on pasture unassisted, truly go without regular deworming or exces- sive hoof trimming, etc. If you’re a buyer, do you want the “millennial goat” or the “blue collar goat”? It depends on your goals for that goat and the environ- ment you are going to put it in when you get it to your farm. For suc- cessful purchases, it is important to consider the environment the goat you are buying was raised in.

If we raise our goats in a way where they can fail, we can find the issues and make strides to correct them through changing our breeding decisions. A seedstock operation should be a source of genetic improve- ment for the commercial goat rancher. The improvement should be in areas that are of economical importance to the commercial goat rancher.

If we are not raising our goats in similar environments to the commercial folks, then how do you know you are producing and sell- ing a product that meets your customer’s needs?

“Blue Collar” goats tend to perform well when taken to envi- ronments similar to where they were raised. Sellers of those goats

don’t have to come up with answers when the buyer comes back and wonders why the set of does you sold them can’t raise kids out on the pasture all on their own.

“Blue Collar” goats also tend to perform well when taken to op- erations that have a more hands-on way of raising goats. Learn to see the difference between seedstock producers and pedigree preservers/promotors. Both have a permanent place in the goat industry. There is plenty of room for all types of breeders and buyers.

Buyers need to pay attention to the environment the goats they intend to purchase were raised and breeders need to pay attention to the environments provided by their intended customer base. The recent uptick in the meat goat industry has been met with a growing number of new folks getting into the business. I wrote this article in hopes that it might help some of those new to goats and maybe even new to livestock in general.

Cooper Sherrill, with his wife Kylie, sister Mary, and parents run a small cattle and goat operation in Osage County, Okla.

Steps to prepare to attend a livestock sale

By Shelia Grobosky BioZyme Inc.

There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as an auctioneer’s chant climbing as bids are coming in. When he pounds his gavel and says “sold”, one lucky buyer wins the bid and the next animal is already being auctioned. Auctions are fast-paced and for a novice attendee can be somewhat intimidating. However, if you prepare in advance, you’ll be the one giving your bid and showing your buyer number when the gavel falls.

Although attending sales is memorable, and some go just to see friends and neighbors or check out particular sire groups, typically when you attend a sale, you have a goal in mind: to purchase an ani- mal to put back into your herd or flock or for a show animal. But it isn’t just as easy as showing up. Especially if you have never been to a sale before.

Before you go

Make sure you do your homework before you ever leave home for the sale. Establish your budget with your parent, FFA advisor, 4- H leader or whoever is helping you with your project. Once you know your budget, decide what your priorities are. If you are looking for a market animal, know your endpoint so you can buy one that will meet that target. If you are looking for a breeding animal, are you using it strictly for a show animal or will you be adding it to your own herd or flock?

Regardless of the species you are intending to buy, research the

breeder/seller. Are they reputable within the industry? Are they known to help young people with projects after the sale? These are things you can likely find out from looking at their website or social media platforms, talking to others or simply by calling and talking to the person prior to the sale.

Research the offering

Most sales will have a sale book, photos or videos posted online prior to the sale, along with pedigree and birthdates. This is a great way to see what the seller is offering and to get some idea of what

46 Goat Rancher | September 2021

you will see when you get to the sale. Finally, be prepared when you leave home to pay for your ani- mal and bring it home, unless you have already made prior arrange- ments with the seller. Take your check book or cash, a trailer or popper, and make sure you have a notebook and pen to take notes on once you get to the sale location.

At the sale

Sales are an important day for livestock breeders. For most, this is their pay day for the year, and it is a day they take very seriously; therefore, you should take attending the sale seriously, too. Show re- spect to the property where the sale is hosted — the farm or ranch, a livestock auction market or fairgroundsm — because the breeder has taken special care and consideration to make sure the facility is in tip-top shape.

Be sure to arrive to the sale with ample time to preview the lots, usually a few hours before the sale starting time. You want to make sure you have time to see all the animals that interest you, the ones you think will be in your budget and any that might work for plans B or C.

Upon arrival, pick up a sale book (if you don’t already have one), a sale order and a pen map if they are available. Register for a buyer’s number; you will likely need a driver’s license or some form of photo I.D. to do so. Then, start previewing the animals. When it comes time to look at animals, keep these things in mind. Know how to identify the animals. If you are looking at cattle, sheep or goats, they will likely have an ear tag that corresponds to their lot number. When looking at pigs, you will need to know how to read ear notches. If you are unsure of a notch, be sure to ask some- one that is in the pen; it would be a shame to get zeroed in on the wrong pig.

Be sure to remain quiet around the livestock. Sure, they are probably used to lookers, but there is likely a lot of activity and they don’t need any extra noise or distraction.

If you are looking at cattle, be sure to shut the gates behind you as you walk through pens. If you are at a pig sale, and plastic boots or a foot bath are provided for biosecurity, use them. If you have

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