Milk, cheese, and yogurt – oh my! These all sound like tasty dairy products from a cow, but did you know that all of these products can be made from goat’s milk too? I headed out to the Adamson Family goat farm, outside of Milton, Wisconsin, to learn a little more about the Wisconsin goat industry. While I was there, I visited with Sarah Adamson and took a walking tour of their farm. Sarah represents the one in nine people working in Wisconsin who hold a job related to agriculture.
The Adamson family raises 400 goats on their land. In total, Wisconsin is home to 72,000* milk goats. That’s more than any other state! Their herd is made up of three breeds of goats: Alpine, Saanen, and LaMancha. Each breed has unique characteristics and personalities that they bring to the farm. “The Alpine goats are sassy,” shared Sarah, “and the LaMancha goats are more laid back and friendly.” Both breeds, as well as the Saanen goats are known for high milk production.
The ears of their goat breeds are also worth noting. Alpines and Saanens both have medium-length, erect ears, while the LaManchas appear to have no ears. According to the American Dairy Goat Association, LaMancha goats can have one of two types of ears. A “gopher ear” will reach a maximum length of one inch, and an “elf ear” will have a maximum length of two inches.
Sarah also shared that on average, their goats produce eight pounds of milk per day. That’s equal to about one gallon per day! This milk is then sent to a plant, where it is processed into goat cheese.
Goat Products to Enjoy
Goat’s milk and products made from their milk are nutritious. According to the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom program, “Goat milk has fats and proteins that are easier to digest than cow milk. Therefore, goat milk can be better for infants who have weaker stomachs.” Their website also shared that, “Goat milk can also replace cow milk in the diets of people who are allergic to cow milk.” These are great benefits for goat products.
Local grocery stores around the state carry goat’s milk, cheese and yogurt for you to choose from. Next time you are in the grocery store, be sure to check the dairy aisle for goat milk products.
You can learn more by visiting the Wisconsin Dairy Goat Association website: https://www.wdga.org/.
*Number updated 9/13/19 to align with 2019 National Agricultural Statistics Service.