As a country-city kid growing up in a Dallas suburb, ABGA member Joetta Boyd’s mother wanted her to be a socialite. She married a cowboy instead.
46 years later, agriculture is still life to her. “I am very thankful for marrying my husband Shelton,” she said. “I grew up in Garland, Texas. We had raccoons and squirrels. I didn’t know anything about goats.”
But that changed in 1990 when they bought 400 head of Spanish goats. “We knew we needed brush control,” said Joetta, who had been running cattle since they got married. Her love of livestock came from her grandfather, who worked at a sale barn. “It’s perfect goat country where we live. We were running a Spanish herd for brush control.”
Then came 1994.
“My husband heard about this new goat coming to America,” Joetta recalled. “We needed to check this out. Up to that time, we had a buyer in California who would come and get the Spanish goat kids.”
She called Texas A&M, and they gave her Frank Craddock’s number, and Frank gave them Norman Kohls’ and Don Smith’s numbers. At the first ABGA convention in San Antonio, Joetta and Rena Lynch were standing outside talking.
“They started signing up for memberships, so I ran inside,” said a laughing Joetta. “I had to find my husband.” She said it took a while. Again laughing, Joetta said: “If it wasn’t for that, our membership number would have been lower. We’re No. 109.”
Learning about Boer goats began immediately, because there were quite a few people at that first convention. Joetta said they bought their first recipient doe carrying fullblood Boers from Norman Kohls.
She carried twins: a buck and a doe. They then bought semen from Ewing Downing, Joetta explained.
“We took 30 Spanish goats, and we AI-ed them,” she added. “Ten of them took. The AI was all new.”
But it worked. “Everything we did, we made money off of, and we went a step further. The first goat cost $15,000. We sold that buck sight unseen at 3 months for $20,000.”
They got rid of all their Spanish goats, and the rest you could say, is history.
Later that year, they purchased frozen embryos at a cheaper price from a group who brought them back from New Zealand. “We bought 100 frozen embryos from LandCorp for $400 an embryo,” Joetta said. “We sold 25 frozen embryos for $1,500 a piece.”
Over the years, she’s only missed four nationals. “I’ve been in ABGA since the very beginning,” she added. “It’s like a big, huge family.”
So much so, Joetta even shared this story. When her youngest daughter, who has asthma, was showing Boer goats, they would take a breathing machine with them.
“Norman Kohls is the judge. He stops the show when he sees she can’t breathe. He calls a 20-minute break, so she could do the breathing machine. It was priceless,” Joetta shared.
But that’s not the only thing Norman did for the Boyd family. “Norman told me 10% will rise to the top easily,” Joetta explained. “They’re for shows. You get 10% that just don’t turn out which you sell for meat. Then you have the 80% that make really good breeding stock, which we keep a few and sell the majority of.”
In addition to Norman, Joetta said many others have helped her along the way.
The ABGA has become a family tradition for the Boyds. At one point, there were three generations of members. At their peak, the Boyd family had 450 head of Boer goats.
Two years ago, Joetta had heart surgery, so they had to cut back. They now run 70 head.
“I am not retired, but the grandkids took over the daily chores,” Joetta said. “I am blessed to have a son, daughter-in-law and five grandkids who live at the ranch. Agriculture is a wonderful way of life.”