Is there a real market for goat's milk??greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
My new wife and I are buying a small farmette in PA this spring. I have always helped milk cows on local farms throughtout my life, basically for enjoyment. With the costs of cattle farming and the fact that our new place would not support cattle, dairy cattle are out of the question. However, I enjoy just tinkering around with animals, so my wife and I are thinking about getting a few goats for something to do. Then we thought if we get goats, why not get dairy goats to atleast get more than a pet out of them. My question is: Is there a real market out there to make any money on goat's milk?? To be honest, I've never even tried goat's milk...just interested in doing something of this nature, I guess it's just the farmboy in me. Any ideas and opinions are greatly appreciated!! Thank You
-- Matt (email@example.com), December 04, 2001
Hi Matt; We raise dairy goats and use the milk. You will not notice the difference in taste, for the most part, from whole cows milk. We do not pasturize our milk as I always think it tastes burnt. It's great to cook with in Pumpkin pies or gravys etc. If you keep a buck goat in the same area sometimes in the fall the milk will taste "bucky", like the buck smells. You will need to check with AG people about advertising and selling. If you live anywhere near the Amish they might be on a pickup route for a big manufacturing companies for goat cheese. We have had dairy goats for 14 years and enjoy them so much. If you're not familiar with goats a good book that will help is Raising Milk Goats the Modern Way By J.D. Belanger. I read my first one from the library and then bought one. They have a whole series about raising different things the Modern Way. Enjoy goats they're great. Linda
-- Linda (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 04, 2001.
Thank you for your words of encouragement. I will definately look for the book. I honestly never even thought about the Amish possibly being on a pickup route. We could get a few for fun, or with used dairy equipment being cheap in our area, we could install a pipe line similar to a dairy and go with at least 30. Just trying to cover all the bases...haha...thanks again!
-- Matt (email@example.com), December 04, 2001.
If you're interested in goat dairying, Matt, you might consider a value-added operation making goat cheese. Goat cheese is much more marketable to the average consumer than fluid milk, has a longer shelf life, and most importantly, gives you a *far* greater return per hundredweight of your milk.
The cheese company that buys goats milk in PA was only paying $15 or $16/cwt. last time I checked, and the economics favor 200-300 doe herds managed exceptionally well. It's not something a novice can do.
However I know of several small (20-30 doe) goat herds who sell their own farmstead cheese profitably. There is considerable more equipment expense involved in commercial cheesemaking, and a real need for prodigious resourcefulness. But it can and is being done.
-- Julia (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 04, 2001.
You might wish to see whether there is an Extension Service available in your county. Quite often they are in a partnership with a local university. It is amazing how much help and information is available for free from them; not only in the form of literature, but people who are just swimming in knowledge, and anxious to share it. They do help large farmers, sure, but they also are a gold mine of information to the small farmer, and the 'not yet' farmer.
-- Dianne Wood (email@example.com), December 04, 2001.
As for a market for goat milk, well..... they are few and far between. I have several friends in PA scattered throughout the st that raise dairy goats. I understand that there is a market, however, it is not the best. Its very competitive as far as getting a contract with the plants there and the best that is available are with the Amish. There is a website that may be able to assist you in getting further information, www.realmilk.com
We recently moved from VA to AR to begin a Grade A dairy. It is not an easy endeavor and we realize that we really need to cultivate our own marketing and promotion vs shipping milk for various reasons. Meaning we are eventually going to go into creating a cheese facility and fudge shop in our dairy shop.
The best markets are with making cheese and fudge. cheese however, is the best endeavor. I have friends who make cheese and they claim to make 900.00 on a good week. But then you will need a yr round milk supply to stay on top of business as you will have sales all yr round. you will also have to invest some serious cash into a pasturizer and other necessary equipment. Research and do your homework before you enter into this endeavor and make sure you have a market, then research the regs, you want to be above board because if you are not then you can be basically out of business in a heart beat! You will have to promote you product, as there are very few organizations that will assist with this so be prepared to market, market, market.
I don't mean to sound so discouraging, however, I am just sharing experiences we have been through. If you are willing to invest time, money and patience you will be successful. Also, when buying goats please buy the best you are able to afford, you will not regret it. $40.00 does from the local auction don't cut it. And you also need to brush up on management of goats too as their health and well being are critical to your business. Good luck!
-- Bernice (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 04, 2001.
Hi, Matt. Our family started a few years ago with Toggenburgs. Today we are hoping to develop a small herd of Oberhaslis. They are beautiful in coloring, and the milk tastes great. Because of the heavy buck smell, we take our "girls" out for their dates. In New Hampshire there are several small licensed dairies that sell milk, cheese, and by-products. We do it for the milk for the family (5 children) and for fun. Good luck to you. Sandy
-- sandra glazer (email@example.com), January 18, 2002.