Oklahoma universities get $500,000 meat goat grant By Dr. Frank Pinkerton

Meat goat research project in the offing

I am pleased to report that Langston University and Oklahoma State University have received approval from the USDA for a $500,000 grant to conduct a three-year joint research project entitled, “Improved Meat Goat Production Systems in the USA: Harvest Weight, Diet, Gender and Breed”. I reproduce the Project Summary: Many factors limit efficiency of meat goat production systems in the USA, one being relatively low live weight at harvest, with aver- age weight consistent at 60 lb over many years. This restricts mone- tary returns because of the high cost of maintaining reproducing females yielding progeny marketed at relatively low body weight. Increasing harvest weight could be advantageous by increasing

return per animal and lessening supply seasonality. Moreover, with marketing at a relatively young age, growth rate and body weight could be increased by maintaining male animals intact, advanta- geous if meat quality is not compromised. Determining optimal diet composition for maximal lean tissue accretion and minimal deposi- tion of internal fat would elevate profitability. All of these factors may vary among different breeds of meat goats available in the USA. Therefore, effects of live weight and age at harvest, the nature of the diet, castration and meat goat breed on carcass yield, mass of internal fat, product quality and consumer appeal, price per unit live weight and carcass weight, mass of internal fat, product quality and consumer appeal, price per unit live and carcass weight, cost of pro- duction, and profitability will be determined. The project entails collaboration of personnel of Langston Uni- versity and Oklahoma State University in multiple disciplines of ani- mal science, nutrition and feeding, food science, and agricultural economics. Graduate and undergraduate students will participate in activities throughout the project for leadership development skills opportunities.

Results will be disseminated through extension publications, an institutional website, presentations at meeting of producer groups and professional scientific societies and articles in peer-review jour- nals.

I acknowledge Goat Rancher readers may have some difficulty following the prose in this summary. The condensed writing style employed is a USDA requirement and research personnel either con- form or risk unfavorable reviews.

As a long-term Land Grant University professor and USDA

Foreign Agriculture Service employee, I have learned how to follow the bureaucratic rules, get the money, do the projects and write the Final Reports. Only thereafter can I put project findings into read- able/understandable extension publications and popular magazines like the Goat Rancher. (I try to write as if I am having a ‘conver- sation’ with readers).

Perhaps it would be helpful for you to know that the USDA is

one of the largest Cabinet-level organizational units in the U.S. Gov- ernment. It has dozens of units, each with specific goals and objec- tives. It has its own Agricultural Research Service (ARS) with working units in various states that focus on crop production, animal production systems, rural economics, environmental issues, and fi- nancial assistance programs. Historically, it has been very politically motivated to assist farmers and farm suppliers via various crop support programs and worldwide marketing programs. Other countries have similar pro- grams, but none have the scale, the reach, and the success rate of the USDA. I have been an appreciative— and grateful —ward of the USDA all my working life and I thank you taxpayers for your support.

(Dr. Frank Pinkerton, PhD, is a retired extension goat specialist

living in San Marcos, Texas. He can be contacted at 512-392-4123 or by e-mail at His book, A Compila- tion of the Wit and Wisdom of the Goat Man, is available for purchase at


April 23-24 — Central U.S. Kiko Goat Association Spring Fling, Okmul- gee Co. Fairgrounds, Okmulgee, OK. FMI: Wayne Simms, 918-633- 7353 or Dennis Thorp, 832-629-9909.

May 14-15 – NKR’s Cumberland Meat Goat Conference and Spotlight Kiko Sale. Hyder-Burkes Ag Pavilion, Cookeville, Tenn. Contact Terry Hankins, 662-519-9697 or email Web- site:

May 22 — Mountain Premier Invitational Kiko Conference & Sale. WVU Jackson’s Mill, Weston, WV. FMI: Mike Renick, 304-657-0456 or PJ Murphy, 908-612-8860 or

June 4-5 — Bluegrass Performance Invitational. Lakeview Park, Frank- fort, KY. For more information, contact Pat Larr, or visit

June 18-19 — SEKGA RoundUp and Kiko Sale. Georgia National Fair- grounds, Perry, GA. FMI: Marilyn Seleska, 229-740-1813 or

July 2-3 — Heartland Kiko Production Sale. Douglas Co. Fairgrounds, Lawrence, KS. FMI: Wes Pinneo, 785-204-2353 or see www.heartland-

Sept. 10-11 — Appalachian Kiko Invitational. Appalachian Fair Grounds, Gray, TN. Contact Nona Cullen, 336-384-1045 or

Sept. 17-18 — Oklahoma Hills Meat Goat Conference and Invitational Kiko Sale. Okmulgee Co. Fairgrounds, Okmulgee, OK. Fore more infor- mation, Kent Perkins, 918-755-4462 or

Sept. 24-25 — IKGA Kikofest 2021. Rhea County Agricultural and Natu- ral Resource Complex, Evensville, TN. Contact Steve Maynard, 931- 704-0770.

Oct. 1-2 — NKR’s Corn Country Commercial Meat Goat Conference. Harrison County Fairgrounds, Corydon, IN. Contact Terry Hankins, 662- 519-9697 or Website: www.nationalkiko-

Oct. 2 — Cream of the Crop Kiko Sale. Harrison County Fairgrounds, Corydon, IN. Contact Kendell Barnes, 859-749-7584 or; or Christian McGill, 317-376-0951 or christian- Website:

Nov. 3-5 — 1st Annual Magnolia Kiko Classic. Forrest County Multi- Purpose Center, Hattiesburg, Miss. Contact: Darryl Byrd, 228-282-4111.

April 2021 | Goat Rancher 31

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