Oct. 28, 2003 | TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- State agricultural officials want to boost the number of goat farmers in the Garden State.
The effort is being driven in part by a growing demand for goat meat, a red meat that is leaner than beef. While most of the demand comes from Greeks, Mexicans, Asians and other immigrants from countries where goat is popular, experts say it's also gaining popularity in America.
"Agriculture in the U.S. used to be the farmer produced the animal the way he wanted it. Now you have to produce the product that the consumer wants," Dan Wunderlich, an agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Sussex County, told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Monday's editions.
Wunderlich is spearheading the state's goat project, in which New Jersey will use a $31,000 federal grant to encourage more farmers to raise the animals. According to the 1997 farm census, there were 440 farms with goats in New Jersey, and some farmers recently formed the New Jersey State Meat Goat Association.
Although it has more cholesterol than beef, goat meat is considered healthier because it has a lower fat content. A pound of goat meat sells for about $3.50 at butcher shops, and industry officials say the demand for goat meat has outstripped the supply in the United States since 1992.
Ten years ago, 40 percent of the meat sold frozen was imported, but that number has now grown to 60 percent, with most of it coming from Australia. In the U.S., Texas produces the most meat goats, raising about 1.2 million animals a year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
While New Jersey is not a major player when it comes to raising goats, it is among the nation's leaders in processing the meat. And half of the nation's goat meat is processed in slaughterhouses in New Jersey and Texas.
I feel restless. I've got a yen for something I can't name, something just outside the grasp of my understanding....
Could be porn.
The sky outside is grey today and I wish someone around here made this Viennese cafe au lait that I used to get in State College. I'm feeling dissatisfied with my coffee options lately.
Last night I dreamed I was a helicopter pilot, carrying the Wolfram & Hart team on a mission high above the glittering panoply of Los Angeles. Spike and Angel rappeled. I am sure that's very meaningful.