Longtime dairy farm switches from cows to goats

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 5:54 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 7:19 AM EST
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HYDE PARK, Vt. (WCAX) - A Hyde Park farm is using a grant to switch dairy production.

Joneslan Farm in Hyde Park is making the transition from cows to goats after receiving a grant from the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative.

The grant and its governing board were created in 2012. We’re told they’ve created jobs and helped generate millions of dollars.

The latest grant went to the Joneslan Farm for a unique opportunity. The farm has been working dairy cows for more than 140 years but is now switching to goats, thanks to the $150,000 grant.

The program manager says the goal is to preserve commercial dairy farming in a rapidly changing economic and environmental climate.

“I think most importantly what is exciting for them is they are hoping to serve as a model for other Vermont dairy farms seeking ways to remain viable. If they can successfully transition and demonstrate that commercial-scale goat dairy is profitable, other farms may follow suit,” said Lynn-Ellen Schimoler, with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

We’re told the goal is to provide 1 million pounds of goat milk to the Vermont Creamery initially, and once fully operational, 3 million pounds of dairy.

Schimoler says the farm is doing more than thinking about finances.

“Reducing their environmental impact is also something that is really important to them with this project. They’ll be able to greatly reduce water usage, reducing their water manure amount by about 90% which reduces the risk of runoff when applying manure. And they won’t be planting any corn, so all of the corn land will be seeded down to grass and liquid mix which will be used to feed the goats. They also won’t need to rent as much land as they do now which will actually take less fuel and equipment to feed the goats,” said Schimoler.

The project started in June 2020 and is set to be complete in April 2022.

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