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The decision to raise livestock for profit should not be taken lightly; it is a 24/7 job that requires much energy, dedication, and funds to cover not only animal acquisition but also feed and emergency vet bills. However, profit farming can be a highly rewarding career as long as you do the research beforehand.
There is a large market for beef in the United States, and cattle are relatively low-maintenance livestock. According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, market demand for organically raised beef, milk and cheese is rapidly increasing in the United States, and these products sell for a premium.
Cattle require more space and feed as well as larger living quarters than most other livestock options. However, they can also produce the most profit.
Some 70 percent of the world’s population regularly eats goat meat, according to the Hobby Farms website. Raising goats for meat has a U.S. market as well. Much of the United States’ supply of goat meat comes from abroad, so there is room for U.S. farmers to step up and fill the need. Moreover, goat milk can be used to create a variety of products, from soaps to candles. Certain goats, such as angora and cashmere goats, are raised for their hair, which can be sheared and sold.
Goats require less land and food, and smaller living quarters, than cattle, meaning that farmers can raise more goats than cattle for the same dollar amount.
Organically raised chicken meat and eggs command a significant part of the local market and are among the easiest forms of livestock to care for. The ever-increasing proportion of Americans living in cities instead of the country increases the demand for fresh produce and eggs.
Organic eggs and chicken meat can easily be marketed locally to stores and farmers' markets and even sold to neighbors or at roadside stands. The demand for fresh organic poultry products is ever expanding in the United States. State departments of agriculture regulate chicken farming, and requirements and specifications for each state can be found online.
Chickens are the least expensive livestock option to raise and care for. They also require the least amount of space and eat the least amount of food.
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