Starting Portuguese Twin Acres; a goat meat ranch

Asked March 7, 2013, 5:03 PM EST

I'm living in the Central Valley of California, and my twin 7-year-olds would like assist me in starting a goat ranch for goat meat. I'm working with the local FSA to get funding under the Micro-farm loan program. Being a new rancher, I need help identifying who I could sell the goat meat to? I'm considering organic goat meat and would appreciate any contacts with Whole Foods. Many of the vegetables grown in our area are contracting with Whole Foods.

Merced County California

3 Responses

Your best source for local information is always going to come from your local Cooperative Extension office. They will have the contacts and a much better idea of the available markets and production situations in your specific location. In Merced County, I would recommend contacting James Farlez at 209-383-4901 or by email at, or Dr. Fadzazi Mashiri at 209-966-2417 or by email at I believe these are the two primary people working with livestock and range management based in the area. If they are not, they can direct you to the correct person in the county or area that will be able to help you develop your production and marketing plan and to provide assistance in evaluating the local and area market potential for goats.

If you wish to be involved with marketing to Whole Foods or other retail outlets, you will need to be sure your animals are processed under inspection. The people you mentioned who are dealing with Whole Foods should be able to provide you with a contact for the company -- and if that is not the specific meat contact, they would have the correct person. Be sure when you consider marketing to a retailer that you clearly understand the terms and conditions under which they will purchase your product, the amount of product they will expect, and delivery methods. Be realistic in the amount of product you will be able to provide and when that product will be available.

Dear Mr. Andries,

I greatly appreciate your response and information. I thank you for understanding that I'm at the beginning stages of my business, but I want to align in properly at the start and continue from there.
I plan to contact the people you mentioned and look forward to gaining insight. I hope you will not mind if I keep your information for further assistance? Last Friday, I was able to establish a positive contact at the USDA, Start 2 Farm Program; which was a God Send. Thanks Robb F

You are welcome and if you have any additional questions, the eXtension service is available. I'm very happy that you are trying to get things lined up before you start as that is often the most successful way to do things.