It's been a rough month for Vermont dairy farms. At least three farmers have called in quits in the past two weeks, but there is a bright spot in the industry.
Cows may be king in Vermont, but from the factory to the farm, a new breed of animal is moving in on the bovine's stomping grounds.
"It's an incredibly exciting industry," said Karen Lindbo, who along with her partner, George Redick, operate Oak Knoll Farm in Windsor -- the largest goat dairy in the state.
Lindbo and Redick first got started in the dairy business 24 years ago with just four goats, but things have changed in the years since. They now milk more than 400 goats a day.
In 1994 there were only 9 goat dairy farms in the state.
There are now 27 goat dairy farms.
"The interest in goats has expanded. I think primarily because the cow dairy industry fluctuates so much," Lindbo said.
The pricing structure is more stable. Goat farmers today are being paid 42 cents per pound. Cow milk typically fluctuates anywhere from 14 to 22 cents per pound.
But there are drawbacks. It takes 10 goats to produce the amount of milk you get from one good Holstein, and roughly 200 goats for most farms to even break even.
But Vermont does have one thing most states do not -- The Vermont Butter and Cheese Company. The creamery churns out more than 8-million pounds of product a year using milk from Vermont farms, and is the largest producer of goat cheese in all of New England.
The plant is currently in the process of expanding. Right now they rely on milk from out of state to meet the company's needs. "We'll be able to increase our capacity five-fold with this," said Allison Hooper, the company's founder.
The only problem is there's not enough local milk to keep up with demand. Most of the milk comes from Canada. A new farm in Randolph will soon help solve that. A partnership known as the Castanea Foundation is converting a former cow dairy to goats and will eventually milk 800 of them to help supply milk to Vermont Butter and Cheese.
It's an industry with a lot of promise, and one that is putting Vermont on the map, as Vermont farmers adapt in the world of agriculture.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:43:23 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:42:02 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:40:46 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:38:52 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>