had four months to plan the event. However, the breeders stepped up — some brought goats, some donated money, some volunteered and we all worked together. We had university professors and experienced livestock indus- try folks give talks and take questions. We had a working dog demo and an impressive bringing in of the goats. Meals were served and folks gathered around and discussed goats for three days, and even took time for worship.

The auction brought acceptable bids, and all were pleased. I do not believe the DNA Registry was officially discussed but DNA reg- istrations doubled within three months and folks still talk fondly about the first Gathering in Missouri in 2018. This September 25th and 26th, in Murfreesboro, Tenn., at the

Lane Agri-Park will be our third annual Spanish Goat Gathering — education - meals - fellowship - auction - worship. Last year we were excited to see the numbers of folks that at- tended and the prices that the goats brought. So far we have relied on a few producers because they have enough seedstock to be able to set aside the number of goats we need to make the Gathering a success — we ask producers to bring at least five females with con- sistent conformation, bloodline and age, along with one male; we prefer they be SGR DNA Registered.

The other issue is the ranches that have been producing goats for decades not only have the numbers, but the stock has been se- lected for meat production and are consistent and predictable. These are important factors when purchasing seedstock. We do not auction the rare bloodlines since the numbers are small and they need to stay in the hands of experienced and committed Spanish breeders. Finally, the consignors not only bring goats, but they also con- tribute a great deal of financial support to ensure the Gathering is a success. In the future we hope to include more breeders but for now

From last year’s Spanish Goat Gathering: Zane Manley and Dot (working dog) of Hanging M Ranch and R.H. Whitten of Cluck Ranch push Neely Saw- yer nannies through the sale ring.

we have our sights on the numbers to make it worth the trip for our buyers.

However, all verified Spanish breeders are welcome to hang banners, set up tables and advertise in our catalog to promote their herds in exchange for a fee. To this day the Gathering is a means of educating folks about Spanish goats, promoting and making available for purchase the goats; but most important is the community building that takes place at the event; it is not a money-making proposition. We have scheduled a second Spanish Goat Education and Live

Auction event in Texas in 2021 — stay tuned for the details. We hope to grow into more events across the country but for now, September in Tennessee is home for the Gathering. We are looking forward to this year’s event and we hope COVID doesn’t put too much of a damper on it.

See you there. For more information:

(Donna Askew is a goat producer at Living Oak Farm, Abbe- ville, S.C. She is administrator of the Spanish Goat Association, Reg- istry and Gathering.)

Goats are easy to train because they are so smart

By Carolina Noya

We decided to buy goats for a few reasons: weed contract graz- ing and meat production. After years of culling we felt confident enough to sell breeding stock. We started with 500 Spanish and 500 Boer/Spanish cross goats. These were two separate herds that had been used on grazing jobs. We combined them and it took a whole summer for the goats to become one cohesive herd. We ended up building a predominantly Spanish herd by using pure Spanish bucks from Smoke Ridge and Weinheimer Ranch. We knew very little about goats, but were told that Spanish goats are wild. It took me longer than that summer to learn about these ‘wild’ Spanish goats. In fact, I am still learning about goats every day.

Goats, regardless of what breed, are very social animals. That’s why having goats is so much fun. They’re smart and have a curious nature, with each their own character. As a herd animal they are al-

26 Goat Rancher | September 2020

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