Now. This may not be the World's Most Important Map. But consider this: you might say that goats are having a moment. NPR's new-ish blog on "stories of life in a changing world" is called "Goats and Soda," a nod to the animal's ubiquity in many parts of the developing world. Closer to home, goats are being used in urban areas to trim grass and control brush.
The Post's Anup Kaphle wrote recently of goats as a cultural bridge between the U.S. and his homeland in Nepal. Goat meat is a mainstay of many African, Asian and Caribbean diets. As more people from those regions settle in the U.S., we'll see goat enter the American cooking mainstream. As it is, a Google search for "goat recipes" returns 19.3 million results.
America's goat population is heavily concentrated in the Southwest, Texas in particular. Nearly 80 percent of America's goats are raised for meat. Sixteen percent are raised for milk, with the remaining 6 percent is comprised of Angora goats raised for mohair.
You'll find commercial goat farms operating in 2,996 of the country's 3,143 counties. Of the top ten goat-producing counties, 8 are in Texas and two are in Arizona. In Sutton County, Texas, goats outnumber people 14-to-1. In Edwards County, also in Texas, the ratio is 22-to-1. All in all, goats outnumber people in 21 U.S. counties, all but one of which are in Texas.
While our national goat herd shrunk somewhat between 2007 and 2012 -- from 3.1 million to 2.6 million -- taking a longer view the trend in goat production tends upward. Back in 1982, for instance, the U.S. produced only 1.7 million goats.
In short, goats are pretty much everywhere.