Jackson Sweatman of Smoaks was awarded the S.C. Meat Goat Project Scholarship for 2020 by the South Carolina 4-H Club and Future Farmers of America.
The son of Chris and Christine Sweatman of Adams Station Boer Goats near Smoaks, Jackson took home the $1,200 scholarship at the project’s competition. The money will go to the college of Jackson’s choice.
To win the scholarship Jackson had to complete all six parts of the contest, keep records and complete activities related to his show goat, fill out an application and resume, meet to be interviewed, and then utilize showmanship to show his meat goat. He also had to pass a test the morning of a show that covered gestation, birthing, nutrition, general health and the goat industry.
There are many other criteria that must be followed to show goats, from the type of leash to grooming. The rules are specific and must be adhered to in order to win ribbons and awards.
Jackson comes from a family that raises award-winning meat and breeding goats on their farm, Adams Station Boer Goats, near Smoaks. The herd numbers in the 40s.
He got started with goats when a friend gave him two pigmy goats. He learned from the 4-H Club how to identify desirable qualities of goats, cows, sheep and pigs. Jackson also shows hogs from time to time, some of which weigh over 300 pounds, but his favorites are the goats.
The scholarship will come in handy as he begins to prepare for college. “I plan to continue showing at least through college, and after that, I may try to have some involvement with these projects as a volunteer on the committees or mentoring. Although I will likely show livestock collegiately, I’m not entirely sure if I’ll pursue livestock as a career because I aspire to eventually own/run my family’s trucking company. I will likely attend college for a degree in business management,” said Jackson.
Jackson loves showing goats because he gets to make friends, travel across the state and parts of the country, meet big names in the industry, and, of course, win money. But the best part is definitely the life skills and responsibility it teaches. “Through interacting with judges, goat breeders and competitors alike, I’ve developed great people skills that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned. I’ve developed a great deal of responsibility by raising and caring for these animals’ various needs,” he said.
There is nothing he doesn’t love about showing goats except the part when the season ends and he won’t be able to see his friends for a while. One issue that he had to overcome when he first got started was to see goats that he worked with for so long sold for meat. “It really bothered me at first, but I got used to it, and I have accepted that this is just the way the industry works,” Jackson said.
“I am proud of my son,” said Jackson’s father, Chris Sweatman. “He really worked hard for this scholarship and deserves it.”
The Goat Meat Project not only gives a scholarship, but it also promotes the nutritional information about goats. Goat meat has more iron and protein, and less saturated fat, calories, and cholesterol compared to beef and chicken. Nutritionally, goat meat is far superior to any other meat.
Three ounces of goat meat has about 122 calories, 0.79 grams of saturated fat and 3.2 milligrams of iron. This is compared to 179 calories, three grams of saturated fat and 2.9 milligrams of iron in beef.
It is also very tender, but needs to be cooked properly.
Goat meat is gaining popularity as a healthy red meat, and although it is eaten almost everywhere except the USA, interest is steadily growing here. The Adams Station Boer Goats Farm is on the cutting edge and ready for consumers.