“I’ve had my heart and soul in this organization.” ~ Norman Kohls
These are the words of Norman Kohls, the man who founded the American Boer Goat Association (ABGA) in 1993. He said it all started with his children.
“My children had picked up kids here, there, and yonder,” he explained. “We were raising sheep. Everywhere we went, we would come home with a goat.”
While Norman got into the Boer goat industry because of his kids and their interest in goats, it’s his wise words that still ring true almost 30 years later.
“If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it right with Boer Goats,” he said. “I think it’s extremely important for everyone who raises animals to have a place to register them. Genetics and phenotypes are both important to a breeder’s future. The quality of the livestock has to carry the mail.”
Norman said founding the ABGA wasn’t his idea. There was a group trying to find direction, and the compass just pointed to him.
“The current importers decided we needed an organization,” Norman explained. “The next thing I was elected the president.”
And he’s never looked back.
When asked what it means to be ABGA member No. 1, Norman said this: “I’m honored to have that number. That’s a cool thing.”
The ABGA membership topped more than 9,000 in 2021 making that a cool thing too. Norman has some sound advice for those considering joining the association.
“If you want to be in a register industry and goats interest you, make sure you buy goats from the right person,” he explained. “Just buying a white goat with a red head will not make you a living. You’ve got to buy quality from a reputable breeder. You need a mentor who knows a ‘good one’.”
For Norman, raising Boer goats is a no-brainer.
“They are the natural environmentalists,” he said. “They prune all our trees and eat our shrubs we don’t want. You can’t be in the Hill Country and not have goats. The central part of Texas is made for running cattle, sheep, and goats.”
Norman also enjoys eating goat meat. “You can cut goat meat up and eat it fried or cook a whole shoulder in the crock pot,” he explained. “You can make sausage. Goat’s great to put on the grill.”
He even shared his secret! “It’s 50% goat meat and 50% pork, a pound and half of salt, 15 ounces of pepper to 100 pounds of meat,” he said. “Then you can alter that. Take an ounce of pepper away and add red pepper. The options are so many.”
If you haven’t noticed, agriculture is life for Norman.
“It’s everything,” he said. “2% of us feed all the people in this country. You have to be dedicated to your task and taking care of your land and your livestock. It’s a never-ending chore, but when you’re out here, you never go to work. It’s what you live for. You love it, and there is no better place to raise a family.”