total number of 121,000 goat head which was an increase of 4,000 head from 2007 results. Tennessee had a total of 4,514 goat operations in 2012 and goat sales worth $4,774,000 was recorded which contributed to the economy of the state. This information prompted the need to evaluate the goat industry as an additional source of income for Tennessee small farmers. Data presented here were collected from mail surveys sent out to 203 randomly selected goat producers in Tennessee. A total of 46 valid responses were analyzed. Information on management practices and marketing channels, business structure, sales, and other relevant data used by the farmers were collected for analysis. Chi-square test was used to determine the significance of the selected management attributes with regards to success of the goat operation. The findings showed significant association between successful goat producers and the marketing channel they used; their experience level; their ability to belong to goat producers association and willingness to advertise; total sales they made and their choice of herd sizes. It was evident that goat production contributed about 24 percent of the entire household income for over 50 percent of the study participants. Goat operation is not an enterprise to get rich quick but it supplements household income and it is an affordable type of livestock farming. These findings have important implications for the improvement and development of goat enterprises for Tennessee small farmers.

Subject Area

Management|Animal sciences

Recommended Citation

Azubuike Ezeadum, "Meat goat enterprise: Alternative source of income for Tennessee small farmers" (2014). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1567565.