Category Archives: Goat Farming 101

Yes, Virginia, it is possible to support your family’s lifestyle with 50 goats, on 5 acres. There have been a number of fads in the livestock farming industry. A few have worked but only for a short period of time as the mid 90’s Emu adventure illustrates. The Texas cattle rancher earns, if he is good, a whopping $3/head per month. Goats, the world’s most popular red meat source, produce twice as many twice as fast, forage concurrently on the same land, earning a dollar more per head. You would need 2500 goats on a lot of land to make our goal of $10,000 a month. Learn how to legally produce raw goat’s milk, selling each nannies 305-gallon annual production for ten to twelve dollars a gallon. Think of it as a legal ‘still’ for making milk shine.

GET THOSE DUST BOWLS OFF THE SHELF

Midwest Farm Bubble Continues Collapse As Farm Incomes Expected To Crash In 2017

Earlier this week the U.S Department of Agriculture released its biannual report of farm incomes which paints a very bleak picture for the American farmer.  In its first forecast for 2017, the USDA sees real farm cash receipts down 14% versus 2015 and 36% from the previous high set in 2012 as farm debt continues to soar and leverage surges to all-time highs. 

As the Wall Street Journal notes, the deadly combination of rising input costs, lower grain prices, a strong dollar and excessive leverage will likely force many of America’s Midwest farmers out of business in 2017.

Costs for seeds, fertilizer and equipment climbed so high and grain prices dropped so low that he still lost more than $120 an acre. Afraid to come up short again, Mr. Scott decided last fall not to plant 170 acres of winter wheat, close to a third of the usual amount. U.S. farmers sowed the fewest acres of winter wheat this season in more than a century.

Agrinomics: Yield per Acre

Adam Smith called it the rent of the land, the individual farmer, the man on the spot, was best suited to get the most out of the land. Karl Marx, didn’t want to let the farmer do his own thing for fear he would rape the soil to produce as much as possible today and not worry about tomorrow.

The Rent: Today Illinois farm land goes for $425/acre the farmer produces 180 bushels of corn on that acre and then sells it for $6 a bushel $6 x 180 = $1,080 less $542 for all that good fertilizer, pesticides, machinery, etc. he’s at $538 minus the $425 rent leaves him at the end of the harvest with $113 per acre profit.

180 bushels @ Dec 2016 price of $3.33 X 180 = $599.40 less $542 for all that good fertilizer, pesticides, machinery, etc. he’s at $57 minus the $425 rent leaves him at the end of the harvest with $-368 per acre loss.

“No one just grain farms anymore,” said Deb Stout, whose sons Mason and Spencer farm the family’s 2,000 acres in Sterling, Kan., 120 miles east of Ransom. Spencer also works as a mechanic, and Mason is a substitute mailman. “Having a side job seems like the only way to make it work,” she said.

She and her husband have declared bankruptcy before. Farmers around Sterling lost $6,400 on average in 2015, the latest available data, after profits of $80,800 a year earlier, according to the KansasFarm Management Association.

REINVENTING AGRICULTURE

“No one just grain farms anymore,”

The commodity grain farmer after Nixon’s 1971 devaluation of the dollar got a dollar more for a bushel of corn. The mid-west farmer could get 140 bushels per acre in 1975 at $3.00 per bushel for a gross of $420 per acre. 2017 corn averages $3.50 but yield per acre has risen to 180 bushels. Ipso facto $3.50 times 180 equals $630/ acre. That’s good right? Not if you factor in the Nixon Greenspan Bernanke credit bubble. $3.00 in 1975 has the buying power of  $13.96 today. 2) economically viable to the farmer

John Reganold, a professor of soil science and agroecology at Washington State University, said a 4) crop’s yield is just one of four metrics by which it should be considered sustainably productive.

Equally important, he argued, is whether a crop is 1) environmentally safe, 2) economically viable to the farmer and 3) socially responsible by paying its workers well, for example.

“For any farm to be sustainable, it must meet each and every one of these four sustainability criteria,” Reganold said by phone Tuesday.

When organic farming practices are compared to conventional practices using all four of those metrics, the FOE report argues, the organic practices hold an advantage considering their resilience to increasingly pressing agricultural challenges, including climate change and water scarcity.

4) crop’s yield Yield in 1929 was 20 bushels per acre. Compare that to today’s 180 bushels on the same dust bowl mid-west acre.

“Increasing the proportion of agriculture that uses sustainable, organic methods of farming is not a choice, it’s a necessity,”

Claire Kremen, a conservation biology professor at University of California at Berkeley, writes in the report.

It’s Dust Bowl time again: the soil is depleted, the farmer is deeply in debt, the stock/bond market is about to crash and farm land value is drying up. No more wheat, soy or corn means it’s a good time to start a garden or become an organic farmer.

IT TAKES A VEGAN TO RAISE A VILLAGE

The “Vegetarianism in America” study published by Vegetarian Times showed that 3.2 percent of U.S. adults, or 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian-based diet. Approximately 0.5 percent, or 1 million, of those are vegans, who consume no animal products at all.

 “Agriculture, the Produce of the Land, is the SOLE or the PRINCIPAL Source of the Revenue and Wealth of every Country.” – Adam Smith.

The Vegan-Vegetarian set are a bunch of picky eaters. Since, they have to deny themselves anything good to eat – they are the eat to live sufferers – they painstakingly make sure that it’s organic, locally grown, regeneratively farmed and environmentally sustainable. The remaining 96.8% of the population doesn’t care about soil degradation, GMO ingredients, pesticide residues, algae plumes or the evils of industrialized agriculture; only does it taste good and how much does it cost?

“The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society is that carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country.”– Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, 1776, (pg. 473)

The Vegan-Vegetarian loyalists favor their local farmers’ markets over Whole Foods to support their community economically. The only time that the American farmer made any money was between the end of slavery (1870) and until the end of WWI (1914). After the war Henry Ford turned his auto manufacturing expertise to cranking out ‘Farmall’ tractors which triggered Adam Smith’s caution algo: Equipment, Seeds & Fertilizer “the rise in the real price of manufactures, decreases the price of the raw produce of the land – thereby discouraging agriculture.”

The introduction of mechanization eliminated nine out of ten family farms because more land was needed to support the cost of the equipment that ended up producing commodity row crops, corn, wheat and cotton. The unemployed farmers moved to Detroit for five dollars a day wages which their wives spent buying canned goods at Barney Kroger’s or A & P.

The Vegan ladies 80% and Vegie ladies 60% and their corresponding male sympathizers are leading the way to establishing the farmer-villager relationship and the:

“The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society is that carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country.”

2017 statistics say that the Vegan-Vegetarian consumers number 17 million or 5% of the population. However, to make ‘American Agriculture Great Again’ we have to get the meat-lovers buying 100% grass-fed beef and family farmed pork, poultry and dairy. Before WWI 80% of the people lived in rural villages, now that 80% lives in metro-areas. Before WWI local farmers supplied 95% of the foodstuffs for the neighboring villages. How can we get them down on the farm again?

DUST BOWL IIWhen this happened in 1937 they packed up and went to California. There hasn’t been a dust bowl since then, why? FDR subsidized irrigation by pumping the Ogallala Aquifer down to keep those row crops growing. Now when the water runs out – current usage is a negative two meters per year – the great plains states will be forced to return to great prairie states. The Vegan-Vegetarian Left-Wing Millennial Marauders will disembowel the Industrial-Agriculture Complex and raise little happy villages all across the land.

CABRITO AL PASTOR

Keep the girls and eat the boys. Boy goats don’t live long because it only takes one to make babies. The girls give milk and 2.3 babies every eight months. There is always a 50/50 chance that her kids are going to be boys. The kids live on their mother’s milk for the first 30 days. The shepherd, the el pastor, skins the little boys (cabritos) and cooks them over a low fire in the field or pasture. This time honored BBQ dish is called ‘Cabrito al Pastor,’ in Spanish and Portuguese.

The boys remain cute until they are three months old, they become sexually mature at four months and can impregnate their mother. Sometimes, they are banded at two weeks and allowed to grow as ‘wethers’ (castrated male goats) to an eighty pound weight. The cost of feed – 50% of the cost of business – forces the goat farmer to favor the cabrito al pastor option at $20-25 each.

WHY PEOPLE BUY ANYTHING

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I was sitting in my Connecticut-Jewish lawyer’s office when the man himself, Howard Kahn, returned from a $3,500 half-day marketing seminar, to help me finish my pro-bono divorce papers. I queried the counselor, “Howard, just what in the hell did you learn for $3,500?

“Teg, there are three reasons why people buy anything: 1) Pleasure, 2) Avoid Pain and 3) They’re in Pain.”

  1. Pleasure is easy, a new car, dress or filet mignon. 2) You want to avoid pain, so you buy car insurance and eat healthy foods. 3) When you are in pain you go to the emergency room of the county hospital because you don’t have health insurance.

Two years later, with great success, I was selling new homes by demonstrating the pleasures of owning a home, with the exquisite architectonic features, displayed in my model homes. My four-year path of least resistance was interrupted by the necessity of selling 50 gallons of grade ‘A’ raw goat’s milk every week, instead of four homes a month.

As the New Home Sales Counselor my task was easy. I sat around waiting until the weekend, for the first time home buyers to arrive, where I took them on a tour, followed by a financial presentation that left them giving me a $500 earnest money check. The plight of the dairy goat farmer soon became obvious when almost nobody was willing to drive 50 miles out in the country just to buy a lousy gallon of goat’s milk.

The pleasure of consuming raw goat’s milk chevre and feta was not pleasurable enough to truck out to our farm, even on a sunny weekend afternoon. Our solution to overcoming a weekly $1,500 negative cash flow was cheat, break the law and open a tent at the farmers’ market. You see the Texas raw dairy regs confine the sale to on-the farm, which precludes anybody from ever making any money because Howard’s 1) pleasure buyers and even his 2) avoid pain crowd are just not going the distance to put a teeny-tiny dent in your negative cash flow.

patient_heal_thyself__12233-1456603152-500-659Our almost two-year on the lamb run at eight farmers’ markets gave us a platform to make at least $500 per market and pile in on the 3) in pain marketplace. The first breakthrough came with Jordan Rubin’s book on how he overcame Crohn‘s by drinking raw goat’s milk kefir. The secret ingredient was whey which Rubin turned into ‘Goatein’ powder selling 440g under the Garden of Life brand for $40.84 plus shipping.

goateinmuscle-builder

I started bottling the 15 gallons of whey left from our pleasure seeking goat cheese operation. At just $2.00 a pint I couldn’t give the stuff away, the body-builders didn’t like the taste and the veggie lovers weren’t going to ferment 120 pints of vegetables. However, it was Rubin’s second book, The Maker’s Diet, that knowledgeably explained why cows were good, goats were better and God didn’t want you to eat pigs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  The Maker’s Diet got me started researching all the 3) in pain diseases known to man that were cured or alleviated by drinking raw goat’s milk kefir. Basically any malady that is gut related is fair game e.g. Crohn’s, Colitis, Candida, IBS, Diabetes, allergies, Asthma, fights Cancer and supports detoxification. These conditions while painful enough are not enough to send you to the emergency room or take a stroll 50 miles out of town. The customers generally frequented their local health food store and consulted with an alternative health care practitioner. At the farmers’ market the 2) avoid pain and 3) in pain sympathizers were more than happy for me to deliver to the market and/or my bootlegger network of chiropractors, homeopathy ND’s and owner operated health food stores. This was good for a very positive cash flow as long as the State and Feds didn’t shut me down. Unlike, Al Capone there wasn’t a wad of surplus cash to buy-off the law enforcement officials.

dr-volpe-and-patients1-224x300Then one Saturday morning at the Houston Farmers’ Market, Dr. Arturo Volpe introduced me to the world of Neurotransmitters. Offering to buy all the raw goat’s milk kefir our 50 goats could produce, I wanted to know why? Was there an epidemic of Colitis, IBS, Leaky gut or maybe Asthma?

No, there is an epidemic of Autism, HDHD, Asperger’s, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and every neurologically challenged individual, including Hillary Clinton.

There is a connection between our gut and brain. the entire gastrointestinal system is the body’s second nervous system. “A hundred million neurotransmitters line the length of the gut, approximately the same number that is found in the brain…”

” My patients suffer from Autism and raw goat’s milk kefir has been shown to feed the brain with unadulterated NEUROTRANSMITTERS.”

At last, just when I had discovered the mother lode of type 3) in pain buyers, the girls dried up and wouldn’t come back in milk for three months. That meant no 1) pleasure, 2) avoid pain, 3) in pain buyers and no cash flow.

Dairy Goat Farming: Experiential Learning

https://youtu.be/wc81FriTWQo

One day we ran out of alfalfa and the milk tasted bitter or ‘goatie.’ What was the meaning of that? Don’t run out of alfalfa. One time I visited a dairy goat cooperative in Dolores Hildalgo, Mexico and their goat’s milk tasted way more better than mine. Why? Their alfalfa was harvested from soil unchanged since Cortez and the Aztecs time. Dairy is like wine; the taste is determined by the soil. This is also true for eggs, meat and poultry. My wife and I moved to Sao Paulo in 1975 only a Jack N Box, no MacDonald’s. Why? The red clay soil of Brazil made the grass fed beef taste un-MacDonald like.

The crime of the 20th century was the pasteurization of dairy in 1912; for over 100 years Americans in particular have not had a drop or curd of nature’s most digestible, assimilate-able, protein food source.

Food Circle

GROUPS Four and Seven were essentially removed from our diet by WWI, while Six and Five fell to the industrialists after WWII. The USDA and Monsanto are busy killing off One, Two and Three.

What I Learned Down On the Farm

  • P&G invented Crisco and Margarine 1905/10
  • Teddy Roosevelt outlawed raw dairy 1912
  • We took the cows off grass in 1950
  • MacDonald’s came along in 1955
  • Fish, chickens, eggs and pigs became manufactured food products 1970-80
  • UHT (Ultra-high temperature processing) 135C (275F) milk, soy milk, juices, even wine, 1970’s.

Most important lesson sustainable family farming is doable, enjoyable and can be very profitable.

“You have to go where the customers are,”

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“The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society is that carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country.– Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, 1776, (pg. 473)

My wife, Shelby Ann Brown and I, discovered, by forsaking our lives as Inhabitants of the Town, to become farmers, goat farmers, but farmers none the less, and live lives, like those of the Country, that everything Adam Smith said about agriculture in his seminal work the “Wealth of Nations,” was just as applicable in 1998 and 2008 as it was in 1776.

As Oogwei said to Shifu, in Kung Fu Panda, “There are no accidents, only reasons,” and God, my higher power and most assuredly Shelby, hadn’t dragged us to the most eastern tip of the Texas Panhandle in the summer of ’98, for no good reason.

Follett, Texas, the home of Shelby’s ancestors, was at the crossroads of history, in the American West. The Spanish conquistador Coronado, in 1500 came north from Mexico, through New Mexico and West Texas, then hung a right at the Canadian River. Two hundred fifty miles later, after enduring 27 mph average daily wind velocities, ambushes by the Native American crowd and not spotting a single solitary bush or tree along the way, Coronado threw up his gauntlet, and declared the Texas-Oklahoma “High Plains” to be the “inland desert of the Americas.” He then turned his expedition around and marched back the same 1,500-mile way he had come.

After the Civil War, Colonel George Custer came to Follett and lost his scalp while trying to massacre those pesky Native Americans, the pioneer cowboy-farmers solved the problem themselves by setting the prairie grass on fire, starving the buffalo and forcing the Native Americans to follow their food chain farther west.

The pioneers then established their own food distribution system by retracing Coronado’s steps with huge cattle drives, from south Texas north to Abilene and Dodge City. The prairie grass had scratched the belly of Coronado’s horse, but after a few trips, the cowboys over grazed the prairie to the nub. The citizens of Dodge were forced to lay off, both Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, who later moved on to Tucson to make the original, “OK Corral.”

Shelby’s mom, dad, aunts and uncles had long ago abandoned the place, haunted by childhood memories, of being at ground zero, for the 1937 ‘Dust Bowl.’ Therefore, in the summer of ’98, Shelby and I pretty much had the place to ourselves. There was circumstantial evidence, with Christian radio, heard on all FM/AM frequencies, as well as in the grocery store, that not everybody’s higher power had left town.

Our game plan was to raise Black Boer Goat breeding stock and sell the goats for an average price of $500 apiece. This contrasted with the market price of $60 for an ordinary meat goat. The theory was, selling each of the two kids, from 120 adult nanny goats, would get us a $10,000 monthly income and achieve our goal of replacing our former urban professional salaries.

“The inhabitants of the town draw from the country the rude produce which constitutes both the materials of their work and the fund of their subsistence: and they pay for this rude produce by sending back to the country a certain portion of it manufactured and prepared for immediate use.”

After two years, we former inhabitants of the town had received less than a $1,000 portion of it manufactured and prepared for immediate use,” from the sale of our rude produce, Black Boer Goat breeding stock. I therefore dusted off Ted Levitt, the Father of Marketing’s Market Myopia axiom, “know what business you are in,” showed it to Shelby and she moved the goats and us back to Houston. Coronado’s past life regression chant of, “I told you so,” was audibly visible in the extended side mirrors of our, dually-diesel, F-350, crew-cab, truck.

Shelby went back to work to support the 15-acre homestead in Follett, 650 miles from our new 18 acres, farm-to-market, location, 50 miles southwest of Houston. I laid around the ratty old trailer-house all day, reading Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” and rethinking just how farmers were supposed to make money in the food business.

Adopting the philosophy – “if you want to learn something, teach it,” – I taught Goat Farming 101: Urban Income, Rural Lifestyle, six times a year for six years, averaging 25 farmer ‘wannabes’ each session. BUT! It wasn’t until the sixth year, May 2006 to be exact, that I was able to stand in front of the class and honestly say, that yes; it is possible to have a rural lifestyle and earn an urban income of $10,000/month, from only fifty goats on five acres. AND! It took two years in Follett, plus six more years in Houston, Shelby’s $300,000 net worth, another $100,000 on MasterCard to figure out how those of the Country could make money selling rude produce to the inhabitants of the Town.

Architects are trained to use the iterative process (a fancy way to say, try and try again) for problem-solving, and once again I took Shelby’s money, to this time, buy 44 Nubian billy goats, for ‘Eid,’ the Moslem holiday, where traditional ‘Allah fearing’ families sacrifice a lamb or goat. This time was supposed to be different and it was, this time Shelby bought dinner for the entire Palestinian community of Houston. BUT, the silver-lining behind this iteration of “The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country, was the discovery that Mrs. Kettler, the owner of those Nubian bad boys, had been selling raw goat’s milk to David Keresh’s Branch Davidians, in Waco as well as the citizens of Dallas, a two-hour drive away, for $7 a gallon.

The apple had fallen from the tree, the way for those of the Country to make a six figure income was to sell their rude produce to the Inhabitants of the town for at least $12 a gallon. Shelby liked that idea and went all the way to Tennessee to bring back four pregnant Saanen nannies, built a $30,000 dairy, TB tested our 100 ruminants to comply with every Texas Department of Health regulation in order to obtain the Grade ‘A’ raw dairy license, that Mrs.Kettler and others sold their raw milk without. No sooner than we were up and running, we noticed that the Houstonians were not coming to the farm for milk more than three times, at most. Why? Too far. Mother Necessity, made us take our rude produce to the farmers’ markets in Houston and thus, we became farmers, manufacturers and merchants. The parking lot of 2100 Richmond Avenue became our friend because we could sell everything we had to sell in two hours, while educating the public on why they had to pay ten times as much money for our rude produce as the store bought milk.

You can raise six lambs, six goats or one cow; on one acre of good pasture land. You can raise the lambs, the goats, the cow plus 100 chickens on an organically composted acre through the use of multi-species and rotational intensive grazing techniques. That four legged Nubian maiden can produce 2,000 pounds of milk in a years’ worth of ruminating around that little old acre of a pasture. At an average per pound price of say $2.50 a pound, the farmer if he sells direct to the consumer, gets to take $5,000/yr. back home, to his wife and kids.

Now, I know what you are saying, “tegory, that can’t be true, you are just making that, up.” I know it is difficult, and if I threw in the additional 2,000lbs. of sheep’s milk Greek feta, another 2,100 lbs. of cow’s milk at $1.19/lb and 100 chickens at $4/lb, the total $15,700 per acre, per year, would be just too big a number, for you to swallow, but it’s true.

When I showed my proposal to Prof. Jefferson Wang’s Zhengzhou University MBA class they were more than somewhat skeptical that any Chinese mother would pay a jin more than 2.5RMB (35 cents) for a liter of milk and there wasn’t a snowballs chance in Hainan they were going to pay anywhere near my suggested price of 40RMB ($5.85) per liter. I told them that there wasn’t a snowballs chance, even in Detroit, that Americans were going to pay $30,000 for a fully loaded, Buick sedan (the most popular car in China).

How do you get the Chinese mother to pay 40 RMB/liter for milk, when she currently wouldn’t give you a ‘jin’ more than 2.5 RMB/liter? Easy, repair the link between the dairy and the single child mother. An internet billionaire (Netease) is raising 10,000 hogs on webcam because China consumes 55% of the world’s pork but they don’t trust the local supplier. The mother will buy the milk from New Zealand for her baby and drink made in China for herself.

The Chinese mother will pay, once she sees the quality in what she is buying. 2009 was also the year that China passed up Japan as the world buying leader in the luxury goods market. I experienced the buying power of the Chinese when I offered to buy lunch at the best restaurant in Gong Yi, a small city west of Zhengzhou. I changed my tune when the taxi driver told us that the BEST restaurant in this small burgh would cost 5,000 RMB. I asked my friend, now who would pay $750 for lunch in Beijing or Shanghai, let alone Gong Yi. “Rich Chinese don’t care about money,” was his reply. We don’t need to sell all the mothers in China on the health benefits of raw goat’s milk, only the well-educated 1%. The mother of a newborn, in Houston, who raided our refrigerator at 3am couldn’t afford to buy a $75 lunch, let alone a $750 one, but she left a $10 bill in the fridge door, for a half gallon of milk for her baby.

Exactly as Adam Smith said in 1776, “The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society Is that carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country, and by visiting eight markets a week, holding cheese-making and goat farming classes, that included farm visits, were we able to restore the customer relationship between the farmer and his community.”  America’s agricultural system is a complete failure, fiscally and morally bankrupt. Farming no longer provides revenue and wealth creation for the individual farmer, and he is forced to turn to crime, industrialized agriculture, which depletes soil quality and ends up being complicit in poisoning the nation’s food supply.

So why is our system of agriculture, the sole or the principal source of the revenue and wealth of every country,” broken? Why are we the most malnourished developed nation on earth? Why hasn’t the family farmer made any real money since WWI? Why are two-thirds of Americans obese? Why are Romney’s 47% poor in health and wealth? Because 99% of USA farmers left the country to be merchant-manufacturer-inhabitants of the Town. Actually they took the town with them on their way to the big city.