(Jamie) We’re back with Kyle and Josh who shares the importance of Specialty Livestock to the state.
(Kyle Bauer) Hi, this is Kyle Bauer. I have the opportunity to visit with Josh Roe; he’s Assistant Secretary of Agriculture in Kansas. Josh, let’s talk about Specialty Agriculture across the state of Kansas. Of course, everyone thinks about cattle, and hogs, and chickens, and turkey, but there’s another industry of Specialty Livestock out there. (Josh Roe) Yes, absolutely the Specialty Livestock Industry which we’re defining as about anything that falls out of the normal livestock realm outside of the cattle, poultry, and hog — our world there so sheep, and goats, bison, in that. When you look at the size of those industries, there’re hardly a blip on the radar screen, as far as numbers or economic impact and that. But what we’ve seen is market growth in several those industries. In fact, meat goats it’s one of the fastest-growing livestock sectors in the state in terms of percentage wise. Kansas specifically has jumped from 17th place in meat goat inventory to 13th place, just in the last several years through there. Also great examples of sheep producers, bison, llamas, and all from there. They are a different set of production practices but different resources required for beginning those, and really have been successful for producers that choose to do that, meet a lot of a niche market, so it can have some high returns. (Kyle) One thing as we talk about attracting different ethnic groups around the world to be part of our labor force, a lot of them expect some of what we will call specialty meats, because they’re used to that, and that’s what they prefer to eat? (Josh) Yes, absolutely. I think a lot of changes in demographics have changed that demand; the demand for increased, especially, a goat and lamb through that. (Kyle) What are the barriers that stop people from getting into this? Why doesn’t everyone do it? (Josh) I think first and foremost is, it might almost come down to an industry perception thing. We’re kind of traditional. Like myself, my family, for instance, we’re tend to be, “We’re cattle people,” they have never thought about branching out, and knowing that there is a good opportunity to potentially a branch out through there–. Sometimes it comes down to industry perception. Then another big issue that’s holding back some of the potential, and the prices, is just a lack of consistent infrastructures on what you do, where you take these products to market, whether that be a processor to process your sheep, and some lamb that’s ready to sell to the producer all the way to other by-products, wool and that. The lack of this infrastructure that we have — we’ve got that figured out, right. On the cattle side, on our green side, we have great infrastructure on what to do with our products when they leave our fields. It’s just building that up for the specialty industry as well. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Josh Roe. Josh is Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for the state of Kansas. This is Kyle Bauer reporting, back to you, Jamie.
(Jamie) Folks, stay tuned for this week’s Kansas Farm Bureau Update.