In college, we would get real farm situations laid before us and we would have to determine a few key items that would help the farm thrive. Sometimes there was something that we as outsiders could see, but that the farmer was too emotionally attached to and wouldn't change. They were so focused on the agricultural lifestyle that they forgot that farming is a business and should be treated like one.
Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't have emotions play a part in farming (trust me, I've cried more than I'd like to admit on the farm), but it shouldn't be the driving force behind decisions (as hard as that can be).
Since moving our goat herd to our new farm, we've had lots of discussions about how they fit into our future. They refuse to graze our gorgeous pastures and only want hay and grain (even after weeks and weeks of trying different ways to convince them otherwise). We've poured so much money into fences around our pastures, but they still get out (making me so nervous they are going to go on our busy road that I hate to leave the house for too long). Finally one day, we sat down and had a discussion about what their long term viability was on our farm.
Our goal is to be your one stop shop for meat, eggs, and dairy, but is that meat goat meat? Most likely not.
We want to leave the land better than we found it. Is a group of goats that refuse to be a part of the healing of the land a group we want to try to limp along?
At the end of the day, what is our return on our investment with time, money, and resources?
And to be 100% real with you, I don't eat goat meat and that is something I have always felt weird about promoting since I don't eat it myself. Now, beef, pork, and poultry, I eat those all til the cows come home so I am very, very comfortable telling you all about their deliciousness, just not necessarily goat meat.
After much discussion, we determined that our meat goat herd is not something we want to pursue any longer. We will still raise Angela, our dairy goat and hope to grow that part of our herd to provide you with wonderful goat milk products, but the four grown meat goats are leaving the farm now and the baby will leave in the Fall.
With the sale date imminent, there is a pit in my stomach. These girls are so sweet and I enjoy having small animals around for Cooper, but at what cost? And with the addition of a bull calf (Chuck) and hopefully many more calves, we will have small ruminants (for short periods of time) around for Cooper to play with and learn from.
We know this is right for our farm right now and is helping us stay true to our mission and goals, but sometimes decisions like this still tug at my heartstrings.