Middle Tennessee Meat Goat Collection Station

There is no collection point in Tennessee

By Derial Bivens
Member Services Chairman, USBGA
The Middle Tennessee Meat Goat Collection Station has become a reality! It has been talked about for years, but no action has been taken - until now.
The USBGA has accomplished something no other meat goat association or registry has been able to achieve: building a collection station smack between the of the nation's 2nd and 3rd highest concentration of meat goats - the Cedar Country of Middle Tennessee and the plains atop and at the foot of the Upper Cumberland Plateau.
The funding is finally in place for the Middle Tennessee Meat Goat Collection Station. The land has been purchased and is being fitted to suit the needs of a regional meat goat collection station. We are working with a number of processors, and are currently set up to provide 300-350 goats per week, with plans to expand to 600-1000 in the near future. The producers will be paid top dollar, higher than at any sale barn in Tennessee.
Meat goat producers in the Mid-South have become frustrated with the lack of an effective marketing system and have become disillusioned with the local meat goat producers associations. Currently, when a producer sells a goat at a local sale barn, the animal passes through five - FIVE - sometimes-unscrupulous middle men before it reaches the processor, often starved, gaunt, haggard - and sometimes very sick.

For example:

The average (1.) GOAT PRODUCER takes his goats to (2.) a LOCAL SALE BARN where they are purchased by (3.) a GOAT TRADER, who takes them to (4.) The Tenn. Livestock Producers Sale in THOMPSON STATION, where they are purchased by (5.) another GOAT TRADER, who sell them to (6.) the PROCESSOR. Oh, and did I mention that the CATTLEMEN collect the dividends off the sale of GOATS at Thompson Station?

Recently goats averaged $.82 /lb in the local sale barns, yet the processors were paying $1.30 to $1.35 /lb - a 64% difference!

At the Middle Tennessee Collection Station, (1.) the PRODUCER drops off his goats on Friday or Saturday and collects a check on the spot, and Sunday the (2.) PROCESSOR picks them up. Eliminated are: transportation costs and FOUR MIDDLEMEN!
Dr. Richard Browning was assisting with obtaining public funding (which could take months - the wheels of government turn very slowly); however, due to certain recent events that have occurred within the burgeoning local meat goat industry, private funds have been put into action by a frustrated local producer (who prefers at the moment to remain anonymous - at least until the facility is ready to open).
Angry at having been fleeced by one of the "goat jockeys" in the region, he sought out the USBGA and has become a staunch supporter of the fledgling-but thriving Tennessee Boer Breeders' Society (a USBGA affiliate - and another first for the USBGA).
When he learned of our attempts, he asked what the main hold-up was. When told, "Money and land to build it on," he offered the land, the money to build the facility, and the purchase price for the first load or two.
We now have four processing facilities in the Mid- and Deep South who are very eager at the opportunity to obtain prime meaty (and healthy) Boer goats in large numbers. The Middle Tennessee station is set up to handle 300-350 goats. At least one processor has even committed to free transportation.
Since most producers work at other jobs through the week, to attend a goat sale, they have to take off work. The producers are jumping at the chance to take their goats to market on Saturday without having to lose most or all of a day's pay - and then have insult added to injury by getting an unfair price for their goats.
The goats are THERE! The current attempts at estimating the goat population have, until now, been based to two VERY faulted and therefore unreliable sources of data - the 2002 USDA Agricultural Census and the extrapolation of numbers from the databases of the meat goat registries.
In the 2002 Ag Census, for instance, in Smith County there were listed four farms having a total population of - get this - ELEVEN goats! That number could have been upped a few hundred had the census takers taken into account the number of goats listed the national goat registries. However...for every registered goat in the region, there are at least 1,000 without papers! A goat census currently in progress estimates the number at upwards of five million animals! (At least five counties in the area have a larger goat population than human! - and one of them is Rutherford County, which has a population of well over 200,000!!)
The collection station will be open to receive goats each Saturday, and Sunday morning the goats go straight to the processor. They will accept no sick or "wormy looking" animals - if we are to expect a quality price we need to produce a quality product!
The producer will be paid a price guaranteed a week before, so he will know exactly what his goats will bring. Boer goats will receive a small premium per pound and USBGA members will receive an additional premium.
As soon as a definite opening date is set, a media blitz will announce the place and date the station will begin receiving goats along with the guaranteed price to be paid.

Oh, and by the way, a feasibility study is being currently being conducted in another little-known pocket of concentration - the Ozarks!

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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168

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