that has been "in the goat business" for any amount of time
knows that marketing goats is one of the biggest challenges faced as a
goat farmer. Healthcare and profitability are the other two big
challenges, but that is another article or two.
people enter the goat business with little forethought or planning
concerning marketing their future product; they assume if they raise
goats, people will buy them. It is always important to research
marketing opportunities and options prior to engaging in a new venture.
In the situation of goat production I believe it is more important than
primary forms of marketing are direct and indirect marketing. Direct
marketing, as we know it, occurs when a goat farmer sells their goat/s
directly to a buyer who also plans on raising goats or the farmer sells
his goat/s directly to a consumer. In either situation the money from
the sale goes directly from the final buyer to the seller, and there is
no middleman involved in the transaction. Direct marketing generally
allows the seller to earn a few extra dollars due to the fact there is
no middleman involved who receives some kind of financial compensation
for their involvement.
marketing is probably the preferred transaction for most goat producers.
It may involve extra effort/s, but the financial gains should be worth
the extra initiative. With this being said, let’s move on to indirect
primary difference between direct and indirect marketing is the
involvement of an intermediary between a seller and a buyer. This could
be in the form of a consignment or production sale, an auction or even a
sales barn situation. In all these situations there is either a person
who "assists" producers with the sale of the animal/s in
exchange for a fee; or there is a person who purchases a goat or goats
from a seller, then turns around and resells the animal/s. This
describes the circumstances of an indirect marketing transaction.
some situations, indirect marketing is more convenient for the seller
rather than being involved in a direct marketing situation. It can be
easier for the goat farmer to drop off the animal/s at the site of the
sale; let someone else assume responsibility for the sale; then receive
a check on site or know a check should be arriving in the mail. All the
farmer had to do was to make the basic effort to deliver the goods and
then pay some kind of transaction fee – plain and simple. In this type
of situation the money received may be less than when participating in a
direct sale, but sometimes simplicity is more convenient. After all,
there is the old adage "money is not everything."
about anyone that has been raising goats for a while has had the
opportunity to take a few animals to a local livestock sales barn. Their
reason for doing so may vary; but it is generally fairly convenient and
the closer, the better in many situations. I’ve seen too many
producers drive an extra sixty miles for an extra twenty or forty
dollars. When they share the news of their good fortune I always ask two
questions: (1) how many miles did you drive to receive that extra money?
and (2) did your take your family, where did you eat, and how much did
that cost? Many times I will see a look on their face when they realize
the extra money came at an unconsidered cost.
my visits to sales barns I have noticed these activities are much like a
social event. The whole family comes along, food and drinks are
purchased, and everyone gets to socialize. With this perspective I guess
it is difficult to put a value on a social experience.
sales barns are found all over Alabama. I have visited the ones in the
following counties: Escambia, Clay, Randolph, Marshall, Lawrence and
Lauderdale; all of them sold goats and cattle. I know there are plenty
more out there, but those are just a few that I had the opportunity to
visit. Just to the north of Alabama there are quite a few goat sales
barns in Tennessee.
Northwest Alabama there is a high concentration of goats. People had a
choice of sales barns where they could sell their goats. Some had a
reputation for bringing better prices than others. I say all this in
past tense because something suddenly changed. Two of the more popular
sales barns suddenly closed. Both of them had a reputation for moving a
large number of goats during each sale. Now producers are left in a
quandary; they suddenly have to identify alternative markets.
Fortunately, other sales barns in the area have absorbed the animals for
sale, but the market is not what it once was. However, close vicinity is
always a convenience and people only have so much spare time.
goat producer has their preferred choice of marketing. More than likely
they have utilized several options, depending upon the quality of the
animal, marketing options, available time and convenience. Opinions will
vary but each producer knows what works best for them. Knowing your
options when it comes to marketing is a good idea. Knowing which
situation is most practical and profitable is even better!
Spencer is the Urban Regional Extension Specialist in the Urban Affairs
and New Nontraditional Programs Unit & The Urban Centers in North
America for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.