GoatMT has been an organization for a little over two years, and Project Director Shylea Wingard notes how surprised she is at the quick growth the program has had.
“It’s really exciting the response that we’ve gotten from Montana producers and their interest in goats in Montana just really exceeded our expectations,” Wingard said.
It started as an idea for Wingard: create a network for goat producers to share information. It now has become a fully realized organization with over 500 followers and members traveling around the country for conferences.
“With our background with MSU Extension, we found that there was not a lot of resources available to help producers get into this. The United States doesn’t produce enough goat meat,” said Wingard.
Taking a look at the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nation’s website, goat is among the top 4 most widely consumed meats in the world.
Wingard also notes that goats don’t need a lot of acreage to have meaningful production—making them great for someone starting out in agriculture, or for the long-time rancher looking to diversify their livestock.
“In the past, when the beef cattle market was kind of down, when the draught was hitting, they had to liquidate their herds. They were looking for other options for diversification, and goats have been on a steady incline,” Wingard said.