Goats — Beyond the Petting Zoo

Jul 16, 2015

The multicultural influences of our growing immigrant populations are likely behind the recent rise of goat farming in Ontario and the Greenbelt, but the health benefits of goat products are attracting new customers that grew up with a taste for beef, duck, lamb, pork, and poultry. Products have expanded to include cheese, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, butter and meat.

Alpines, La Manchas, Saanen and Toggenburg are common dairy goats raised here. Goat dairy products are usually lower in calories, while still containing high amounts of protein, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Goat dairy products are easier to digest due to the structure of their fat molecules, and they represent an ideal alternative for those with dairy sensitivities due to their naturally lower lactose content.

La Manchas and Nabian are common goat breeds raised for their meat. Last year, 40,000 goats were processed for their meat in Ontario. Though many are just discovering goat meat here in North America, it has been both a staple and a delicacy in Mexican, Indian, Pakistani, Greek, Southern Italian, North African, and Middle Eastern cuisines for millennia.

There are 700 million energetic and affectionate goats stomping around the world. With nearly 200 farms raising goats in the Greenbelt, this agricultural industry may just be getting started.

The Industry in Ontario

  • There were 76,114 goats reported in Ontario in 2006.
  • There were 17,388 goats in Southern Ontario in 2006.
  • 43% of goats in Canada are from Ontario.
  • In 2011, there were 198 goat farms in the Greenbelt with 5,342 total goats.
  • Despite fluctuations in the number of goat farms, goat milk production has increased steadily since 1996.
  • Of the raw milk produced in Ontario, 25% is used as fluid milk, and 75% is used in other products like cheese.
  • There are 3 large producer owned co-operatives that serve as raw milk brokers in Ontario: Hewitt’s Dair, Ontario Dairy Goat Go-Operative, Mornington Heritage Dairy Co-Operative

In 2012, 40,505 heads of goat were slaughtered in provincially inspected plants.

Greenbelt-raised Products

  • Cooper’s CSA Farm & Maze
  • Lee Farms
  • Ronmar Farm

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