(10/28/20) ALEXANDRIA, La. — Goat products such as cheese and milk are increasing in popularity. In response to growing goat herds in Louisiana, the LSU AgCenter has been conducting Master Goat Producer classes across the state.
The third class of the Master Goat Producer Program completed its coursework, and students received their certificates on Oct. 24 at the LSU AgCenter Dean Lee Research and Extension Center near Alexandria.
AgCenter livestock specialist Rodney Johnson, who helps coordinate the program, said participants represent both goat producers and 4-H members who show goats.
“There is a market for goat products,” Johnson said. “Goat milk is very digestible and is an option for people sensitive to milk from a cow. There’s also a big demand for soap made from goat’s milk.”
Johnson said people who suffer from skin problems such as eczema have told him soap with goat milk as an ingredient provided them some relief.
The program requires participants attend three daylong classes related to raising and caring for goats. Topics included goat breeds and selection, equipment, fencing, nutrition, and marketing goats and goat products.
Kurt Cazayoux raises Nigerian dwarf goats near Breaux Bridge. He said the market for goats and goat products is expanding.
“In the past 12 years, the goat industry has just exploded,” Cazayoux said. “It just seems people can’t get enough of goat products such as cheese and soap.”
As part of the program, Cazayoux showed the class how he makes soap using goat milk. He made a loaf of lavender-infused soap, the equivalent of eight to 10 large bars.
“Goat milk is higher in butterfat than milk from a cow,” he said. “It’s about 5% butterfat compared to 3%. It's sweeter and creamier, and it is rich in vitamins and minerals."
Cazayoux said his pygmy goats typically have butterfat content in the 7% range.
Amy Goins, of Jeanerette, was a member of the class, and her daughter, Sophia Morris, accompanied her during the final session. Morris shows pygmy goats in livestock shows and is a 4-H member.
“I’m always trying to learn more about goats,” Goins said. “I got into raising goats because my daughter wanted to show them. They are very interesting animals.”
Morris said she was most interested in the information about breeding goats, which will be useful in her livestock showing efforts.
Johnson said interest in the program is very high in the southeast area of the state, and he plans to offer the program there next. He is waiting to see when COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted to allow the class to travel and tour goat farms in Louisiana and neighboring states before selecting dates.
Graduates of the third Master Goat Producer class are:
— Andrea Anderson, Livingston Parish.
— Lauren Biosette, Beauregard Parish.
— Bridgette Birdwell, Natchitoches Parish.
— Zachary Birdwell, Natchitoches Parish.
— Lefitia Canty, Beauregard Parish.
— Rhonda Fleming, Vernon Parish.
— Amy Goins, St. Mary Parish.
— Kornelia Graves, Grant Parish.
— Brynnah Lee, Beauregard Parish
— Kelly Mitchell, Natchitoches Parish.
— Madeline Mitchell, Natchitoches Parish.
— Eliana Ruiz, St. James Parish.
— Ashley Terry, Tangipahoa Parish.
— Hope Terry, Tangipahoa Parish.
— Samuel Terry, Tangipahoa Parish.
— Michael Tynes, Livingston Parish.
Kurt Cazayoux, of Breaux Bridge, pours soap made using goat milk into a mold. Cazayoux said milk from goats is much higher in butterfat than cow’s milk, making it an excellent ingredient in soaps. His demonstration was part of the LSU AgCenter Master Goat Producer Program held at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center near Alexandria. Photo by Craig Gautreaux/LSU AgCenter
LSU AgCenter livestock specialist Rodney Johnson demonstrates grooming techniques as part of the AgCenter Master Goat Producer Program. The program graduated its third class recently at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center. Goat herds are expanding across Louisiana because of increased demand for goat products such as cheese and soap. Photo by Craig Gautreaux/LSU AgCenter