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July 9, 2007

Kikos focus of Oklahoma goat conference

STILLWATER, Okla. — In the heart of cattle country, it’s a little hard to swallow the fact that goat is the most-consumed meat on the planet.

Driven by a growing immigrant population, the U.S. meat goat industry has become a real bright spot for American agriculture. Fueled by growing demand and the accompanying good prices, “goat” isn’t the four-letter word it used to be out on the farm as landowners find a way to utilize marginal land and forage and add to their bottomline at the same time.

On June 29 and 30 in Stillwater, Okla., the American Kiko Goat Association will showcase that breed’s role in commercial meat production.

The event, which will take place at the Payne County Expo Center, will include educational seminars, a trade show and auction.

For American Kiko Goat Association Vice President Warren Barnes of Summersville, Mo., the field day is an opportunity to help commercial goat operations move toward more efficient — and profitable — production.

“Commercial goat meat production will follow the pattern of the goat industry,” Barnes said, “by taking advantage of the hybrid vigor offered by crossbreeding. We’ve shown that the Kiko is not only an excellent meat producer but offers maternal and health characteristics critical to commercial production as well.”

It is, in fact, those maternal traits that are pulling a lot of goat producers toward Kiko and Kiko-cross mothers.

“The maternal side is really our claim to fame,” said Sky Shivers, a Prague, Okla., breeder who is in charge of the sale on Saturday, June 30, during the field day. “The does have a very high nurturing ability — they won’t drop a kid and just walk off. They have healthy and vital newborns and they take care of them.

“On the health side, it’s been shown that they have significantly less foot rot problems and they have a high parasite tolerance.”

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