Goat Dairy

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Theront, May 7, 2006.

  1. Theront

    Theront Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2005
    We have been searching for some land to start a little farm of our own on. We came across a goat dairy that is ready to sell. The owner has already relocated from the property. It has a milking parlor and can support 200 goats. Comes with 79 acres. I don't know a lot about it, but the price seems a little steep for the area that it is in. I have been told it is close to being able to be certified organic. Does anyone have any goat dairy experience. Is this something that can support a family of 6? We have raised and milked our own goats in the past but never at this level.

  2. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2003
    I milk 18 goats daily. The money I make along with the sale of eggs and produce in the summer just barley covers my expenses. More goats more expenses. I am sure people make a living at it. To be organic means your feed costs would be double. Can you get double for the milk. Do you have customers . I do not think there are any large companies selling organic goat milk. Who would be buying all that milk. !00 gallons a day minimum.
    Just some food for thought. Where are you located?

  3. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

    Feb 14, 2006
    if you got into the cheese industry, and made a name for your self in organic/culinary/gourmet cheeses you could make some money, it would have to be a full time all inclusive operation to make it work, not sure about it supporting a family of 6 especially right off the bat, you would really have to work at makeing inrodes and doing alot if not all of the work your self to find the right buyers and supply as much as they would take
  4. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    With time, and lots of experience and good marketing, yes, it probably could make a living for your family. However, if you've never had goats before, you need to start small, and make your initial mistakes on two or three goats, rather than two hundred of them!

  5. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    I think it will take a lot of time to build the business, so no, it won't support a family of 6 right away. Some kind of value-added product would probably have the highest profit margin: cheese, yogurt, kefir, soap, etc. And I think organic could be worth it some time down the road, but it will be awhile. If you have enough tillable acres to grow your own grains, it would make organic more realistic. If you have to buy all your grain, it would be very expensive to go organic.

    I do think there is a fast-growing market segment for goat milk, at least in the right areas. And the organic market it the fastest-growing segment of the grocery industry right now. Heck, they're getting $4.19 a QUART for goat milk at our grocery store. YES!! A QUART!!! So the interest is out there. You would have a lot of learning and work ahead to get there, but it can be done.

    Here's a farm in our state that is having a lot of success with organic goat cheeses. http://www.fireflyfarms.com/
  6. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    Perhaps you could start with a small dairy and develop an organic CSA on the side? Is it a turnkey business - ie do they already have customers, or someone who purchases their milk in bulk for cheese? If you can diversify, maybe raise organic, pastured broilers, or turkeys, OR make cheese and raise organic pork on the extra whey. Some friends of mine have an artisan cheese business, off grid, and they feed all the whey to their hogs. Value added products are key to making it on a farm, imo.

    Also, do the goats come with the business, or are you looking at having to put together a herd? IF the goats are included - are they CAE, CL free? Putting together a herd would be an expensive endeavor and must be figured in. If the cost of this place is so high as to not give you any wiggle room, PLUS you need to buy the herd, you may find yourself in a bind.

    Sounds like a great opportunity! As you can see from all my questions - there's a lot to think about. My first one that came to mind if it were me is this, "Does the rest of my family like goats THAT much?" lol There is quite a bit of research that should be done - like contacting the extension agent, and also whomever is the dairy contact (can't think of the official name of government position) to find out about the dairy industry in that particular area.

  7. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Washington State
    Like any other business, you should ask to see the books. Have they been milking 200 goats? Obviously, they must have customers built up in the area, as that would be a lot of milk for personal consumption :) Find out if you get the customers; did the customer come to the farm, or did the farmer deliver? You may also want to see what a cow dairy would sell for with similar equipment (yes, it'll be scaled for a cow, but it's the closest starting point you may have.)

    And you may want to be certain you enjoy milking goats, too. It's not quite the same as buying a burger joint and deciding you don't really like burgers, as goats of course are live animals and will suffer a bit more than a burger should you neglect the business.

    A CSA is a great way to bring in some extra cash when starting out. Plus, since you've got a large family, you've got a few hired hands already to help with planting, watering and weeding. Certified organic is certainly the catch phase of the day, so it would be worthwhile looking into, I'd think.
  8. christij

    christij Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2006
    Does Whole Foods or Wild Oats buy organic goat milk??