Goats are growing in popularity within the dairy industry and especially in the state of Wisconsin.
There were 72,000 milk goats in the state as of Jan. 1 of this year according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The number, up 7% from last year, makes Wisconsin the #1 state for milk goats across the U.S.
Goats are on the rise in the Chippewa Valley as well. A record number of 240 goats were shown at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair in June according to Wayne Greene of Cadott who serves as Superintendent of the shows.
“It’s a great past time and the camaraderie is great and you learn different things from different people,” Greene says. “It’s not quite as competitive of a show as others. People seem more laid back and friendly when it comes to the goat herds.”
Greene, himself, has about 125 goats on his Cadott farm.
“It’s a growing and upcoming thing,” Greene says. “There are a lot of herds in the area.”
He uses about 60 of them for milking while others are used for breeding. Young goats are not milked until they are one-year-old.
“We got started because my daughter wanted to show dairy goats in 4H so we got some pure-bred dairy goats and that’s where it kind of started.” Greene says.
Greene’s daughter Elizabeth says the goats started to rise in popularity soon after she began showing them. “It was amazing to see,” she says.
Greene says the increasing desire to raise goats is likely thanks to the animal’s versatility.
“There is a purpose for every goat out there whether it be meat, milk, you can harness and have them pull little wagons, pack goats are getting to be a real big thing now where you teach them to carry loads like you would a pack horse or a llama and of course goat yoga is the whole new craze,” Greene says.
Greene uses his goats to sell their milk and breeding stock.
“It’s probably more economical to raise dairy goats than cows right now at the moment and the environmental impact is lower on a goat than it would be on a dairy cow as well.”