Kentucky goat producers and industry stakeholders joined Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles, center, today as he signed a proclamation declaring April as Goat Month in Kentucky. Pictured at the proclamation signing were, from left, Kelley Yates, executive director of the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office; Angie Downs, Kentucky Goat Producers Association president, and Bea Powell, goat producer and Kentucky Goat Producers Association board member. For more pictures from the event, click here. (Kentucky Department of Agriculture)
Commissioner Quarles celebrates April as Goat Month in Kentucky
Proclamation honors the diversity of goats on the farm
FRANKFORT (April 24, 2023) – Kentucky goat producers and industry stakeholders joined Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles today as he signed a proclamation declaring April as Goat Month in Kentucky.
“Kentucky agriculture is rich in diversity and I’m pleased to celebrate the uniqueness goats bring to our commonwealth,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Not only do goats add variety and diversity, they are also an excellent source of protein and dairy products. This month we salute all that goats add to our state’s agricultural outlook.”
In the United States, goats are primarily used for meat or for producing dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Kentucky has 6,000 dairy goats producing quality breeding stock, and healthy, all natural skin products, such as soaps and lotions. Goat meat is lean with low levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, high levels of iron, and packed with proteins and vitamins.
The popularity of goat meat is increasing across the country, and in Kentucky. With more than 56,000 head of meat goats in the commonwealth, a 2,000 head increase over last year, Kentucky ranks seventh nationally. Meat goat inventory increased 3.7 percent since 2022, with 4,300 farmers having goats on their farms.
In addition to their nutritious value, goats can increase property values. Across the world, farmers use them to combat noxious weeds on their property, promote healthy forests, and prevent wildfires.
“Kentucky continues to be a leader in goat production because of our abundant forages and best management practices. More than 4,000 goat producers work very hard to produce high quality products for consumers,” said Kelley Yates, executive director of the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office. “We are excited to showcase the versatility of goats in Kentucky during the month of April and hope more people learn of their benefits and impact in our state.”
The Kentucky goat industry adds more than $3.5 million in revenue to Kentucky’s agriculture receipts. Warren County is the top county in goat production with nearly 2,500 head, followed by Crittenden, Barren, Shelby, and Hart counties rounding out the top five.
A variety of goat products, can be found at local farmers’ markets or consumers can purchase directly from a producer. The Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office offers information on its website with tips for cooking the lean meat. The website also offers a buyer's guide at: https://www.kysheepandgoat.org/on-your-plate.