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-thousand meat goats now call Missouri home, a one-thousand 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-thousand goats on hand. Nationwide the population was down three percent at one-point-nine-five million. Meanwhile, Missouri’s milk goat population was down five-hundred head at 97-hundred, running contrary to the slight uptick nationally at 415-thousand head.

Sheep populations in Missouri were down five-thousand head, starting out the year at 107-thousand. 86-thousand were held for breeding while 21-thousand were destined for market. Missouri now ranks 13th in the nation for sheep production. The state’s lamb crop held steady at 81-thousand despite an additional two-thousand ewes on hand during the past year. Wool production edged lower by one-thousand pounds to 279-thousand, despite three-thousand fewer shorn sheep at 47-thousand. Wool prices held steady at 35 cents per pound, still the third cheapest rate in the nation ahead of Iowa and Minnesota.

Nationwide the sheep population was down 100-thousand at five-point-one-three million, split between three-point-six-seven million kept for breeding and one-point-three-six million destined for market. A total of three-point-zero-three million lambs were born in 2023, down two percent year-over-year, while wool production was down 569-thousand pounds at 22-point-seven million.