AGRICULTURE Ohio farmers trying to keep up with growing goat meat demand
CLEVELAND (AP) -- The growing number of immigrants from the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia is driving demand for goat meat in Ohio.
More than 3,000 Ohio farms now raise an estimated 34,000 goats, up from 13,700 goats in 1997, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.
Still, it's not nearly enough, said David Mangione, an animal specialist with the Ohio State University Extension Service.
Much of the goat meat eaten in the United States is imported, primarily from Australia, he said.
Markets catering to ethnic populations can barely meet demand, said Ameen Hammad, who operates Al Madina Imports on Cleveland's West Side.
Hammad says he usually goes to a Detroit-area slaughterhouse to get the lean, red meat, also called chevron.
"We've got a big need," Hammad said. "We bring goat meat in, and it's gone. There's a big shortage.
A farmer with 100 breeding female goats can make up to $10,000 a year in profit, making it an ideal supplemental income for a small farm, Mangione says.
Goats also co-exist well in pastures with either cows or horses.
In southern Ohio, groups of goat farmers are banding together to sell their product, Mangione said.
"There's a market out there, and it's huge," he said.