Goat meat in short supply as demand rises

On top of everything else, we are in the grip of a goat shortage.

Good news for those who raise goats; not so good for the growing number of people eating them.

It's a supply-and-demand thing rather important to Missouri, which ranks eighth in the nation in its number of meat goats: 84,600 and shrinking.

Someone is counting goats? During a shortage, at least, every horned head matters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"It's only been the last few years that they've done annual estimates for goats," said Jodie Pennington, small-ruminant specialist for the University of Missouri Extension and Lincoln University.

Here is why: As the nation's ethnic population rises, so does demand for what some call chevon — that's goat meat. Many immigrants like it, especially on holy days.

The sad truth is that the United States, despite its agricultural riches, must import 750,000 goats yearly from places like Australia — and who needs more trade deficits in these times?

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