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The ESMGPA is not a "marketing
organization." However, its membership includes numerous individuals
with many years of successful marketing experience. We have
collected here a number of "marketing models" that can be replicated
by ESMGPA members in the Region, or on some more local scale.
Start with a working definition.
Marketing: the process of locating, delivering to, and receiving
payment from a buyer for a product that you have for sale. For the
goat raiser, the "product" will be a live goat; even though you
might deliver it as a carcass or cuts of meat. In fact, there are
three main "streams" in the meat goat marketing world: (1) the
"slaughter stream," and (2) "show animal" stream, and (3) the
"breeding stock" stream. Producers are quite likely to market
animals through all three streams.
The "Slaughter Stream"
In the "slaughter stream," market kids"
is a term much used. These are castrated buck kids (wethers), intact
bucklings, or doelings. They may be born any time during the year
and are sold after weaning and reaching a "market weight" of 45
pounds or higher. Uncastrated buck kids up to the age of 12 months
can be included in this market. Doe kids can be marketed the same
way, of course; but they may be more profitably marketed as
"breeding stock." Most commercial producers are selling these
There has been historically an "Easter
Kid" market in New York State. These are January or February born
kids. still suckling , in the 20-45 pound range, and sold shortly
before the Roman, Orthodox Greek and Russian Easters. Buyers
traditionally pay a premium price for these lightweight kids.
As individuals in your herd age, have
accidents, diseases , or "poor genetics' become obvious; the raiser
should be "culling" unprofitable older animals. There is a market
for these bucks and does over one year of age, too.
Direct sales from the farm to the
consumer can be handled in several ways. The consumer can buy the
animal from you and take it home to slaughter and butcher. Or, you
may provide the basic facilities for slaughter by the owner on your
farm. You might accommodate the buyer by taking the animal they have
purchased to a slaughter house of your mutual choice. At that point
they will become responsible for paying the slaughter and cutting
charges and picking up the meat from the slaughterhouse.
If you, the raiser, want to sell goat
meat on the wholesale or retail basis, you will have to get the
slaughtering and butchering done at a slaughter house that offers
USDA meat inspection. The costs of slaughter, cutting, and wrapping
will have to be built into your wholesale or retail selling price.
It is difficult to market fresh goat meat unless you are selling
through an outlet where there is high demand and rapid turnover.
many wholesalers and retailers market frozen goat meat.
You may utilize a "middle-man" of some
sort. The "middle-man" might be a licensed dealer, a company, or a
cooperative, that collets animals from many sources and holds them
for resale alive or slaughtered. These middle-men take your live
animal and move it along to the consumer. Some dealers are located
geographically near large populations of goat meat buyers. These are
ethnic populations who may buy goat meat the year around, but are
particularly interested in buying at certain identifiable religious
holiday seasons. Some dealers will pick up live animals at your farm
(planning a route to include you and other nearby raisers). many
dealers will pay a premium if you bring your live animals to them.
They then sell directly to consumers, or hold the animals for buyers
who come from live animal markets in the city or to buyers who
represent a slaughterhouse which sells to butchers in the urban
areas. Some meat goat producers who live considerable distances from
the urban centers have formed marketing pools. Market ready animals
are collected at some central local point and then transported to a
buyer in the city or a buyer may bring trucking out to pick up the
animals. Some raisers have taken this a step further and formed more
permanent marketing coops. In some cases the animals are slaughtered
locally and their carcasses shipped to contracted restaurants or
butcher shops on a regular basis and sometimes there are special
shipments at ethnic holiday times.
You can take animals to area livestock
auction houses. To be profitable to you, your animals need to be put
up for auction on a day when there are buyers of goats present in
competitive numbers. Such ad day is not always easy to identify
beforehand. Local groups of raiser have negotiated with specific
auction houses to have special goat sale days. On those days goat
buyers are encouraged to attend and goats may be grouped by age and
sold by grades. Of course you will have to provide transpiration for
you animals to the auction center.
The "Show Animal" Stream
Many goat raisers enjoy the excitement,
camaraderie, and competition of the "show circuit." Most youth
programs, such as the 4-H goat program, involve multiple aspects of
goat raising, including fitting and showing. Besides showing
opportunities at local fairs and the NYS Fair, ESMGPA members
participate in Regional shows, state shows, and broad regional
shows. Some of these shows are sanctioned by organizations, such as
the American Meat Goat Association: or by specific breed
associations like the American Boer Goat Association and the
International Boer Goat Association. These shows usually have open
classes for market wethers as well as classes for purebred stock.
Goat raisers producing high quality goats at all levels may find
buyers who wish to show these animals. "Showring" is also good way
to advertise your animals and your goat raising operation.
The "Breeding Stock" Stream
Whether you are raising purebred
animals, registered high percentage animals, or have a quality meat
goat herd; there is a market for your animals as breeding stock.
Mature does and doelings are currently in high demand as raisers
expand their herd and new goat raising operations get underway.
There is also a regular demand for quality full blood bucks
and high % bucks and bucklings of good size, conformation, and
promise. you can advertise here on this ESMGPA website. You can
enroll and advertise on the Cornell University Sheep and Goat
Marketing website, SRMarketing. you can advertise in farm
publications such as "country Folk" (a free subscription with your
membership in ESMGPA). The Farm Bureau's publication; "Gassroots,"
carries free ads for members. Breed journals will be happy to place
an ad for you. Exhibiting at shows will give you and your animals
exposure to other goat producers and will establish beneficial
word-of-mouth advertising. Dealers who recognize that you are
producing quality animals for slaughter or breeding may "spread the
word" for you. Where there are 4-H Goat Programs occurring, market
wethers and breeding does for participating youth are in demand.
Purebred raisers may have annual sales or occasional "Productions
Sales" that might accept animals from you. Generally speaking, more
money can be made by selling animals as breeding stock than by
sending them to the meat market.
A number of factors contribute to
successful marketing. Some are with the procurer's control and some
are not. Geographic location in relation ship to buyers (be they
consumers or distributors) is important. Your ability to develop
good working relationships with other producers, buyers and
consumers will contribute to a profitable operation. Of course, the
quality of your product will affect how much it is desired by both
middle-men and the ultimate consumer. Consult with experienced
raisers who have operations similar to what you are planning. but,
also think "out of the box" and be creative.
You will want to explore "marketing" in
greater depth than this summary provides. Look over the attached
list of internet "links," think through which marketing models might
work for you, and continue your research along those lines.