Goat milking becomes reality
Not far over the Hancock/Henry County line in Henry County you’ll find a farm that raises forages, goats and llamas. It’s a goat dairy, one of the few in Indiana, and it’s well on its way to turning milking goats into a profitable business.
Mike Hoopengardner says he and his wife, Kristy Krikly, and daughter, Jessica, began planning the dairy seven years ago. They’re finishing their first year of milking and producing cheese.
• Henry County family is convinced their goat dairy will be profitable.
• Their secret is making and selling goat cheese.
• Their parlor and cheese room were designed with input from Board of Health.
Not many people in the dairy business like to see the Board of Animal Health inspectors show up. Yet the Hoopengardners asked them to come out as soon as location flags were up for their combination parlor and cheesemaking facility. BOAH made suggestions, and the Hoopengardners implemented them. The result is one of the cleanest dairy and dairy processing operations you will find anywhere in Indiana.
This first year, milking about 25 does, was a trial run. They produce fresh cheese, and market it at upscale markets and at a downtown market. Fresh goat cheese fetches up to $15 per pound.
A critical volume is needed to turn a profit. Their goal is to milk 50 to 75 goats.
This article published in the January, 2012 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.