Alexandra and Ralph Meyer are “accidental goat farmers” and as the once-exotic meat grows in popularity they are struggling to keep up with consumer demand.
Buckridge Goats is located at Kullogum, a stone’s throw off the Isis Highway, on 650 acres of land that is ideal for the surefooted creatures.
Alexandra said goat meat had grown in popularity in the past few years, and they had seen a spike in the demand since COVID-19, with more consumers buying straight from the farm.
“We’ve seen more people buying from the farm and processing the meat themselves, particularly in this area,” she said.
“Goat meat is healthier, it is heart smart with not even one-tenth the fat of lamb.
“There are no religious connotations attached to goat meat and so it is one of the most consumed meats in the world.”
Accidental goat farmers
Alexandra said a few years ago they responded to an advertisement that had 50 starving pregnant goats needing a new home, with an intention of rehoming one or two.
“I saw goats and took pity on them and had to take all of them,” she said.
“Anyone thinking of starting to breed goats needs to know there is no money in it for the first year, that’s for sure.
“We had the vet out for the day, it cost an arm and a leg, we had them DNA checked and sorted, before we spent the year bringing them back to health.”
After the initial year, and an expensive set up, Alexandra said her new family members, all with names, such as Chuckie, Maudie, Maggie and Christopher, had started to pay off as the goat industry in Australia picked up.
“It’s an absolute joy to have goats, we raise them with kindness,” Alexandra said.
“We have between 135-140 and all have individual names, and they are named for a reason as each has a personality and character about them.”
Alexandra said although the recent drought had been tough on all producers in the region, they were now back on track and ready to supply the local community with fresh, healthy goat meat.
Buckridge Goats breed Boers for meat
Buckridge Goats breed Boer goats specifically for their meat, as it is a bred that is regarded as the world's premier meat goat.
“Boer goats are little tanks, wide across the back, healthier and more popular,” Alexandra said.
“Goat management is easier than other stock, they stay in a herd; ours are free range, they come when they are called, and the only chemical we use is for worming.”
Alexandra said there was a common misconception that goats eat everything and anything, but she said they definitely couldn’t be left to their own devices and a constant food supply was needed to ensure a healthy animal.
“If you do it right, goat farming can be low maintenance and a lucrative business,” she said.
“We go by weight when it comes to having the goat ready for sale, and ensure they are grain fed steadily over time.
“On a commercial level there is no cheap way to raise goats.”
As the popularity of goat meat increases, Alexandra says more people may turn to farming goats and she said the Bundaberg Region was ideal to do so.
“Breeding goats is very viable here, this area is very receptive to it,” she said.
“With the Queensland clearing laws more people will turn to it, and it’s not back-breaking work.
“We can’t keep up with the demand – and as more people consume it, the more people will farm it and the price of meat will come down.
“I think it will become the norm fairly soon.”
Alexandra, 54, said although she has law and accounting degrees, and she was a small business management consultant for 20 years, she believes she’s fallen on her feet with her new life as goat farmer.
She invited the community to reach out to find out more about consumption of the healthy meat with her Promote the Goat Project.
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