Goat Check-off Letter – November 26, 2013

GOAT CHECK-OFF Letter
from the ABGA™ Vice President
November 26, 2013

To our ABGA Members:

There has been a lot of talk on face book and elsewhere about the lack of programs for goat producers and research on goats, particularly the Boer goat. We are the largest goat registry in the world, and I’ve been thinking the same thing many of our members have been discussing, namely that we at ABGA should look into what our association can do.

When I started asking questions I found out that research takes way more money than you could
ever imagine, and there aren’t many dollars available anymore for research or education. As a beef
producer, I’ve seen the benefits of the beef check off, and also what check off funds have contributed to research and programs for the other meat breeds. The pork producers provide $35,000 a year to their junior association. That directly supports youth activities and scholarships which help encourage them to stay in the industry. And all those catchy slogans, like “Got Milk?” “The Other White Meat” “What’s for Dinner?” are funded by check off dollars.

Goat associations along with producers in some states have worked hard to make U.S. goat products
available in retail outlets for customers to purchase in their area. If we want to compete with the other protein sources it will take a lot of consumer education (health benefits, cooking processes, etc.), research on confinement feeding and the alternatives, and dollars to help lure packers into the business to provide a steady stream of quality fresh goat to retail outlets instead of the frozen stuff from across the big pond.

I have talked to a couple of the directors at American Goat Federation. They agree that this should be the next step to grow the goat industry and provide the kinds of activities necessary to increase our market and create programs for all producers, not just the show people. You might wonder why I’ve talked to the AGF. ABGA is a member of AGF and several of our directors attended the annual meeting last year. The AGF is recognized by the USDA as well as congress and universities as the official representative of all the goat industry, and the common thread in the goat world like the Cattlemen’s Association is the common thread to all the cattle registry associations. The AGF has directors who already understand how check off programs work and the AGF is willing to be a part of this effort.

So, I want to throw the question out to members to think about before I present any ideas to the
Board. What do you think about instituting a federal goat check off program? What are the pros and
what are the cons? What kinds of programs and research could these dollars be used for? You’re welcome to post your ideas on the ABGA face book page. Your ideas may give someone else
another idea and hopefully it will grow from there. But please share your ideas with your director, too. And directors, share your ideas here also so members can see what you are thinking.

Jeff Gibbs
Vice President, ABGA

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