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Small Goats Produce Great Milk
When Andrea “Andy” Johnson acquired a few Nigerian goats 5 years ago to clear some of the thick brush on her Northern Minnesota farm, she had no idea it was the start of a whole new business for her.
Today Andy’s Acres Goat Farm produces goat milk soap, handcrafted cheese, and sells wether bucks for meat. She also sells a limited number of kids for breeding stock or pets.
Johnson’s Nigerian Dwarfs weigh from 40 to 100 lbs., with does standing about 22 1/2 in. tall at the shoulder and bucks 23 1/2 in. “They’re small and friendly, but their milk can have twice the butterfat content as most dairy goats,” says Johnson. “Also, the milk tastes better, about the same as fresh, raw cow’s milk.”
“I tried milking full-size Nigerian goats, hoping to increase the amount of milk I could get per day, but while there was more milk, it only made half the cheese,” says Johnson. “They are a larger animal so they cost more to raise, and the milk tasted more goaty, too.” Her Nigerian Dwarfs only produce about half a gallon of milk per day, but she says it has a “fresher” taste.
Johnson’s background as a USDA federal meat packing inspector in Iowa has provided valuable insight for the clean processes she uses for collecting milk and in cheese production. Her goats have annually tested herd-negative for CAE, CL, Johne’s and brucellosis. Her family consumes raw goats milk and cheese on the farm. Johnson also enjoys selling and gifting her handcrafted milk soaps.
Johnson pays close attention to the genetics in her herd with 4 breeding bucks selected for production, performance and personality. “Top genetics is really an investment in my herd,” she says. In the future she’s hoping to produce milking does that can be milked just once a day rather than twice, without drying up. “This would make them more marketable to other homesteaders, because milking twice a day is a real commitment.
“Nigerian Dwarfs are a fun breed, very winter hearty, and they like playing outdoors all year long. They’re a joy to have around and a big deal for our family, too.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Andrea Johnson, Andy’s Acres, Carlton, Minn. (ph 218 269-7838; www.andysacres.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #1