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San Angelo – The American Boer Goat Association (ABGA) is adding a new class – the Meat Goat Evaluation – to its National Show this year.

“Its purpose is to showcase the meat goat itself as an end product,” said ABGA Board of Director David Carwell. “We will compare those in the ring and on the rail.”

Animals will be shown in the ring before being slaughtered, and their carcasses will be evaluated, explained ABGA Executive Director Katie Carruth.

“The point of the class is to highlight the aspects that make a quality meat goat,” Carruth said. “We will recognize the winners in multiple categories with the potential of more than $10,000 in prizes.”

Any Junior American Boer Goat Association (JABGA) member may participate, and bucks, does and wethers can be shown, she explained. Exhibitors will be required to keep a 2022 JABGA National Show Meat Goat Evaluation Record Book, and they will participate in three categories: show ring, carcass evaluation and record book.

“This class to me is of high importance,” Carwell said.

He’s not the only one. ABGA member Alyssa Dugat will be one of the judges at the National Show, which is Saturday, June 11 through Saturday, June 18 at Fonner Park in Grand Island, Neb.

She even shared what she’s looking for in the class.

“When judging animals for the Meat Goat Evaluation, I think one’s mindset must move away from the traditional characteristics we look for in typical breeding show goats and really try to evaluate animals strictly on carcass merit,” Dugat explained. “For me, that means selecting the animal that brings the most red meat in relation to skeletal size.”

Dugat added she’s always looking for the most complete animal in the ring.

“The ultimate winner might not be the biggest, most muscular or widest tracking animal in the class,” she explained. “I am searching for the animal that puts everything together in the best package.”

For Carwell, the class takes ABGA back to its beginning. He said a lot of breeders initially brought Boer goats to America as a breed up program.

“They were making a living raising goats in West Texas and were needing to produce the most amount of pounds per goat they could with what they had,” Carwell explained. “We, as a breed and as an association, have a strong disconnect with the commercial industry as a whole.”

Dugat thinks the Meat Goat Evaluation is a tremendous opportunity for ABGA members.

“I believe the commercial meat goat side of the industry is where most producers stand to make substantial profits,” she added. “The price of goats in the meat industry is at an all-time high and only projected to rise. If we as an association can realign the meat goat industry and the show goat industry, we can all stand to benefit for years to come.”

Just like Carwell, Dugat hopes this class will help bring the association back to its origin.

“The Boer goat was introduced into this country as the meat goat - not a show goat,” she said. “I think if we as an association can remember and embrace the history and purpose of the breed, we can all benefit in the future.”

This is exciting for JABGA member and Board of Director Logan Hollen.

“The Meat Goat Evaluation is going to be an experience like no other,” she said. “We will get to show first-hand what the Boer goat is truly about. Goat meat is one of the most desirable meats in world.”

While Hollen is not participating, she said she’ll be in attendance watching.

“I am really looking forward to watching the new class that is very important and will hopefully inspire others,” Hollen said. “With the new goat evaluation class, we not only show our animals off from the outside but give a deeper look into the muscle expression and structure of the Boer goat.”

This is music to Dugat’s ears. She said while Boer goats were introduced to this country as a meat goat, the primary use of the breed and the association has shifted to focus more on the show goat industry rather than the meat goat industry.

“This shift in focus has changed the way producers select their breeding stock,” Dugat said. “ABGA members aren’t selecting animals based on carcass merit, functionality or mothering ability, they are selecting animals based strictly off pedigree and show ring performance.”

Dugat is looking forward to this year’s National Show and the possibility it has to change the mindset of members. After all, the show’s theme is Boer Goat Strong.

“I hope the meat goat evaluation class will help bring more awareness and educate members, and in turn, help realign the show goat industry with the meat goat industry,” she said. “Nationals is always a week full of catching up with old friends, making new ones and creating memories to last a lifetime. This year, I am excited for all those things but especially to be a part of the first Meat Goat Evaluation.”

Carwell agreed. In addition to the meat goat evaluation class, members will support the charity Mission 22. Their donations will go to helping veterans, their spouses and children through programs Mission 22 provides. There will also be a photo contest that will benefit ABGA’s new foundation.

“The ABGA Nationals is always a great time to connect with breeders from around the country who come to showcase their animals,” Carwell added. “The industry’s best of the best is presented, and it’s always exciting to see how things play out.”

ABGA Goes Back To Its Beginning With New Class

The American Boer Goat Association (ABGA) is adding a new class – the Meat Goat Evaluation – to its National Show this year.

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