Action Foods is Changing Saskatchewan Agriculture.
When most Canadians think of goats, they picture goat cheese, milk, perhaps mohair sweaters, and likely the friendly pocket nibblers at the local petting farm. In other parts of the world, however, goats are also an excellent source of protein. The meat, known as chevon, represents a huge potential new market for Saskatchewan farmers. Canada imported three million kilograms of frozen goat meat in 2017, mostly from New Zealand and Australia. Given Saskatchewan’s leadership as an agricultural powerhouse, it begs the question: why are we importing meat we can easily produce at home?
Saskatoon’s Action Foods is taking matters into their own hands, recognizing the opportunity in goats. CEO Bert Sutherland is working hard to build the goat industry in the province. “Action Foods is all about goats. From the creation of breeding stock to putting chevon on the table, we’re building the supply to meet the growing demand in Canada,” says Sutherland. “Goats may be one answer to feeding the world one day.” Action Foods buys and sells goats, both live and processed as chevon. The company also offers equipment, feed and even guard dogs for producers looking to get into the goat business. “We’ve created a ‘Goat Pod’ for new producers, that provides everything they need to get into the business including training and marketing,” says Sutherland.
Eventually, Action Foods will move into packaging processed goat meat for grocery store shelves. For now, they are concentrating on building industry capacity to meet the growing demand. “While goat is not a traditionally consumed protein in Canada, that is changing,” says Sutherland. “Canada’s growing ethnic foods market is looking for a safe, quality source of chevon including halal chevon, to meet a variety of consumer tastes. Saskatchewan farmers can easily meet this need.” Currently, Action Foods is building markets for Canadian goat meat first in Saskatchewan then Alberta, BC, Ontario and Quebec.
As the industry takes hold in Saskatchewan, Action Foods will work at encouraging the development of a federally-regulated processing facility, able to produce chevon for export. “More people in the world eat goat meat than they do beef,” says Sutherland. “Our plan is to build capacity to serve the domestic market with fresh goat meat first, but there is a huge opportunity for export.” For example, China is the largest consumer of goat meat in the world and is one of Saskatchewan’s largest trading partners. An already well-established export relationship exists with the country, and Action Foods is ready to add another product to the list of Saskatchewan agricultural products headed for Asia.
“Saskatchewan agricultural producers have the initiative and the land to grow this industry,” says Sutherland. “And First Nations people likely have more opportunity than anybody. They have the best land to raise goats.” Action Foods provides the resources and training to help producers take advantage of this unique opportunity. To learn more about goats, contact Action Foods at (306) 230-8652.