Mills County is known as the Meat Goat Capital of America. In the past twenty years, goats have become a major industry in Mills County—so much so that goats outnumber people!
Handbook of Texas Online
MILLS COUNTY. Mills County (H-15) is in central Texas, bordered on the north by Comanche County, on the east by Hamilton County, on the south by San Saba and Lampasas counties, and on the west by Brown County. The center of the county lies at approximately 31°30’ north latitude and 98°35’ west longitude, 110 miles northwest of Austin. The county lies partly in the Grand Prairie region and partly in the western Cross Timbers. The county was named for John T. Mills,qv and its area covers 734 square miles of hills and plateaus that drain to the Colorado River, its western boundary. Elevations range from 1,100 to 1,700 feet above sea level. A range of hills, the Cowhouse Mountains, extends from southeast to northwest, and picturesque San Saba peak (1,712 feet), covered by cedars and large white rocks, is a local landmark. Pecan Bayou flows north to south across the western section. Soils are alluvial, black waxy, sandy, and loam; timber includes live oak, post oak, cottonwood, shinnery, and pecan. Temperatures in Mills range between an average minimum of 34° F in January to an average maximum of 87° F in July. The average annual rainfall is 27.52 inches, and the growing season lasts 230 days. The county’s agricultural economy produces an income of $28 million annually, 90 percent of which is from sheep, beef cattle, goats, and hogs; crops of small grains, sorghums, and forage account for the remainder. Manufactures, chiefly of farm equipment, yield $2,200,000 annually. Fishing and hunting support a tourist industry on the Colorado River. Major roads are U.S. Highway 84/183 (west to east) and State Highway 16 (north to south).
Texa Department of Agriculture - Texas Yes!
Mills County, “Meat Goat Capital of America”
Where You’ll Find It:
Hill Country Region; US 84, US 183, Highway 16, FM 574 and FM 2005 lead into the county.
Texans Who Call This Home:
Mills County offers a variety of outdoor attractions including hunting, fishing, birding and wildflowers. Museums, shopping and golf are also available. Communities include Goldthwaite (the county seat), Mullin, Priddy, Caradan, Center City, Regency and Star.
Did You Know:
Goats outnumber people in Mills County.
Goat and BBQ Cook-Off: April
Fourth of July celebration: July
Hunter Appreciation Supper: November
Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail: December
June 2 , 2006
Goats ‘a Growin’ Business
Texas leads the nation in the number of meat goats…and there’s more to come!
By Bobby Horecka
Growing up in Wyoming, Judy Watson said she always knew she would someday be a rancher.
What she didn’t know as a little girl was that dream would eventually land her in Texas—by way of Arizona and New Mexico, no less—and take some 20 years in the making.
But what came as perhaps the biggest shock to her was the type of animals she’d be raising at her new home near Goldthwaite, the self-proclaimed “Meat Goat Capital of the United States.”
With an operation that depends on typically about 150-175 meat goats, plus a herd of fallow deer, Watson is one of the reasons her home county of Mills leads the state in meat goat production.
According to numbers compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, meat goat production has risen by some 383 percent over the last decade nationally, from about 590,000 head in 1995 to more than 2.26 million in 1995.
Texas rings in with about 1.08 million meat goats, making it the single largest meat goat producer in the United States.
Tennessee comes in second with some 103,000 goats and Georgia ranks third with 95,000 animals.
It’s a trend that puts goat producers among the fastest growing agricultural sectors on the market, said Marvin Shurley, president of the American Meat Goat Association, based in Sonora.
Not that meat goats are a new staple to Texas agriculture, he said. They’ve been around about as long as any other animal raised for food purposes in the Lone Star State.
“But the industry is still in its infancy,” he said.
As part of a study with Texas A&M in the late 1980s, Shurley developed a business plan that focused solely on sustainable meat goat production.
Meat goats have typically been a secondary production field for most ranchers, Shurley said, often run with cattle or sheep to diversify ranching products.