DEXTER -- What does a herd of goats next to a public building equal? For Bloomfield resident Luther Burns it equals attention -- and plenty of it. Burns, who is also Ward I alderman in Bloomfield, has attracted many passers-by to his goat herd, which grazes and plays in a pasture next to the Stoddard County Health Clinic on Highway 25.
"They get a lot of attention," Burns said. "We get people who pull over and take pictures or come out and pet the goats."
After having raised goats for about a year, Burns said he is surprised not only by the attention they attract, but also the profit.
"I've had livestock here ever since I've owned the property," Burns remarked. "I've raised horses and cows and a few goats. But I just decided to stick with goats."
Burns has 35 goats in his herd and plans to continue raising them. He even has goats that are uncommon in this part of the country, such as the South African boar billy.
Part of the business is selling the goats for slaughter.
"I understand the meat is pretty popular," Burns said. "It's supposedly lower in cholesterol than other meats and, even though there isn't a big demand for it around here, it's popular in a lot of other areas."
Burns said he doesn't deal directly with meat packers, he sells the goats at auction or to individuals.
"Most packers like anywhere from 50- to 70-pound goats and they pay around $1 to $1.10 per pound," said Burns, a retired truck driver. "I plan to have more goats next year."
Burns said he wasn't prepared for the attention the animals garner, but he welcomes it nonetheless. "There seems to be plenty of people interested in them ... but I'm not going to have a petting zoo," he quipped. "I've had quite a few people goats for pets."