Riffel goats draw buyers to Hillsboro

Staff writer

When buyers from 12 different counties show up at a first-time prospective meat goat sale there must be something special about the offering. When Riffel brothers Karl, 17, and Kyle, 15, of rural Tampa offer goats for sale, buyers can be assured a lot of hard work and knowledge went into the event.

Friday evening the Riffels, along with their parents, James and Beth, sister Kara, and several friends and relatives, offered 26 wethers for sale in a laid-back auction format at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro.

“We were very pleased with the crowd,” Karl Riffel said. “There were about 35 to 40 buyers and everything we brought sold.”

With about 100 commercial Boer meat goats at home to care for every day, and 60 does that freshened with babies this spring, the Riffels have had a very busy year so far.

“The work really started when the babies were born in late December and early January,” Karl said. “We all work together on the chores. Everybody pitches in.”

The Riffels also raise and show swine and cattle, in addition to their meat goats, so there is always plenty to do.

“Probably the busiest time with the goats was at weaning age when we had to disbud and band them all,” Karl said. “Then again, two weeks ago when we had to do all the clipping and get ready for this sale — that was pretty busy too.”

Kyle Riffel said the 26 goats they sold Friday went for prices of $250 to $450 each.

“We kind of had our eyes on the better ones, so we weren’t really surprised to see which ones sold higher,” Kyle said.

The brothers spent time visiting with potential buyers at the sale, answering questions, and providing advice as needed.

“Most people ask us which ones to pick,” Kyle said. “I showed them how to look for a good amount of muscle over the top, especially through the loin, and evenly muscled on the back legs.”

Karl said he enjoyed talking with customers as part of the sale, and his best advice to buyers was to look for balance between power and pretty.

“It’s not hard to pick out the good ones,” Karl said. “They stand out.”

Karl and Kyle kept back six wethers that have not left the farm yet. They will show these at fairs and FFA events in the coming months.

“It’s nice to have a lot less to feed at home, now,” Kyle said. “But we have some shows to get ready for pretty quickly.”

Karl said the first big show on their schedule was the Centre FFA cattle, swine, sheep, and goat prospective show April 27 and 28 at the Herington fairgrounds.

“It’s a challenge to get everything done, with school and farm,” Karl said. “But the whole family helps. There is enough for everybody to do, that’s for sure.”

The whole family benefits from working together, as well as from profits made at their first prospective meat goat sale.

“We put the money into our main farm account,” Karl said. “It goes for whatever is needed most, fuel, feed, whatever we need to keep building up our farm.”

Last year, the Riffels sold some prospective meat goats by private treaty and consigned several to an outside auction. This was their first self-organized consignment sale.

“We called it the Up Front Goat Sale because we are selling goats we hope will be at the front of show ring lineups,” Beth Riffel said. “However, we always want to leave it open to consignments from other breeders in the future, so that’s why we didn’t call it the Riffel Goat Sale, or something like that.”

Buyers for the Up Front sale on Friday came from counties like McPherson, Butler, and Sedgewick, some even as far as Pottawatomie, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Leavenworth.

“People were looking for good wethers,” Karl said. “I’m going to be showing does this year and saving them back for my herd so I have more to sell next year.”

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