Goat dairy numbers reflect success of collaboration on speciality cheese

Wisconsin now leads the nation in dairy goats and is a center for production of goat cheese products. The state’s growth in this area reflects the efforts of many people who been working tirelessly to strengthen the state’s position as a premier source of high-quality specialty cheeses — including several CALS researchers.

Wisconsin’s growing strength in this industry is detailed in a report forwarded by Dan Carter, leader of Wisconsin’s Dairy Business Innovation Center, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to growing specialty and artisan dairy businesses (Carter is also an emeritus member of the CALS Board of Visitors).

The report follows:

Wisconsin Is Home To More Milk Goats Than Any Other State

The number of goat milk operations continues to increase in the US, as does the overall number of milk goats, according to two separate reports released in February, 2008 by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

In 2007, there were 19,930 US operations with milk goats, up from 19,880 in 2006, according to Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations 2007 Summary.

  • Wisconsin is home to more milk goats than any other state. As of January 1, 2008, there were 33,000 milk goats in Wisconsin. Wisconsin had 600 operations with milk goats in 2007, 50 more than in 2006, NASS figures show.
  • California had 30,000 milk goats as of January 1, 2008, unchanged from a year earlier.
  • Texas, with 25,000 milk goats on January 1, 2008, was down 5,000 head from a year earlier.
  • Iowa, with 19,000 milking goats on January 1, 2008, were up 1,300 head. Iowa delivers a large portion of their goat milk to Wisconsin for dairy production.
  • Missouri, with 13,000 milking goats as of January 1, 2008, were up 2,000 head.
  • New York, with 13,000 milking goats as of January 1, was up 1,000 head.
  • Pennsylvania, with 13,000 milking goats as of January 1, 2008, increased herds by 1,200 head.
  • New England, with 11,600 milking goats as of January 1, 2008, was up 2,600 head over previous year.

The United States milk goat inventory as of January 1, 2008, stood at 305,000 head, up four percent or 11,000 head from a year earlier, according to the Sheep and Goats Report.

Three of the largest producers of goat dairy, producing national brands, are located in Wisconsin:

Carr Valley/LaValle
Woolwich Dairy begins their US production April, 2008.

Other specialty and artisan goat producers in Wisconsin include:

Bass Lake Cheese/Somerset
Bekkum Family Farms/Westby
Butler Farms/Whitehall
Capri Cheese/Blue River
Caprine Supreme/Black Creek
Carr Valley/LaValle
Cedar Grove Cheese/Plain
DCI Cheese/Richfield
Dreamfarm/Cross Plains
Fantome Farm/Ridgeway
Gingerbread Jerseys/Augusta
Gronndal Springs/Mt. Horeb
Hidden Springs Farm/Westby
Hillbilly Hollow/Conover
Mt. Sterling Cheese Cooperative/Mt. Sterling
Pasture Pride/Cashton
Quality Dairy Goat Producers/
Saxon Creamery/Cleveland
Sunshine Farms/Portage