Missouri Now Has Second-Most Goats In The Nation
Sunset behind a barn and wheatfield in Scott County, Missouri. (Getty Images)

Missouri’s meat goat population increased in 2023, putting the state’s population second in the nation.  The annual Sheep and Goats report released last week by USDA found that 77,000 meat goats now call Missouri home, a 1000 head increase from a year ago.  A majority of states witnessed a decline, including Oklahoma by 10 percent, elevating Missouri to second on the list.  However, the state’s population remains a far cry from Texas, who remains first with 700,000 goats on hand.  Nationwide the population was down three percent at 1.95 million.  Meanwhile, Missouri’s milk goat population was down 500 head at 9700, running contrary to the slight uptick nationally at 415,000 head.

Sheep populations in Missouri were down 5000 head, starting out the year at 107,000.  86,000 were held for breeding while 21,000 were destined for market.  Missouri now ranks 13th in the nation for sheep production.  The state’s lamb crop held steady at 81,000 despite an additional 2000 ewes on hand during the past year.  Wool production edged lower by 1000 pounds to 279,000, despite 3000 fewer shorn sheep at 47,000.  Wool prices held steady at $0.35 per pound, still the third cheapest rate in the nation ahead of Iowa and Minnesota.

Nationwide the sheep population was down 100,000 at 5.13 million, split between 3.67 million kept for breeding and one-point-three-six million destined for market.  A total of 3.03 million lambs were born in 2023, down two percent year-over-year, while wool production was down 569,000 pounds at 22.7 million.