Goat production is a livestock enterprise that offers niche products that are in demand.
The United States currently imports goat meat to fulfill domestic demand. Goat meat (chevon and cabrito) is rarely seen in mainstream grocery stores because of limited, variable and inconsistent supplies. It is also more expensive than poultry and other red meats. Growth in U.S. ethnic populations and the desire for healthy diets are driving the demand for goat meat.
For those interested in dairy production and processing, goats are an alternative to cattle. Dairy goat milk and goat cheese (chevre) continue to see slow, steady growth trends as consumers are becoming more aware of the higher protein and lower cholesterol levels found in the products. Goat milk is regarded as a natural source of nutrients, an alternative to cow's milk, and easy to digest. In the past decade, goat cheese was regarded as one of the fastest-growing segments within specialty cheese.
A goat enterprise offers producers the choice of selling fiber as well as meat. The two most common fibers produced are mohair and cashmere. Angora goats produce mohair. Cashmere is a type of goat, not a breed. Cashmere fiber can be clipped from almost any goat other than angora. Most U.S. mohair is exported.