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Rancher Uses Internet To Sell Goats

October 6, 1997

BOARDMAN, Ore. (AP) _ Just a holler from Kenn Evans’ throat is enough to bring his goats running.

``Goaters!″ he yells, although the command can be anything, as long as it’s loud. ``C’mere! C’mere!″ he shouts, and the curious amber and white animals skitter along to see what the commotion is all about.

Evans, 57, has as little trouble luring customers. He sells the goats mainly to people near his ranch in eastern Oregon a few miles from the Washington border. He also gets calls responding to an ad he places in a Salem agricultural weekly.

But when a friend across the state in Grants Pass offered to put his goats on the Internet last fall, Evans, who has little experience with computers, jumped at the chance.

``I think it’s going to be a tool for the future,″ says Evans, wearing a red ballcap and sunburned cheeks as he surveys his 80-acre ranch. ``You never know where your name is going to show up.″

Donna Higgins put Evans’ name and ad on her Livestock World Web site (www.pitchfork.com) for about $29 a month. The site draws thousands of hits a week from people interested in buying an Arabian horse or a patch of farmland in Missouri.

Hundreds have found Evans’ listing _ or clicked on a postage stamp-sized picture of one of his prized Boers _ to check out how to raise one of the exotic animals.

One of the first to surf across the site was Shelly Whelan, a St. Paul, Minn., woman who wanted to start a goat-breeding business. She called Evans and bought two goats over the phone.

Evans even delivered them while on vacation, taking the 90-pound kids on the plane in pet carriers as he flew to Milwaukee to visit his son. He then helped Whelan load them into her tiny car for the six-hour trip to St. Paul.

``She had to drive all that way with those stinky animals,″ Evans says.

Evans cleared about $1,300 on the sale, but he says the idea of reaching people well beyond the rolling plains of eastern Oregon is much more valuable.

Other people have called from all over the country, and Evans handles the sudden interest in his goats with the same business savvy he applies to his other, off-line ventures.

He owns a crane and contracts it out for construction jobs. When he learned of a building boom on the way to the area, he leased a small piece of land along Oregon Highway 395, on which he parked the crane and a sign with his name and number on it.

``It’s the same thing with the Web page,″ he says. ``If you don’t have anything out there, it’s a cinch nobody’s going to see it.″

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