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Va. goat numbers increase alongside growing demand

Goat meat and other goat-derived products are growing in popularity in the U.S., and as the market emerges, Virginia farmers have positioned themselves to help meet that demand.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service sheep and goat inventory report, Virginia’s goat supply increased by 3 percent despite national inventory decreasing by 1 percent.

Virginia-raised dairy, meat and other goats were estimated at 46,200 head as of Jan. 1, up from 44,800 head at the start of 2021. The year-over-year inventory increase was the first since 2020.

“The increase in goats is consistent with what we’ve seen over the last several years,” said Dr. Scott Greiner, a Virginia Tech professor and Virginia Cooperative Extension beef and sheep specialist.

“Goats are in high demand for the ethnic market, and based on Virginia’s location and proximity to large metropolitan areas, prices have been excellent,” he added. “I think [the data] we’re see...

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