Food preferences in the western world are becoming increasingly international, and soaring demand for goat meat is further proof of this.

"Consumers of goat meat are practically everywhere except North America and we're working on them," said Charles Batten, president of the new Sunbelt Goat Producers Cooperative, in Albany, Georgia.

Demand for goat meat has risen steadily in the Southern US in the past decade, and the influx of immigrants from goat-eating regions such as Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East are likely to fuel further growth.

Batten explained that farmers throughout the South of the US are turning to goats as their returns from more traditional crops such as cotton shrink.

Texas is the nation's largest producer, with Tennessee and Georgia taking turns for second place. To promote production in Kentucky, the state's agricultural development board provides cash assistance to farmers who want to diversify. In North Carolina, goat sales have soared to at least US$6.6m annually.