(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of
Agriculture is looking for people to raise kids.
That’s “kids” as in young goats, and farmers are needed
to raise more of them to supply the growing demand for goat meat in the
Both aspiring young farmers as well as adults new to farming are being
sought to participate in a program geared toward increasing the number
of people raising meat goats.
Changing demographics in the state have led to the increased demand for
goat meat. So the Department is launching a program to select youth from
FFA Chapters and 4-H Clubs to receive Junior Breeder Loans for the purchase
of meat kids from a meat goat breeder. The goats will be raised to maturity
for sale in early October for Ramadan.
“This Meat Goat Project addresses two of the major components for keeping
agriculture vital in New Jersey – adapting to meet the changing demands
of consumers and equipping the next generation of farmers for success,” said
New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus. “The future success
of our state’s farmers depends on being innovative enough to keep up with
Secretary Kuperus added that beyond the Junior Breeder Loans, the Department
is looking for new and beginning farmers to participate in meat goat
“This really is an expanding piece of New Jersey’s agricultural mosaic,” Secretary
Kuperus said. “An enterprising young farmer would be ahead of the curve
if he or she entered the goat market at this time.”
The demand in the Garden State for goat meat currently is outpacing locally
raised supply. In the span between the 1990 and 2000 Census, the state
saw a 76 percent increase in Asian population and a 51 percent increase
in Hispanic population. Goat is a staple in the diet of both groups,
as well as for Greeks, Jamaicans and Muslims.
Through a $31,000 Federal State Marketing Improvement Program Grant,
the Department will work with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Cook
College and other interested groups and agencies to administer the project.
To qualify for a Junior Breeder Loan, each participant must agree to:
- Have the property where the goats will be finished inspected by the
Department of Agriculture
- Follow prescribed health and feeding programs to ensure the animals’ well-being
- Handle the animals consistent with the Humane Treatment for Domestic
- Maintain up-to-date records of growth and care
- Show and sell the project animals
- Submit a deposit of $25 per animal
- Participate in carcass evaluation
Those with questions should e-mail Lynn Mathews or Dan Wunderlich at
the NJDA at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the Youth Meat Goat Project, click
To access the program's electronic application, click