• 30Mar
    Categories: Goats Click to Comment

    In recent years there has been a surge in the popularity of goats in farm settings. As items such as goat’s milk, goat cheese, goat meat, and products made from goat’s milk such as soaps and lotions experienced a surge in demand, so did goats themselves. This has resulted in people owning goats that may not have owned them previously as the goat market continues to rise.

    When it comes to owning and caring for goats, there are some things you should know. As with any livestock venture, there are specific needs of goats that must be met, many of which need to be in place before your new acquisitions arrive. Once you’ve determined the breed of goat you wish to have and what your intended purpose is for those animals, it is vital that your property be both goat ready as well as goat proof in order to keep these animals safe and healthy so that your experience with them will be as successful and seamless as possible.

    The first thing you are going to need to think about before bringing goats home is housing and containment. This means not only secure fencing but also a shelter to protect them from the elements. Class 1 galvanized sheep and goat fence is idea because in addition to keeping goats in, it can aid in keeping predators out. Though goats may try to place their heads through the fence, the mesh structure goes a long way towards preventing this, but if it does happen, the wire is designed to prevent or minimize injury.  Inside of the pen you construct, goats will need a shelter. This can be similar to an oversized dog house or even a lean-to type structure that is three-sided with a sturdy roof. It is ideal to have a door that closes, however, so goats can be closed in away from hungry predators. Once your structure is in place, add straw bedding inside and your goats are good to go.

    Photo: Pinterest

    Photo: Pinterest

    Now that your goats have an area to call home, it is time to prepare a feeding area. The typical goat diet should consist of grass and hay fed regularly if you wish them to be grass-fed but grain can be added based on your personal feeding preferences. All of this should be fed up off the ground in pans or mangers as eating directly from the ground promotes parasites. Also essential is a mineral block that should be placed in a pan rather than in direct contact with the ground as well. This should be accessible at all times and offered free-choice along with baking soda to prevent bloat. Goats will consume these items as their bodies need them so you do not need to worry about under or overfeeding.

    Regular deworming is a part of goat ownership and new goats should be placed right into the rotation. The age of your goat depends on its worming needs, but regardless of age, all goats need to be on a parasite prevention plan such as this one. Keep a watch over your goats for signs of parasites (pale gums, rough coat, slow growth) and treat them accordingly with approved dewormers at the appropriate dose for easy animal for maximum effectiveness.

    With these bases covered, you are ready to bring home some goats! With proper maintenance and care, goats are sure to thrive, providing your family with both sustenance in the form of milk, meat, and goat-made products. The joys of goat ownership are many and in addition to the nutrition they provide, they are sure to give you endless entertainment as they grow and play.

  • 29Mar

    Registration is now open for the summer online classes in Sustainable Food and Farming at UMass Amherst.  These may either be taken individually or as part of a 15-credit Certificate Program.  For a list of classes see: http://sustfoodfarm.org/online-classes/

    This summer they are offering:

    Full Summer Term (May 18 – August 8, 2015)

    STOCKSCH 108 – Introduction to Botany (4 Credits)

    Summer  I Classes (May 18 – June 26, 2015)

    STOCKSCH 100 – Botany for Gardeners (GenEd-BS; 4 credits)

    STOCKSCH 120 – Organic Gardening and Farming (GenEd-BS; 4 credits)

    STOCKSCH 197 A – Backyard Homesteading (3 credits)

    STOCKSCH 290 C –  Land Use Policy & Sustainable Farming (3 credits)

    STOCKSCH 297 FP – Farm Management, Planning and Marketing (3 credits)

    STOCKSCH 397 C – Community Food Systems (3 credits)

    Summer  II Classes (July 6  – August 14, 2015)

    STOCKSCH 100 – Botany for Gardeners (GenEd-BS; 4 credits)

    STOCKSCH 117 – Agricultural Chemistry (3 credits)

    STOCKSCH 297 V – Organic Vegetable Production (3 credits)

    STOCKSCH 397 AE – Agricultural Ecology (3 credits)

    STOCKSCH 397 S – Sustainable Site Planning and Design (3 credits)

    STOCKSCH 397 FV – Post-harvest Handling of Fruits and Vegetables (3 credits)

  • 29Mar

    farm work2015 Farm Internship in New Hampshire

    The farm is a 24-acre property in Barnstead, NH with much in transition.  They just purchased an adjacent 76-acre field and forest property for expansion to relocate their small CSA to this property. This transition year is about setting up infrastructure with a permaculture mindset.  They are also in the process of setting up a small hops yard. The existing farm operation is Christmas trees. They use natural/organic practices and will begin the certification process this year.  Learn about beekeeping, too.

    Daily chores will vary widely depending upon the time of year.  You will be involved in light construction, facility repair, vegetable planting and garden maintenance, cover cropping, ongoing mowing, tree pruning, and forest management. You will work independently as often as alongside the farmer. Read more »

  • 28Mar
    Farm Field GrowingOrganic Vegetable Farm in Maine Seeking Apprentices for 2015

    Learn the art of growing tons of delicious organic vegetables and selling them at local farmers’ markets!  Peacemeal Farm is looking for hard working, reliable folks who want to join us for a full immersion apprenticeship here in the beautiful hills of Dixmont, Maine.  Apprentices will learn all aspects of production from seed starting and weeding, to harvesting and marketing. We work 10-15 hour days Monday thru Friday plus a half day on Saturday.  The ideal candidate will have a strong work ethic, physical and mental endurance for working long hours, excellent attention to detail, positive attitude, good communication skills and the burning desire to live a vegetable driven existence.

    The farm provides room, most of your food, $300/week and a hands on learning experience.

    For a detailed job description and application, contact Marcia and Mark at peacemeal@midmaine.com or at 207-257-4103.

  • 27Mar
    garden on the farmLadyBug Farm CSA located in Waycross, Georgia is looking for a person who wants to learn about creating a small CSA and is interested in trading help on the farm for this information and the opportunity to earn money running a small CSA.  this is a long term position that will start as an internship and if successful move into the person running their own CSA on LadyBug Farm land. Information on LadyBug Farm CSA can be found at www.ladybugfarmcsa.com
    The type of help needed on LadyBug Farm is feeding of goats, chickens and rabbits.  Weeding and mulching of garden, orchard and herb garden.  The intentions of this position is to teach an individual how to start and run a small CSA and give them the opportunity to run a CSA with our mentoring and guidance onsite at LadyBug Farm.  Because of the rural location, transportation is pretty much required.  They are only 8 minutes from town, but walking would be a real pain. Read more »
  • 26Mar

    National Hmong American Farmers Annual Farm Conference
    April 30, 2015 in Fresno, California
    National Hmong American Farmers, Inc. will focus this conference on “Coming Together in the Asian American Pacific Islander Farming Community.” They have invited Latino and Latina farmers, beginning farmers, and farm workers to join in this sixth national event.

    Piedmont Farm Tour 
    April 25-26, 2015 in Alamance, Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Person counties, North Carolina
    Learn about the Triangle region’s local and organic farm and food scene. This self-guided tour offers the opportunity to visit any of 40 participating stops over the course of two afternoons.

    California Farm to School Conference
    May 4-6, 2015 in Pacific Grove, California
    This conference will offer a series of workshops, panels, and discussions. Farmers, distributors, government representatives, procurement officers, educators, and food program administrators will attend.

  • 25Mar

    WEBINAR: Managing Your Farm Business in an Economic Downturn

    Date: Tuesday, March 31; Time: 11 AM EST; Cost to attend: Free

    Register now to hear Purdue University, Professor Michael D. Boehlje in this one time webinar “Managing your farm business in an economic downturn” as he addresses issues that matter to you, including:

    • The current business climate
    • Key financial vulnerabilities
    • Strategies to respond

    Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn how torespond to current economic pressures and manage your business through a downturn.

  • 24Mar

    APPLY NOW for a field study opportunity this summer:
    The Grange Farm School’s Practicum Student Program aims to prepare the whole farmer, with a curriculum covering agricultural production skills, industrial arts, marketing and business skills essential to a profitable farm. Practicum Students earn college credit through Mendocino College, and have the option to live on site in a beautiful Mendocino County valley. Three month terms will combine rigorous academic curriculum with hands on experiential learning, and students will emerge with a foundational understanding of sustainable agriculture. Opportunities abound for graduates both at the Grange Farm School and in the surrounding community. Check their website for more information: www.GrangeFarmSchool.org/training-program

    Grange Farm School

  • 24Mar

    Beginning Farmer Education Program Manager Job Posting – Michigan

    The MSU Student Organic Farm (SOF) is hiring a Beginning Farmer Education Program Manager. The position is three-quarters time (30 hrs/wk) and is part of a recently awarded USDA grant titled “Michigan’s Emerging Farmers – Strategies and Tools to Enhance Success,” a collaboration among the MSU SOF, Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS), and the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS). The Beginning Farmer Education Program Manager will work closely with and report to the SOF Organic Farmer Training Program Director and work closely with the MIFFS and CRFS members of the project team. This position has secure funding through November 2017.

    The overall goal of the grant is to increase new farm success in Michigan by developing networks and resources for land and capital access while providing increased access to education and training. Project-supported resources will be adapted as appropriate for specific groups of beginning farmers with differing needs and perspectives in an attempt to help all of them move toward business viability.

    The goal for the SOF-led portion of the grant is to increase access to beginning farmer training across Michigan through co-development and delivery of hands-on workshops and educational materials. Project strategy encompasses three sites:

    • The MSU Student Organic Farm, with an eight year history of beginning farmer training and focus on generalized statewide beginning farmers;
    • Farmers on the Move, already established as a Hispanic farmer cooperative in need of training development in a variety of areas as well as site development; and
    • Women in Agriculture, a newly-developed site for women focused on cooperative farming.

    The project focuses on developing site and people-appropriate training programs that both utilize the lessons learned in previous trainings in Michigan and ensure that they are useful and engaging for the particular audiences intended at the three sites. Read more »

  • 23Mar

    Farming can be an expensive endeavor, whether you do it for a hobby or as a means of survival. There will be times when money gets tight and it seems like the expenses will never stop mounting. In times such as this, having a little extra income would be helpful, but how can you turn that dream into a reality? There are many things you can do around the farm to offset some of your expenses. These things will probably not make you rich, but they can help swing your numbers out of the red and back into the green.

    In a day and age when it is important to people to buy local, being a farmer with goods to sell is ideal. Though it is important to know and abide by things such as zoning, business, food preparation, and insurance requirements, it is still possible to take a little piece of your farm output and put it into dollars. This is most easily done at places like farmer’s markets where things such as the 10 listed below are sold.

    1. If you have chickens creating a surplus of eggs, sell the eggs. If you wind up with a surplus of chickens, those can be sold as well.

    2. Fruits and vegetables grown on your farm that are in surplus of what you need/will use can be sold.

    3. Baked goods and preserves such as jams and jellies can be offered for sale as well.

    4. As animals breed and reproduce, weaned animals such as goats, cows, and horses can be sold.

    5. If you own bee boxes, honey sales are possible.

    6. Soap making is another trend growing in popularity, especially types made from goat’s milk.

    7. Offer manure for sale to landscapers/gardeners.

    8. Grow, harvest, and sell bales of hay.

    9. Sell meat from butchered animals.

    10. When clearing land, sell excess firewood.

    Photo: Indiana Hay Oline

    Photo: Indiana Hay Online

    There are other items you can sell, but it is important to follow laws and guidelines for those items, such as milk. Depending on your local laws, for example, it could be illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption. That milk may be sellable as pet milk, but in order to offer it for human consumption, it often requires pasteurization. If you wish to begin selling milk, but sure to educate yourself as to the necessary steps you must follow prior to doing so in your area.

    It is possible that you could offer services such as a petting zoo with small animals that are tame, well-behaved and mild mannered. Also possible is renting areas for photoshoots for occasions such as senior portraits. You could rent rustic barns as a setting for weddings as well. Though these ideas are great, it is these in particular that will require all of your liability bases to be covered before anyone is allowed to set foot onto your property. Legal documents drawn up by an attorney are another must-have.

    Though farming is a rewarding venture and can be financially productive, sometimes it is the smaller homesteader whose bank account needs an extra push. By utilizing some of the ideas above, you can provide yourself with such assistance. Be sure to cover yourself from a liability standpoint at all times and always sell your goods in a safe location in order to enjoy a bit of extra cash from your farming efforts.

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