Peterson Livestock offers customers an array of goat genetics to take into the show ring

Peterson Livestock's herd offers both genetics geared toward market wether success in the arena and full blood Boer goat genetics.

Peterson Livestock got into the goat industry around a decade ago and have been building their herd ever since. Pictured are Hanna Peterson and her dad, Robert Peterson. Photo taken Jan. 23, 2023, in Fedora, South Dakota.
Emily Beal / Agweek

FEDORA, S.D. — The goat industry is in its infancy, compared to other livestock industries, such as cattle. But it has made tremendous progress in a short period of time. This evolution is thanks to tenacity driven producers, like Peterson Livestock.

Peterson Livestock offers premium goat genetics from their operation in Fedora, in eastern South Dakota. They have been raising the small ruminants for about a decade and have seen their stock rise in quality right before their eyes, year after year.

“One thing I like about the goats is you can see a definite improvement of quality as far as structure, muscle and quality every year, from when we started to now. It's amazing how they've changed,” Robert Peterson said.

Hanna Peterson feeds one of their bottle babies they had from this year's kid crop. Photo taken Jan. 23, 2023, in Fedora, South Dakota.
Emily Beal / Agweek

Peterson and his daughter, Hanna, run about 100 does on their location and have buck partnerships with other producers in Texas. For them, this is a win-win scenario, as they don’t have to have their bucks endure the winters and feed them throughout the year. The pair often travel the country far and wide looking to add new genetics to their herd, as they can be difficult to find in the region.

“South Dakota is more of a rural place, and not so easily accessible compared to the other show states like Indiana, Iowa and down south, so we have as many good goats as we can naturally,” Hanna Peterson said.


This year's kidding season proved to be one of the easier years for the Petersons, and they had around 100 kids hit the ground. Peterson Livestock sells their offspring through private treaty, online sales and through in-person sales for which they travel around the country.

Peterson Livestock initially got into the full blooded goat genetics due to their fun color patterns. Photo taken Jan. 23, 2023, in Fedora, South Dakota.
Emily Beal / Agweek

One thing that makes Peterson Livestock unique is that they offer their customers both genetics geared toward market wether success in the arena, as well as full blood Boer genetics. This has allowed them to offer their customers an array of options to take into the show ring. It has also allowed them to diversify their herd. They first got into full blood genetics — which refers to goats that are descended from dam and sires that are both 100% Boer — because of the loud, bold coloring that’s often splashed across the goats.

“Honestly, my mom, big fan of color. For every regular goat we buy, that dad and I buy, we have to buy a colored goat to make mom happy,” Hanna Peterson said.

Boer goats originated in South Africa and are bred for the warm weather. This makes it hard for the herd on Peterson Livestock’s operation, as they are not used to or bred to withstand the unforgiving Great Plains winters.

Boer goats originated in South Africa, making the South Dakota winters less than desirable. Photo taken Jan. 23, 2023, in Fedora, South Dakota.
Emily Beal / Agweek

“They don't take to the cold. We've bred these goats to be thinner hided so they just can't handle the cold like the full bloods can handle the cold better than those thin-hided skinny neck weather types,” Robert Peterson said.

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Emily grew up on a small grains and goat farm in southern Ohio. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she moved to Fargo, North Dakota to pursue a career in ag journalism with Agweek. She enjoys reporting on livestock and local agricultural businesses.
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