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Goats in our World

World Vision Goats.jpg

This spring I have been working on my 4H presentation project, entitled, "Goat's in our World".

The time spent refinning the speech has allowed me to share my love of goats with the community. Learning together, we all are gaining a better understanding of the importance goat's can play to families, and the larger community. Much of this exists beyond our shores, and, it is a story worthy of being told.

Goats are useful to humans in many ways, as they provide milk, meat, and hair. But have you thought about, transportation, fertilizer, weed clearing and companionship? Diary goats give us milk and cheese, whilte the meat goats give the world protein for the table. Long haired goats like the Angora, produce mohair, which is used in sweaters, scarves, coats and other clothing. Mohair is also used in floor rugs and carpets, and believe it or not, doll hair. The Cashmere goat gives us

lovely soft fibre, when spun into yarn, makes soft warm clothing to wear in the cold months of the year.

Daily goats work throughout the world, transporting goods for their owners. They can handle any terrain with great agility. Mature goats can safely carry one-fourth of their body weight, which is approximately 50 lbs. You can imagine tasks in rural communities, especially those in mountainous regions, which could benefit from a working goat. These goats become trusted companions, much like the horse, or the oxen of the past. Easier to maintain, goats graize on brambles and brush, requiring less maintenance from the community at large.

Around the world, tribes and communities alike, benefit from the daily contributions of this graizing fiend. Goats are used to clear weeds in forestry areas. Cities are discovering that using herds of goats to clear unwanted vegetation, is both inexpensive and environmentally friendly. State and National Parks are using goats to clear hiking paths. They can quickly eliminate undregrowth to create an ideal walkway for hikers, while at the same time effortlessly removing irritating poision ivy and poision oak along their path.

Goats, like most animals produce waste. The beauty of a goat is that their manure, because of their diet, is a clean fertilizer, which minimally impacts the environment. A farmer, can use the goat manure to fertilize his crops. An average goat can produce over a ton of manure in one year, which is two thousand pounds of fertiliezer. (That will grow a LOT of tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, etc.)

As a fertilizer, goat maure is a good source of nitrogen, phonate, potassium, and other minerals. Composted manure can add nutrients to the soil, promoting healthier plant growth and increase crop yeilds without the use of harmful chemicals. Consider this: "going organic, go GOAT"!

Goats are an excellent source of protein. Their meat is often called, chevon when it comes from adults, and cabrito or capretto, when it comes from younger animals. The meat has a higher degree of protein than most other meats, and the fat content is lower than beef or pork. Seventy percent of the world, yes, 70% of the world eats goat meat. It is lean, tasty and may be prepared in many different ways.

Food products, are often attributed to the goat, but most often, we think of cheese. Dairy goats produce an average of 6-8 pounds of milk daily. Depending upon the breed of goat, the milk generally averages between 3% and 6% butterfat. Many in local communities are drinking goat milk, as it is easier to digest than cow's milk. Goat's currently produce approximately 2% of the world's milk supply, but these numbers are growing. For those who are lactose intolerant, drinking goat milk is a welcome alternative. Easier to digest, given that it is 13% lower in lactose; more and more individuals are turning to goat milk. Goat milk can also be found in cheese products, butter, yogurt, ice cream and keifer.

Why do I love the goats you ask, "I love the goats because more than anything else, they make great pets". Everything else aside, goats are just fun! Goat owners can enjoy stress relief and relaxation when they are with their goats. Honestly, we see this all of the time! When we take the goats to public events, everyone goes crazy. You can hear the public clamor, "GOATS"! It is funny, and understandable. There is just something about them. They are just, Wonderful. Watching the babies jump and play is often referred to as, "goat gazing", and that is about right. Just watching them soothes the soul All of the craziness of the world just melts away, for a moment, as we watch them play.

We are fortunate, living in our community, we do not need to have goats, we choose to have them, love them and share our lives with them. Many, many parts of the world exist solely, because of the gift of a goat. Charities, like Heifer International, World Vision, and our personal favorite, Samaritan's Purse, place goats in the hands of individuals who share them with their village and beyond, making a difference, daily. These goats placed in the hands of impoverished individuals in growing communities are benefitied significantly by the "gift" of a goat.

In your giving, when you think about, "where could I make a difference which will impact a community", please consider, giving to one of these great organizations: by; giving the

"Gift of a Goat"!

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